This post was originally published in October 2019, and updated in November 2020
Hand Care Tips From a Hand Model
Did you know I’ve done some hand modeling? These long skeleton fingers are good for something after all besides playing piano. If you live in New England, chances are you’ve seen my hands around, as I’ve done campaigns for companies like Panera Bread, Uno’s Pizzeria, Ninja Blender, McDonald’s, Milady, Staples, and even a nation-wide campaign for TJ Maxx Home Goods, where my hands, and teeth, were on posters in all the stores. The hand modeling world has some very interesting behind the scenes parts to it. Hand models are needed when products, usually food, need to be showcased. Along with being amused by the food stylist’s techniques on set, hand modeling has enabled me to pick up some valuable hand care tips. Here are some hand care tips from a hand model.
Preparation for a Hand Modeling Shoot
The best tip I can share for being prepared for a hand modeling shoot is to always take care of your hands. If a call comes in and your hands are cut up, there is only so much a manicure can do. The client will usually ask for digitals, shots of your hands how they look at that moment with no photoshopping. If your hands look ragged, they might pass. The client usually always reimburses for a manicure to be scheduled the day before the shoot so nails look clean and fresh.
Besides the usual tips of using gloves when you’re washing the dishes, there is a magical elixir one can concoct right at home in the kitchen for pennies. All you need is a tablespoon of olive oil and a quarter sized amount of sugar, and you have the best hand softening exfoliant I’ve tried. Rub it vigorously over your hands for about 30 seconds, than wash it off with hand soap and water. Prior to a shoot, I would do this once a day leading up to the booking.
I also use hand cream on a regular basis. Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream smells divine, is full of dry skin loving ingredients like shea butter and grape seed, and is also formulated without harmful chemicals like parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. It’s easy to remember to moisturize when one keeps a tube in the purse, car, and bedside before going to sleep at night. Don’t forget to rub it into the nails and around the cuticles. One of my friends used to put cuticle oil on her nails each night before we went out. The days of youth, going out each night, ha! Anyways, she got me in the habit. Keep a cuticle oil in the key tray by your front door and you won’t forget.
Hand (and Foot) Masks
Have you ever tried a hand mask? These are lotion infused mesh paper gloves that are left on the hands for 20 minutes and then discarded. They offer a deep moisturizing experience, as the heat from your hands allow the moisturizing properties to more deeply penetrate. My hands cry out for hand masks during the colder, drier months and I try to do one at least once a week sitting in front of the TV. There are some pricey options, though the Sephora brand are of nice value, work well, and are only $5. The hand masks come in mango, macadamia nut, and aloe vera.
I’ll also mention foot masks, as feet get tired and dry, and deserve some love too! Same idea, one-time use booties that slip onto one’s feet to nourish and relax the feet. Like the hand masks, they come in a variety of options such as coconut and cactus. Again, I love the Sephora brand.
I usually buy numerous quantities of both the hand and foot masks at the beginning of the fall so I have them at the ready. HACK- having bulk numbers on hand, haha, of hand and foot masks make it easy to gift a little something to a friend. They are also nice to give as a set for a last minute stocking stuffer or hostess gift.
Make Your Own
One of the best hand care tips I ever learned was from a professional nail technician I worked with on set to shoot the cover of a nail industry trade magazine for Milady, one of the world’s top beauty industry educators. It was to showcase nail art, and the nails themselves took about seven hours to put on and create. Yes, I sat there for about seven hours having my nails done before the shoot. They were really wild, and very impractical, yet truly were works of art. The nail technicians that created these nails are true artists.
You can watch the video I created here, though the best way to get soft hands is to use a combo of olive oil and sugar as a DIY scrub. Very little of each is needed, and I do this over the kitchen sink so I can wash my hands afterwards.
Hands have thin skin and as a result, the veins on one’s hands can look prominent. Hand models not only shake out their hands to relax them into a natural state, or pose, though also to “drain” the blood out of the veins in the hands so they don’t look as prominent. Extended and slightly relaxed is what makes a hand position look natural and elegant.
Behind the Scenes Magic
Since we’re on the topic of hand care and hand modeling, I’ve seen some pretty wacky things “on set”. Most of the jobs I’ve been booked for have involved showcasing food items. The way the cheese is made to look steamy and gooey on a pizza slice as it’s being taken out of the box? It’s heated up with a blowdryer before the director yells “action”. That mouth watering turkey sitting in the middle of a perfectly curated Thanksgiving table? It’s completely raw on the inside, yet has been perfectly crisped on the outside with a blowtorch. Food stylists are true artists. They travel heavy, with a lot of odd gizmos and gadgets, and they can make anything look perfectly delicious.
Hand modeling is not as glamorous as it sounds. I’ve had to stand for hours on set making complicated tasks look easy, elegant, and appealing. I was once on a two day shoot for medical company that manufactured home dialysis systems. The assignment was to film how-to videos so patients could learn to connect the tubing correctly and administer their own dialysis treatments from the comfort of their own home. As the hand model, I had to continuously demonstrate the complex system over and over again until we obtained proper video footage that was correct, easy to follow, and looked “good”. And the amount of time it took to get the lighting set up correctly, don’t even get me started! Fortunately I was able to wait in the green room while the setup was occuring.
Hope these tips help keep your hands looking and feeling great. We care for the skin on our faces, the skin on our hands should also be cared for. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a hand model, here is information about how to get started.
Looking for tips about getting better sleep? You might like 5 Tips for Better Sleep From a Tired Mom.
Have you done hand model work before? Let me know in a comment below!