With the harsh reality of winter not that far off, now may be the time to think about how to look after your hands and nail this winter. Temperatures dropping and the radiators being cranked up are just two factors that can dry out skin in the winter. Celebrity manicurist, Jenni Draper, gives her top tips on protecting your hands through winter…

While everyone is quick to protect their face with a rich moisturiser in winter, hands and nails are often overlooked. The combination of cold temperature outside and warm dry air indoors can cause nails to lose moisture and become brittle.

Skin on the hand can also become dry and cracked so more reason to crack up the TLC so you don’t need to spend the entire winter in gloves.

Below are some suggestions from celebrity manicurist, Jenni Draper, on how to care for your hands and nails this winter…

1. File and shape your nails to prevent breakage

Nails tend to look more polished if they are all uniform and filed to perfection so try and keep nails trimmed and at a reasonable length. ‘Longer nails will tend to break easier, especially if they are dehydrated with flaky ends,’ Jenni explains.

To keep nails in check, Jenni recommends trimming any flaking areas off and filing them in long sweeping motions with a nail file: ‘no see-sawing, as this can cause friction and in turn, dryness.’

Jenni also recommends keeping a file on you at all times in case of any snags. ‘Filing while on-the-go will prevent it getting any worse!’

2. Apply cuticle oil regularly to protect hands and nails

If you’ve never used a cuticle oil before, it might be time to start. Jenni explains: ‘You should use cuticle oil at least once a day – preferably twice and, if possible, more! Your nails and skin can’t get enough of it and will thank you for it. It will hydrate the skin and nails, preventing dryness and in turn splitting.’

Try Dadi’ oil daily (£15) to keep nails moisturised and hydrated to help prevent brittleness and splitting. ‘Massaging an oil into the cuticles stimulates the area which encourages nail growth and strength,’ Jenni adds.

3. Paint your nails this winter

‘If you keep your nails painted at all times it will not only help to keep them strong and healthy but also make you notice them more,’ Jenni explains.

UNCHARTED TERRITORYThis winter, a well hydrated, polish perfect, glossy, groomed nail is what it’s all about. Jenni recommends a deep red such as the Morgan Taylor ‘Uncharted Territory’ (£10.95), to make you more aware of them and less likely to knock them. It’s also the perfect shade for the A/W season!

‘A polished manicure does wonders for making you care for your hands and nails more, a handy trick I have found over the years,’ Jenni adds.

4. Always use a base coat

Jenni explains: ‘A good base coat strengthener can be used to encourage healthy, strong nail growth and to prevent yellowing of the nail plate.

‘A base coat can be used alone or underneath a polished nail. If used alone these should be reapplied every 2-3 days using a non-acetone polish remover to prevent stripping oils from the nail plate.’

Try the Sally Hansen Double Duty Nail Strengthening Base and Top Coat (£6)

5. Put gloves on in bed

This might seem like a strange suggestion, but it works! Jenni explains: ‘Apply tons of moisturiser and cuticle oil and then pop a pair of cotton gloves on before you go to sleep. The cotton gloves will warm up the lotions and help the skin to penetrate the goodness. It will also prevent your bedding from being destroyed!’

This is also a good tip when washing up: ‘apply your creams, make your washing up water is super-hot, pop your washing up gloves on and the hot water will warm the creams creating the same heated hand treatment effect.’ Genius!

6. Protect your hands and nails from the inside out this winter

During the winter months, many consider taking a good vitamin to boost immunity. So, why not take the opportunity to look after your nails too? Jenni recommends taking a good multivitamin such as Perfectil Plus Nails (£14.95, 60 tablets) to benefit the health of your nails.

‘It is a good idea to take the approach that everything starts from a healthy balanced diet which in today’s busy modern lifestyle can be tricky,’ Jenni explains. ‘A good multivitamin containing biotin, magnesium, vitamin A and zinc are great for nail health, strengthening your nails from within.