A Hand Model’s Top Tips

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A Hand Model’s Top Tips featured image

My grandma always told me I had beautiful hands, so a few years back, I took a crack at parts modeling. Most of the modeling agencies I went to on go-sees assumed I was a bike messenger, but I actually ended up booking a lot of jobs. Today, if you buy an Orly French Manicure Kit, that’s me on the packaging.

For me, the hardest thing about being a hand model was not breaking a nail. I have the natural grace of a bull in a china shop. But there were things I’d do for my skin, nails and cuticles that helped my hands look their best, on and off the set.

A few nights before a shoot, I’d slather my hands with L’Occitane Hand Cream, and slip them into Bliss Glamour Gloves. I have no idea what these gloves are made of-they’re lined with some space-age polymer, and with the lotion, it feels a lot like that Halloween game where you put your hand into a bowl of “eyeballs” that’s actually peeled grapes. But after a few hours, my hands were as soft and line-free as a baby’s behind. (Extra perk: if I put the gloves on right after dinner, they reduced snacking-it’s tough to eat a cookie wearing Mickey Mouse gloves.) This softening trick also works with straight-up Vaseline and wrapping your mitts in Saran Wrap.

As for nail preparation, I don’t subscribe to those expensive hair-and-nail vitamins; but whenever I remembered to take my generic vitamin E supplement, I always saw a difference in my nails-and hair and skin-in about a week.

A weekly manicure is a lot of upkeep and expense. Even during my main modeling days, I did my own nails a lot. In between professional visits, I would remove my nail polish and apply no fewer than three coats of Nailtiques Formula 2. Never leave your nails unprotected! If you’re not wearing nail polish or if you haven’t been to the salon in umpteen weeks, you shouldn’t leave the house without at least a couple coats of nail protein on your nails. In a pinch, use a top coat.

One of the worst things for your manicure is cleaning products, which can break down polish and make your nails prone to breaking and splitting. Even though housecleaning was never my strong suit, whenever I washed the dishes or cleaned the shower, I always wore rubber gloves.

On the set, the lights can really turn up the heat; and when you’re hot, it can make unsightly veins pop out. Even Photoshop can’t always help, so I would bring a bag of frozen peas to every shoot. In between takes, I’d stick my hand in the bag-the cold makes your veins contract and go away.

Carrie Jacobson’s lovely hands, above, have been seen in Clinique, Leica and Mercedes ads, on Orly products, and in Nails magazine. She is also a successful TV commercial producer. See more of her work at carrie-jacobson.com.

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