Check out the article on Byrdie.com here!
I was recently given the opportunity to share some of my hand care routine and tricks with online beauty magazine Byrdie!
Check out the article on Byrdie.com here!
My number one most important hand-care tip is to ditch the cuticle cutters and use a cuticle cream or oil. Cutting your cuticles can make them grow tougher and more jagged if not done properly. The cuticle is like the root of your nail—if you want healthy and long nails you need to start taking care of your cuticles. All you need to do is use cuticle oil or cream and gently push back your cuticles. I personally love to use Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme and Deborah Lippmann’s Cuticle Oil.
My next tip is a hand-model favorite for getting your hands extra moisturized: The night before a shoot I generously slather my hands in lotions, as well as the all-important cuticle oil, and then slip my gooey hands into cotton overnight gloves. This retains moisture all night and you wake up with incredibly soft hands. I like to mix it up with a Burt’s Bees Hand Salve or the Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream—they are both super-rich and pretty sticky so they work best with the glove technique.
If your hands ever crack or get especially dry in the winter you might want to look into a paraffin wax treatment. My mom introduced me to this and I actually really like doing it: You dip your hands (or your feet) several times in melted warm paraffin wax, let the wax harden around your hands, and then slip on these towel-like mittens to keep in the warmth. After about 10-15 minutes, or when the wax has completely hardened and cooled, you just crack off the wax and your skin feels crazy soft and rehydrated.
This is a trick I picked up from manicurists on set when they were removing a bright polish, a complicated nail art design, or even a glitter polish. If you soak cotton balls in nail polish remover and let them rest on your painted nails for a little while it will loosen the polish. Then when you squeeze the cotton balls down and pull them off the nail, the majority of the polish should come off. Sometimes rubbing off dark polishes can stain your skin or even push pigment under your cuticles so this is great solution.
Now this tip might seem a bit obvious but I cannot stress this enough: ALWAYS use a base coat when painting your nails anything colorful. Unfortunately, this is something I learned the hard way. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for weirdly stained and nasty looking nails to grow out. I like to use Sally Hansen’s Double Duty Base Coat and Top Coat because it is two-in-one and doesn’t chip. I also use this as a clear coat because it feels like it makes my nails a little stronger. If you do accidentally stain your nails, there are a few things you can do to minimize the damage. First, lightly buff the surface of your nails with a fine grit nail buff to help remove the stains—typically stains are only in the superficial layers of your nails so buffing them can make a big difference (just remember buffing can also make your nails thinner and weaker if do it too aggressively, so go easy!). After gently buffing, scrub your nails with a soft toothbrush using a mixture of peroxide, baking soda, and lemon juice, to help clean out any residual stains. A great way to “cheat” whiter edges on your nails is to use a whitening pencil—this is not permanent but it is a helpful quick fix.
I am often asked about how I got started as hand model. Hand modeling isn't the kind of job you dream of having as a little kid but it can be a great way to support yourself if you happen to be genetically blessed with nice hands.
I was recently chatting with a manicurist and she remarked how hand models are related to each other by only their hands. They come from all walks of life and vary in appearance. A lot of the other hand models I have met were actresses, models, musicians, students, etc. There is such a range of personalities!
So it really doesn't matter what you do or really what you look like - if you have great hands (or any other great parts) you should consider parts modeling.
The first thing to do is to try and take the highest quality pictures you can of your hands. I would then recommend you send these pictures to local manicurists and beauty photographers to see if you can arrange a test shoot or collaboration with them. This will give you professional looking pictures that you can show to an agent.
Check with your local modeling agencies to see if they have a parts devision or can refer you to the nearest parts agencies.
It is kind of unusual to be "discovered" as a hand model but if people often compliment your hands or they just tend to photograph well, it might worth pursuing.
Painting your nails is one of the easiest ways to express yourself and change up your look without committing to something permanent. As a self diagnosed commitment-phobe this has always been one of the most appealing things to me - if I don't like the color I paint my nails, I can live with it for a day or two and take it off when I get sick of looking at it. My sister is even worse than I am; she is borderline obsessive about her nail polish looking perfect - one little nick on one nail and they all have to go.
Even before I began hand modeling nail polish was always important to me. My sister and I have quite the collection of polishes and nail lacquers. But I've noticed a pattern in our nail hoarding tendencies - we certainly have a few tried and true favorites. So I thought I'd go through and list a few of my personal picks:
Floss Gloss - Mrs. Tony Montana
Floss Gloss has, in my opinion, mastered the perfect white - Mrs. Tony Montana is a crisp white that is completely opaque. I love the look of all white nails but I really can't stand it when white polishes are too translucent; thankfully, this is absolutely not an issue here!
Jin Soon - Tea Rose
I always get complimented on my nails when I wear this shade from Jin Soon called Tea Rose! It is my favorite pinky/coral color, the name aptly represents the color. I think it looks great with my skin tone being so pale but it is the kind of color that would work on everyone.
Smith and Cult - Stockholm Syndrome
This gray color made by Smith and Cult is one of my preferred more neutral colors and is great for using as base to nail art. As much as I love the polish itself, I really like the bottle. These bottles look like little works of art on display on my vanity. The name Stockholm Syndrome is just one of the many hilarious names their polishes have.
Essie - Penny Talk
Metallic nails are one of my go to looks for when I feel like doing something a little more interesting with my nails while still keeping them nice and subtle. I love anything that looks like precious metal so this rose gold toned polish by Essie is right up my alley. It is called Penny Talk because of it's great copper-ish color.
I recently had the chance to chat with my friends at Paintbox about my favorite nail polishes/nail art as well as my jewelry designing at Bobby Pin Jewelry.
Check it out on their blog: http://www.paint-box.com/blog-posts/nails-of-new-york-susan-schell
Look closely—do you recognize these beautiful hands? Jewelry designer Susan Schell has been hand-modeling for Paintbox for several seasons, but it's what she does when she's not modeling that we're spotlighting here. Susan and business partner Maria de Diego run a custom bridal jewelry line together called BOBBY PIN. Maria founded the line in 2011 and brought Susan on board to help design and produce beautiful, one-of-a-kind heirloom pieces for brides to wear at their weddings. As part of our focus on all things bridal this month (to coincide with the launch of our BRIDAL COLLECTION), we asked Susan if we could visit the Bobby Pin studio and talk to her more about the work she and Maria do creating custom jewelry.
Susan wears Moonstruck in Essie Penny Talk.
Why do you paint your nails?
I like to paint my nails for aesthetic reasons and because I feel like they are less likely to break with polish on. I always have at the very least a clear coat of polish on my nails. As a jewelry designer, I sometimes work with rough materials and tools so having strong nails is really important to me. Having nicely painted nails just makes me feel better when I look down at my hands; it makes me feel more put together.
Susan designing a custom piece for the Bobby Pin collection.
Do you have a favorite polish or go-to look?
I personally love having solid white nails. It just looks really clean and is simple enough to go with anything. Floss Gloss has a great white called "Mrs. Tony Montana." It is perfectly opaque. I really love a good metallic nail, maybe because I work with precious metals. Essie makes a great silver called "No Place Like Chrome" that I like to wear when my nails are longer.
Where do you find your inspiration?
When I'm designing jewelry I am often inspired by geometric patterns and nature—especially flowers and leaves. These seem to be themes that I reference a lot and turn to for ideas. The thing I love about making custom jewelry and accessories is that I get to be inspired by something completely new with each client. My business partner, Maria de Diego (founder of BOBBY PIN Jewelry), and I work really well together, we seem to come up with even better designs when we bounce ideas off of each other. We both have major obsessions with the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements so we find tons of inspiration and ideas from those styles.
Pieces from the Bobby Pin collection.
What do you love most about working on custom pieces for brides?
At Bobby Pin, Maria and I work with brides to make completely custom jewelry for their wedding day. Everything about your wedding is personalized to you, so we work with our customers to make jewelry, hair pieces, and accessories that are like new heirloom pieces—pieces that our clients can wear time and time again and eventually pass on to their children. I really feel like the details are what make a wedding especially memorable, whether that is a piece of unique custom jewelry or a very special manicure.
Susan Schell is a working hand model in NYC.