Lashes in the Lush


Sunday, May 28, 2017

South Pacific Sun-Scorched Hands & Cuticles: Hand and Finger Masks to the Rescue!

I just returned from the most amazing trip to Samoa, Fiji and Vanuatu. Lagoons, beaches and a lot of sun. Since I live in South East Asia I’ve become pretty neurotic about UV-rays and sun protection, so I always carry several different types of sun block with me in my beach bag. Before installing myself on a beach bed I meticulously treat every millimeter of my body with a spray, cream or both, but coming home healthily bronzed I realized –shock- I apparently forget to pay attention to a very important part of my body: my hands, looking bronzed but all worn-out. Time to come to the rescue with Korean KOCOSTAR's 5 Finger Nail Pack and Sephora's Argan Hand Mask.

The cause of the sun damage to my hands is twofold: my hands catch a lot of sun as I love reading on the beach. I hate sticky hands, so the first thing I do after applying sun block is wash my hands. Secondly, one holiday obviously isn’t the sole cause; apart from our face, our hands endure a lot, from sun to water, like rain, but they also suffer from (excessive) washing.

I love reading, but 'Fifty Shades' was a total waste of my time. Not only unsuitable for the young, but for anyone in my opinion, unless you want to die of boredom.

Using a spray sun block for the top of my hands to spare my palms from stickiness is what I’ll do from now on. What’s left to do now is pamper my deeply bronzed but worn-out looking hands and dry, peeling cuticles. I thus headed to what I refer to as The Mothership, a.k.a. Sephora.

Although Sephora is French, luckily in Asia there’s a mask for everything and I picked up an “Argan Hand Mask” and a “5 Finger Nail Pack”. The Finger Pack is from Korean brand KOCOSTAR, and Sephora’s Argan Hand Mask is “inspired by Asian Beauty Rituals” AND (we could've known) made in Korea. Glad to keep it regional.

KOCOSTAR - 5 Finger Nail Pack

The information on the pack is limited; all text, except for usage instructions, ingredients and "gloss & elasticity & moisturizing & protection" is in Korean. Sephora Singapore's website provides some clarity:

Protect and repair damaged nails with this nail treatment by K-beauty brand Kocostar. Made with a potent yet soothing blend of botanicals and vitamins, it helps strengthen stressed nails to prevent breakage, splitting, and peeling. 

Spot on, I do think my nails are stressed. From the ingredient list it appears the botanicals are a.o. Anise, Fruit Extract, Aloe Vera, Orange, Lemon, Lime and Grapefruit oil and Purslane.

Following directions, I separate the nail packs - the scent is citrus-fresh - to put one on each finger. This is funny, I can't stop wiggling my fingers like I have finger dolls on them. There's no dripping, which is nice, but they do glide off a bit when I move my fingers. Typing on a computer keyboard is not really possible, nor anything else that requires finger movement. Pushing the button of the dishwasher is OK though.

I leave the nail masks on for 20 minutes (15-30 minutes according to the pack); according to the pack I should now massage the remaining liquid into my cuticles. But when I take off the finger masks, there's still too much product on my fingers to just massage away into my skin. I put one nail mask back on my pinky finger to see whether this gets better after a full 30 minutes, but it does not. Kleenex it is to take off excess product, as I hate sticky hands and fingers, remember? And the result? Smooth and supple cuticles, even after washing my hands a few time!

My verdict: The result is satisfactory, but the product is best to be used while watching a movie or getting a back rub, as is does limit (finger) movement! Think I might use this product again, or at least give to friends as it makes a cool small gift; quite something different!

KOCOSTAR, 5 Finger Nail Pack
Price: 7 SGD
Available through Sephora

Sephora - Argan Hand Mask

This 'inspired by Asian beauty rituals' Hand Mask is enriched with natural argan oil extract and promises the following:

"to soften and smooth the skin and reduce the appearance of signs of age on hands. For hands with smooth, even skin tone and youthful beauty." 

Packed with antioxidants, vitamin E and essential fatty acids, Argan oil is widely known and used for its benefits for hair and skin. Like the Nail Pack, this product too contains Anise; a quick search on Google learns that Anise is said to be an antioxidant and antiseptic.

The pack contains two non-drip, coated gloves (tissue layer inside, plastic outer layer) that can be closed-off at the wrists with a sticker wrap, so you can "continue what you're doing". The product smells really good - a rich, luxurious scent with a hint of orange (I think) - not too sweet, just right. I follow the directions on the pack and put the gloves on clean, dry hands and leave it for 15 minutes. At first it seems a challenge to open the second sticker with an already gloved hand but turns out to be easy.

It's great that the product doesn't drip, however activities that require a certain level of grip like turning the page of a book or magazine is hard. Working on a computer actually goes pretty well, my typing is a bit slower (using 2 fingers only) but it's possible. Touchscreen of phone no problem! Taking clean and dry laundry out of the machine works as well but feels strange with such slippery hands. (I'm typing this with the gloves on, hence the staccato)

When I take off the gloves after 15 minutes, there's still too much product on my hands to "massage any excess product into skin" as described on the pack, similar to what I had with the finger masks. I use a Kleenex once again to get rid of most excess product. My hands look good, smoother and moisturized, even after washing. And still smell nice too!

My verdict: quick and easy, love the scent, good price-quality! Will definitely use this product again, in fact will stock up on it. The hand masks are also available with Aloe Vera (intense moisture) and Avocado (intense nutrition).

Sephora, Argan Hand Mask
Price: 6 SGD
Available through Sephora


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