The “sophisticated” hand – Expressing the new self of the youth

The “sophisticated” hand – Expressing the new self of the youth

Can you really tell “a thin wallet from a thick one” just by looking at hands? And why do hands have the power to evoke emotions and heal wounds?

Hands play a significant role in our daily lives. They are tools for performing various tasks, from gripping objects, typing, to creating art and expressing non-verbal communication. Additionally, beautiful hands are an essential factor in conveying messages, creating impressions, and evoking emotions, demonstrating sophistication and self-care.

The role of hands in the history of beauty

In the latter half of the 18th century, body appearance became a means of social communication. It extended beyond just dressing neatly; people started paying attention to body shapes as a way of presenting themselves to others. During that time, those with physical imperfections (such as unusual skin color or deformities) were often ridiculed by society and might be deemed to have lower status. As part of the body, hands became a tool for humans to showcase elegance and formality.

The hands are a means of expressing many aspects about oneself in a ‘non-verbal’ way | Source: Pinterest

The ideal definition of a hand was early discussed by Nicholas Andry in his medical book “Orthopædia,” published in 1741. According to him, an ideal hand has long fingers, fingertip shapes that are not square, and smooth skin. He believed that the hand played a primary role in “touch.” Touch always creates a strong connection, so a beautiful hand needs more careful care than ever.

In European countries, a pair of hands is always regarded as a means of communication replacing words. Around exhibitions, you will find paintings with hand details indicating various messages. For example, the famous oil painting “Le Discret” by Joseph Ducreux features a hand signaling to keep a secret, or Albrecht Dürer’s “Praying Hands” depicting hands in prayer. Clearly, hands always play a crucial role in culture and art.

The painting ‘The Creation of Adam’ focuses heavily on the significance of the touch of Adam and the Almighty | Source: The Collector

In Asian, hands are also a part often “read” to interpret many aspects of a person’s destiny. From the curvature of the palm, the length of the fingers to the color of the nails, each is believed to have different meanings, influencing the life and future of each individual.

Beautiful Hands as a Form of “Quiet Luxury”

The hands, a body part used to express oneself subtly, have become a testimony to an individual’s affluence in the era of understated luxury. A pair of hands acts as a silent business card, providing others with a glimpse of who you are before you even introduce yourself.

Expressions like “With hands so soft and smooth, life must be comfortable” reflect the belief that fair, smooth hands are associated with tranquil activities. In the past, those born into aristocratic families were concerned mainly with refined activities such as calligraphy. Today, this implies a life with fewer manual labor activities. Conversely, rough and calloused hands are seen as evidence of a life filled with ups and downs.

A beautiful, soft, slender hand is considered a symbol of a peaceful and contented life | Source: The World Newspaper

Since ancient times, hand care has been conducted with grace and elegance. The book “The Ladies Best Companion” by Amelia Chambers, published in 1775, discussed beauty formulas for the hands, using ingredients like white wine, lemons, garlic, and trumpet flower. Hand care products were also present in the market at that time, such as “Dr Solomon’s Balsamic Corn Extract,” claimed to eliminate roughness and corns on the hands.

The “Hand-care” Industry becomes a Gold Mine

Hand creams have long become an essential skincare item. A 2019 market report by Grand View Research predicted that the global Hand Care market would grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.5% from 2019 to 2025. The report highlighted, “Initiatives implemented by WHO and FDA to enhance people’s awareness of the importance of hand hygiene, along with health issues related to poor hygiene, will contribute to market growth.”

This indicates that, post-pandemic, hand care has taken on new significance. Understanding the issues arising from frequent use of hand sanitizers, leading to roughness and cracks, many brands have introduced moisturizing hand sanitizers to attract consumers.

Luxury brands don’t overlook the ‘gold mine’ for hand care products | Source: Dior Beauty

Moreover, “Sensory beauty” is becoming increasingly popular, and customer purchasing decisions are based on packaging, texture, and fragrance. As a result, brands must continually research and improve their product lines to make them diverse and innovative. Products are expanding beyond conventional hand care definitions. For example, Fenty Beauty’s “Hydra’Reset Intensive Recovery Glycerin” encompasses an evening hand cream, daytime hand cream with SPF sun protection, and a hand mask. Fragrance-focused brands like Diptyque, Byredo, as well as giants like Dior and CHANEL, are also joining the race with impressive hand care product lines.

The ‘small luxury’ trend contributes to the popularity of hand care products | Source: Beauticate

The rise of luxury small-sized products also plays a role. Customers are willing to spend on small, luxurious items to find happiness. While there is no shortage of affordable hand moisturizers, many still prefer to buy expensive products from brands like Tamburins or Diptyque, as these “small joys” allow them to express themselves.

Nail polish is not just color, but also art and culture | Source: Chanel

Furthermore, hand care products are now a space for individuals or brands to showcase aesthetics and spread inspiration. It could be the freedom, pioneering spirit, and culture embodied in CHANEL’s nail polish. Or the flexibility, agility, and craftsmanship in Dior’s new multifunctional hand cream.

Nail art is currently trendy among the youth | Source: Quinadanailart

Meanwhile, nail art and tattoos are no longer just crafts associated with cutting and trimming nails or simple tattoos. They have evolved into forms of artistry, with nail artists and tattooists being admired as artists for their ability to showcase various artistic techniques and styles on each finger. Those in the nail and tattoo industry are no longer merely connected with nail or tattoo services but have become artists receiving public admiration.

Unlocking the “Power” of Well-Cared-for Hands

In the realm of personal care, showing attention and affection to your hands goes beyond mere beautification and holds deeper meanings.

One interesting facet of hand care revolves around the role of hand models. The concept of a hand model isn’t just someone with beautiful hands posing for photoshoots. It encompasses post-production work for hands stepping onto red carpets or appearing in jewelry launches. The criteria for choosing hand models have evolved. Instead of opting for superhuman, flawless hands, brands are now favoring diversity in colors, shapes, and, most notably, flexibility and natural movements. Today, individuals aged 70 or 80, with wrinkles and tattoos, can also become hand models.

According to the Financial Times, a top hand model can earn between £5,000 to £8,000 per day for major campaigns. However, this comes with stringent requirements. Many hand models with cracked nails may need to wait weeks before landing a job.

Touches bring many emotional benefits | Source: Unsplash

Emotionally, numerous studies suggest that interactions involving hands have a significant impact on reducing anxiety and cardiovascular issues. For instance, touches generate oxytocin, known as the “love hormone,” fostering human connection and healing emotional wounds.

Research from the University of Miami’s Touch Research Institute indicates that when you touch or are touched by someone, nerve fibers in the brain interact with the heart, slowing down heart rate and lowering blood pressure. Additionally, James Coan, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia, conducted a study showing that holding hands can reduce activity in the lower part of the brain responsible for stress responses.

Regardless of whether hands are rough or tender, the chemical reactions occur when we touch or hold someone’s hand. Yet, with well-cared-for hands, emotions and the sensation of softness and warmth intensify. At that point, hands and touches wield a power surpassing that of mere words.


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