Natural Hand Care is published by Storey Books, which specializes in how-to publications for country living, including gardening, natural health and beauty, herbs, cooking and food preservation, crafts, and homebrewing. This book is filled with recipes for homemade treatments that will keep hands and nails healthy and attractive through all stages of life.
Much of the book discusses topics that, while not strictly cosmetic- or beauty-related, are interesting nonetheless. The first section describes how hands work and how they're put together, sprinkling in fascinating facts such as where the word 'pinkie' comes from and how to analyze fingerprints. Directions are given for more serious applications, like a warm-up stretch and massage for hands, and for lighter practices such as palm reading. Chapter Three, "Nutrition for Nails, Skin, Bones and Joints," includes common-sense advice (eat well-balanced meals, drink lots of water) but also features a chart describing which vitamins and minerals are good for hands, skin and nails, as well as a listing of nutritional supplements (what they are, what they do, signs of deficiency).
Nail fanatics will be eager to get to the second part of the book, which deals not only with problems and nail care, but also explains how nails are constructed, what they're made of, and what makes then grow. I found it interesting that it's a widely held belief that biting fingernails actually makes them grow. A table with drawings of example nails explains nail nutrition by describing what all those ridges and lines really mean. The section on problems and remedies gives recipes for treatments such as Nail-Biters' Aloe Vera Ointment, a soak to sooth inflammation, and instructions on using henna as a nail conditioner. All recipes include ingredients listings (for items such as essential oils and chamomile) as well as directions for use and cautions for people with allergies or sensitive skin.
Part III, Skin Care for Hands, features many recipes for natural hand cleansers, moisturizers and other remedies. Included are recipes for teas to relieve hand allergies and a bug bite treatment that is made of beeswax, plantain leaf oil, vitamin E and lavender oil. There are also treatments for burns, bruises, chapped skin, eczema, freckles, hives and warts. Weinberg also gives a great list of ingredients used in commercial skin products so you can check your labels and see what you're putting on your body. Part IV discusses how to care for joints by using exercises, baths and teas, all of which would be useful to someone with arthritis or another hand condition. The conclusion examines how to care for the aging hand by improving elasticity with an avocado skin cream (recipe included), as well as how to deal with age spots, bruising easily, calluses and dry skin.
This would make a great gift for someone (maybe yourself!) who revels in mixing up homemade beauty products---if you're unsure of ingredients, just check Appendix A, the Guide to Herbal and Natural Ingredients, which gives names, Latin names, properties and other information. Appendix B, Equipment and Tools, lists things you'll need (such as a scale, spoons, a coffee grinder) to create the recipes. If you decide that you love the book and want to dig deeper into the world of natural and herbal hand care, you'll find a reading list and resources list in the back.