Another good one is to bend the fingers together, inclining the knuckles backwards, then straightening the fingers until the back of the hand is curved as far as possible. (Fig. 6.}
The same evolutions can be performed as far as possible with the fingers of both hands interlocked. (Fig. 5.)
If these simple exercises are slowly and regularly done two or three times daily for a few minutes, the firmness of the hand will rapidly increase, and as the plumpness of the hand is mainly muscular its roundness and contour will improve.
Fig. 4. To give firmness to limp hands, practise the lateral opening and closing of the fingers
Oatmeal as a Cosmetic
The use of oatmeal for washing the hands cannot be too highly esteemed. It is soothing, as well as beneficial, to the skin, and an excellent water softener. It can easily be prepared at home, preferably in small quantities, as it turns sour quickly. Some good oatmeal should be boiled in water for an hour, and afterwards strained, and the liquid used as a wash.
To avoid chapped hands, every care should be taken to see that they are properly dried after washing, especially in cold weather. When the hands have become roughened, grease will be found very helpful in removing dirt, and a little sweet almond oil applied at night is a soothing unguent. The first application of oil should be wiped off thoroughly to remove all dirt, and then a small quantity of cream well rubbed into the skin, and the hands afterwards encased in old, well-perforated cotton gloves or loose butter-muslin bandages.
These applica-tions may be divided into two kinds - the soluble, such as glycerine, and the various jellies of which it is an ingredient; and the greasy preparations, which have for a base lanoline or vaseline. The greasier preparations are suitable for very dry skins. The following is a good recipe:
One ounce of white wax.
One ounce of spermaceti.
Eight ounces of almond oil.
These ingredients should be melted together and stirred constantly to cool.
For skins which are not very dry, a composition of glycerine, eau-de-cologne, and rose-water is good; or glycerine, elderflower water, and simple tincture of benzoin.
Care of the Hands when at Work
Gloves should be used as often as possible by the housewife. Ordinary large household gloves for all dry cleaning, and rubber gloves if the hands are exposed to extremes of temperature in water. Before putting on rubber gloves for washing, the hand should be well anointed with oil, as this makes a kind of mask, preventing the action of water and soap having full play upon them.
Lemon-juice is one of the best things for removing stains from the hands and for restoring their softness and suppleness after work.
Blemishes on the Hands
Fig. 5. Bend all the fingers together, inclining the knuckles backwards; then straighten them until the back of the hand is curved as far as possible
On fair skins the most frequent blemishes are "summer" freckles. These, produced by the action of the wind and sunshine, are caused by iron in the blood forming a junction with the oxygen, and leaving a rusty mark where the junction takes place. Such freckles are, as a rule, of a temporary nature, and can often be cured by such a recipe as the following:
Lemon-juice, one ounce; powdered borax, one quarter dram; sugar, half a dram.
What are known as " cold " freckles are constitutional, and not easy to cure by local treatment.
Warts are caused by ana?mia and general poorness of the blood, and are due to an unhealthy action of the skin. Although acetic acid or caustic will effectively burn out these unsightly excrescences, their complete cure is only brought about by an improvement in the general condition of health.
Movements of the Hand
Ancient authorities in physiology are agreed that every movement of the hand indicates the bent and practices of its possessor. Even in repose the flexions of the hands indicate distinct and intense conditions of mind. A hand, although awkward in shape, may acquire beauty of motion by following the dictation of the brain. There is much of character in the hands.
The size, shape, and colour of the hand depend very much on the owner's race, health, and mode of life. The small white hand is not always a sign of high breeding, neither is the square and red hand symbolical of humble origin.
Effect of Outdoor Sports
All games in which the hand and arm are energetically used are apt to make the hands rough and red, unless great care is taken. After any violent exercise the hand should be well rubbed at night with a soothing cream. Either of the creams mentioned are suitable. After washing, the hands should be rubbed over with the following "liquid powder":
Zinc oxide, one ounce.
Glycerine, half an ounce.
Rose-water, four ounces.
Fig. 6. The evolutions performed, as far as possible, with fingers