Ellen Sirot has been teased ruthlessly for being a hand-care fanatic. If you Google “crazy hand model,” her viral video interview with Katie Couric is the first to appear followed by other links that reference Sirot. But despite her eccentricities, hand-care experts aren’t laughing.
Sirot might be an extremist, but the gospel she’s preaching is not without merit. So news that Sirot has personally helped developed a hand cream that is currently available at drug store prices makes plenty of people applaud.
“I’d certainly be interested in trying the product,” said Alexis Schaeffer, the nail department manager at Spa Winghaven, a day and medical spa in O’Fallon, Mo. “I mean she’s so serious about her hands, you have to give her some credit.”
It only stands to reason that you don’t rely on an expert who’s blasé about their subject of interest.
And Sirot is anything but blasé about hand care. The subject is her favorite topic of conversation, and even people who might be prone to arch an eyebrow are inquisitive.
“Everyone always wants to talk about hand modeling and hand care,” Sirot said, speaking by phone from New York. “One hundred percent of people I’ve met have a hand complaint. There’s always something they don’t like about their hands.”
And although, she is understandably boastful about her own top model digits, she said it’s natural to find fault with the one object that’s most often in our point of view.
We talk with our hands, explore the world with our hands and fiddle with our hands constantly. When we pick something up, open a door, flip a page, drive a car, open an envelop, tap on our smartphone, we’re gazing abstractly or intently at our useful hands.
Sirot said she started developing her hand-care line because she wasn’t satisfied with the products she found. There were far more options for face care, but the skin on our hands is vastly different. The palm is more porous (sweaty palms), but the tops of our hands have few pores or sweat glands, so lotions can feel greasy because they sit on top. This means people might be less likely to use them because they need something that dries quickly so they can go back to typing or texting.
And Sirot said that she knows first hand … sorry … that taking care of our hands preserves them. Hands can remain as plump, supple, smooth and spot free as they are in our youth for a lot longer than people think, she says. She’s obviously more conscious of her hands because they are her livelihood — she calls herself the “supermodel of hand models” — but she said that even moderate attention can yield good results.
“I’ve taken the best care of my hands,” Sirot said and don’t laugh at the next part. “If you just see me from the wrist down, you’d think I was 20. I’m actually called to be the hand double for girls who are in their 20s.”
Sirot is 49. And her statement might make some scoff, but few women her age are in love with their hands.
However, we can’t all walk around with our own special hand soap and lotions; wearing gloves (something she does sometimes, not always) by day; avoiding knife use and shunning ironing. Most of us can’t even commit to weekly manicures.
Schaeffer agreed, “It’s so hard to stress prevention, but it’s key (if you want great hands as you age) to correct habits before they result in problems. People won’t see the real benefits right now, but it’s so much more beneficial in the long run than it is right now.”
KEEP YOUR HANDS LOOKING YOUNG
Keeping your hands moisturized and protected from the sun means you’ll retain the collagen that plumps them longer and your skin will remain smoother and more taut. Later, says Schaeffer of Spa Winghaven, you’ll have to rely on expensive chemical peels and treatments like Botox to rejuvenate your hands.
To that end, Sirot’s Hand Perfection, billed as an anti-aging hand care system, includes a day and night cream for hands ($14.99 for each day and night cream or both in a value pack for $24.99 at select CVS stores). This is her second attempt at a mass market hand product. Her first offering a few years ago was priced around $50 and was too expensive to appeal to the average woman. The current price is much more palatable, and the product has all of the same aims.
The day cream includes sun protection because sun damage is the top culprit in aging. But oddly enough, sun protection is not often included in hand creams. The day cream also includes ingredients to retain moisture and enhances the skin’s natural protective barrier. The night cream works to stimulate repair and diminish the signs of aging, including lines and dark spots.
The line also has a nail and cuticle pen because few take the time to apply cuticle oil daily, something Sirot says really doesn’t take so long and really makes a difference if you complain about brittle nails or unappealing cuticles.
By contrast Sirot has worked compulsively to cultivate the “perfect hands next door.” She explains that she is the Jennifer Aniston of hand models, not the one who models the big splashy diamond wedding rings, but rather the one caressing shampoo bottles, lotions and cleaning products. She’s also a frequent hand double for models and actresses working with various cosmetics lines. The benefit of being a hand model is that she’s not restricted from modeling for competing lines because hands are not so distinctive.
“People can’t identify hands, but I can always spot my hands, of course,” Sirot said. “It’s a source of pride.”
She said she wants everyone to feel the same pride when they look down at their hands, or at the very least, she doesn’t want people to cringe.
And that’s perhaps something worth being a little fanatical about. Her hand perfection regimen would probably take less than a few minutes a day.
For the infamous Katie Couric interview and more tips and quirks from Sirot, check out leftover tidbits from our delightful hourlong interview at Deb’s Style File, stltoday.com/stylefile.