Fashion and Beauty

A luxurious beauty ritual for the hands

CULTURE VULTURE - Therese Jamora-Garceau - The Philippine Star
A luxurious beauty ritual for the hands
Color pyramid: Les Mains Hermès (Hermès Hands) features 24 nail enamels in the heritage colors of the house, available only at Rustan’s Makati and Rustan’s Shangri-La.

The human hand has always expressed the spirit of the house of Hermès.  In Hermès workshops, artisans handcraft every luxurious item, whether it’s a leather bag, silk scarf, or enamel object.

“We are the house of hands,” says Pierre-Alexis Dumas, artistic director of Hermès.  “The hand is like the Hermès horse, trusting us and taking us where we want to go.”

Thus, after Hermès Beauty launched in 2019 with Rouge Hermès lipsticks, followed by Rose Hermès blushes a year later, it seems like a natural progression that the third chapter of Hermès Beauty is Les Mains Hermès (Hermès Hands), which is no ordinary nail-polish collection but a comprehensive beauty ritual for the hands.

First there is a complete hand-care cream, which is Cosmos Natural-certified by Ecocert as having 98 percent-natural ingredients.  Hermès Beauty’s signature ingredient is smoothing white mulberry extract, while a hyaluronic acid complex provides deep and long-lasting hydration. Dark spots are reduced, natural moss repairs the skin, Passiflora oil protects from external aggressors, and a plant-based emollient complex with precious mastic resin tears nourishes and hydrates the nails.

Fit for royalty: Jaune Impérial is the aristocratic yellow that only Chinese emperors were entitled to wear.

Director of olfactory creation for Hermès Christine Nagel even created a special scent for the hand cream: a blend of sandalwood, arnica absolute, fresh rosewater and patchouli that promotes a sense of wellbeing.

Another caring product is nourishing oil for nails and cuticles, also certified 100-percent-natural.  The combined action of five oils, precious mastic resin tears, white mulberry extract and vitamin E nourishes, hydrates and fortifies the nails and surrounding skin while protecting from dryness.

Then, to protect the nails is a strengthening enamel base coat, which is the first step of the ritual.  Made in France and enriched with precious mastic resin tears, it’s a translucent white that makes your nails look so clean and pristine you might be tempted to wear it alone.

That would be a shame, though, because the colored nail enamels are works of art.  Housed in chic bottles designed by Pierre Hardy,

Hermès’ nail enamel is available in 24 shades inspired by the colors, nuances, and radiance of enamel.  In fact, enameling happens to be one of Hermès’ areas of expertise.  And 24 isn’t a random number — it’s inspired by the emblematic number of 24 Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Hermès’ address in Paris since 1880.

To create rich shades in enameled objects, the master enameller’s palette contains dozens of blues, as well as an array of reds, pinks and greens, which explains the color story behind Les Mains Hermès.  While there’s a navy Bleu Encre and emerald Vert Egyptien, the colors range from the most delicate pink, Rose Porcelaine, to the fiery Rouge Amazone to the deep burgundy of Rouge H, the shade created in 1925 that is one of Hermès’ trademark hues.

Other colors emblematic of the house include Orange Boite, the iconic tint of the Hermès box that originated in 1942 out of necessity, due to a wartime shortage of white packaging; Rouge Casaque, which evokes the iconic Kelly bag in Clemence bullcalf; Jaune Impérial, an aristocratic yellow that only Chinese emperors were entitled to wear; Gris Etoupe, the house’s instantly recognizable shade of gray; and Brun Bistre, the deep, autumnal brown that borders every Hermès box.

I’m particular about nail-polish brushes and love Hermès’, which are rounded, firm yet supple enough to make controlled application really easy.

Signature shade: Orange Boite is the iconic tint of the Hermès box.

Just as an artisan enameller applies the final glaze, the Les Mains Hermès topcoat is the final touch, enhancing the color of the polish and producing a long-lasting, high-gloss, mirror-like shine.

Les Mains Hermès also features accessories like a set of nail files in Hermès orange that are so pretty you might want to leave one untouched.

But the piece de resistance has to be the nail enamel carousel.  Crafted by Hermès leather-workers, it consists of three trays held by an adjustable harness — all covered in Terre Battue-colored Tadelakt calfskin that takes 26 hours to make.

Inside are all 24 colors of the nail enamel, plus the nourishing oil and base and topcoats. It would make an incomparable gift for someone who loves Hermès, and who appreciates the expressiveness and beauty of hands.

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Les Mains Hermès is available exclusively at Rustan’s Makati and Rustan’s Shangri-La Plaza.

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