View Full Version : Keeping fingers clean??

10-25-2006, 05:27 PM
I'm sure this is a challenge for all pastel users, but what is the best way you keep your fingers/hands clean while working?

I've been using latex-free medical gloves, but I find that my gripping fingers (especially my index finger!!) still gets coated with powered delight.

Is it pretty much a given that you'll wind up with a messy hand while working, or can you share a secret or two to help out? Please!!



10-25-2006, 05:51 PM
First of all I use a product called "Gloves In A Bottle", and I get it from Dakota Pastel, but it is probably available elsewhere. This is a non-oily barrier lotion that not only makes it easy to wash off the pastel, but also holds your natural skin moisture in your skin. I use it on any dry skin area of my body and really like it. A little bit goes a long way. I have super sensitive skin - am allergic to anything lanolin - and this product even states it is for sensitive skin.

That being said, the way I keep my fingers clean is by hanging a damp washcloth or two right on my easel along with a small hand towel. When I need a really clean finger or hand, I wipe it off with the washcloth and then dry it with the towel. The barrier cream makes this easy. It also keeps my fingers and nails from drying out and cracking. Be certain to rub it under your fingernails and around the cuticles when you put it on.


10-25-2006, 08:07 PM
I didn't particularly like wearing the gloves but haven't tried the barrier creams yet.
You can use colour spreaders but I mainlyonly use then for tight ans small spaces and to keep a neat edge here and there, they are quite useful. I kepp both these and my fingers clean throughout painting with Baby Wipes, vey handy.


10-25-2006, 08:29 PM
i use finger cots, only on 3 fingers. (counting the thumb) i then wipe on a damp viva paper towel. (or my jeans! :) ) the full gloves make my hands sweat, and are hard to get off if i need to run take care of something. the cots just roll off, (after a good wipe) then roll back on. blicks sells them, i got meds. (i have big hands/fingers for a woman) and they fit well, for around $3-4 i think, well, i know they were cheap whatever they cost! i love them.

Susan Borgas
10-26-2006, 07:52 AM
I use three soft erasers balled together. I knead them while painting and the bonus is it also exercise my hands at the same time cleaning them. I also have a damp cloth handy for the times that I really get grotty. The second bonus is that I have the eraser handy to clean any mistakes up on my work.

K Taylor-Green
10-26-2006, 01:11 PM
I just keep wiping my hands on rags that I keep hanging close by. I never thought of erasers, Susan. I'm going to give that a try!

10-26-2006, 01:48 PM
baby wipes! I buy them by the caseload!

Kitty Wallis
10-26-2006, 05:44 PM
I use 2 things.
Latex surgical gloves for everyday.

When I'm doing trade shows or teaching I also use Derma-Plus, a barrier cream that doesn't wash off. It exfoliates in about 4 hours. It's competely safe, used as diaper rash protection in nurseries, etc. You can wash your hands when ever you like and it's still there, protecting your skin from dryness and stains. I do put it liberally under my fingernails when I use it. It's available online and lasts a long time.

10-26-2006, 06:24 PM
Wow, thanks for all the advice here, gang.

A lot of very helpful suggestions. I'll give them a try.


10-27-2006, 10:25 PM
I just started to use vinyl gloves. I'd always been a bit concerned about how the pastel gets on my hands, and is there though multiple washings and several days. But, I recently set up a 30 gallon fish tank (Soon to be a 65 gallon). Because my hand has to go in there on occassion, and the fish suck on my hands, I wanted to make sure that I don't have that problem anymore.

I'm not 100% happy with the vinyl gloves, though they do keep my hands very clean. My hands sweat in there, and they're not an ideal fit. I just didn't want latex, because I used to have unexplained skin allergies. With latex, the more exposure you have, the more likely you are to develop an allergy to it.


10-27-2006, 11:14 PM
I hate that sweat that happens under gloves, don't you? After too long it makes your cuticles receed. Ik. So I just use baby wipes. They dry out fast though, but I like them because they have aloe or other emoliients in the mix.

10-27-2006, 11:47 PM
I also use finger cots. They are a lot easier to deal with than full gloves. And I find that they are often sturdy enough that I can roll them off and back on a few times before I have to trash them.

eagle owl
10-31-2006, 06:17 AM
Maybe I'm a bit odd but I use pastels because they are so direct. I don't worry about pastel on my fingers at all. As long as I wash my hands afterwards I really don't see any problems. There again I have animals and I'm a gardener - never wear gloves - so I'm used to getting my hands dirty. Digging my hands into a fresh bag of compost is bliss to me!

I get so stressed at the thought of my painting not being perfect - I'm working on that - so if I worried about keeping my hands clean I'd never paint at all.


10-31-2006, 11:43 AM
I have to say, when I first saw the title of this thread I had to chuckle a bit, because it seems to presume that it's possible to keep ones hands clean while working with pastels! :eek: For me it just isn't! Oh, I intend to keep clean, but then I look up an hour later and I have pastel all over the place! :lol:

The strategies I use to try to reduce the mess though, are a big rough towel tied to the armrest of my chair so it's always at hand, a damp paper towel available as well, and very frequent handwashing. The roughness of the towel seems to take most of the mess off my hands, and the damp paper towel does the rest to an acceptable degree until it's time to take a break and go wash my hands.

I've found it's much messier when I work at my desk instead of my easel - the dust catcher that I use on my easel really helps a lot to keep everything, including my hands somehow, a lot cleaner. (Note: I've resolved to use the easel a lot more now that I've realized this.)

I've tried the gloves, but they are just not comfortable for me and I feel I don't have enough control when I use them. I should use the barrier cream, I suppose. I have some, someplace, but just never seem to bother...

I like the eraser idea and plan to try it - thanks, Susan!