The Hand Palette

Tools and brushes have their place, but sometimes you just can’t beat getting down and dirty into makeup with your tips and palms. Easier to spread, easier to blend and it’s like your very own makeup hotplate and mixer at your hands. Literally. I’ve been finding more and more recently that I’ve been getting rather handsy in my application; not just directly but smooshing products on the back of my hand before, to heat them slightly and get the formulas face-ready before mine has even got anywhere near it. Now not all products require this step but I’ve taken notes on some of my favourites that benefit from this additional ‘hand palette’ treatment.

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser in Alaska (though a purchase of a lighter shade is on the cards) – I can be overzealous in my application of this so a little dabbing and patting on the back of my hand helps to control the rate at which I pile it on.

Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Cream in Ice Gold – I’ve always struggled with the correct method of application for this, but a bit of fingertip warmth was just was it needed all along. Buttery, blendable highlighter goodness.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla – I tend to go a tad overboard with this directly from the doe-foot so taking a swipe, then patting on with my finger allows me to deposit just the right amount of concealer on all my reddy bits.

MAC Long-Wear Paint Pot in Eclair – the justification for using the hand palette method with this product is simple. Warmed-up the bronze eye paint can be applied with less force and tugging and can be smudged out that wee bit easier.

Rimmel Moisture Renew in Glam Plum Fulham* – this might seem like the strangest product of all to smudge on the back of your hand, but hear me out. Double-blended it blots the lips with just a wash of stain parring it down for everyday wear.

Got some of these in your stash? Swipe it, warm it, blend it – you’ll see a difference. Just keep a baby wipe close at all times. I’ve learnt that the hard ‘lipstick on my new white shirt’ way.

*PR Sample


  • Bella

    My plonk and swipe list: By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Bronze Moon, Edward Bess Highlighter in Afterglow, Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Rose/ Edward Bess lip and cheek cream (whatever the name is) in Island Rose. I have Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer too.
    I was all about the hands during summer though; for some reason come autumn I’m reverting to the powders and brushes again.

  • PeonyandPeach

    Blending lipsticks on the back of your hand first also means you can get away with using them as a cream blush.

  • Doh! That is such a good idea, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it. Like you I am very heavy handed with my NARS creamy concealer and it keeps looking cakey on my under eye area, so will try this next time and see if it helps. Thanks.

    Paula at Beauty Lover

  • Anna Blush

    I love applying lip sticks like this, it gives such a nice stain x

  • Emily Golding

    As a make-up artist this is all my hand looks like everyday, I think it is the perfect way to get just the right amount of product onto the desired are as you havn’t got everything on the brush. Finger applications are made to happen!


  • Anya Cross

    I always use the back of my hand like a palette! I find my makeup applies so much better this way x

  • Ellen Findley

    I feel you, Anna. Applying makeup with fingers is seriously underrated. It makes everything faster, easier, and that much more natural-looking.

  • Love this idea, i tend to warm things up on my face, but using your hand as a palette seems like a time saving idea. As you’ve said, i love my brushes, but sometimes getting hands on makes so much difference!

    Great post as always Anna! I don’t have any of these but i’m sure i’ve got something that will benefit from the ‘hand hot plate’.

    Gracious Silhouettes

  • Joyce

    Using my fingers also means not messing around with washing so many brushes all the time! May I ask what nail polish you’re wearing in the picture?

  • charlotte k

    Love the hand pallet! Always forget to wash my hands afterwards though xx

    Charlotte| LongHairDontCare

  • Emily Knott

    If I had read this first I wouldn’t have needed to tweet you! Just bought the NARS concealer! I sometimes find that using fingers is sometimes best, I often over use product when using brushes or the applicators they come with!

  • caitlinconfidential15

    I walk all over Sephora with my hand looking like that. Comparing 5 shades of red lipstick, seeing how long an eyeliner lasts. I do like applying my makeup with this method as well, the warmth from hands really does help makeup go on better.

    Caitlin Confidential

  • Isabelle McWilliam

    Thanks for the tips!

  • Daniela P

    Love the hand pallette…use it all the time!!

  • Caitlin Sear
  • Love the Rimmel looks beautiful

  • Katie Allen

    That eclair paint pot looks very pretty!

  • Talisa Lauren Tossell
  • Ella

    Ohmygoodness Ice Gold is stunning! Wish I had it in my collection 🙁

  • Beth Bradley

    This is like my hand on a daily basis, I always put my make up on the back of my hand!

    Beth @

  • Georgina

    Absolutely your style of writing! You’re made for a career in journalism.

    Georgina at

  • Charlie

    I do that with lipstick all the time! It’s so nice to have a wash of colour without going crazy. I’ve tried it with Revlon’s Va-Va Violet too and it looks amaaazing.

  • Usua Manero

    Absolutelly agree!!

  • Olivia S

    I completely agree, i love using my hands for makeup application. I do this with my foundation everyday.

  • Jean Esra

    i love using my hand when applying make up neither for me or for customer. just make sure to sanitize hand first.

  • Elizabeth Lauer

    I tried this today and can vouch for its genius. Plus it made me feel like I was backstage at a fashion show. Well done!

  • I do this at work but I’ve never thought to do it with my own makeup! I love it! xx

  • You know what I think I’m going to give that a go! I can be a little heavy handed sometimes so this Is fab advise,
    Liza | Glambeautys | YouTube

  • Great advice! I never thought of using my hand as a palette 🙂 I’ll definitely need to give it a try!

  • Jaimee Smythe

    I sometimes do this then forget to wash it off properly.. I end up going to school with a slightly darker smudge on my hand, oops! LOVE your watch by the way!!

  • Emma and Emily

    Interesting technique. I always apply too much concealer! Will be trying this out!

  • Junothecat

    Gorgeous choice of colours!! What’s the sixth shade which appears in the photo but not the description? Looks like a beautiful shimmery taupe shade?