Grabbing a bottle of hand sanitiser before leaving the house wasn’t part of most of our routines over a year ago. Now, everywhere you look, someone is rubbing their hands together or offering someone else a few drops of the precious liquid to clean theirs. On a quick trip to the shop, we’re asked to sanitise our hands at each entrance. (Do yourself a favour and count how many times a day you’re asked to do it… you’d be surprised!)

We might all be sick of the virus and the way it has changed our daily life, but it’s unfortunately still around and doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere soon. We’ve all had to make changes to our normal ways of living, and some of these might stick around for the foreseeable future. One of these additions to our routines is regular hand washing and sanitising. As a chef, I’m used to washing my hands regularly before, during and after working with food. I’ve always tried to carry this through to other parts of my life, and never travel without a bit of hand sanitiser in my pocket. But washing our hands has never been so topical and essential to our daily lives, as we try our best to avoid the further spread of the virus.

I’m a big fan of the old-fashioned handwash with soap and water, but more often than not – when I’m outside of the kitchen – I find myself having to rely on a waterless solution. What I like about it, though, is that it’s a quick and easy way to go about this hand-cleaning business – and it really does kill the germs, and often leaves my hands feeling cool and refreshed.

Traditionally, hand sanitisers aren’t really something we associate with luxury or style. They’ve always had to fulfil much more of a practical role, like wiping the armrest of your airplane seat. Most of the hand sanitisers I’ve encountered have a very strong chemical whiff of alcohol, and using too much of it leaves my hands dry and irritated. But the whole ritual around hand washing doesn’t need to be a clinical process – I actually find it quite therapeutic. Since we’re in this together, and for a while still, I think it’s about time we think of it as part of our regular grooming routines.

I think it’s important to remember that soap and water is still first prize. In fact, we’ve been following a handwashing ceremony at Restaurant JAN in Nice since 2016. Whenever I have the option of choosing between the two, I’ll always opt for a good soap and some lukewarm water over anything else. While using hand sanitiser kills the germs on your hands, they stay there until you’ve washed them away. Dead (or stunned), they may be, but I don’t relax until I’ve given my hands a good wash.

When you don’t have access to soap and water, then a waterless hand sanitiser is a good alternative. If you share an office space with others, keep a bottle handy and use as often as needed. Make sure that all the visible dirt is removed from your hands. Apply a few drops of waterless hand sanitiser to your palm. It is the act of rubbing your hands together and making sure that all the surfaces on your hands and fingers are covered, that does the magic. Keep rubbing until all the sanitiser is absorbed. The most important thing to remember is to look for a formula that contains at least 60 % alcohol.

I’ve given the subject a lot of thought, which is why I’ve launched my own JAN Botanical Sanitiser. It’s a highly effective and aromatically uplifting natural sanitiser, in the form of a spray. It’s soft on the skin and will not harm surfaces. Fragrance is also important to me, as it’s so important in the atmosphere you’re creating. An overly chemical smell can be such an appetite suppressant. The JAN Botanical Sanitiser contains oils of lemon, grapefruit, lavender, lemon tea tree, sweet orange, lemon verbena, wilde-als and asbos.

We’re in this for the long run, and keeping our hands clean will continue to be a part of our daily routines – with or without a pandemic on our hands. But this is no reason for you to compromise on comfort and style – keep your hands happy!


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