For most of us, the current coronavirus situation has turned regular hand washing into what feels like continual hand lathering supplemented with other wipes and gel sanitisers out of the home. Regular cleansing can really take a toll on skin and you may have already noticed, as I have, the damage to your hands with dryness, soreness, cracks and splits in the skin.
Here are 5 hand creams that I’ve bought and used myself that I would recommend on a budget to look after your paws.
Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Hand Cream
Best For : A treat for hands, pleasant day to day use.
This has a thick but soft consistency that makes it ideal for smoothing over your hands, with just a small blob needed. It has a distinct scent that’s relatively reminiscent of cocoa, but don’t expect your hands to smell of chocolate. The scent is very pleasant and not too overpowering, lingering a little without being off-putting.
The cream sinks in well without leaving any stickiness or greasiness, and hands instantly feel quite soft and hydrated. Probably not intense enough for thoroughly damaged hands but excellent for day to day use.
Their cocoa butter range can be used on hands, elbows, knees and other areas to soften the skin, available in different sizes and formats. There are also products specifically for men, for feet, and a cocoa lip balm that I love.
(1/3 off the Palmer’s range at Boots at time of writing, making the hand cream only £1.39).
O’Keeffes Working Hands
Best for : Hard working and intense repair and nourishment for very dry, cracked & damaged skin
This is a popular choice in the hand-care department and my top pick for damaged hands that need something more intensive and hard working than day to day creams. I’m using the Working Hands tub with a screw-on lid but this also comes as a squeezy tube.
I’ve resisted trying it until recently due to the price; this is the most expensive cream on the list at around £8.50. However, price does not equate to value for money and this is where the cream has surpassed expectations as it’s actually worked incredibly effectively. Given the state of my hands with dryness, soreness, splitting and bleeding, I knew I needed something more hard core and I’m pleased to say this seems to live up to the hype.
If you’ve not used it before, you’ll notice how different the formulation is compared to typical hand creams. It’s harder in consistency and you can’t dip in to it. Rather, you’re more firmly pressing in to lift away the desired amount of cream. Given the firmness, it’s easier to apply on specific problem areas, working in the cream to really moisturise where your hands need it the most. From there, you can add a little more and rub your hands together to fully cover your paws.
It feels greasier at first but don’t be put off by this, it does gradually sink in a little more. I find it best used before bed for this reason and because I don’t want to be needing to wash my hands again too quickly afterwards. There’s no discernible scent and you get a lot in a tub to make it good value money as a little can go a long way.
The result is quite impressive with smoothing dry skin and importantly helping to repair the cracks and splits over a few days where other creams may fail. From my experience of various creams, this has been the best for actually repairing damage quickly. It’s something you need to keep up with routinely when you’re continually washing your hands or using gels and wipes that are drying out your skin.
The gift set at around £15 is brilliant value if you want the other products compared to buying them individually as this comes with a 96g tub of Working Hands Cream, a tub of foot cream & a lip balm.
Soap & Glory Hand Food
Best For : Fruity nourishment, mini 50ml ideal for travel.
Soap & Glory is a very popular range and their Hand Food gets great reviews, including from me. With a blend of ‘shea butter, macadamia oil and marshmallow’, this this is very moisturising and nourishing cream that leaves hands soft and smooth after use. I find it to be mid-way in terms of intense repair, being better than your average day to day cream but probably not powerful enough for the most damaged of hands.
A little goes a long way and the formula isn’t greasy, with the cream absorbing quite quickly and leaving a lovely light, fruity scent.
It comes in different sizes and I find the £3 mini at 50ml to be perfect for keeping in my bedside drawer or taking out in my bag. These are usually part of the 3for2 offer and they’re often included in the S&G tins and gift sets, too.
Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
Best For : More intensive relief but can feel a little greasy.
Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula comes in different formats, sizes and product types, from the original hand cream and an unscented version, to a ‘visibly renew’ cream for restoring suppleness and preventing age spots, and a Deep Moisture Fast Absorbing Comfort Balm
The original concentrated scented cream typically comes in a 75ml tube, which they advise is enough for up to 300 applications.
It’s ‘developed with dermatologists’ and aims to provide more intensive relief than other day to day creams while being more in the budget section in terms of price. This is usually around £4-5, but can often be found on offer (ie. £2.50 on Amazon at the time of writing).
This is glycerin-rich for instant relief and I did find it to be very moisturising. It’s quite good at repairing chapped hands, with a consistency that’s more oily and translucent that most other creams I’ve tried. While it absorbed quite well and left hands soft, I did find it a tad on the greasy side.
Garnier Hand Repair Intensive Restoring Hand Cream
Best For : Very pleasant use, minimal scent, instant relief, budget buy.
Garnier’s Skin Naturals range include this Intensive Restoring Hand Cream for extra dry skin. It contains maple sap extract and glycerin to soothe, nourish, hydrate and moisturise.
Garnier claims: “Rough areas feel smoothed and the skin is protected from feeling dry. Skin feels supple and soft for up to 24 hours.”
This is a newer purchase for me and I’m really pleased with it. It’s ideal in consistency to smooth over hands, with a feint scent and it absorbs well. Hands do feel instantly relieved, especially if skin is dry and tight.
This is a budget buy at around £4 for a large 100ml tube, often found on offer (£2 on Amazon at time of writing).
Have you used any of these, or are there any hard working hand creams you would recommend?