As a sufferer of irritant dermatitis, mainly brought on by the soap at work, I buy more hand creams than I do food. I apply it several times an hour in vast quantities and so I need to be able to buy lots of it at a reasonable price. Now any medical professional will tell you (at least the ones I work with do) that when trying to repair the skins moisture barrier and heal dry/ cracking skin the key factor is having a greasy, oily cream that will form a protective barrier for you whilst delivering moisture to the skin itself. Any woman will tell you it’s a little bit more complicated than this. A cream may be doing you the world of good but if it leaves your hands too greasy to pick anything up without a comedy moment of it slipping out of your hands a la prison shower soap, or if it smells like hospital bleach to the point than you walk around holding your hands as far away from your face as possible, it is just no use to us.
So here we have a list of some of the hand creams that live next to every sink in my house and in every hand bag I own. The only criterion I had for inclusion is that they must all cost under £5.
Aveeno Hand Cream: £4.99 This claims to be non greasy and long lasting even going as far as saying it will last 24 hours and through hand washing! I wouldn’t go that far. It is one of the longer lasting creams that I have here, I don’t feel the need to reapply 5 minutes after, but it doesn’t leave me feeling moisturised for longer than an hour. Mind you with my hands that is pretty good going. I don’t find it too greasy either. There is a slight scent but it isn’t overpowering at all. Rather, it just smells clean on my hands then fades away. At £4.99 this is the most expensive here but then it is rather good.
Norwegian Formula Concentrated hand cream (unscented): £2.49 In terms of sheer effectiveness this is way up there. The strange gel like formula is difficult to squeeze out but this is a good thing as you only need a small amount. This is the unscented version which is a lifesaver when your hands get so cracked that perfume starts to irritate them. Because you only need a little it will last you too and at this price I consider it an absolute bargain. My one quibble, and it’s just because I’m weird, is that I prefer rubbing a cream in rather than this strange textured gel. It’s not enough to stop me using it but it’s just a thought. In most ways it is better than a more traditional cream though and I have never felt my hands feeling greasy or tacky after use unless I use too much of it.
Dove Beauty Hand Cream : £2.79 This is another one that promises 24 hour moisture but doesn’t really deliver. My hands do feel nice and soft after using it but it has a tendency to leave me with an oily residue that transfers onto everything I touch. I leave paw prints on documents etc. The scent is also hit and miss (the traditional Dove soapy smell). Now I love this scent, it reminds me of visiting my Grandparents as a child because they always had the soap bar in the bathroom. However it is quite strong to the point where people have commented on it.
Vaseline Healthy Hand & Nail Condition Lotion: £2.05 This has a more watery texture than the other and sinks in quickly without making me feel too greasy. However this also means that it doesn’t last too long. I bought this tube two weeks ago and I’ve pretty much finished it even though it is not the only one I use. What I do like about this is the keratin and vitamin E it contains claiming to strengthen nails by up to 50%. I wouldn’t go that far but I suppose every little helps! It does have a fairly strong smell to it but it tends to fade pretty quickly once it’s on your hands.
Atrixo: £1.79 This is the cheapest of the lot. I also find it to be one of the most moisturising which is why I keep buying it but unfortunately it makes me suffer from the same greasy paw prints as the Dove does. It last ages on my hands though and the scent isn’t too overpowering, just nice and fresh smelling. The other gripe I have about it is the packaging. The threads where the lid screws on have a tendency to get grimy and I don’t think that a pot is the most hygienic way of packaging it.
My favourites have to be the Aveeno and Norwegian Formula. They get the job done without irritating my skin and I can still touch things afterwards without leaving oily marks. What’s your favourite hand cream?