All of a sudden the back of my right hand – the one I use to play on my iPhone – became very dry with blotchy red spots and flakiness. Gross, right? So I set out to find the best hand cream for very dry skin.
What did I find? Truth be told, I couldn’t tell a great difference in terms of effectiveness. After a week sampling various moisturizers my hand was back to normal, with no clear winner. In reality, the best hand cream for you depends on what you’re looking for – and what your budget is. Therefore, here I present the best of the bunch, split into three categories: intensive moisturising, anti-ageing and scented hand creams. Pick one and stick with it – apply at least a couple of times a day to get winter-proof hands.
If you want: Heavy duty hand relief
Try: O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream
Why? Because Mr (or Mrs) O’Keeffe claims to make ‘the best skincare products for workers who rely day-to-day on their hands’. There are even before and after photos of dry, cracked fingers on the packet. The dense waxy balm certainly feels very heavy duty, but absorbs really well without leaving any residue. Now I don’t normally like to label products by gender, but this is by far the manliest hand cream in this line up.
Where to buy it: £7.99, currently available on Amazon and at independent pharmacists.
If you want: A pot of all-round protection
Try: Skin Repair ‘Repair Me’
Why? Because this little pot is a great multi-tasker. Use it on your hands, lips, feet or even around the eyes. It’s a thick balm that melts into your skin so a little goes away. Skin Repair products use ‘skin similar’ innovation and are free from perfumes, emulsifiers, preservatives and mineral oils.
Where to buy it: £24.99 from Skin Repair
If you want: Fragrance free formula
Try: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Intensive Relief Hand Cream
Why? Because supermodels and mere mortals alike swear by Palmer’s products. This is the hardcore hand cream of the CBF family, a thick, fragrance and paraben free variety that feels supremely nourishing.
Where to buy it: £2.89 from ChemistDirect
If you want: SPF and the smell of Summer holidays
Try: Dr Nick Lowe Double Duty SPF15 Hand Cream
Why? Because SPF is pretty much the only thing that will actually slow down the signs of ageing. So if you want your hands to match your face in terms of keeping wrinkles away, an SPF hand cream is a great idea. Dr Nick Lowe’s has the added benefit of containing ‘a Mulberry derived skin lightener’ and it smells like sun tan lotion – in the best possible way.
Where to buy it: £15 from Dr Nick Lowe
If you want: Youthful hands
Try: Image Skincare Ageless Total Rejuvenation Hand Crème SPF 15
Why? Because as well as that all-important SPF 15 this high tech hand cream is packed with Q10, an enzyme that starts to deplete after the age of 30. It also contains such ingredients as licorice root, olive and mushroom extracts and something called black tea ferment, so it certainly sounds like it’s going to thoroughly feed your skin. It has a divinely fresh grapefruit scent too.
Where to buy it: £21.99. Ageless products are available from SkinGeeks.
If you want: Luscious citrus luxury
Try: Heaven by Deborah Mitchell Velvet Hand Cream
Why? Because a little luxury goes a long way. Rose and tea tree essential oils plus orange flower combine in this lush hand cream that really does leave the palms of your hands feeling velvety soft.
Where to buy it: £14.95 from Heaven Skincare
If you want: Alpine air at your fingertips
Try: Lotil Original
Why? Because this 100-year-old hand cream is looking pretty good for its age. A light cream that absorbs super fast, it’s got a fresh, pine fragrance that’s so well suited to the winter months.
Where to buy it: £3.59 from Boots
If you want: Handfuls of hibiscus
Try: The Royal Horticultural Society Hibiscus Hand & Nail Cream
Why? Because it’s like potpourri for your palms. This hand cream had a wonderfully traditional floral fragrance and a lovely hibiscus emblazoned tube to match, plus it contains keratin to strengthen nails.
Where to buy it: £10.99 from the RHS website
If you want: Something to send you to sleep
Try: Dove Winter Care Hand Cream
Why? Because it smells like parma violets and lavender, which everyone knows is meant to help you fall asleep. I’ll be applying this limited edition cream before bed because according to Dove, skin regeneration peaks overnight – and I’m hoping it will give me sweet dreams.
Where to buy it: £3.49 from Tesco