My sister once shook a half-eaten mozzarella stick into the palm of the boss at her law firm’s meet-and-greet. She still shudders when we mention it. And, while I’ve never been quite so unfortunate, I do distinctly remember a colleague recoiling in horror when my sore, sandpaper palms made an audible scratch as we shook hands. This time of the year is a bit of a battlefield. Along with my lips (also cracked and currently buried under a layer of Blistex), my hands are the first to dry out as soon as the temperature drops. Exacerbated by washing and drying them multiple times a day, they quickly resemble cracked little crocodile claws. Instead of wedding myself to mittens, the answer is, of course, a nourishing hand cream applied regularly. I reckon, though, if you’re going to the effort of greasing up, you may as well get more bang for your buck, which is why I favour hand creams that multitask. Here’s my pick of the best creams that smooth, exfoliate, smell like heaven or just make you feel darn fancy each time you whip them out. Bon shopping.
6 OF THE BEST HAND CREAMS TO STOCKPILE
THE UNDER-£10 TREAT: COWSHED COW SLIP HAND CREAM, £8
You may expect a luxey-looking hand cream from Cowshed to cost you an arm and a leg, but as it happens, it’ll only set you back £8. Not bad, considering it lasts ages and smells divine (like zingy sweet orange and fresh peppermint). Packed with shea and cocoa butter, this is a little treat to call on whenever you need a pick-me-up. Oh, and it will make your hands feel like they’ve been on a spa trip, too.
THE ONE FOR BABY-SMOOTH HANDS:EVE LOM TIME RETREAT HAND TREATMENT, £35
If you’re as serious about skincare for your hands as you are for your face, this is your guy. The high-performing ingredients packed into this product are reflected in the price. As well as containing thoroughly nourishing honey, avocado and calendula oil, this is whipped with sodium hyaluronate for a quenching hit of hydration. Even better, liposome encapsulated retinol (which makes use of the fatty lipid molecules in our skin to surround it and deliver it into the skin without irritation) smooths out fine lines and wrinkles while boosting collagen levels. The result is baby-smooth hands that feel soft as you like.
THE CLASSIC ALL-ROUNDER: CLARINS HAND AND NAIL TREATMENT
Since its launch in 1979, Clarins’ Hand And Nail Treatment Cream has gone on to become its bestseller, with one sold every 30 seconds worldwide. Why? It’s all down to the thoroughly nourishing mixture of sesame oil and japanese mulberry, which not only helps to condition hands, but also gets dry, flaky nails in top shape, too. This rich hand cream sinks in quickly, leaves hands feeling silky rather than greasy, and does an ace job of keeping hands feeling hydrated for hours after.
THE ONE FOR SOOTHING SENSITIVE SKIN: LA ROCHE POSAY CICAPLAST BAUME HAND CREAM
No one enjoys stingy hands that turn red and prickly the moment product is applied. If that’s you, you’re best off avoiding potential irritants. Chief among them are synthetic fragrances, anything too astringent and even essential oils. La Roche Posay’s Cicaplast Baume is 100% hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and formulated with glycerin, shea butter and very little else. The consistency is thick when first applied, but it melts into a lightweight velvety balm that sinks in quick and leaves hands feeling nourished without a hint of sting in sight. And it’s cheap enough to use with reckless abandon to ensure you keep dry bits at bay.
THE LUXE ONE: BYREDO HAND CREAM
This isn’t any old hand cream, this is Byredo’s hand cream, which means mucho moisturisation in the form of shea butter, but more importantly, a selection of heavenly-smelling concoctions that will make you feel ridiculously fancy each time you apply. My personal favourite scent is Blanche, which smells like white rose, pink pepper and sandalwood, but Gypsy Water (bergamot, lemon and juniper), Bal D’Afrique (violet, jasmine and moroccan cedarwood) and La Tulipe (freesia, tulip and blonde wood) are all equally lovely. It is expensive, but it’s also fabulous.
THE ONE FOR BLITZING DARK SPOTS: OSKIA RENAISSANCE HAND CREAM
Beyond its deliciously indulgent scent (which smells of rose and camomile), this contains a blend of natural actives that help to plump and brighten the skin on our hands. Fruit acids from passionflower, lemon, grape and pineapple help to gently exfoliate away dusty, dull-looking cells and fade dark spots while omega-rich macadamia seed and rosa canina oils pack moisture back in to leave hands feeling positively silky. Heaven.