Monday 23 January 2017

The Panel: Best hand creams

Sarah Caden

Published 05/10/2011 | 12:05

Pictured, from left: Boa Nourishing
Hand Cream; Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength
Hand Salve; Neom Complete Bliss
Organic Hand Lotion; Roger&Gallet
Creme Sublime Bois D’Orange Hands
and Nails Cream; Clarins Hand and
Nail Treatment Cream
Pictured, from left: Boa Nourishing Hand Cream; Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve; Neom Complete Bliss Organic Hand Lotion; Roger&Gallet Creme Sublime Bois D’Orange Hands and Nails Cream; Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream

Needless to mention, it’s no harm to use a hand cream all year round — the hands are the first area to give away your age, after all — but, come the cold weather, hand cream is an essential.

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In summer, any cream with an SPF will help keep the dreaded age spots at bay, but the combination of winter cold and central heating completely leaches the moisture from hands’ thin skin, rendering them lizard-like.

It’s a question of forming a habit, which is easily done by keeping a favoured hand cream by the bed, near the kitchen sink or in the car, where the UV rays penetrating through the windscreen are an age-spot enemy, even in winter.

A straw poll of panellists, however, reveals that while we find it no bother to diligently apply unguents to our faces, we imagine it’s a hassle to remember the hand cream. When pressed into a testing of products, however, all panellists reported results ranging from supple skin to simply a nice feeling of well-being following the few seconds break it took to smoothe some on. A pause for paws, if you will.

BEST OVERALL

Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, €22.35, Kiehl’s, Wicklow St, D2 Rich but not greasy, and neutral in terms of fragrance, this hand cream was the winner by a mile. Lack of fragrance was an issue in this testing, because smell is a subjective thing and can seem quite overwhelming when it’s on your hands. What counted, too, was how this salve soaked in so fast and yet lasted so well. “With kids and work, I wash my hands a lot, and this didn’t require repeated application to maintain that moisturised feeling,” said a panellist. “And the huge tube goes a long, long way.”

BEST CLASSIC CREAM

Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream, €19.50, Clarins counters nationwide An enduring favourite with anyone who looks after their hands, this cream soaks in fast, leaves an attractive sheen, and has a classic, expensive-smelling, light fragrance. The fragrance meant the anti-perfume brigade wouldn’t give top marks, but close enough. “Personally, I love the very French fragrance,” said a panellist. “It smells posh and feels silky. A treat of a treatment.”

BEST LIGHT LOTION

Neom Complete Bliss Organic Hand Lotion, €22, Brown Thomas; Seagreen, Monkstown, Co Dublin A very pleasing product, with a light, milky texture that soaks in well and leaves a delicate scent of old tea roses. The pump bottle makes it a nice fixture on your desk or by the kitchen sink, and it doesn’t take an age to absorb, so you can get about your business speedily without having slithery hands. “A very pretty product,” one panellist said. “The rose smell is fresh and not grannyish, and I did notice that my hands were smoother with regular use.”

BEST SIMPLE SALVE

Boa Nourishing Hand Cream, €9.99, selected pharmacies nationwide Part of an Australian botanical skincare range, newly arrived in Ireland, this cream boasts muntrie berries in its ingredients list — a coastal fruit that is, apparently, packed with skin-nourishing vitamins, minerals and natural waxes. Certainly, it sounds exotic, and the product is a very simple, inoffensive, soothing and fresh-smelling salve. “I liked the honest-to-God blandness of this. My skin was nice and soft and the smell was more clean than perfumed,” said one panellist.

BEST FRAGRANCED

Roger&Gallet Creme Sublime Bois D’Orange Hands & Nail Cream, €9, selected pharmacies nationwide For those who enjoy fragrance, this spicy, orange-oil scented range smells rich, but is great value and the products don’t just smell nice, they perform well, too. With argan and evening primrose oils also in the mix, this is a surprisingly light lotion, but it moisturises intensely and has an SPF15. “I find the smell and the slippery texture of this a delight,” one panellist said. “My hands smelt good enough to lick, and even after I washed them, the lotion lingered.”

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