Style Beauty

Thursday 28 August 2014

The Panel: Hands up

Published 04/02/2013 | 15:52

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From left: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream Unscented; Dr Hauschka Hand Cream; Elemis Pro-Collagen Hand and Nail Cream; L’Occitane Almond Smooth Hands; Trilogy Rose Hand Cream

They say the state of your  handbag says a lot about  your state of mind, but your  hands say so much more.  And, at this time of year,  they’re screaming.

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 It’s a tough time of year, with the  glitter of December long forgotten  and the remainder of the winter  stretching out ahead. Of course, the  weather doesn’t help, and the skin on  your hands is so thin that it shows wear  and tear and distress very quickly.  Worse, when your hands get dried out,  chapped and sorry-looking, they can  put years on you, as the hands are  one of the first places to show age. 

What can help, then, is a regular  application of hand cream. By  moisturising and softening the skin,  the harsh look is taken off the hands,  and, for long-term benefits, it’s a case of  making the ritual a habit. 

A dab of hand cream only takes a  second to apply and your choice does not  need to be something over-rich that  requires you to leave long minutes of  soaking-in time, though this variety does  makes a good bedtime option. Using  hand cream is a small effort, but even  minor results speak volumes.

 

BEST OVERALL 

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand  Cream Unscented, €5.72, available  nationwide  This is a classic hand cream and  deservedly so. It’s very well priced,  it does what it says and it’s entirely  inoffensive, smell-wise. The thick, almost  ointment-like cream was devised for  fishermen, they say, whose hands are  almost constantly exposed to the cold  and the wet, which would wash off  anything thinner in consistency. “This  stuff is great under gloves if you’re out  walking,” said a panellist. “Your body  heat seems to boost the effect and I  arrive home with soft, smooth hands.” 

BEST HEALTHY HANDS 

Dr Hauschka Hand Cream, €16.95,  selected department stores, health  stores and pharmacies nationwide  This hand cream is not without scent,  but it’s not a perfumed scent so much as  the distinctive smell of Dr Hauschka,  which is a bit musky, a bit health-food  shop. It’s an almost liquid product that is  deceptively effective. With sweet-almond  and jojoba oils, it’s one of this brand’s  hero products. “A good option for  keeping for a quick top-up by the front  door,” one panellist said, “because of the  speed at which it rubs in.” 

BEST PAMPERED PAWS 

Elemis Pro-Collagen Hand and Nail  Cream, €32.50, Harvey Nichols,  Dundrum Town Centre, D16; selected  salons nationwide  Products from this brand are never  cheap, but they always give a bang for  your buck. This hand cream doesn’t  disappoint, with its ability to feel rich  but not heavy and the way it makes a  difference after a single application.  “I’m not saying the lines on my hands  disappeared or were diminished, but use  of this definitely made them seem  softer,” said a panellist, “maybe because  the colour of my hands improved and  the skin was more pliable.”  BEST ON-THE-GO GLOVES  L’Occitane Almond Smooth Hands,  €10.50, L’Occitane shops nationwide  The small tube means this is a great one  to put in a coat pocket or keep in the car,  though the price isn’t rock bottom given  the size of the tube. It’s a very pleasantsmelling  cream, not as marzipan-y as  you might imagine, and it has softening  almond milk and almond protein, which  moisturise and brighten weary paws.  “I’ve tried several of this brand’s  hand creams, and they are all nice to  use,” said a panellist. “I’m not sure why  they don’t make a bigger tube, but it is a  handy size.” 

BEST PERFUMED PAWS 

Trilogy Rose Hand Cream, €14.95,  Arnotts; selected pharmacies and  health stores nationwide  With rose essential oil and shea and  cocoa butters, this sounds like it should  be an extremely oily product, but it’s not.  Instead, it’s a thin lotion that soaks in  extremely rapidly and leaves a nice sheen  — not a shimmer — and a faint smell of  roses that is not at all sweet or sickly.  “This was great for my nails as well as my  hands,” a panellist said. “They were  battered after a dose of long-wear nail  polishes, but this really revived them.”

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