I'm not a winter fan in general, but I find it takes a pretty hard toll on my hands. The fluctuation in temperature - going from very cold temperatures into heated homes and offices - is very bad for skin, and hands in particular. I'm also one of lots of people with Raynaud's, a circulatory condition that can leave hands and feet with insufficient blood supply, leading them to be painful, cold, and, as a consequence, very dry.
As a consequence, I try to take extra care of my hands in the winter time, but even if you have no issues with your hands, the winter is harsh on them, and hands are quick to age. Just consider the abuse we put them through every day. It's surprising that they don't just fall off after a couple of decades!
A brilliant hand cream is an excellent start, but applying it diligently is important. Here are a few hands creams at a range of prices (and some hand care tips) to get you through the winter!
- La Roche Posay Lipikar Xerand (€4.99)
This hand repair cream from the trusty folks at La Roche Posay is designed for stressed-out hands. Most usefully, though, it's designed to be practicable as an everyday hand cream. Even though it nourishes hands, there's no heavy feel or sitting on the skin. It soaks in (just rub any excess into forearms or elbows to rid palms of residue) and give hands an immediate sense of comfort. It's seriously affordable and effective. What more could you ask?
- Weleda Pomegranate Regenerating Hand Cream (€11.99)
I love Weleda. Their Skin Food is great as a mask or emergency moisturiser, and this Pomegranate Hand cream does a similar job on hands. You only need a very little, and those who prefer unscented products may find the aroma overpowering, but this rich cream is soothing and nourishes hands battered by cold.
Skin on hands is hardier than skin on faces, but the same principles apply. If hands are dry, exfoliating them will enormously help with penetration of your hand cream. Don't do this if hands are cut or broken - just be kind to them and apply moisturiser. However, if they're just dry and flaky, two teaspoons of sugar mixed with around a teaspoon of olive oil massaged into hands will soften them, sloughing away dead skin and preparing them for moisturiser.
- L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream (€23)
This cream won best hand cream in the 2014 Beaut.ie Awards. This rich, unctuous cream is perfect for overnight. To optimise its penetration, massage a good dollop into hands and then pop a pair of cotton socks over the top. You can easily get cotton gloves for just this purpose, but I can't entirely be bothered, and find the socks do the job nicely.
If you wake in the night and find hands too hot or uncomfortable, remove the socks. You'll still have got several hours' benefit from them, and you'll feel the difference - your skin will no longer feel too small for your hands!
- Boots Botanics Deeply Moisturising Hand Cream (€4.69)
This rich hand cream is delightfully affordable and would make a great handbag product. Just leave it in there and apply some every time you happen to go into your bag and spot it. At under a fiver, this is a great option, soaks in sufficiently for daytime application, and gently soothes dry, tired hands.
- Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream (€21)
This is a classically beloved hand cream. If you're willing to invest a little more, this cream both protects and nourishes hands, as well as making a great overnight hand cream. Hands feel immediately more supple and comforted.
If you're especially hand conscious, mix a drop of your SPF into your hand cream when applying during the day. Also, remember to wear gloves to protect hands from the worst of the weather when venturing out into the freeze!
Which are your ultimate hand creams? Share them in the comments. And do you find this season particularly tough on hands?