Sunday, 20 January 2013

Winter hand care

Although my compatriots will probably disagree, It has been astonishingly cold around here lately. Hell, we even saw some snow, which everyone respectfully honoured by driving at 15 mph. The extremities are always first to feel the cold bite, but with feet securely coated in Ugg (whatever, fashion police, I plead innocent), hand skincare moves rapidly to the forefront in my list of cosmetic concerns. Having said that, hands rarely come off my care radar, as I work in lab gloves a lot, hence wash my hands a lot, and I also often hear that hands are one of the first age giveaways.

My hand care routine is by no means complicated: it features of a standard hand moisturiser and an interesting product, which I have discovered by accident and ended up loving. I shall start with the latter: Crabtree and Evelyn Gardeners Hand Recovery.

I got this tube as a gift-with purchase sample, and assumed it was a hand cream. When the need arose, I  routinely squeezed a little of this in my palms and started spreading. My first reaction was "omg, this is wrong! It must have gone off or something..." It was very gritty and would not sink in as I expected. After recruiting help from a tap, I noticed my hands were left with a light oily residue, smelled of lavender and were soft as a pony's nose. 

I red afterwards, that the product was indeed an exfoliating-moisturising-conditioning treatment designed to "aid and relief of very dry and work-roughened hands". It looks and feels very much like a rough scrub infused with oil. The smell is of "green clover (??), lavender, sage rosemary and thyme" - sophisticated and subtle. I apply this to dry hands and massage it around in my palms. The sensation is DIVINE! It's slippery enough to not drag the skin; the hard particles just hit the spot. I then rinse with water, and leave be. The light oiliness is soaked up as the hands dry.

Have you just peeled a muddy potato, fiddled with bike chain or shined some black shoes? Sometimes conventional hand washing doesn't quite cut it, but this awesome goo will rid you of the plumber's hands look instantly. It's the kind of treatment that you won't be using every day - I've had my sample tube over a year, so the generous 100 ml (£16) will last you an eternity. It comes in several different scent variations, and is quite a unique little thing on the market. 

And as far as daily hand cream application goes, my heart belongs to the one and only Laura Mercier hand cream (or should I say Hand Crèèèèèème?) in Crème de Pistache. And my love for this is rooted entirely in he scent. I can tell you that this is without a shadow of a doubt the best-smelling product I have ever used. It smells like a bakery, but not just any old "ooOh, cake" kind of deal. It smells like that forbidden bakery that you walk past on your way to work at 8 in the morning, having made some ambitious carbohydrate-related promise to yourself just the night before. It is sweet and strong, and lingers on your hands for hours.  

The first time I wore this (having helped myself to a serving from the LM counter), an ignorant shop assistant at an IT shop said "something smells SO nice!". I barely held back my automatic response to present my hand to him in an excited "it's this, isn't it?!" gesture.

I have tried the whole range of Laura Mercier hand creams, including everybody's ultimate favourite Crème Brûlée, but Pistachio is still the best in my opinion. It comes in a 50 ml tube (£13) with a practical twist-and-squeeze dispenser. 

And last but not least, for my cuticles I use Cuticle Oil + by Orly. I picked this one mainly for it's size - it's a 30 ml bottle that I've had for over a year now and hardly made a dent in it. Nonetheless, it's a professional product with thoughtful ingredients like orange blossom and wild cherry extracts to moisturise, heal and refresh problem cuticles. You can find this guy online for around £10.

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