Winter is approaching in my part of the world, and it’s time to protect skin — including hands — against the cold, dry air. I expect a good-quality hand cream to moisturize effectively, of course, but it will appeal to me even more if it has natural ingredients, a lush texture, stylish packaging ... and a fragrance with aromatherapeutic benefits or pleasant associations. Here are a few choices that include some or all of those features.
The scent of L’Occitane Honey & Lemon Hand Cream is both bright and soothing, tart and sweet; it’s mouth-watering without being too dessert-like. The cream itself is a bit less dense than the original Shea Butter Hand Cream (a L’Occitane classic, with its super-thick consistency and its milky aroma), but it still includes a generous amount of shea butter. Its small tube is perfect for carrying in a purse. ($10 for 1 oz. at loccitane)
Malin + Goetz Vitamin B5 Hand Treatment is my current pick for a workplace hand cream. Its packaging design is discreet and utilitarian, its fast-absorbing moisture allows me to get right back to the keyboard, and its subtle, calming scent of sandalwood and bitter almond is unlikely to distract or offend any of my co-workers. ($20 for 1.7 oz. at malinandgoetz)
Desert Essence Pumpkin Hand Healing Cream has a photo of pumpkin patch on its tube and it does, in fact, smell like real, cooked pumpkin with just a touch of nutmeg. The scent lasts a satisfyingly long time after its applied, and the medium-weight cream includes licorice extract and pumpkin seed extract, so it nurtures my skin while putting me in a cozy, autumnal mood. Plus, it’s vegan, cruelty-free, and contains organic ingredients. ($8.99 for 4 oz. at desertessence)
Herbacin Kamille & Glycerin Hand Cream gives off a light, clean fragrance, like a cup of chamomile tea sitting near a freshly unwrapped bar of soap, and the daisy on its lid has a 1960s, Pop Art feel. This cream looks more like a gel, with high doses of glycerine and silicone to draw moisture into the skin and protect the hands. I keep my tin by the kitchen sink, for post-dishwashing use. ($5.99 for 2.5 oz. at amazon)
The paste-like Lush Handy Gurugu won’t win any prizes for its looks (or for its name), but its healing powers can’t be denied. It’s an excellent bedtime treatment for chapped or dehydrated hands. Its fragrance is something of an acquired taste, but now that I’m accustomed to it, I’m hooked on its oddly comforting blend of earthy vanilla and dusty rose mixed into a base of cocoa butter and nut butters. ($16.45 for 3.5 oz. at lush)
Feel free to share your own favorite hand creams in the comments section!