Kitty Blackadder

A Scottish blog about anxiety, minimalism and eyeshadow.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Battle Royale - Winter Hand Creams

Hello everyone!
I have dry skin on my hands - painful, lizard looking dry skin. Not pleasant. Years of working in jobs that are unkind to hands combined with laziness and a harsh UK climate have left my hands in a bad way. My hands look old and rough now - every effort must be taken to stop more damage being done, resulting in them turning to dust and falling off.  
I do use hand cream. Admittedly, it's pretty sporadic during the Summer - typically when I'm rummaging about in my hand bag for something else and guiltily find the tube of hand cream I had forgotten was even in there. But, at this time of year, as it gets all chilly (and Christmassy... eeeeeeek) even I stop being so lazy and try to look after my paws. Easier said than done. I've never yet found a hand cream I love. Well actually, that's a lie, I did. It was from Tesco's BNatural range, but of course, they've discontinued it. Of course.
So anyway, this winter I'm facing off five hand creams to see what will actually help my hands, and what's just luring me in with pretty packaging (which I'll admit, is easily done).


Contender Number One: Soap and Glory, Hand Food, 50ml tube, retails at £2.50 (thought it's eternally part of a 3 for 2 deal...)

1. Packaging/Size/Price 
50ml is a pretty perfect size for a handbag hand cream in my opinion - not so big you look weird taking it out in public, and not so small it'll run out so often you'll get sick of going to buy it. Packaging is cheerful and bright and the lid is easy to operate with one hand/slippy hands after use. £2.50 is a good price, especially if you then make it part of the 3 for 2 deal in Boots - very economical. 

2. First Impressions
Firstly, the smell. It's the classic Soap and Glory smell which is, according to the tube, "shea butter, macadamia oil and marshmallow". Can't say I would have guessed that, though it's a pretty distinct smell. Now, when I first became aware of Soap and Glory, years ago now, I loved the smell - clean, just the right amount of perfume, unique and girly. Loved it. However, in my household of three women, we have, since then, accumulated approximately 83716 tubes, bottles and tubs of the stuff. Every birthday and Christmas more appears. As a result I'm quite sick of the smell, but I realise that's my issue and not connected with the product's performance.
Consistency wise, it's good. Not so runny it escapes down your sleeve, and not so balmy you have to fight to get it out the tube. 

3. Ease of Application
The product rubs in easily, though it did take a bit more than I had initially squeezed out to actually cover my hands. The tube tells me it's "non greasy" which in my experience is true. If anything it's a little sticky, but that quickly passes. It soaked in very fast which is always a great bonus as it saves me standing flapping my hands about and apologizing to whoever has just asked for a signature, tried to pass me something, or rung the doorbell... sorry again postman. 

4. Effectiveness 
What it all comes down to really. An annoying smell could be tolerated, poor packaging can be beaten into submission and a crazy price could be justified if only, oh if only, the product really worked. Unfortunately, Hand Food did not for me. It seemed so promising; so great to apply on the go, and hey, I'd even gotten used to the smell, but alas, it hasn't helped. After a few days using it I had to stop. I think it was irritating the skin on my hands - making it slightly itchy and certainly not more soothed and moisturized. I've not encountered a reaction like this to other Soap and Glory products in the past, though I suppose, I've never applied one as regularly. There's a good chance that it's my skin that's the problem and not the product, so I don't want to advise against it for that reason, but for me, it's a definite NO.   

5. Conclusion
As I said above, this is a 'never again' for me. Had basically the opposite impact I was looking for - itchy and dry as opposed to, soft and soothed. Not good. 
That being said, there's a chance the cream wasn't to blame, it could be me. So based on that, the cheap price tag and the ease of application, I'd say it probably is worth a try; but definitely get the mini 50ml version and not the big 125ml tube - just in case! 

Contender Number Two: LUSH, Smitten, 45g pump bottle, Can't find this size of tube on the LUSH site, but it is worth roughly £3.50

1. Packaging/Size/Price
OK so, I actually can't see the pump bottle on the LUSH site, just a tub which would be completely impractical, but even though I can't find it I'm going to review the pump bottle that I have. 
On one hand the pump bottle is a great idea - easy to get the cream out, easy to control quantity and non-messy. On the other hand, if, like me the little plastic lid vanishes (I lost mine on the second day!) it suddenly becomes a liability. Suddenly it's in your handbag basically without a lid - it's very, very easy to accidentally push down on it and cover your purse/umbrella/sandwich in lotion. Now I know what you're all saying, Kitty, just don't be an idiot and lose the lid. Fair enough, and a good plan, except that the plastic lid didn't click on or tighten, it just sort of perched there, ready to leap off. Based on the packaging concerns alone I'd say this one is maybe not that portable.
Size wise, it's a good size container for carrying around, also, it's just the classic unobtrusive black LUSH packaging which I actually really like.
Price wise, it seems really reasonable, especially, knowing that with LUSH products you normally only need a tiny amount. 

2. First Impressions
It's scented like almonds which reminds me entirely of marzipan and by extension Christmas (cake) - which is a lovely smell for this time of year, I feel. It's also not overpowering and it doesn't stick to everything you touch which is great. Definitely winning on the smell front.
Consistency wise it's great as well, not too runny, if anything it's a little thick, but the pump means you're not having to squeeze and squeeze to get it out. How it'll be as it empties though, I don't know. 

3. Ease of Application
I have a love hate relationship with this one. When it works and you just push down and voila, perfect lotion portion - it's great. But, sometimes the pump just wants to emit loud fart noises instead. Not so great and again, leads me to think that maybe this one is best left at home. 
It rubs in quickly and easily with no residual grease or stickiness. My hands did feel a little coated for a while, but more like in a protected, balmy sense - not unpleasant and only slightly impractical.  

4. Effectiveness
Overall really pleased with the effectiveness of this one. I felt like the 'balmy' coating protected my hands for quite some time and meant I really didn't have to apply the lotion that much. My hands did feel noticeably smoother - though the skin around my nails was still in a BAD way. So I'd say this lotion is great for 'normal' skin, but I wouldn't class it as an intensive moisturizer.


5. Conclusion
Overall, I like this a lot. I can handle the temperamental pump and I can just use a more intensive moisturiser on my nail area at night. However, assuming (based on the website) that they've discontinued the little pump bottle and now only have the 100g tub (£7.00) that does change things. Would I still buy the tub and just keep it for using at home? mmmm, yes. Yes I would. I love this lotion; especially for this time of year.
Overall  I do recommend this for the lovely winter smell, fast absorption time, lack of greasiness and of course, I'm a big fan of LUSH's ethics and practices, so I try to support them as much as possible. 

Contender Number Three: Palmers Concentrated Cocoa Butter, 60g tube, £2.13 in Boots

1. Packaging/Size/Price
Reasonably priced and widely available (Boots, Superdrug, Savers and Tesco to name a few) I was eager to try out this cream from Palmers - from whom I've bought an inordinate amount of the regular body butter over the years.
However we hit the first hurdle with the packaging. This stuff is even thicker than the regular Cocoa Butter and it just will not come out of the little tube!! It was fine at first, when the tube was full, but once it started to empty it became a bit of a battle. Taking the lid off entirely helped a bit, but then is impossible to put back on with slippy hands. 
It's a good size tube, 60g, and because it is intensive and you do only need a little (if you manage to get it out the tube at all) so it'll last a good while (again, because you probably can't get it out the tube, it'll likely last forever).

2. First Impressions
It has the classic Palmers cocoa butter smell, which I LOVE LOVE LOVE, but my boyfriend and my mum hate, so I guess it's marmite thing. If you've never smelt it and are contemplating buying some, I'd have a little sniff in the store first.
Although I've joked extensively about the consistency of it, once you get it out the tube it is great - very luxurious and smooth. You can almost hear your hands sigh with instant relief.

3. Ease of Application
Feel I've actually covered this section a bit in my rants about the thick consistency! It's not terribly easy to use; especially if you've been out in the cold and the contents of your bag have frozen making the cream even thicker. But, it's not unusable either. The good news is, while you do have to spend a little extra time getting it out of the tube, you don't need to squeeze much out as a little goes a long way. 

4. Effectiveness
This really does work. You only need a little at a time and it provides not only instant relief from that dry, itchy feeling, but with each application it really improves the state of your skin. As I've said, my hands are dry, so for a cream to have a measurable effect on the overall state of them in such a short time; it's impressive.

5. Conclusion
I'm a bit torn on this one. I love the product; it does everything it should, but I loathe the packaging; every application is a battle. For me, with all the issues I have finding an effective moisturiser, I'll take poor packaging no problem, if it houses something that works. 

Contender Number Four: LUSH, Charity Pot, 10g tin, £1

1. Packaging/Price/Size
 Ok, so this is a much smaller amount than the others, but they don't actually do a tube/bottle - just the tubs so I thought I'd give this a shot. It's super small and easy to keep in a makeup bag as an emergency item, and actually, because it's high quality, it lasts longer than I would have expected.
The tin is not great for quick applications though - I found it a little tricky to open and close and then you do have to watch it doesn't spill out as it is a true lotion, rather than a balm.
Price wise, it is clearly more expensive- though you can get  a 95g tub for £6.95, so that's a lot more economical (and I guess you could refill the little tin?). Also, it is worth knowing that the money from charity pot goes to charity. All of the money the customer pays (minus VAT) goes to charity. That for me, is a big plus is Charity Pot's favour. 

2. First Impressions
I love LUSH. When I die I think my heaven will be a huuuuuge personal LUSH store in Disney World. I spend ages in LUSH every time I visit Glasgow, and I own copious amounts of their products. I bought the Charity Pot because of the Charity thing, I didn't smell it until I got home. It's certainly not one of my favourite LUSH smells - I don't dislike it, but I'd prefer a different smell to be honest.
Consistency wise it's great. It's a true lotion rather than a balm or a butter and it feels wonderfully silky and soft.

3. Ease of Application
As I said, when opening the tin (especially if it's been floating upside down around in your bag), you need to be careful that it doesn't spill out. That aside, application is easy; it's so soft and silky that rubbing it in takes no effort at all and, as with all LUSH products it's very high quality and so a little goes a long way. 

4. Effectiveness
I don't know that there was enough in the tin for me to truly evaluate a long term result, but, over the couple of days that I used it, I think it did a good job. It's so lovely and light that I forgot I was wearing it, but at the same time, it did seem to supply my hands with moisture for quite a length of time.

5. Conclusion
I like this tin for keeping in my makeup bag. So much so I've bought another couple already. They're so little that they have know noticeable weight, but, they'd totally sort you out if you find yourself suffering and without a big bottle of lotion.  

Contender Number Five: Lacura (Aldi), *Hand Cream*, price not listed on the website but it's around 75p

1. Packaging/Price/Size 
Firstly there's the price. Wow. What a bargain... or it could be, depending on the performance; maybe it's too good to be true. Packaging is OK. In terms of aesthetics I find it somewhat lacking; it looks like a supermarket hand cream, but, in terms of ease of use, I find it fits the bill. Size wise, it's great for carrying around with you; something that's definitely necessary at this time of year.

2. First Impressions
Not enamored with the packaging, but, that aside, overall first impression is good. Pleasant scent; light and clean smelling. Don't know exactly how to describe the smell, but I'd say it's quite neutral; I don't think anyone would either love it or find it terribly displeasing. 

3. Ease of Use
This is great to use. It's a great consistency; there's no battling to actually get some out to use, and there's no worry of it leaking everywhere in the few seconds you have it open. It rubs in quickly and easily and doesn't leave a residue. It does leave a slight balmy feeling, but that passes very quickly.

4. Effectiveness
I like this lotion. I like the smell and the texture and the size of the bottle, but, I think I'd be inclined to use it more in Summer when my skin isn't as dry. This isn't really a fault of the lotion; it's me that's weird, but still, in my personal opinion, it's good for "normal" skin, not anything more dry.

5. Conclusion
I would repurchase this without hesitation.  For the price it's a steal and the product itself is great. I would however only purchase it in the warmer months, for me, in Winter, the protection it gives is simply not enough.

....AND THE WINNER IS...

Contender Number Two; LUSH, Smitten!

The more I thought about it and the more I tried other things, I realised that I was letting packaging hold my back from a perfectly good product. So in the end, I bought the big tub, bought a small empty bottle from eBay and filled my own handbag size portions. Maybe not too glam looking, but hey, at this time of year anything seems like a fair pay off for relief from sore, unnatractive hands! 

What hand cream do you use? What makes you like it? Have you tried any of these products - what did you think of them? Would you like to see more Battle Royale posts like this? Any other thoughts, suggestions or ideas, please leave them below, I'd love to read them.

Thanks for taking the time to read along,

Love
Kitty 

1 comment:

  1. Very thorough reviews! I want to try the Lush smitten now :)

    ReplyDelete

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