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March 05, 2010

Hand Cream Day 7: L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

Our final candidate: L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

Liz says:
Soak-in speed: 4 For such a thick cream, it distributes smoothly over the hands and soaks in fast.
Residual greasiness: 4While it's a thick cream, it's not too greasy, and it doesn't leave much residue. If anything, my hands felt moisturized but slightly powdery.
How long it lasts: 3 A couple of hours after putting this cream on I could feel some dry spots re-emerging. Because of the cream's texture, it's a bit disappointing that it doesn't last longer.
Fragrance: 4 Out of all the creams we tried, I liked the fragrance for this one the best. Light, slightly powdery-floral: It actually smelled like something without being overwhelming.
Total: 15 This cream was similar to the Crabtree & Evelyn, but better - similar thick texture, less greasy, with a scent I prefer. Unfortunately it just doesn't last long enough for me to want to use it every day.

Katie says:
Soak-in speed: 4 I was worried because it was so thick, but it soaked in almost immediately.
Residual greasiness: 4 I sort of felt like my hands were coated, but not in a bad way, and it didn't interfere with doing things.
How long it lasts: 2 After just a little while, I forgot that I'd put it on at all. Which means it's not greasy, but also that it doesn't last long.
Fragrance: 1 This smelled EXACTLY LIKE BABY WIPES. Gross.
Total: 11 I was really disappointed with this, since it was the most expensive one we tried. It's not awful, but it's definitely not worth the price.

We'll have a wrap-up at some point over the weekend!

Posted by Kat at 05:00 PM | Comments (2)

March 04, 2010

Hand Cream Day 6: Crabtree & Evelyn Lavender Hand Therapy

Our next candidate: Crabtree & Evelyn Lavender Hand Therapy

Liz says:
Soak-in speed: 3 It can come on strong, but the lotion's light enough that it absorbs pretty quickly - a little bit faster, in fact, than I initially suspected.
Residual greasiness: 4 Once the cream soaks in, my hands felt soft, but not too greasy. I did feel like I'd put lotion on them.
How long it lasts: 4 My hands stayed soft until I washed them.
Fragrance: 4 I don't usually like lavender, but the lavender scent of this this wasn't too strong. It just smelled a little spicy. There is a much stronger fragrance, though, than the majority of lotions we tested out.
Addendum: [Liz later e-mailed:] The cap just came off in my bag. Luckily none squeezed out, but still: not cool. Also, this cream is pretty greasy when you first put it on.
Total: 15 This hand cream was a strong contender. There are only a few reasons I'd be hesitant to use it all the time. First, it stung my developing calluses and the odd papercut. I think it would be a bad choice for anyone whose hands get cracked, or who tends to get little scrapes on their hands. Second, while the lotion is light, it is fairly oily when first applied. And lastly, the fragrance is stronger than would be my preference for daily use. Still, this is a cream I will hang on to.

Katie says:
Soak-in speed: 4 I could function after just a few minutes. It feels thick but isn't really disruptive.
Residual greasiness: 4 It was slightly greasy at first, but nothing really residual.
How long it lasts: 3 It didn't last as long as some of the other ones we've tried, which I guess is the trade-off for having it feel so nice. But it didn't wear off so quickly that I felt like it was a waste, either.
Fragrance: 5 I loooove lavender, and strongly scented creams (when I like the scent).
Total: 16 This is my overall favorite so far. It worked decently and the scent and texture were enjoyable enough that putting it on felt like a treat rather than a treatment.

Posted by Kat at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2010

Hand Cream Day 5: Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Our next candidate: Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Liz says:
Soak-in speed: 1 This stuff will stay on your hands FOREVER unless you use a teeny, tiny amount. I used a normal-sized dab on my first use, and 45 minutes after applying, I had to go wash my hands off, because it hadn't soaked in at all.
Residual greasiness: 1 That first application traumatized me a little bit. I felt like I'd dipped my hands into a bucket of petroleum jelly. And - as above - IT WOULDN'T GO AWAY. The "active ingredient" is 41% petrolatum. At first I couldn't figure out why it sounded familiar - then I realized it's because that's also an active ingredient in Bag Balm, which I use on my lips overnight because when I wake up in the morning they're still soft. It's made for cow udders. I would never normally put it on my hands.
How long it lasts: 1 Okay, so I know I just complained about how the greasiness stayed forever and wouldn't go away, so you would think that I'd rate this highly for being long-lasting. But here's the thing: When I used too much and greased up my hands, it wouldn't go away. When I used a tiny dab with the idea of actually being able to, you know, do things, it didn't last very long at all. In fact, if I used a small-enough amount to be able to live my life, I didn't feel like my hands were sufficiently covered - it certainly didn't make enough of a difference to my dry spots. So, when I actually used a reasonable amount, it didn't last long enough for me.
Fragrance: 1 Mostly it didn't smell, but when it did smell, it smelled bad (again: petrolatum!)
Total: 4 I actively avoided using this, my first experience was so bad. In the name of science I did reapply (sparingly) a number of times, and the Aquaphor never redeemed itself. Not only would I never use this again, I wish it were environmentally sound for me to throw it in the river so that I would never have to see it again.

Katie says:
Soak-in speed: 1 I put this on before a meeting, thinking it would sure soak in before I went back to my desk and had to type, but it did not. I had to wash my hands to be at all functional.
Residual greasiness: 1 So greasy, forever. I can only imagine what the people at the meeting thought.
How long it lasts: 5 I actually thought this lasted a REALLY long time.
Fragrance: 2 Unscented.
Bonus: +1 This made my hands so soft and smooth, for so long! Immediate improvement.
Total: 10 Basically, I thought this was very effective, just not very enjoyable. I will save it for times when my hands are REALLY dry and I need to break out the heavy-duty treatments.

Posted by Kat at 01:00 PM | Comments (1)

March 02, 2010

Hand Cream Day 4: Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme

Our next candidate: Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme

Liz says:
Soak-in speed: 2 It took a really, really long time before I felt like I could do normal things with my hands again after applying this cream. Because...
Residual greasiness: 2 As my roommate told me, "It looks like you were just handling a pizza." I felt like I'd dipped my hands in oil. I could practically see my reflection in them. But...
How long it lasts: 4 Once it *did* soak in, my hands felt really, really good. 30+ minutes after I first applied the lotion, my hands felt uniformly soft and smooth - without any kind of residue. That final, end effect was awesome. But is it worth the wait?
Fragrance: 2 This smelled overwhelmingly of marzipan. I know this rings some people's bells, but personally I hate smelling like food.
Total: 10 Man, was I upset after I used this for the first time. My first, knee-jerk reaction was, I HATE IT. Of course, once all that grease soaked in, my hands felt great. I think ultimately, though, it wouldn't be worth the wait, because at the end of the day my dry spots still reappeared. If the cream were more actively healing, I wouldn't mind putting up with the greasiness and the smell. I would be very, very careful about when I put it on, though!

Katie says:
Soak-in speed: 3 For such a thick cream, I thought it soaked in reasonably quickly.
Residual greasiness: 3 My hands stayed pretty greasy, although I'm not sure I'd go as far with this as Liz did. :)
How long it lasts: 4 I found myself forgetting to reapply it, so I think that means it lasted for a nice long time.
Fragrance: 4 I love marzipan!
Deduction: -0.5 for being in a tub. Harder to deal with.
Total: 13.5 I was pretty happy with this overall, although there are some other Burt's Bees products I really love, so I was disappointed that this did not quite live up to the expectations that I had based on those. I'll probably leave this one at home because the tub form factor makes it more difficult to deal with, but I can definitely seeing using it during the evening.

Posted by Kat at 05:00 PM | Comments (3)

February 25, 2010

Hand Cream Day 3: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

Our next candidate: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

Liz says:
Soak-in speed: 3 It starts out pretty thick, and, if not explicitly greasy, definitely lotion-y. It takes a few moments to soak in.
Residual greasiness: 2 I definitely feel like I put lotion on for a good amount of time after using this. The greasy feeling doesn't really go away until the effectiveness of the cream also disappears.
How long it lasts: 2 Y'know, for all that it's a pretty thick cream (not a lotion), it really doesn't last as long as I'd hope.
Fragrance: 3 It's essentially unscented, maybe a little powdery.
Bonus +1 I do feel like it makes a difference to the trouble spots on my hands. Obviously I wish that difference would just stick around a bit longer!
Total: 11 I think I may have fallen for the hype with this one! Neutrogena talks such a good game that I assumed it must be a great hand cream. When I measure it objectively, though, I see that that's really not the case. It starts out strong, but finishes poorly, which is a shame.

Katie says:
Soak-in speed: 1 It took forever to soak in. Forever. I had to wipe my hands with a napkin in order to type.
Residual greasiness: 1 My hands felt gross and disgusting. Forever.
How long it lasts: 4 Since my hands felt disgusting forever, I'll say it was pretty long-lasting. I'm not sure that's a good thing.
Fragrance: 5 Mine is definitely scented, so I'm wondering if Liz and I had different versions. It has an interesting flowery scent. Sort of like flowers and the beach combined, actually.
Bonus: If I were going to be fair, I would give it the extra half-point for spelling cream correctly, but it was so gross that I don't want to.
Total: 11 I love the scent so much that I really wish I liked this better. But it just felt icky. I'm trying to think of some application in which it would be less icky. Maybe right before bed, when there's no more typing or anything?

Posted by Kat at 05:00 PM | Comments (1)

February 24, 2010

Hand Cream Day 2: Aveeno Intense Relief Hand Cream

Our next candidate: Aveeno Intense Relief Hand Cream

Liz says:
Soak-in speed: 3 I still felt like I'd put on hand lotion, a really long time after I first put the lotion on. This turned out to be something I really really like.
Residual greasiness: 4 Okay, my hands didn't feel greasy, per se, but they definitely felt like they had cream on them. An hour after putting this cream on, I went to my locker. I've been unable to open my locker because of hand cream oiliness before, and I was super-afraid that that would happen again, because of how much I could still feel the cream. And then... I opened my locker just fine. AMAZING.
How long it lasts: 5 This was my faaavorite thing about this hand cream. It kept my hands soft forever.
Fragrance: 3 Another hand cream that was basically unscented.
Bonus +1 By the end of the day, my dry patches were gone. GONE. Also: AMAZING.
Total: 16 Between this and yesterday's Eucerin, I would definitely throw this one back in my bag after this trial period is over. The only possible con is the residual lotion-y feeling. After using it all day, my hands started to feel slightly rubbery. This won't be my only go-to - but I'll definitely use it again!

Katie says:
Soak-in speed: 4 It soaked in quickly but I could still feel it. Hmm.
Residual greasiness: 3 It wasn't greasy, exactly, but my hands felt really weird and tacky after using it.
How long it lasts: 4 This one lasted quite a while. I only had to use it a few times throughout the day.
Fragrance: 3.5 It had a very slight scent of oatmeal and almonds. I liked it, but I wish the scent was much stronger.
Bonus: I'd like to give this an extra half point for spelling "cream" the normal way and not trying to be all fancy.
Total: 15 This one was . . . fine. Reasonably effective, and no horrible qualities aside from the slightly weird tacky feeling. I'm not sure I'll necessarily buy it again, but I'll have no problem using up the rest of this tube.

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2010

Hand Cream Day 1: Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Hand Cream

Our first candidate: Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Hand Creme

Liz says:
Soak-in speed: 4 (maybe 5?) It had a nice, smooth texture that didn't seem too heavy and soaked into my skin right away.
Residual greasiness: 5 My hands felt very smooth, but not at all greasy after 15-20 minutes or so.
How long it lasts: 2 This, I imagine, is the downfall to a lotion that soaks in fast and isn't very greasy - It didn't last as long as I would like. Two or three times over the course of the day, I had to reapply lotion an hour and a half or so after an initial post-handwashing application.
Fragrance: 3 It was basically unscented. If I made a point of doing my darndest to try to figure out what it smelled like, it was like any other unscented lotion. So, nothing that won me over, but it wasn't unpleasant, either.
Total: 14-15 This was a good choice for daytime use while doing other activities, but I don't think it's a cream I'll come to rely on. By the end of the day, I wanted something heavier. Additionally, I would have liked to see it go further towards smoothing out my dry spots. Even immediately after application, it still hadn't completely soothed the texture.

Katie says:
Note: I used the CVS generic version of this one because I already had it.
Soak-in speed: 4 Soaked in quickly - I could type in under a minute.
Residual greasiness: 4 My hands felt slightly greasy for a little while, but it wasn't at all bad.
How long it lasts: 3 I had to reapply it fairly regularly, but not so often that I felt like it wasteful or ineffective.
Fragrance: 3 Only very slightly scented. I prefer a stronger scent, but it certainly wasn't unpleasant.
Bonus: +1 because I felt like it was really making a difference in my hands immediately.
Total: 15 Overall, I loved this one. It just felt really effective, without keeping me from using my hands. I wish it had a better scent, but we can't have everything. This is definitely one I'll keep around for everyday use.

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2010

Coming Up: A Week of Hand Cream

My cousin Liz and I used to have a favorite hand cream: Savannah Bee Magnolia Hand Lotion. Then they stopped making it, and we have been bereft. As part of our quest to find a worthy replacement, we used a different cream each day for seven days. Now we're going to tell you about it.

But first, an intro from Liz with some information on what she needs in a good lotion:

Hi everyone! Before getting down to business I'd like to introduce myself - I'm Katie's cousin Liz. I live a few hundred miles south of her in Philadelphia, where I'm going to law school. I walk and use public transit to get around (which means a lot of hand washing), and I'm an infrequent mitten-wearer. I have some dry spots on my hands I'll be paying extra attention to. To top things off, I picked this week to try to get back into a regular workout routine. In my case this means the rowing machine, which means I'll be getting blisters that will hopefully build up into calluses.
It's a little colder in New Hampshire, where I live, and I sit at a desk all day, so one of my main criteria is whether I can type right after applying the cream. Check back tomorrow for reviews of the first cream we tried!

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (1)

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