Image: Wild Source Apothecary
Cold weather, dehydrating soaps and other environmental stresses can leave the skin on our hands feeling dry and raw. Sophie Parsons looks into the best natural hand creams to incorporate into our daily skincare routines.
Hand cream has long been a fundamental part of my night time routine, the final step in a rather lengthy skin care regime of cleansers, AHAs and oils. Instilled in me by Mum, who has a hand cream and lip balm in every bag, drawer and glove box, hand creams have helped to keep bouts of dermatitis and cracked winter skin at bay.
As our hand washing routines have amplified, in an effort to combat and contain the devastation of coronavirus, the very nature of antibacterial soaps subsequently strips our skin of its natural oils - the sebum layer - and so can result in drier, cracked skin that, while healthier, is uncomfortably dehydrated. Fortunately, natural hand creams provide an antidote: not only directly putting the oils back into the skin, but also helping to prevent any further dehydration - despite increased washing.
In my search for the perfectly hydrating, absorbent but not too thick, fragranced but natural hand cream, I have discovered the importance of base oils such as almond and jojoba, the nourishing qualities of shea butter and beeswax. Most importantly, I have learnt to read the ingredients list, prioritising those with long lists of botanical names in Latin as opposed to chemical compounds. Alternatively, creating your own DIY hand cream can mean having complete control over its natural make-up, concocting the perfect blend of your favourite scents and essential oils. If that’s not for you, here are a few of our favourite natural creams and lotions to rehabilitate the driest of hands.
With much of her skincare inspired by Mediterainian mentalities of local sourcing and natural, good quality ingredients, Irene Forte’s hand cream is sweetly scented with vanilla and made with a base of sweet almond, olive and jojoba oils to help create a barrier against any environmental stresses. In addition to its sustainable approach to ingredient sourcing and recyclable packing, Irene Forte is also cruelty free and free from artificial colours.
With a high concentration of nourishing ingredients, including sesame oil, shea butter, and beeswax, this moisturising cream is a pocket-sized essential for any hydration on-the-go needs. Cosmydor additionally focuses on keeping their carbon low, sourcing their ingredients locally in France and ensuring an 100% biodegradable make-up.
In addition to prioritising natural, fair trade and a high percentage of organic ingredients, Neal’s Yard’s Bee Lovely range helps to support the crucial bee population through its charity programme. One such success story is the introduction of cashew orchards in Ghana, favourites of the bees, to combat the low yields resulting from poor pollination.
A cult classic, Weleda’s multi-use Skin Food is loved by many for its super effective yet natural ingredient list. Consisting of chamomile and calendula, with a base of oils and beeswax, Skin Food can be applied to dry hands, elbows and even faces for optimum hydration.
Evolve Beauty’s combination of organic shea butter and aloe vera hope to nourish, soften and calm irritated skin that is in deep need of a little TLC. Fragranced with natural scents of orange and vanilla, black pepper and cedarwood, this aromatic multi-use moisturiser is the perfect post-shower vitamin E boost for your skin.
With a base of aloe vera, vitamin E and borage oil, Sukin’s signature scent of mandarin, tangerine, lavender and vanillin is not only deliciously fragranced but also helps to renourish dry hands. Its added soy protein targets brittle nails and cuticles to help strengthen and rehydrate. In addition to the commonly featured ingredients list, Sukin’s labels highlight everything not included in their products, a cohort of commitments to no synthetics fragrances, animal products and silicones - to name just a few.
A firm winter skincare favourite of our deputy-editor, Bea, Wild Source Apothecary are including a complimentary organic Barrier Cream with all of their orders in light of our over-washed hands. Having suffered from severe eczema, founder Kate knows the importance of putting natural plant-based ingredients first.