Hand Cream Test Drive For Very Dry Skin

Between moving to the high desert and into a rental without a dishwasher, I am in desperate need of a fix for horrible, dry dishpan + dry weather hands and have simply been throwing money at the problem. The results have been mixed. I have pretty specific lotion/cream texture requirements. It can’t be sticky, it must absorb quickly and it can’t leave a residue on my fingers after rubbing it in to the backs of my hands. My hands have gotten so bad, mostly my knuckles, holy crap, they are like sandpaper. The back of my hand brushed against Spencer’s arm and he accused me of scratching him. With. My. Skin.

Luckily, I have an arsenal of samples from various birchboxes, ipsy, years of sephora samples with purchase and I’ve purchased a few things. A note about my “testing” of the creams. I maybe used them once or twice and then evaluated if I liked it. There was no scientific method involved at all and if something works over time, well, I didn’t give it that chance.


L’Occitaine Hand Cream ($12/ounce) Absorbs quickly, smooth feeling, next morning knuckles are still smooth. Used during the day, I feel that the effect wears off quickly. I have only used the shea butter version and the scent is mild. I have used other L’Occitaine products and the scents are great. (their regular body lotion is surprisingly useless, though)

bliss Blood Orange + White Pepper Hand Cream ($8/ounce) I love the scent of this one and it was my go to hand cream when I needed something extra before the move. I also loved this one when I worked in an office (I think I used the unscented) as it takes the just-shuffled-a-ton-of-paper edge of your hands. It is ok for dry skin, but not a super intensive cream.

Rosebud Salve ($7.50/ounce) My beloved Rosebud Salve is the best. It is like MAGIC. I know some people can’t get past the rose scent but it fades pretty quickly after application and there is an extremely noticeable improvement in very dry skin immediately after application. It lasts until the next morning, too. If you don’t rub it all off your fingers it does leave a mild coat on your fingertips. I just rub it in to my elbows or whatever to make sure I got it all off. And you only need the tiniest bit, you just swipe your finger lightly over the salve to get enough.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream ($6/ounce) This is my current day use cream. It keeps my hands from getting too bad if I remember to put it on after I finish doing the dishes. It is unscented which is nice and would be a great “maintenance” cream for dry hands. It absorbs very quickly and I don’t leave lotion smudges all over my kids or my phone.

Soap & Glory Hand Food ($3.57/ounce) Why must this be so smelly? The formula is amazing. It soaks right in, works wonders on dry, patchy skin and leaves skin smooth for hours. The scent is floral and is very strong in the beginning and then it fades but lingers at the same time. I don’t love having lightly scented hands. Definitely a bedtime only one which is a shame. This product is only available at Sephora. I tend to throw the small one in my cart when I need to add something to get free shipping.

Aquaphor ($3.42/ounce) I know people swear by Aquaphor but I hate it. HATE. I even got desperate enough to give it another chance. Nope. Sticky and gross. Your mileage may vary.

JR Watkins Lemon Cream Hand Cream ($2.42/ounce) This is basically a thick lotion. I don’t think it made a dent in rough, rough skin. Would be nice for regular people non-lizard skin. It works very well on dry arms/legs.  Also, I hate the smell, but it is my own fault. I had a reading fail when I grabbed this at the drugstore. I avoid “lemon cream” anything. I only like the fresh citrus lemon smells. I would rather smell like a cleaning product than a weird lemon-vanilla hybrid.

St. Ives Skin Renewing Body Lotion ($0.28/ounce) I actually was surprised when I checked the name on this one to see it was a body lotion and not a hand cream. I have it in a smaller size and it works as well as many of the more expensive creams. I don’t love the scent so I use it at night before bed and the smell fades by morning. The scaly skin? Also faded by morning.

There might be a miracle, super fancy cream out there (well, it would probably be a creme) and I bet it is made of hipster unicorn tears and single drop of sweat off of my beloved Paul Rudd’s brow. I haven’t found it yet, though. L’Occotaine is about as fancy as I get. It’s FRAWNCH and I don’t know how to pronounce it which makes it extremely fancy in my book. If you have a recommendation for a great hand cream (priced low or high), my bleeding knuckles would appreciate you letting me know in the comments. Unless it is coconut oil. It doesn’t cure everything you know.


Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links for amazon and the ipsy link is one of those if you sign up, I get credit deals, but this post is not sponsored in any way.

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5 Responses to “Hand Cream Test Drive For Very Dry Skin”

  1. Sarah says:

    I left a longer comment, but the internet ate it. Hemp Hand Cream from The Body Shop. Try it.


    Amy Reply:

    I will have to see if my sister can bring me some when she comes to visit next month. I have moved to the land of no shops and am loathe to pay shipping. Although, I just opened another tap to check the situation and 1) free shipping with $50 and 2) 40% off the whole site right now. Spencer loves some of their bath stuff (he’s a scent kid, what can I say). I will have to check out the sale for sure.


  2. Brigid Keely says:

    Eucerin is great, but contains lanolin if that’s an issue. I get the tubs with the super thick cream but you can also get it in a pump with a less thick formula. I put the cream on my feet (I have super thick very dry skin on my feet, like hooves) before bed, then put cotton socks on. I slather it on. When I’ve used it on my hands there’s a bit of a greasy feeling after, but I rub the excess on my elbows/knees or a towel and that takes care of it.

    I’ve used Vaseline Intensive Care and gotten good results, too.

    I use Aveeno currently and got a travel sized bottle for my husband for over the winter. He works outside (we live in Chicago) and his hands were getting really dry and cracked. He hates using moisturizer because he hates the feeling of anything on his skin. The Aveeno rubs in really well and doesn’t have much of an after-feel of grease or anything. His hands look a lot better.

    One thing that I found helpful, as someone who grew up without a dishwasher, is to keep a decent hand soap and bottle of lotion next to the sink. After you wash a load of dishes, dry your hands and then put lotion on right away.

    You also might want to get an oil for your cuticles/nails. Soaking in water is really awful for your nails, but it can take a bit for the damage to show up. Olive oil works well, or you can get a special fancy formula… lots of places make them. Just rub it into the cuticle and nail after you do the dishes, after you take a shower, etc.

    Dry skin can be really awful. Good luck!


    Amy Reply:

    Thanks for all the tips! I forgot all about Vaseline Intensive Care. My mom used to swear by that one and she needed a good lotion due to a combination of dry skin, working in a fabric store and various medical reasons.


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