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The Santa Ana winds are blowing here in Southern California, and the air is particularly dry for this time of year. (It’s supposed to be rainy season right now.) With the extra hand washing to keep colds and flu at bay, dry hands are a problem--particularly for people with sensitive skin.
First I tried the Burt’s Bees Healthy Hands Repair kit. I liked the idea of better-for-you ingredients, and the Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme in the kit smelled lovely. It seemed greasy enough that I thought it would do the job, but perhaps my chapped hands were too far gone, because the product sat on top of the skin and did absolutely nothing...Nor did its accompanying Shea Butter Hand Repair Cream, which had always worked well for me in the past. Next!
After another day of experimenting, I came up with the arsenal of products that worked for me, and a "schedule" to make the best use of each product:
|Step one. (Photo: Randi Reed/Cosme-Haul.)|
After the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream fully absorbed, I applied Nivea Creme on top. Nivea from Germany has worked well for me in the past for minor skin irritations, so I knew it would help my hands, but I was afraid its fragrance, however light, might burn or sting. The Cetaphil cream was a good buffer, so there was no issue. Yay! Having a consistency similar to Crisco shortening, Nivea Creme is greasy, but it absorbed much better than the Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme. I felt like I was finally making progress. (You want your Nivea blue tin from Germany, as it has a slightly softer, less-waxy texture than the one we have here in the U.S.. I get my German Nivea from Smallflower or ask a friend to bring some back for me.)
|Step two. (Photo: Randi Reed/Cosme-Haul.)|
|Nivea made in Germany works best. I bought this one from Smallflower. (Photo: Randi Reed/Cosme-Haul.)|
3. Nuance by Salma Hayek My Secret Super Moisturizing Body Cream
As I wrote in December when I reviewed Nuance by Salma Hayek My Secret Super Moisturizing Body Cream, this product has knocked Nivea Crème to second place in the battle to be my favorite hand and nail cream. So, when the Cetaphil/Nivea combo wore off, I applied Nuance. Faster absorbing than Nivea Creme, it lasted through several hand washings without turning to slime. It was also the only product that had any effect on my poor, crispy cuticles.
|Step three. Full tube available exclusively at CVS. (Photo: Randi Reed/Cosme-Haul.)|
When the Nuance started to fade, I applied Vaseline Healthy Hand and Nail Cream. It's not as moisturizing as the others, but I've been a user of this product for several years because my nails love this stuff, and I like that you can type, text, or even use a mouse soon after using it. This is the one I keep in my computer desk. Vaseline Healthy Hand & Nail Conditioning Lotion does have a tendency to turn slimy if you wash your hands too soon after application, though, so I timed it accordingly.
|Step four. (Photo: Randi Reed/Cosme-Haul.)|
5. In the late afternoon or early evening, I applied the Nuance again and took a break to let it absorb.
6. When I needed more hand cream later and would be typing or texting, I used Vaseline Healthy Hands. If not, I stuck with Nuance throughout the evening.
The day after I began this ritual, the chapping on the backs of my hands stopped hurting completely, and the red was fading. Two days after that, my cuticles weren’t so…crispy. The air is so dry this winter, I have to continue the ritual to stay ahead, but my hands are finally soft and look like themselves again.
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©2014 Randi Reed and Cosme-Haul.