Hand cream doesn’t seem like the most important thing at the moment, and it isn’t. That said, at an uncertain time during which so many of us feel a lack of control over our lives, the small things can become more important. At brief times in the day, the rituals that feel familiar and comforting can ground us in the moment and make us feel just the tiniest bit more secure.
We are all washing our hands a lot more often than usual, and this is naturally leading to dryness and, in some cases, discomfort or even broken skin.
It is sensible to keep a hand cream by the sink to encourage hand washers at home to moisturise their hands after washing and drying. If this doesn’t seem realistic for you, a good rich cream applied at bed time will help significantly overnight.
You do not, under any circumstances, need to spend huge amounts on a hand cream. If you can afford to and are inclined, Chanel La Crème Main (€56 at Brown Thomas and brownthomas.com) is pretty incomparable for absorption and heavy-hitting moisturisation paired with wonderfully light texture. It's too expensive to be washing away though, so best kept for bed.
During the day, you just need a decent hand cream to protect and maintain the skin on your hands, so it's better to opt for something more practical. Soap & Glory Hand Food Hand Cream Pump (€8.25 at Boots and boots.ie) comes in a big bottle with a pump, making it easier to apply post-hand washing (no unscrewing of caps and fiddling at the sink). Just whack some on and go. It's rich with shea butter and macadamia oil with a rose and bergamot scent but the texture is a lotion, so you won't feel it all over your hands for hours after applying.
If you want something small and portable, L'Occitane Amande Delicious Hands Handbag Size (€10.50 at L'Occitane stores nationwide and loccitane.ie) is rich (but not slimy) and smells intensely of almonds. It is difficult to dislike, and the fragrance always prompts compliments.
Garnier Hand Repair Intensive Restoring Hand Cream (€6.08 at pharmacies nationwide) is an under-celebrated hero of a hand cream. Small, affordable, rich but non-greasy, it has a pleasant, clean scent and really gets to work on worn-out, overwashed hands. If you hate hand cream, consider just blobbing some on the back of one hand and then rubbing the backs of both hands together. This will moisturise areas prone to dryness like the knuckles and fold of the thumb while forgoing palms.
Finally, if your hands are especially sensitive, you'll need something bland and very hardworking. Cerave Reparative Hyaluronic Acid Hand Cream (€5.99 at boots.ie) is designed for rough, extremely dry hands with a compromised skin barrier. Apply it liberally if your hands are already uncomfortably dry or react angrily to scented lotions and creams. To get hydration into the skin quickly, apply a generous layer at bedtime and sleep with cotton socks on your hands. Skin will be softer and more comfortable by morning.