+ Makeup, + Skincare

Splurge or Save: Hand Lotion

Like many lobbyists, I shake a lot of hands.  A sickening amount when you consider the number of viruses and bacteria present on the human hand.  As a result, I wash and Purell 15-20 times per day.  (I wish I were exaggerating.)  And all that scrub-a-dub-dubbing makes my hands painfully dry.

I wanted a lotion that could tackle my dry hands, but also wouldn’t spill all over the inside of my purse.  Sounds simple enough, but my search proved more difficult than you might imagine.

L’Occitane Dry Skin and Hand Cream ($10).  I purchased my first tube of L’Occitane last month during a windy cold-snap we had here in D.C.  Within a day, my cracked aching hands were reborn as the soft hands usually present only in Palmolive commercials.  

The formula of this cream is incredibly rich and emollient.  It takes only a tiny amount to take the sting out of dry hands, heels or elbows.  The lotion has the subtle hint of Jasmine, which frankly I could do without (I deplore most fragrances, esp. florals.), but that just means that when this tube runs out, I need to search for another scent.

Lastly, I like the thick formula and tube design because, as long as I screw the cap on tightly, I don’t need to worry about spills.  Cleaning the inside of a handbag is next to impossible–like understanding a drunken man who speaks a foreign language.

EOS Travel Sized Hand Lotion ($4).  The fine folks at Elle sent me a sample of the EOS lotion about a year ago.  And like most consumers, I was taken with the clever and unique packaging.  I threw the lotion into my desk drawer and reach for it from time to time after I Purell.

The light scent of cucumber and honeydew melon is nice.  Reminds me of the early days of Bath and Body Works, but in a good way.  The trouble is that the formulation is incredibly light, almost watery.  It moisturizes, but it doesn’t do the kind of job that I need.  

Also, the 1.5 fl oz in the EOS ran out in less than a month.  Compare this to the 1 fl oz in the L’Occitane tube and it’s no contest, the L’Occitane lasted longer.  This is probably because the EOS is runnier and thus, you need to use more to do the job.

The Verdict: L’Occitane all the way.  It has attractive, spill-proof packaging and a rich formula that will keep even the driest hands soft and smooth.  If you want to try out all their lovely scents before you choose one, head to their shop in Penn Quarter.  

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  1. Ashley says:

    Try the Aveda Hand Relief hand cream and the Foot relief foot cream. The foot cream is a little heavier than the hand cream. Both work miracles.

    November 30, -0001/Reply
  2. Ash says:

    I am a huge fan of Yes to Carrots hand lotion. Feels wonderful and not at all greasy!

    April 16, 2012/Reply
  3. Melissa says:

    I am a huge fan of the L'Occitane hand cream. For a less expensive option, Aveeno Intense Relief Hand Cream works pretty well… The bottle is a little big for a purse, but it's a good one to keep at your desk.

    April 16, 2012/Reply
  4. BB says:

    Second the Aveeno hand cream.

    April 16, 2012/Reply
  5. AB says:

    Speaking of – IS there a way to clean the inside of a handbag, either DIY or professional cleaning? Would love a post that could save a few work bags!

    April 16, 2012/Reply
  6. Christine says:

    I too keep a container of the Aveeno Intense Relief Hand Cream on my desk. It works wonderfully and leaves my hands feeling soft but not greasy or slippery in any way. L'Occitane products are nice, but I find it leaves my hands feeling slightly greasy and the Aveeno is such a better value.

    April 16, 2012/Reply
  7. RiverCityFashion says:

    I love love love First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream. My elbows really reacted to this winter, but one sample size of this lotion fixed them! The 2 oz size would be great for in a purse, but I'll stick with the bigger jar at home or on my desk.

    April 16, 2012/Reply
  8. K says:

    I am currently toting the exact tube of L'Occitane around in my purse. I also keep Bath and Body Works' True Blue Spa “Super Softening Hand Lotion” at my desk. Very pleasant smell and doesn't leave me (or my keyboard) greasy after applying it!

    April 16, 2012/Reply
  9. Anon says:

    Not sexy, but the St. Ives Intensive Healing hand cream works well for me. I've kept it on my desk and in my bathroom for years.

    April 16, 2012/Reply
  10. Fashion Pastiche says:

    I have insanely dry hands and the L'occitane hand cream is like crack to me. Its expensive but so worth it. When I started using it, I justified the $$ tag by telling myself that I would use it only at night. Its been hard to stick to that and I've gone through 3 of the big tubes already.


    April 16, 2012/Reply
  11. J says:

    I just used a cheap CVS cocoa butter lotion at my desk but I keep Crabtree and Evelyn's Nourishing Avacado, Olive, and Basil lotion in my purse and I always get positive comments on the scent from everyone. It's a few dollars less than the L'Occitane but I feel like it works just as well and the scents are more to my taste.

    April 16, 2012/Reply
  12. L says:

    Worth a mention here-
    Don't just moisturizer your hands. Take care of them, too! Gross cuticles are even worse than gross feet. My (long) comment on the DIY pedicure post about AHA creams and cuticle care applies to hands, too. Link:

    Also, I like Vanicream in a Nalgene 1 oz travel bottle from the Container Store. Vanicream is a bit of a specialty product for people wih allergies and exema, but I like that it makes my hand cream one less source of potential chemical irritants in my life. It's a good cream for everywhere, including the face.

    April 16, 2012/Reply
  13. Kristin says:

    Miracle Hand Repair! I can't stand the greasy feel of lotion on my hands, and this one has none whatsoever but still manages to be incredibly moisturizing. Also, it has no scent. You can buy it at Bed Bath and Beyond; the packaging looks like something straight out of an infomercial, but it's amazing.

    April 16, 2012/Reply
  14. saramel says:

    I also didn't like the EOS lotion, but I loved the container so much I cleaned it out and filled it with my favorite by Aveeno. Have you tried the sanitizer by Gold Bond Ultimate? They call it their Hand Sanitizer Moisturizer. The scent is very clean, it's not too greasy so you can use your phone or computer right away, and it moisturizes and sanitizes in one step. I always have a travel tube in my purse and a large bottle in the car. There's no alcohol so it doesn't burn my hands or leave them chapped and dry. I love it!

    April 17, 2012/Reply
  15. Jessie D says:

    I feel your pain! I scrub in surgery every day and after 4 years in the operating room, I'm neurotic about clean/not greasy feeling hands. In the winter (well, and even this week!), my hands get so dry that my skin cracks and bleeds. I swear by The Body Shop's Hemp Hand Protector. It has that same kind of tube and thick cream where a little goes a long way. It saved my hands! I slather it on every night and my hands are non-scaly when I wake up!

    April 17, 2012/Reply
  16. Jessie D says:

    Although that Ahava moisturizer that was in last month's BB smelled pretty divine and I like the non-greasiness of it…

    April 17, 2012/Reply
  17. Katie says:

    The Burts Bees beeswax hand creme is actually magical. However, I would only recommend putting it on at night because it takes a while to absorb. No matter how dry your skin is, it will be restored by the morning!

    April 17, 2012/Reply
  18. MissMary says:

    Be careful of hand lotions, potions & creams with shea butter (if you touch your face) it's a nearly instant acne break-out, for me. In my purse, I carry a tiny tin (1oz) of Nivea Creme, I found it for a dollar at Walgreens. It works and doesn't take more than a small swipe to do the trick and doesn't leave my hands greasy and a barely there scent.

    April 17, 2012/Reply
  19. Kate says:

    You absolutely have to try the $4 wonder: Neutrogena hand cream. Not only is it thick and amazing but it is absolutely 100% fragrance free. You only need a LITTLE DAB, but it'll be a fabulous one.

    April 17, 2012/Reply
  20. kcooper says:

    I've also used both and am a huge fan of the L'Occitane hand cream. It keeps my hands moisturized for so much longer than the EOS lotion!

    April 18, 2012/Reply