Autumn Renewal: The Prettiest, Most Velvety Hand Creams
by Brittany Fischer
I must be getting old. Up until now, I was baffled about why people needed, wanted, and used hand creams. But ever since the weather changed, my hands have been as parched and chalky as the day is long. My first thought was that I’ll just snag something trusty and dependable like Aquaphor, which is famous for healing severely dry, cracked skin and even tattoos. But then I started thinking–I’ll probably want one to keep on my nightstand, and another one to keep at my desk, and ideally I’d like both of these places to be stylish, inspiring, and personalized. I’ve noticed that some nightstands have a tendency to look like a hospital patient’s bedside table–mugs of tea, tissues, vitamins, Advil. It’s kind of depressing, isn’t it? A big ol’ jar of Aquaphor would definitely only exacerbate this, so I’m switching sides. I went on a mission to find a few hand creams that meet four criteria: number one, they bring a little something extra to my space, and don’t have to be crammed in a drawer. Two, they moisturize (duh), three, they pass the doorknob test (if I have to use my sleeve to open doors because my hands are too greasy, they’re OUT!), and four, they smell divine–because when I apply my hand cream, I want to feel like I’m going on a tiny vacation, or at least a trip to the spa. I know L’Occitane is the obvious destination for fancy hand creams (or “crèmes” as they’re often called–why is that, by the way?) but I’m the hunt for something a little less run-of-the-mill.
Lollia is first on my list, because this packaging is just out-of-control pretty. If i could use this beautiful blue feather print as wallpaper, I would. And these hand creams know they’re gorgeous; each one has a description of the design details along with the fragrance notes. This one (named “Calm”) features, “Delicate floating feathers on a field of cerulean blue” and has notes of, “Serene meadows of blooming Hyacinth, earthen rooted Vetiver and fresh cut Iris, cooled by setting Citrus sunlight and delicate floral waters.” WOW. Did they hire a romance novelist as a copywriter? I’m not even mad, I’m impressed! I have to say, everything this brand is doing is working for me. If you’re not the kind of girl who worships a flowery, colorful bottle, I Coloniali’s is sleek and spa-like. But I chose this one for the formula. As you may know, our CEO Jill is the founder of Miniluxe, an incredibly luxurious chain of nail and waxing salons in and around Boston, so they know a thing or two about hand cream. This one is Jill’s absolute favorite–she says the texture is spectacular and feels exactly like velvet. The active ingredient is rice bran oil, which the brand says, “has always been regarded as a vital and precious element in South-East Asia, and since ancient times this beneficial ingredient has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and cosmetic products. Its extract has renowned soothing, protective and velveting properties.” Welp, I whipped out my debit card before I even finished reading that.Jurlique’s packaging is elegant and simplistic, and so are their scents: citrus, lavender, and rose. Rose smells exactly like a fresh cut rose, which some reviewers call “old lady-ish.” I don’t really get that. When I smell a rose, I don’t think of an old lady. I’m usually thinking something like, “Wow, this smells great, I wonder if I should forgive my boyfriend for being an @$$ now. Maybe I can get him to cook me dinner too! Am I pushing my luck? All he did was suggest that I come jogging with him…” Anyway, Jurlique is free of all the gross stuff like parabens, synthetics, and petro-chemicals, and it’s deeply nourishing and not greasy at all. Tokyo Milk: Could this packaging me any more adorable? I’m in love. Now, to be perfectly frank, I haven’t gotten my hands on this one yet, so I cannot give you a review of the scent or the texture in good conscience, but what I can tell you is that it’s sold at Neiman Marcus and that people love it. And really, how could you not? You could fill this bottle with slimy goop that smells like dead grasshoppers and I would still probably wear it. Actually, speaking of a hand cream that smells like dead grasshoppers, I received this Burt’s Bees one as a gift and cannot get past the scent–it’s so distinct and recognizable! If you’re wondering what dead grasshoppers smell like, they smell exactly like your hands do after a night of catching lightening bugs. If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m sorry–I grew up in Illinois. That is what we did for fun. But just take it from me, it’s real, real bad.
And by the way, I think hand creams are a lovely gift, especially for the lady who stumps you every year. Mother-in-law? Check. Grandma? Check. Your kid’s teacher? Check. Your hairstylist? Check. Just make sure the woman is at least 26, because apparently that is when your hands lose their luster and start taking cues from the Sahara. I wonder what’s next to look forward to . . . bunions? Long, wiry chin hairs? Ah, the joys of womanhood.