With this cold season being an exceptionally brutal one, the temperature may have already taken a toll on your hands — it definitely has on mine. Exposure to cold temperatures and dry heat actually takes the moisture right out of your skin, which is why you may find that your knuckles are chapped, itchy, or even cracked.
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The Problem of Dry Hands
You can’t exactly stop working when winter hits. Whether you need to shovel, chop firewood, or even work at your desk — between the frigid air outside and the dry heat indoors — it’s difficult to keep your hands moisturized and healthy.
This is the first year I’ve ever used hand cream to combat winter and all of its glory, and I honestly wasn’t expecting it to work nearly as well as it has. I think hand cream is an underappreciated product for men, and should be a welcome winter weapon in any guy’s skincare arsenal.
Not sure where to start? I give you the hand lotion survival guide — everything you need to pick out a hand cream that fits your skin’s needs, your nose’s preference, and your wallet’s budget.
What’s in Hand Cream?
Most hand creams and lotions have some common components that keep them in the same family, but they do still differ a bit. Hand creams have a higher oil to water ration — which is why they’re generally thicker than lotions, which have a lower oil to water ratio.
Since winter is exceptionally great at causing dry skin, hand creams are usually the ideal option since they tend to restore moisture and repair skin.
Some common ingredients you’ll find in hand creams are water, shea butter, olive oil, and some sort of extract to smell as good as your hands feel. Many will also have glycerin to some extent to help retain moisture, it’s one of the backbones of hand creams and will probably show up on most of the ingredients labels.
What To Look For in a Quality Hand Cream
Not only does hand cream moisturize skin, a lot of them also come packed with vitamins and other good stuff to nurture your hands and keep your skin healthy for years to come.
I’ll admit I’m new to looking at the ingredients list for most things. I’d also be lying if I said my love of beer that is catching up to my waistline wasn’t the catalyst for checking ingredients, but nonetheless, I’m checking out what I’m eating, drinking, and putting on my skin.
The good stuff you want to look for in any hand cream or lotion are ingredients such as vitamin A (or shea butter) vitamin E, almond, jojoba and/or olive oil, (bonus points if it’s the first ingredient) and aloe. Even if you don’t remember all of the best ingredients, a good rule of thumb that I use is if I can pronounce it — it’s probably a good thing.
5 Best Hand Creams for Men
You really can’t go wrong with any of these hand lotions — it all comes down to preferences. I’ve laid these out by fragrance, effectiveness, and price.
Best-Smelling Hand Lotion: Marine Reparative Hand Cream by LAFCO
This definitely serves as a hand cream that sits pretty next to my hand soap in the bathroom. It’s a perfect chaser after washing your hands, and does a solid job at keeping your skin from drying out.
What makes LAFCO’s Marine Scented Hand Cream stand out is that it is hypoallergenic, has a nice clean smell that lasts a good long while, and is completely made from plants. They’re also affordable, and if you’re hesitant to buy a 15 fluid ounce bottle, they also offer a 3.38-ounce bottle as well.
This is also a thinner cream, so if you’re not a fan of the thick stuff or haven’t used hand cream before — this is a great way to ease into the skincare world without caking yourself in oils.
One of their key ingredients is jojoba oil, and if you’re like me and hate when labels peel after they get wet — these guys actually use silkscreen — so there’s nothing that can peel off over time…ironic that it does the same thing for your skin.
Best For Cracked Hands: Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer
Loaded with vitamins A and E, Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer was recommended by professional barber, Vicky Pena at Boardroom Salon for Men. It’s reasonably priced, repairs hands like nobody’s business, and smells fresh.
They incorporate eucalyptus in their ingredients, which is one of the first things I noticed. It also repaired my skin without leaving a greasy residue. My knuckles were so chapped that they were literally getting stuck to blankets, sweaters, and anything with any semblance of texture — after a couple of days it stopped and this bottle is living peacefully at my desk now.
This was a solid hand healer that works well with knuckles. If you’re not a fan of the smell of eucalyptus, it may not be your favorite, but if you’re down with smelling like some Bob Ross happy trees, it’s a good fit.
Best Organic Hand Cream: Olivina Restorative Hand Rescue
If you want to be able to pronounce everything on the label — Olivina Restorative Hand Rescue breaks down every ingredient for you. It is also USDA organic, vegetarian, and cruelty-free — so there’s no shame in these containers. The consistency is more similar to a balm than a cream, and a little goes a long way.
This is the most affordable option, and the cedar and bergamot definitely has a sweeter scent. I personally liked it, as it had a little bit of citrus without being overbearing. It does go on a little bit greasier than the other creams, however my hands stayed hydrated for at least half the day.
For the price, quality ingredients, and good vibes put into each container — which is recyclable by the way — I’m a pretty big fan of this eco-friendly balm.
Best for Nail Care: Go-To Super Handy Hand and Nail Cream
Probably one of the funniest and clever skin care companies — Go-To is an Australian-based skin care company that expresses their loathing of BS skincare and taking the industry too seriously. Every part of their packaging had a clever line, joke, or even fun tissue paper. Does this affect your skin? No. But I truly appreciated the level of care and craftsmanship that went into their product inside and out.
Speaking of inside the product, it’s also packed with awesome ingredients that reflect the company’s beliefs. The water that they use in New Zealand rainwater, and the second ingredient is shea butter which is loaded with vitamin A.
What made the Super Handy Hand and Nail Cream stand out was that it is geared to help repair both your hands and cuticles. If you’re like me and either gnaw at your nails from time to time, or pick at your nailbed — this healed my butchered hands right up.
I loved how effective yet affordable this hand cream was, and if you live in or around Australia they even offer a men’s line called Bro-To. While the Go-To Hand and Nail Cream didn’t have the gun-smokey smell that their other line has, I was pretty fond of the scent. It’s light, subtle, and far from overwhelming.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Oribe Cote d’Azur Nourishing Hand Crème
Dermatologist tested and well-worth the price — Oribe Cote d’Azur Nourishing Hand Crème is non-greasy, revitalizing, and full of healthy ingredients. With almond oil, shea butter, aloe, and glycerin — this hand cream provides nutrients and vitamins that relieve irritation and heal cracked skin.
Out of all of the hand creams I tested, this one had the most mild scent in my opinion. It’s the highest in price, but also has a good combination of many top ingredients that go into hand creams too. If you get the 3.4 ounce bottle you actually get a winding key that helps fold the bottle over as you use it so that none of it is wasted.
Oribe is cruelty-free, which is always appreciated, and also does a great job at hand repair. This was another great knuckle-saver, but I also have a decent sized scar on my arm that gets dry that also benefited from the vitamins and aloe.
I would honestly pick up any one of these hand creams again. They all had some incredible benefits and helped get my hands from dry to fly. Depending on what you want in your dry skin remedies, there’s a lot of good choices and ingredients that can definitely help shape your skin up in no time.
The fact that I looked at my palms last week and didn’t recognize my hands with all the new wrinkles from being so dried out, then looked again today and felt like I wasn’t actually aging at 10 years a day was a huge wake-up-call that skin and cell hydration is definitely worth taking care of.