My hands look about 100 years old. I never bother to paint my nails or wear fancy rings because I fear any embellishment would simply draw more attention to my flimsy nails and ragged cuticles. I’m also not particularly invested in keeping my hand-skin unblemished and supple. Though my day job includes tapping out stories on a computer and talking about writing in a classroom, by the look of my hands, you’d think I’d been toiling out in the fields. I’m always washing a dish, digging in the garden, or tiling my shower.

Me, tiling my shower, a crazed look in my eye. Also, mortar is murder for the skin.

While I’ve long ago given up the dream of moonlighting as a hand model, I still need to moisturize. Yes, need. If I don’t, my hands get so dry they crack and bleed. It’s uncomfortable. Ordinary lotion doesn’t help at all. It might sink in and make my skin look softer for fifteen minutes or so, but after that, it’s as if I’ve never applied it. And here’s a problem I’ve never heard others discuss before: when I go out into the rain wearing lotion, it melts right off my hands in a sickly white film.

What I need is heavy-duty hand cream. One that I’ve tried—and heard great things about from others—is Burt’s Bees Hand salve. I like the strong eucalyptus smell, and it does soothe my thirsty skin, but it’s not my favorite. It’s powerful stuff, with a base of almond and olive oils. I actually prefer an oily or even greasy formula, but this is just too greasy. You need to dedicate a good ten minutes to letting it soak in. (I do reserve an unabashed fondness for the Burt’s Bees lemon cuticle cream, however!)

Burt’s Bees Hand Salve


Burt’s Bees Cuticle Cream

So my leading favorite in hand salves is . . . Weleda Skin Food. Yes, it is expensive, but it’s the only stuff that seems to work on my hands—even through several hand washings! It’s heavy, but it doesn’t leave a greasy film. It somehow manages to soak in and then protect the skin from further wear and tear. I also love the citrusy scent.

Weleda Skin Food

A few months ago, I was sent a sample of the Weleda calendula baby cream. I gave it a try on my own hands, and it works just as well as the Skin Food! It’s so thick that I can’t really imagine using it on a baby, but I haven’t tried it, so I should reserve judgment. (Further research reveals that this product can be used as a diaper cream! Good to know. Weleda also makes a dedicated calendula diaper care cream.)


Weleda Calendula Baby Cream

What do you use to combat winter dryness? I’ve heard using pure coconut oil works, but I haven’t tried that yet.  Any other recommendations?