How to Heal Your Dry and Cracked Hands Once and For All

How to Heal Your Dry and Cracked Hands Once and For All

How to Heal Your Dry and Cracked Hands Once and For All

Every winter like clockwork, my hands become dry and cracked. This is something I’ve dealt with year after year (even when I lived in Los Angeles and it was significantly warmer than the East Coast). It starts around October and lasts until April or when the weather begins to warm up. If I slack off on applying lotion, I’ll get painful cuts all over my hands (especially on my knuckles). I’ve come to accept that it’s a side effect of winter caused by a lack of humidity in the air and over-washing my hands. Over the years I can’t begin to count the various lotions, balms, and creams I’ve tried. From luxury skincare labels to bargain brands that I’ve discovered at CVS or Duane Reade—some work 1000 times better than their competitors. 

A few weeks ago, I tested out a ton of products designed to prevent and heal dry and cracked hands. I used each one for four days so I could document how my hands felt once I was finished. Then, I narrowed down my top eight and outlined them below by answering some common questions. How does the brand advertise its scent? Does it really smell like that? What is the texture? How often do you apply it? And, How much does a tube cost? Plus, I’ve included some relevant information under “411” to help you choose the best one for your skin.

The scent: Fragrant botanicals (Vetiver Root, Petitgrain, and Bergamot Rind).

What does it actually smell like?: A woodsy, smokey, earthly scent (perfect for both women and men).

Texture: Lightweight balm. 

How often do you apply it?: This was the first one I tried and my hands were in bad condition. Right before bed I used a drop and when I woke up I couldn’t believe the difference it made. The little cuts I had were significantly better and my dry and cracked hands were soft again. For the next four days I used it in the morning, after my shower, and before bed.

The 411: Even though Reverence is a hand balm, you can also use it as a body balm. I’ve applied it to areas that get extremely dry during the winter (mainly my elbows and knees) and it softens them right up. It also healed the painful cuts on my hands and knuckles from over-washing them and it softened my cuticles. Reverence is vegan and cruelty-free. 

Price: $30 (2.6 fl oz) or $97 (17 fl oz).

The scent: Fresh and clean.

What does it actually smell like?: Springtime flowers.

Texture: Lightweight cream.

How often do you apply it?: I kept this one in my purse and applied it after I used hand sanitizer. I also used it when I got out of the shower and before bed and it kept my hands feeling silky smooth all day. I’ve decided this will be my springtime hand cream because of the lovely floral scent. 

The 411: Glossier’s hand cream is fast absorbing and uses a “second skin” matrix which helps to lock in moisture. It’s also made with nutrient-rich substances like Coconut Fruit Extract and Meadowfoam Seed Oil. The little pink case is not only adorable, but it’s also leak proof, making it ideal for tossing in your bag.

Price: $18 (1.7 fl oz).

The scent: Lemon popsicle.

What does it actually smell like?:  Hand-squeezed lemonade which has me looking forward to the summer. 

Texture: A thick cream, but as you apply it, it thins out and blends seamlessly.

How often do you apply it?: Once in the morning, right after my shower, and before bed. This one, will be my go-to lotion come May.

The 411: A mix of Lanolin (a moisturizing oil found in sheep’s wool), Shea Butter, and Vitamin E that when combined creates an exquisite essence that combats dry hands and heals damaged cuticles. Lanolips Lemonaid contains no harmful chemicals, parabens, article fragrances, or any unhealthy substances. It’s cruelty-free and 98.6% natural.

Price: $15 (1.69 fl oz). 

PS: The lemonade scent is sold out by itself, but you can still purchase it as a duo here.

The scent: Rose.

What does it actually smell like?: If you’ve ever walked through a rose garden after it rains…that’s what it smells like. 

Texture: Lightweight cream.

How often do you apply it?: I kept this one sitting next to where I write and found myself reapplying it  throughout the day. Not because I needed to, but because the fresh rose scent is addicting and I love how it felt when I applied it. 

The 411: The soothing combination of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and rose helps to heal your hands and keep them silky smooth.  

Price: $8 (3 fl oz).

The scent: Shea classic.

What does it actually smell like?: A light and clean fragrance with hints of baby powder. 

Texture: Lightweight cream.

How often do you apply it?: I gave Billy a tube for Christmas and found myself sneaking it out of his briefcase. Then, I decided to purchase my own. I asked him how often he applies it and he said every time after he washes his hands. For me, I use it about twice a day and have great results. 

The 411: This is L’Occitane’s best-selling hand cream and a purchase is made every two seconds around the world. It’s made with 20% shea butter and infused with honey and almond extract. The result? A silky smooth cream that nourishes your hands without leaving a greasy film. 

Price: $12 (1 fl oz) or $29 (5.2 fl oz).

The scent: Lemon.

What does it actually smell like?: Lemon.

Texture: Heavy cream. 

How often do you apply it?: Since this one is on the heavier side, I didn’t have to apply it as often as the others. When I put it on before bed, I woke up with my hands feeling soft and moisturized. 

The 411: This fast-absorbing vegan and cruelty-free hand cream is made with Macadamia Nut, Grape Seed, Soybean Oils, and Aloe Leaf Extract. The combination of these ingredients are ideal for dry and cracked hands. 

Price: $10 (4 fl oz) or $40 (32 fl oz).

The scent: Rosemary and cedar.

What does it actually smell like?: A winter forest. 

Texture: Lightweight balm.

How often do you apply it?: I use a lot of drying hand sanitizer when I’m out and about, and it really affects my hands and cuticles. I kept my travel size Resurrection balm (that came in my Departure Kit) inside my purse and applied it after I washed my hands, which helps prevent cracking.

The 411: Another Aesop product I can’t live without. Resurrection is sold as a hand balm, but just like Reverence you can use it as a body balm and apply it to dry areas. The wintery scent works for both women and men, and I love how it’s vegan and paraben-free. 

Price: $30 (2.6 fl oz) or $97 (17 fl oz).

The scent: Fragrance-free.

What does it actually smell like?: It is unscented (which is great because it doesn’t have that typical sunscreen smell).

Texture: Lightweight lotion.

How often do you apply it?: During the winter months it’s just as important to use sunscreen as it is in the summer. I applied this while I got ready for the day (about 15 minutes prior to sun exposure) so that it had time to sink in. During the summer when I’m on the beach I’ll apply it every two hours. 

The 411: Supergoops! Handscreen is more than just a lotion. It’s SPF 40 which protects against harmful UVA and UVB rays and helps fight environmental damage. It also acts as a barrier to prevent aging. The sea buckthorn, argan, and meadowfoam extracts are packed with vitamins and fatty acids that help improve skin texture and restore dry skin. It’s cruelty-free, clean, and reef-safe. 

Price: $14 (1 fl oz) or $38 (6.76 fl oz).

*This article contains some affiliate links.

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