I’ve tested hundreds of hand creams, and this is the best one

Laura Kennedy: I want a single hand cream to serve all purposes, day and night

If you’re a beauty enthusiast, hands should be of interest to you, and yet we do not talk about them much. Our hands are a primary interface with the world around us, but it often does not occur to us to think about them unless there’s some problem to contend with. An itchy winter chilblain, or an angry patch of eczema or an aching joint are sometimes needed to remind us that our hands do actually require some care. Yes – beauty lovers may extend their interest to the fingertips, manicuring and paying attention to the nails and cuticles. But the rest? Not really. If the average Irish hand could talk, it would be hunched in a corner with the dour demeanour of Peig Sayers, keening desperately.

The bad news is that, unsurprisingly, due to constant exposure to sunlight, temperature fluctuation, hard water, soaps and sanitisers, cleaning products (and on and on), our hands are getting a relentless battering. They show signs of damage and ageing much more quickly than our faces, and can make us look older and more tired than we are, even if we’re diligent with a healthy diet, daily SPF application and good facial skincare. The good news is that hands do not need all that much to stay in tip-top shape. Like puppies and babies, they respond quickly and enthusiastically to a bit of nurturing.

Now look, I understand the drawbacks of hand care. I loathe a slimy, heavy hand cream. I can’t bear the sensation of objects I pick up shooting comically from my grasp as though they’ve been buttered. The perfect hand cream for everyone doesn’t exist, but Dr Sam’s Flawless Hand Therapy (€17) comes close for me for a few reasons. I want a single hand cream to serve all purposes, rather than having to buy a light-textured one for daytime use and a heavier one for night, and I want it to behave with the same intelligence as my facial skincare.

A hand cream shouldn’t just slime on like a pair of plastic gloves and sit there inertly, seeping into the pages of my bedtime book. Hands have their own particular ecosystem and challenges. This hand cream formulated by a dermatologist contains ingredients you would normally find in products for face – anti-inflammatory niacinamide, moisturising squalane and bakuchiol, a potent antioxidant. The cream absorbs without tackiness and is designed to reinforce the skin’s barrier (frequent hand washing may be important but it can challenge barrier function) and tackle the signs of sun damage. When the barrier is compromised, cracking, inflammation and stinging are common, and hands become more prone to issues such as eczema. By maintaining the barrier, skin is more robust, reinforced and less prone to damage and showing signs of premature ageing.


I don’t apply hand cream to my palms every time I use it – doing this while going about your daily tasks is what traditionally makes hand cream so annoying. I squeeze a blob on to the back of one hand, then rub the backs of both together, ensuring that I don’t forget to apply it in between my fingers and especially between the thumb and forefinger, where winter dryness shows quickly. At night, I’ll apply a drop of whichever face oil I have to my cuticles before sleep to prevent any ragged bits of dry skin and the temptation to pick that they represent.

One last tip – yes, we should be using SPF on our hands. I know this is tricky, with regular hand washing, but your hands get all the UV exposure your face does. Using SPF will keep the skin at its best more effectively than anything else over time.

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about beauty