Hand cream is one of those items everyone uses, be it daily or occasionally. You can easily turn a routine purchase into a small indulgence by seeking out something special, either for yourself or as a thoughtful little gift.
Though supermarkets offer plenty of serviceable everyday options from the likes of Nivea and Vaseline, for a more nurturing touch try connecting with nature. Let plant oils and natural fragrances soothe not only your skin, but your senses. Natural skincare production is an area in which New Zealand excels; many of our selections today are locally made.
1. Oasis Rose Damask Hand and Nail Cream $29.90
The delicate natural pink colour comes from clays which combine with shea butter and flax seed oil in this quickly absorbed cream made in Canterbury. It's gently scented with rose damask. oasisbeauty.co.nz
2. Geo Skincare Hydrating Hand & Body Cream $19.90
A new range which draws on organic plant ingredients and New Zealand minerals such as geothermal silica.
This hand cream contains avocado oil and organic camomile and comes with a light but definite fragrance from lavender, ylang ylang, and patchouli. geoskincare.com
3. Jurlique Jasmine Hand Cream $72
Jasmine lovers will adore this heady and pure aroma, which is like catching an evening waft of all-pervasive perfume. More delicately scented options include rose, lavender and citrus. Jurlique hails from South Australia and the products are beautifully presented for giving in boxes decorated with botanical images. This hand cream contains marshmallow and camomile and is based on safflower and macadamia oils. (From Smith & Caughey's and Extracts, Westfield Downtown.)
4. Grown Hand Cream: Vanilla & Orange Peel $39
Smells as yummy as the filling of a luxury chocolate truffle. The tin, decorated with art nouveau-style lettering, lists a host of ingredients including grape seed, wheatgerm and rosehip and camellia seed oil. Although Grown is made in Australia, the brains behind the Melbourne-based company are two New Zealand brothers aiming at the upper end of the natural skincare market. (From Smith & Caughey's and selected pharmacies.)
5. Living Nature Nourishing Hand Cream $21.95
Plant and nut oils mix with manuka honey and larch tree extract to moisturise effectively. This Northland-made product absorbs without leaving a greasy residue, but does have a smell reminiscent of damp foliage, so it's best for true nature lovers. livingnature.com
6. Antipodes Deliverance Kowhai Flower Hand Cream $33.50
A fresh orange smell softened with tonka bean and sandalwood makes this vitamin E-rich hand cream a treat. Wellington-based Antipodes uses avocado oil as its base, mixed with macadamia for extra moisture.
7. Huni All Day Hand and Nail Cream $25
The sweet smell of manuka honey is readily apparent in this pH-balanced cream from the Bay of Plenty, made with argan and macadamia oils. A healing extract from native flax, or harakeke, is also added. huni.com
8. Weleda Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream $23.90
The warm citrusy smell comes from a hardy European coastal plant and will have you cupping your hands under your nose to enjoy inhaling this uplifting aroma. Sesame oil is added to produce a rather rich cream, ideally enjoyed of an evening when its aromatherapeutic benefits can best be absorbed. Or try a tin tube of the exotically fragrant Pomegranate Regenerating Hand Cream from this long-established Swiss bio-dynamic company. For extremely dry hands and scaly patches Weleda also makes Skin Food Balm. weleda.co.nz
9. Tebe Hand Moisturising Cream $32.45
Olive oil extracted from fruit grown in the Bombay Hills is the bedrock of the Tebe range. This hand cream adds in shea butter and aloe and olive leaf extract to combat free radical skin damage. tebe.co.nz
10. Trilogy Rose Hand Cream $15.90 (50ml)
Rose essential oil and shea and cocoa butter offer heavy duty help with a light feel. Trilogy's Everything Balm is a richer multi-tasking option from this New Zealand range with worldwide reach. trilogyproducts.com
Soothing self-massage allows you to extend your enjoyment of a fine fragrance and the moisturising benefits of a good hand cream.
By gently exercising joints and exploring pressure points you will feel more relaxed and leave your hands feeling supple and soft.
Australian skincare company Jurlique offers these pointers on how to pamper yourself.
1. First, rub your palms together to warm them. Then use your thumb to stroke deeply between each tendon of one hand, from the knuckles to the wrist.
2. Turn the hand you are massaging palm up. Stroke your thumb firmly down the palm of the hand and out to the side several times in a
fanning motion. Then apply deep, circular thumb pressure all over the palm.
3. Sink and rotate your thumb into the web between the thumb and index finger of the other hand. You will find a tender spot that can bring relief from toothache, headaches and digestive problems.
4. Gently pull and twist each finger in turn with the knuckles of your other hand. Work right up to the fingertips.
Stockists: Except where spelled out more specifically above, most of these products can be found in a good range of health stores, pharmacies and department stores. See listed individual company websites for particular locations in your area.