In the bad old days before I discovered this hand cream, I used to spend the months of December through April trying to hide my hands from people. This was partly because they were disgusting -- red, chapped, wizened like the claws of a cartoon witch -- and partly because I was terrified that someone would try to shake hands with me, splitting my skin and causing my poor little paws untold agonies until they healed up again.
It was a pretty terrible cycle, and to stop it, I tried just about every cream and potion you can think of, from Vaseline to steroids, with varying (but largely unsatisfactory) results. That's until I stumbled upon Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, and all my problems were solved. OK, just the ones pertaining to my dried-up winter skin, but still.
Does It Work?
And how. This is the only thing I've found that keeps my knuckles from splitting in the dead of winter. Plus, after a few weeks of use, I noticed that my hands look less red and well, gnarled. If you're getting a terribly attractive mental picture of what my digits look like in the colder months, well, all I can say is double that and add horror movie music. It is unfortunate.
You don't need very much to make a difference, either. The tagline for the product is "just a dab heals dry skin." Never one to follow directions on the first go, I of course applied about a tablespoon's worth, only to discover that I had enough cream to moisturize both arms and part of each leg as well as my hands.
This product doesn't contain SPF, so if you apply it during the day, be sure to use an additional SPF. Yes, even in the winter. Now that my hands are looking less gnarly, I generally save this product for nighttime use, and use a lotion with SPF for daytime.
Please note: This product contains parabens, so if you're trying to avoid that, this isn't the product for you.
Texture, Feel, and Smell:
I was skeptical at first, because the product goes on somewhat greasily, similar to Vaseline, but it absorbs quickly -- especially if you don't apply it with a trowel, as I initially did. In about sixty seconds, my hands were dry enough to open doorknobs and type up reviews, which is really all I need to do, anyway.
I like the unscented version, which is refreshingly, as advertised, scent-free, but I've also used the scented one, and it's also very light and pleasant. The line between skin care treatments and makeup gets blurrier every time a company releases yet another sparkly lotion, but this is a product that's geared toward treating a problem, and succeeds admirably.
Water, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Dilauryl Thiodipropionate, Sodium Sulfate, Fragrance (if you choose the scented option)
Bang for Your Buck:
If you read this site regularly, you'll know that my absolute favorite thing is when a drugstore product turns out to be even better than the super-expensive department store brands. Norwegian Formula is definitely one of those deals. I've even had friends with mild eczema report significant improvement in the look of their skin while using this cream, although of course, if you have a serious skin condition, you want to ask a real-live doctor for product recommendations (and perhaps a prescription).
Price: $5 and under.
Is It Worth It?
Absolutely. At this point, I can't imagine making it through the winter without this product.