It’s been a while since I’ve written about beauty. Not from lack of enthusiasm, it’s just that in striving to spend less and use up what I already own, I’ve found myself with fewer words to say on the subject. I’ve been trying to whittle down my products as more items run out, with the end point being a collection where everything is used on a regularly basis.
But while the shimmery purple eyeshadows and brightly coloured liners are gone for good (much like the days when I had the time and patience to apply a tonne of eye make-up), there are still products I love, and they survive the decluttering process every time. They’re cruelty-free, they’re from brands I’m happy to support, and they work. They’re not passing fads—they remain useful, and I’m happy to repurchase them. They’re my hero products.
I’m starting this series with hand care. Exciting? No. Essential? Absolutely, especially at this time of year, when the cold bites at your skin.
Salted Coconut Hand Scrub (v)
Maybe a hand scrub seems pointless, especially for someone who’s trying to cut down the amount of products they own. But the skin on my hands gets dry and flaky almost instantly at this time of year, whether I’m wearing gloves or not, and I like having something to slough off the dead skin.
Sea salt is the exfoliant in Salted Coconut, since it’s packed with minerals that cleanse the skin, while coconut oil and cupuacu butter provide a moisturising base. They’re both emollients, which means they absorb water easily. The sea salt has a fine, grainy texture, so it’s not too harsh on sore skin, while the oils and butter add a pleasant slip that makes scrubbing easy. You can feel the difference almost instantly.
You can use Salted Coconut on wet or dry hands, but I find that holding your hands under the tap for a few seconds first brings out the creaminess of the scrub. I’ve been using it every night and although I do still get the odd dry patch on my hands, they’re nowhere near as bad as usual. I can’t recommend this enough.
Salted Coconut costs £8.50 for 130g, or £15.95 for 300g.
I have hand cream on my desk at work, on my desk at home, and in the cupboard under the bathroom sink. (This is part of my effort to use up all my products before they expire.) Helping Hands is my bathroom sink cream, since I need to wash my hands before I use it—hygiene and all that.
Originally created for nurses, the cream contains chamomile water to calm, almond oil to moisturise, cocoa butter to soften, and honey for its antiseptic purposes. It’s light, gentle, and doesn’t feel sticky or greasy, but my oh my does it work wonders for dry, lifeless skin.
I usually apply Helping Hands just after I use Salted Coconut, but before I go to bed, so I don’t have to sit around waiting for it to sink in. My hands are always much softer in the morning, and any inflammation will have calmed right down.
Helping Hands costs £8.95 for 100g.
- They don’t test their products on animals.
- They have a large range of vegan products, which are all clearly labelled.
- They have plenty of packaging-free products and regularly increase the range, which includes solid versions of classic favourites, like the seasonal Snow Fairy.
- You can take your clean, empty pots back to any Lush store, and they’ll send them back to Poole in Dorset, where they’re reformulated into new pots and used again (a process that can be repeated). This is known as a closed-loop recycling system. Oh, and you’ll also get a free face mask; my personal favourites are Rosy Cheeks and Catastrophe Cosmetic.
I’d like the Hero Products series to help others create their own collection of must-haves. While I’d highly recommend both Salted Coconut and Helping Hands, they’re not going to be suitable for everyone. Some may think using a hand scrub is excessive; others might look for different ingredients. But a hand cream is an essential for many of us, and certainly worth the investment.
How do you look after dry hands in winter? Have you tried either of these products before? Let me know in the comments.
(v) = vegan
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Beth, 25, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travel, gin, and the Oxford comma.
I write about cruelty-free beauty, vegan & veggie food, and trying to lead a less wasteful life. I throw the odd think piece in there, too.