Time to put away the winter jacket–but not the moisturizer!

Today is officially the first day of 2011 where if I look closely enough, I can see the faintest sun-induced glow on my arms! What a gorgeous day for a trip to Rock Creek Park. When these days come along in March, you just have to set aside your inside plans and errands and get outside. Laying out in the park today, with the sounds of a group of bbq’ers and a high school lacrosse game drifting toward me, had me dreaming about cherry blossoms and rooftop dinners. But, we can’t get ahead of ourselves jussssst yet. In my home state of Maine, it was almost 70 degrees yesterday, and snowing heavily this morning. And even  in DC, sunny spring days can be tempered by chilling winds. While it might be safe to put away the heavy winter jacket, keep the bottle of dry skin moisturizer on your nightstand–right next to your sunglasses!

This winter was particularly brutal on my hands. Between the weather and the millions of papercuts I somehow get at work, my hands were seriously suffering. Before committing to one product, I like to try out a variety of travel- or sample-size brands and see which one works the best for my skin. (I also just love anything travel sized, and they are great for sticking in your purse.) This winter, I tried out 4 different hand moisturizers for my dry skin. Here is the run-down, from my least favorite to the one that I will apply before bed tonight:

4. Eucerin Calming Creme (Dry Skin Therapy)

I just didn’t find this creme to be very effective for me. It’s also “Fragrance Free,” but I always find that no-fragrance is still a fragrance, and I didn’t particularly like it in this case.

3. Curel Daily Moisture (Original Lotion for Dry Skin)

I find this moisturizer to be a bit watery. If you like an especially light moisturizer, this might be your best option, but when my skin is cracking from the dryness, I tend to gravitate toward ones with a thicker (without being greasier) texture. Also, the fragrance is heavy on the baby powder which could turn up a few noses if you’re applying in your cubicle or on the train home.

2. Neutrogena hand cream (Norwegian Formula)

This hand cream is a bit more expensive and harder to find than the others ($4.99 for a 2 oz tube). That said, I found it to be incrediblhy effective, and it’s true that you only need a small dab for both hands. The original scent is really nice and light. My only issue with it is that it is glycerin-based, leaving my hands feeling slightly greasy after applying. I’ll continue to use this–but mainly on my elbows.

1. Jergens (Ultra Healing)

And the winner is…Jergens!! This dry skin moisturizer healed my dry skin this winter. It’s the perfect texture–light enough that your hands aren’t sliding on your computer mouse or Kindle, but thick enough that you can feel it working.  It might be the high vitamin content that sets this moisturizer apart–it is rich in C, E, and B5. I have a big bottle right next to my bed so I can apply right before hitting the lights each night, and also carry a travel size with me to apply after I wash my hands or before I dig into a stack of papers throughout the day.

Agree or disagree with these rankings? I’d love to hear your thoughts! We can only hope that the spring weather will make this all a moot point before long.