L’Occitane Hand Cream (Marvellous Flowers)

If I remember correctly, I bought these at DFS because I went to Helsinki in January. Maybe. Oops, my memory hasn’t been too great lately, and I have been feeling so tired for no reason. I was walking around as usual passing time before the flight, and found my way into Esprit where I decided to get the wool cap because I know that in cold places I always feel lightheaded when the cold gets too much for my head. I had wanted to get a nice, colourful and cheerful-looking cap when I was in Tokyo last December but decided against it because Tokyo was still bearable then. I didn’t know at that point that I would have to travel to Helsinki, where the temperatures dipped so low, the lowest temperatures that I have ever experienced in my entire life so far.

20130411-102251.jpgSince the Philosophy hand cream that I bought was a pretty small tube, I thought of getting something new to try. Unfortunately there weren’t many choices for me because I was looking for an optimal-sized tube that is more portable, which I could pop into any hand-carry bag when I travel, particularly now that we need to observe the rule on restrictions of liquids/gels/etc. brought on-board the plane.

The Marvellous Flowers hand cream from L’Occitane has a powdery, floral scent to it that doesn’t overpower. I didn’t use it when I was in Helsinki because surprisingly, the Philosophy tube lasted me throughout the week-long trip there, or probably I didn’t use it as often as I should because upon my return I did see that parts of my index finger were peeling rather badly. I only just started using this new tube in Singapore, in the office, which due to the air-conditioning, could make my hands pretty dry. I try to be more conscientious in using it after washing and drying my hands, especially now after all these trips abroad my hands really do seem to need some moisturising care. This hand cream is suitable for use in our climate here, because for me, my skin absorbs it rather well so that it doesn’t leave too many obvious greasy trails on my iPhone screen, laptop keyboard or office table top. But it also means at the same time that I have to re-apply often; I have yet to find a hand cream that does not trade-off the moisturising factor with non-greasiness.

Perhaps Philosophy comes closer to being one of those hand creams that is not too greasy but yet does the job well of keeping our hands adequately moisturised. I will give it a second try and if it is really like what I remembered, then it’d be on its way to becoming my holy grail of hand creams!

Friday is just hours away, TGIF everyone, wherever you are reading this from. Take care, and have a wonderful weekend!

The Body Shop

Years ago, I think I did patronise Body Shop, but I am not a big consumer of their products, even though the products all look really nice and appealing. I guess where toiletries are concerned, I either opt for drug store usuals like Dove (in the past and also recently) or Essensuals (up until recently), etc., I wouldn’t really buy shampoo and conditioner from these specialty stores, whether it’s Body Shop, Crabtree & Evelyn, L’Occitane, and so on. There are many of these shops in town these days and truth be told, I don’t know how great their products are but if I were to consider something that I am using on a daily basis, it is definitely more economical to stick to the drug store brands, because I can’t sustain for a long while to splurge on daily necessities. Mostly, I go to these shops to buy gifts for friends during Christmas time, because what we don’t use for ourselves daily, we can buy them for someone else and let them choose the frequency of usage. Besides, during the festive gifting season, these shops do an excellent job of marketing their gift ideas to consumers. 20130307-102543.jpg

It was also during the last Christmas season that I stepped into Body Shop again to take a closer look at their toiletries. Typically I have only bought their combs, nail buffers or shower lilies, but for presents we tend to be a bit less conservative in thinking that a bottle of shower gel can cost that much. From that visit, I got to know about their loyalty program, where every $30 spent earns you a stamp and based on the number of stamps accumulated, you can get some free gifts, i.e. at every 3rd stamp earned. In addition, being part of this loyalty program also gives entitles you to a 10% discount!20130307-102601.jpg

As you can see from my card above, I have only achieved 2 stamps to-date, so I have not yet redeemed any freebies from them yet, but I still have time because this loyalty program goes on for a year so I have several more months to buy more things from Body Shop! I am not a make-up junkie so where cosmetics are concerned I am also not exploratory like many of my friends are, so I have never taken any proper look at their cosmetics range. And skincare is something rather out-of-bounds for me due to sensitive skin, meaning that I am also not adventurous in trying out skincare for fear of the dreaded breakouts thereafter. Perhaps I can consider trying their body care range, or even hair care, who knows maybe I will just discover something I like. 20130307-102616.jpg

While I was shopping for gifts during Christmas, I came across the Japanese cherry blossom series of body care items and I remembered it being rather nice-smelling. I think this is not an uncommon scent because L’Occitane has something similar which I think is not too bad, and last April I bought a huge bottle of Japanese Cherry Blossom shower gel from Bath & Body Works in the US that I really liked but have unfortunately already finished. To my surprise a couple of days ago, I found something in my office cabinets while doing some housekeeping: 20130307-102628.jpg

This was something I got from a Christmas gift exchange in 2011 which I had left in the office and forgotten about. I guess it should still be usable, but in any case cheers to unexpected discoveries!

L’Occitane and Crabtree also have their own loyalty programs, but I’m not on either since a friend of mine is a member of both so generally I just tag along with her when they are having member events during Christmas. I don’t buy enough to really justify or warrant having a membership in any case. Unless I start to switch out from the drug store brands to these. But that would mean increasing my toiletries budget significantly, which at the moment is already pretty high due to my reguarl visits to the dermatologist. Oh well, let’s see how things go. I shall probably start with Body Shop, since in terms of pricing they tend to be a little friendlier to the pocket!

(mini) battle of the hand creams

I am not very diligent when it comes to hand creams, although I have started using them, albeit on a very on-and-off basis, since a few years ago.

Of the first hand creams that I recall using was L’Occitane’s Happy Hands series that I bought from Duty Free. There were 6 tubes of 3 different types of miniature-sized (about 30ml) hand creams/lotions in a box. If I remember correctly, it was verbena, lavender, and something else, maybe cooling hand gel? Aside from the three types contained in the (then) Happy Hands kit, I have tried some other L’Occitane hand creams that were usually Christmas gifts that I received from friends, like the festive edition type. I’ve tried Shea Butter too and it isn’t too bad, moisturising without being too greasy but it has a smell that perhaps not everyone may be accustomed to.

Then there is the other well-known toiletries brand, Crabtree & Evelyn. They also have various lines of fragrances with hand cream being one of the items. I haven’t tried many of their hand creams as opposed to body lotions, which I tend to use a lot of when I travel to dryer climates, but most recently I used and finished the La Source Hand Therapy 25ml tube, which was also a gift!

Other than these, there is Jurlique’s Rose hand cream that I bought on a trip to Australia and happened to pop into the Jurlique shop to pick up some toiletries then. It was sometime back since I bought that but I figured that as long as it wasn’t opened it should be safe to use. I just opened it today and it still smells fine.

Honestly, I would be one of the last persons to compare hand creams because I don’t use them consistently enough to comment if they actually work. Now, I use them in the office because the air-conditioning makes my hands really dry and I apply them to the elbows too because that’s another spot of dry skin on me.

Of the ones that I have used, I think I like C&E’s La Source Hand Therapy best. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of the La Source scent so that is a major contributing factor. Besides, I like the light texture of the cream as it doesn’t leave your hand feeling sticky after applying it. It glides on easily and gets absorbed into the skin promptly after applying, and after that it makes my skin feel and look softer. As compared to L’Occitane’s hand creams that tend to be rather thick and therefore sticky, this was a godsend for me. I also think that some of L’Occitane’s hand creams tend to be a bit too slick without actually doing the work of a hand cream even if it smells rather nice.

I have just started using Jurlique today and already I am comparing it with C&E. The Rose hand cream is stickier and as I type I think I’m leaving some residue on my laptop. It’s not as easily absorbed which means I have to spend more time rubbing the cream into my skin, and to be frank I don’t really fancy the rose water scent. Perhaps hand creams that are creamier works better for dry skin but to me, how it feels like after application is very important too.