I have never met a hand cream I didn’t like.  It’s not that I don’t have standards:  I am pretty picky when it comes to facial moisturizers, cleansers, masques, and the like.  But hand creams seem to me to fall into that rare category of things in life where there are good and there are better, but there is no such thing as bad.

I’m sure this is because I’m always reaching, or wanting to reach, for something to smooth my dry hands, and anything makes for an improvement over their natural state.  More than any other body part, hands take such a beating.  I’m consistent enough about slathering something on after baths and showers, but it seems my hands are constantly in and out of water—hand-washing after exercise, doing dishes, preparing and cooking food, housework—and I’m not nearly good enough about treating them every time.  Back when I worked at a corporate job, even shuffling papers dried out my hands, and I kept a tube of some cream in my office—but that was back when there were offices (and paper).

I always use something on my hands before I go to sleep at night (for several months it’s been Derma Neem’s nail treatment oil, discovered here at TIA in August, followed by their Face and Body Cream, which I absolutely love), and I have a bottle of Nutra-Lift’s excellent body lotion, the unfortunately named Le Crème Fantastique ($17 in the TIA shop), standing next to the bathroom sink.  Both of these are modestly priced and really deliver relative to their cost.

Thus I was delighted by TIA’s offer to try Sparitual’s Handprint Hydrating Hand Salve, which is described as: “Made with 76% certified organic ingredients. Works to soften, nourish, repair and protect severely dry, stressed hands. Formulated with SpaRitual’s HydroShield  Technology featuring Organic Fair Trade Shea Butter, Aloe Ferox, Marula Oil, Griffonia Seed Extract, and Honeybush to deliver moisture, help promote skin regeneration, and provide a breathable shield of protection to dry, active hands.”

And indeed, Handprint boasts an interesting list of ingredients with lots of nice oils and extracts. It has a pronounced citrusy smell and goes on pleasantly—a thickish white cream. After several weeks’ use, though, my recommendation is only lukewarm.  It works, but not spectacularly, and not in the way I’d associate with its price tag:  $18 for just 1.7 ounces (50 ml).  I do think it provides some nourishment and hydration; maybe my hands are just terribly dry, but those benefits feel short-lived.  My biggest complaint is with what I assume Sparitual means by its “hydroshield technology”:  the cream seems a bit tacky and leaves a sort of waxy feeling after it’s absorbed.  I suppose this is the secret protective sauce (the third ingredient—cetearyl alcohol? Or stearic acid?) but it doesn’t do much for me.

Sparitual’s Handprint is a good-enough hand cream, and a good-enough hand cream is still a good thing.  It won’t replace what I’ve been using, however.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Organic Safflower) Seed Oil, Glycerin (organic/plant derived), Butyrospermum Parkii (Organic Shea Butter), Stearic Acid (vegetable derived), Parfum (fragrance), Aloe Ferox Leaf Extract, Cyclopia Intermedia (Honeybush) Leaf Extract, Griffonia Simplicifolia Seed Extract, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed (Marula) Oil, Tocopheryl (Vitamin E) Acetate, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Citral, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.