Sunday 29 November 2009

Hands First Power Scrub+ & Moisturiser

My mother-in-law absolutely horrified me this summer. We went out blackberrying for the afternoon with the kids, scaring ourselves silly in the process because we stumbled across a snakeskin that had been shed in the long grass - the long grass that we had all just been wading through ! Then we went home and made jars and jars of blackberry jam. Yummm ! The only problem was, our hands and the kids T-shirts got covered in dark red blackberry juice stains. I wasn't bothered, I'd made sure they were wearing old clothes and I knew the purple fingers wouldn't last forever. When she reached for the bleach, I assumed she was going to try to get the old T-shirts back to pristine condition but no, she proceeded to wash her hands in bleach. Neat bleach ! I stared on dumbfounded as she poured bleach on her hands, rubbed them together as if it was soap, then rinsed them in cold water. Admittedly, it worked and the stains disappeared but all afternoon, I kept checking discreetly, expecting her hands to fall off or her skin to blister or something. It didn't - but she did reek of bleach !

Well, I think I should give her a bottle of this "ultra effective hand cleanser" which is labelled as "cleansing and conditioning for the hardest working hards". It certainly sounds a lot nicer and kinder to the skin that my mum-in-law's bleach option ! The list of ingredients includes : "Natural pumice and walnut shell for deep-down cleansing, Natural blue cypress oil and panthenol for skin conditioning, Natural anti-bacterial grapefruit seed extract".

So it's a triple-action product that will not only clean your hands but moisturise them and disinfect them, which is brilliant in this peak period of swine flu, not to mention normal flu, contamination. Chemist Direct actually includes it on its list of swine flu protection products. It also makes it really good value as you won't have to fork out for a separate tube of hand cream and hand sanitizer.

You use it just as you would use liquid soap. Squirt a bit onto wet hands, massage thoroughly, rinse in warm water and repeat if necessary. It's a fairly thick gel so it's not that easy to get out of the bottle so make sure you give it a good shake to get the product down the right end of the bottle before you start, to save wasting running water while you wash your hands - personally I would have preferred a tube soI could squeeze it out easily.

It's a green gel (I was surprised at the colour, as it instantly made me think of Swarfega, the original deep-cleaning, ultra-tough hand cleaner), full of tiny black bits of pumice stone and walnut shell and to me it smelt of marzipan - possibly due to the walnut shell, assuming that smells the same as crushed up almond shell. My husband was a bit put off by the texture but to me, it was exactly the same as an exfoliating body scrub you would use in the shower. I'd actually be tempted to use it as a body scrub because it smells so yummy ! It felt really nice, mildly exfoliating but not at all harsh or scratchy. I can't comment on the deep-cleaning aspect as I hadn't done any dirty jobs but I will definitely be trying this on the girls when their fingers are covered in stubborn felt-tip pen or ink stains.

My hands didn't feel at all dried out but I wouldn't say they felt hydrated either. Maybe that's because, as a woman, I'm used to applying very thick hand cream that leaves a slightly greasy feel afterwards. As most men don't use hand cream, they probably wouldn't like that sensation of greasiness so this product is probably perfectly acceptable as a moisturiser to most men (and lets face it, apologies to the feminists out there but it is mainly men who will have their hands gunked up after tinkering with the car engine or various DIY jobs). It has the advantage of leaving hands totally dry, grease-free and not at all slippery, which is just as well if they're about to go back to using potentially-lethal power tools after a quick mid-job hand wash !

Actually, I've just noticed that if you look closely at the photo of the bottle, you'll see that the picture on the front shows a perfectly manicured, very feminine pair of hands washing themselves, next to some hands with incredibly hairy wrists. I'm convinced the hair has been airbrushed in to play up the virile male image and prove that this product isn't just for ladies. Inversely, the female hands make this much more girl-friendly than the ultra-macho original Swarfega targetted at (self-proclaimed) virile grease monkeys ! A friend tells me that this type of product is also great at removing kids temporary tattoos (which I usually end up attacking with nail varnish remover in the bath, not much better than mother-in-law washing her hands in bleach !) so this is a great all-round product for the whole family.

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £5.99 for 225ml

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