Thursday 14 January 2010

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

The snow is back and people everywhere are grumbling about the cold and the ice. Well, call me a big kid but I actually love it (for the first few days, anyway). I get out there with the kids building snowmen and pulling them along on makeshift sledges and throwing snowballs around. But I must admit, the biting cold plays havoc with your skin. The skin on my face is red and tingly but worst of all, the skin on my thumb has cracked. It's a minute cut and if you didn't know, you wouldn't even notice it and I'm always telling the girls that whining and crying doesn't make it hurt any less so it's a waste of energy ... but it does really hurt !

Well, the Neutrogena products with their "Norwegian Formula" labels jumped out at me. It's cold and snowy in Norway, right ? So generations of Norwegian ladies must have come up with the ideal products for keeping their skin soft and supple and moisturised in colder weather than this, right ? Well, looking around on their website, it's not quite as glamorous as that ! Forget Norwegian ladies with glowing healthy skin and think stinky Norwegian fisherman up to their elbows in fish guts ! "NEUTROGENA Norwegian Formula® was discovered at sea when, despite the harsh weather conditions, Norwegian fishermen reported soft, supple hands. When NEUTROGENA® investigated, they discovered the oils in the fish had intensively moisturising properties. A synthetic version of the fish oil was created, and to this day remains an integral ingredient in the NEUTROGENA Norwegian Formula® range." Oh well, if it works ! - and at least it's synthetic fish oil so it doesn't smell horrible !

Before I even tested it, I knew it would be good stuff because it's been dragged out and put on the counter at my local chemist's, so it's obviously what they're advising for people with sore or chapped skin. I smothered my hands, especially my poorly thumb (have I got your sympathy vote yet ?!), in the Norwegian Formula Concentrated Hand Cream. The label says it offers "instant relief of dry, chapped hands - just a dab needed". That's just as well because the tube seems quite small, containing 50ml which is less than a lot of other hand creams. It is concentrated though so presumably a little goes a long way. And it is cheaper than a lot of other hand creams too.

I was initially surprised at the texture. It comes out as an almost clear gel or jelly type substance, not the cream I was expecting. It reminded me a little of a less greasy and less sticky form of Vaseline. When you rub it in to your skin, it does transform into a typical white cream though. One of my tests when reviewing hand cream is, can I continue typing my review straight away or do I feel the need to go and wash my hands first ? Well, this did leave a greasy residue on my fingers so I did want to go and clean my fingers before coming back to the keyboard. I used soap and water and this removed the greasy residue but not the product that had been absorbed by my skin, which felt softer and plumper and looked healthier (no more white, slightly scaly patches on the backs of my hands - just soft, supple skin). And above all, my skin had stopped feeling tight and - yay ! - my thumb had stopped hurting ! So it certainly lives up to its "instant relief" claim.

I would almost define this as a health product more than a beauty product. Despite its compact size, the label says it contains enough for 200 applications, so it's perfect for keeping handy in your handbag, coat pocket or desk drawer, to apply whenever needed like lip balm. It's also ideal for both men and women, coming in scented and unscented varieties. If you are bothered by my mention above of a slight greasy residue on your fingers, there is also a Fast Absorbing version, advertised as "intensively moisturising hands, while leaving no stickiness or residue". If you're more interested in beauty products rather than remedies for chapped skin, you might be more tempted by the Anti-Ageing Hand Cream ("a modern classic with Active Soy to reduce brown spots and SPF 15 to protect against the sun, perfect to counteract the tell-tale signs of ageing") or the Hand & Nail Cream ("contains Pro-Vitamin B5 for complete hand and nail care"). Personally, I'll stick with the Original version but use it first thing in the morning and last thing at night, when I can wash my hands, and then dab it on problem areas (did I mention my sore thumb yet ?!) as needed.

At least until the cold spell is over, and I've stopped playing silly buggers in the snow with the kids, it will definitely be permanently living in my coat pocket with my lip balm. Here in Dunkirk, the yearly carnival was created by the local fishermen who went off cod-fishing in the waters off Iceland and wanted one last big party before they went in case they failed to return. Well, now I've tried out the Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, I've got on more thing to be grateful about when thinking of those fishermen !

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £3.49 - but currently on offer in Boots for £2.33 if you're quick !

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