3 Ways to Soothe, Moisturise & Hydrate Your Hands & Body
3 Ways to Soothe, Moisturise & Hydrate Your Hands & Body
While exploring what we believe to be an important product category, we dive into research dedicated to hydrating our hands and body. What exactly are body and hand moisturisers? Can we use one product for both? What makes a great moisturiser, and why? We explore the industry leaders in this area to identify what sets them apart from the rest. Should we include this product category in our Made with You range?
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At Noèma, we believe in multifunctional, multi-use products that bypass marketing to be transparent about ingredients and their uses. Part of this is to look into what other brands are doing well and how why their formulations work. Hand and body creams tend to be marketed as separate entities that perform different outcomes on the skin, and while there is some difference between how the skin is affected by our environment between hand and body, the skin can be treated in the same ways. So, what makes a good hand and body cream?
Body and hand creams are usually made up of four main components. The first, protective butters such as shea or mango seed to provide a protective barrier to the skin, keeping moisturise in and stopping our environment from drying the skin out, this is especially important for skin that has issues with the skin mantle barrier like eczema. The second, oils that provide differing levels of penetration, providing oil-based moisture to all layers of the skin, these oils help to improve the skin’s texture and do the heavy lifting in changing the skin’s quality. The third, actives such as vitamin A, stimulating or calming essential oils and herbs, help to challenge or calm the skin and will do the most work to improve skin issues like pigmentation, dermatitis or flakiness. The fourth, stabilisers and preserving agents (not preservatives!), this is the boring stuff but super important as they make sure your product lasts. Most of these ingredients in natural formulations sounds a little intense, but actually tend to be plant-based derivatives that have anti-microbial effects.
The main features of a good hand and body cream are quality of seed butters, oils and actives, variety in the penetrating abilities of the oils and butters in the formulation and the level of protection the formulation provides to the skin. Firstly, like with most things, quality matters, making sure that the quality of the ingredients being used in the cream are of a high standard and source informs how the cream will perform. If you don’t have a strong base to start with the product will never be as good as it can be. This includes the choice in actives, choosing an active that will one, work in an oil base and two have an actual effect on improving the skin’s condition are important choices in the formulation process. Variety in oils, this is important as it informs not only the texture of the formulation but also how it works. Good formulations pair rich oils such as olive oil with thin lightweight ones, such as grapeseed, in order to provide different levels of penetration. Just like providing the skin with oils that penetrate deeply in to the skin having ingredients in the formulation that protect the skins mantle barrier.
I have selected a few formulations from brands that we think are doing hand and body creams well to investigate what makes their formulations work.
Sans Ceuticals Baobab Body + Hand Repair Cream. This product has a beautiful composition that balances actives and hydrating ingredients. This formulation contains actives such as Baobab seed oil which has natural anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects on the skin as well as providing vitamin F to help nourish the skin and helps other ingredients to penetrate deeply in to the skin. It also contains vitamin A which as we all now know helps to facilitate cell renewal, collagen and elastin synthesis and controls pigmentation. Sans’ multi-functional cream synergistically balances the hydrating and protecting properties of mango seed butter, Apricot oil and squalene oil with the activeness of vitamin A and Baobab seed oil.
Another formulation to look to is Nuori’s Vital Hand Cream, which balances heavy protective ingredients such as shea butter (natural UV protection) and beeswax with lighter oils such as grape seed and almond oils. Whilst this product is designed specifically for hands, the balance between heavy and light oils, butters and waxes with actives such as white tea and vitamin E which are powerful antioxidants shows the similarity in formulating for hand and body, with differences in texture through the inclusion of more of the protective ingredients to compensate for the hard work our hands to everyday.
Last, but not least:
Sodashi’s Geranium and Lavender Hand Cream uses a different actives base to the rest of the formulations we have looked at, focusing on essential oils are the actives. Sodashi’s hand cream has the same balance of heavy and light oils and butters using shea butter, avocado and almond oils but uses lavender as their main active ingredient which helps to promotes skin cell turnover and regeneration. The active is important in defining the what the product does to the skin for example Salus’ Calendula and Shea Butter Hydrating Body Cream has a very similar ingredients listing to Sodashi’s but uses calming actives like calendula in their formulation, changing it to a calming restorative product perfect for skin with issues such as eczema.
Finding a balance between the types and variety of oils used in the formulation as well as determining what you want the product to do for the skin – such as the inclusion of stimulating, healing or calming actives – are the most important parts of creating a high performing multifunctional hand and body cream. This is at the forefront of our minds when considering what type of hydration product we want to create at Noéma, to ensure our multi-use product can benefit our skin in many ways, eliminating the need for over-consumption.
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