Miye Bromberg, Associate Editor
We spend a lot of time evaluating the durability of the products we investigate since we want our readers to be getting equipment that will last a long time. The downside is that there are days when I feel like I've spent more time washing equipment than testing it—ask me about washing wooden cutting boards by hand 100 times. And I hate wearing gloves—I can't tell if I've gotten all the hidden crud off a piece of equipment unless I've run my fingers all over it. As a result, my hands really take a beating, going from dry to itchy to cracked very quickly.
If I remember in time, I'll start using Eucerin Advanced Repair Hand Cream in the days leading up to and during an intensive washing cycle. It moisturizes well and absorbs surprisingly quickly, leaving a thin layer of protection on my hands. When I forget and my hands start getting itchy, though, I go old-school and slather on a layer of Pond's Cold Cream. I can't remember a time when I haven't had a jar of this in the house; my grandmother used it to take off her makeup, and when I was a kid my mother would rub it on my chapped nose and lips when I had a cold. It's got both mineral oil and beeswax in it, and while I don't think the formula is as thick as it used to be, it is still greasy as all get out. It takes a good long time to sink in, but does a great job of softening and soothing.
Finally, for the worst cases—when my skin has already started to crack and bleed—I will very occasionally use a somewhat expensive cream called Cutemol. It's designed to treat eczema, and has a very thick, almost stiff consistency. While it also contains both mineral oil and wax, it definitely leans more heavily on the wax. If you put it on, you better not plan on doing anything with your hands for a long time afterwards, unless you want to leave oily fingerprints on everything you touch. But that waxy layer pretty much waterproofs your hands, at least for a little while, making them feel far better protected than anything else.