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I’m much better at buying hand creams than I am at using them. You can find them wherever I go - there are several on my desk at work and on my desk at home, by the bedside, in the car, tucked in odd places, a bit like lip salves. My Molton Brown Desert Bloom Intensive Hand Rescue is the cream I took on holiday this year and there’s just enough of it left for me to review it before the tube goes in the bin.
My tube is a small one - just 15 ml - which came in a mixed box of Molton Brown goodies a couple of years ago. It’s a handy size for me to keep in my travel bag and I mostly use it after I’ve used alcohol-based hand gels which I find to be harsh and very drying.
The cream is not too thin and runny which is important when I go to hot countries as I don’t want it to run out of the tube too fast. It’s a white cream that spreads well and soaks in quickly.
It’s not explicitly stated on the tube - or at least not in a font I can actually read - what the product is supposed to smell of but to me it’s rather rosy. According to Molton Brown it actually contains desert plant extract, candletree leaf extract and myrrh but I can’t say that I’d know exactly what those should smell like and I guess most other people can’t either. All I can say is it’s very flowery.
The product is designed for hands that need a bit of extra care and are out of condition and contains a high level of shea butter. My hands don’t need such intense care so it’s hard to say whether this really would be significantly different from a normal cream but I do like that it can be used as both a hand cream and a cuticle cream. I also always buy a shea based cream if I can as I think it’s better for skin than more synthetic alternatives. I love that I can still pick up subtle traces of the scent hours after I’ve applied it.
The RRP of this product is a shocking 21.00 for just 75 ml which really is way beyond what I’d pay. I have bought Molton Brown hand lotions but they are a lot less expensive than the hand creams, typically selling at around 20.00 for 300 ml (or a lot less from the outlet place where I shop).
I like this hand cream a lot, would be more than happy to find it in a mixed box again, but 21.00 for 75ml is way out of my league.
I received a smaller sample tube of this Desert Bloom Intense Hand Rescue hand cream as part of a Molton Brown travel set for Christmas. The set itself contained 6 or 7 miniature versions of their products in a handy clear zip lock bag, great for hand luggage on planes. I usually love any Molton Brown item I try but as their prices are so high they're not a brand I would ever buy for myself and they really are a little luxury for me every time I receive one as a gift.
I hadn't tried the hand cream until recently, mainly because I had so many others on the go but every so often I get a really dry patch on the skin around one of my nails and it gets very red, itchy and flakey and whenever this happens I always use the heaviest, most intensive cream I can find in my stash. That was when I remembered this one tucked away in my cupboard just waiting for me. I had originally intended to save it for my holidays as it's a rather handy 15ml tube, perfectly sized for travelling and smal enough that I'd probably use it up in the 3 weeks I'll be away and so wouldn't have to bring it back with me.
The tube is just a smaller version of the one shown above, a pale brown colour with contrasting pink branding. Unfortunately it has a screw off lid, which it sits on. The fact that it sits on the lid is good as it means the product is dispensed more easily. On the other hand I really hate screw top lids with things like this as it's very tricky to screw the top back on when you have a blob of cream in your hand without dropping either the lid or the blob of cream and I would much rather see a flip top cap on the tube. Having said that, it's not as much as an issue with this particular cream as I've found it to be with others in the past as the cream is quite thick, so the chances of it falling off your hand are slim.
The claims on the front of the tube are quite ambitious stating that it can rescue out-of-condition hands, nails and cuticles by smoothing, hydrating and minimising the appearance of age-spots. On the back are usage instructions ("massage into hands, nails, cuticles and wrists" - thanks for that, I'd have been stuck otherwise!) in English and French and a VERY long list of ingredients. I won't bore you by reciting it, but needless to say it doesn't give the impression of being a very "natural" product.
As the tube is so small, when you squeeze the cream out it shoots out in a long thin worm of product. The first time I used it I wasn't ready for it and so ended up with a lot of excess and had to resort to rubbing it into my elbows and ankles as well as my hands to use it up. I am guessing, however, that this is only an issue because of the size of the travel tube and hope it's not also an issue with the full sized tube. After the first time of use, though, I got wise to it and have since taken more care when squeezing the tube so that only a small amount comes out.
The cream itself is very thick, as I said before, and a pale creamy colour and it gives off an absolutely wonderful fragrance. It's not something I find easy to describe but it's sort of like a much stronger, sweeter version of the old Head and Shoulders scent. I know that doesn't sound particularly pleasant, but I personally love it. It's a good job really because it's a very long lasting fragrance and I can still catch the odd waft of it several hours later if I apply it to the whole of my hands.
It's very easy to apply this cream and a little really does go a surprisingly long way. As I said, I'm having trouble with a particular finger tip being very dry and itchy at the moment and frequently have awful looking cuticles with broken bits, flakey bits and just general un-smoothness, so I tend to focus this cream on those areas rather than using it all over my hands, although I do use itall over them very last thing at night to work it's magic whilst I sleep. When I'm just using it on my cuticles/problem finger a worm literally about half a centimetre long is plenty and when I'm using it as a proper all-over hand cream a worm about an inch in length is more than enough to do my hands, nails, wrists and often elbows too.
When you rub it into your skin it has a really silky feeling to it and does definitely feel like a luxury product. I love using this hand cream as it's incredibly easy to massage into your skin, although as it's called an intense hand cream I never expected it to be quickly absorbed and, I have to say, this is true. It does take quite a while to sink properly into my skin, but I don't mind this at all and was fully prepared for it. Other hand lotions of theirs that I've used (specifically the naran ji version) are much more quickly absorbed and whilst I love that lotion as an every day hand cream, this feels much more luxurious and pampering and as though it really is treating your hands to a deep conditioning.
After using this cream I can see an immediate difference, particularly on my cuticles. Any dry, flakey skin feels instantly soothed and nourished and after approximately a week of using it, the very dry patch on that finger is all but healed up and back to normal now. When I use this overnight as an intensive hand cream all over my hands, the next morning my hands feel softer, silkier and the skin looks a lot smoother as well. Whether it really does minimise the appearance of age-spots too I can't comment on as I don't have any (yet!) but it certainly lives up to it's other claims so I see no reason to disbelieve it.
The Molton Brown website says that this cream contains South African Desert Plant extract, Candletree Leaf extract, Moringa and Shea butters which, combined, provide anti-oxidants, photo-aging protection, moisturisation and skin conditioning and that it is a good cream to use if you spend a lot of time outdoors or if your hands need serious attention and I would have to wholeheartedly agree with that. Some parts of my hands were in need of serious attentions (and I also happen to spend a lot of time outside!) and I really can notice the difference in my hands since I've been using this cream.
Obviously, being Molton Brown, it is going to be on the pricey side and a quick look at their website reveals the shocking truth...£21 for a 75ml tube, eek! That would make my little travel sized tube £7...double eek! That is double what I'd normally spend on a full sized tube just for a sample size and, usually, there is no way it would even occur to me to spend £21 on a hand cream. HOWEVER! Having tried this small tube I have been totally converted and would now definitely spend the money for such a rich, nourishing, conditioning hand cream. The small tube has lasted me a week so far and I would guess would last at least 4 more so the larger tube should, theoretically, last me around 4 months, probably longer if I wasn't having any particular problems with my hands and was just using it as a nightime hand cream and I would fully expect that if I continue to use this once a day anyway I would have much fewer instances of problem dry patches and horrid cuticles anyway.
I honestly can't recommend this hand cream highly enough. If you have problem hands, dry patches or simply want to treat yourself to some intense nourishment for your hands then you can't go far wrong with this Desert Bloom hand cream. It smells lovely, adds a touch of luxury to my nightly regime and, most importantly, leaves my hands feeling moisturised, nourished, softer and smoother. I obviously have to knock one star off for the price, but in this case it is a price I would actually pay myself (although I'll be looking out for it in duty free and failing that adding it to my xmas list!) as I have never found a hand cream that treats my skin as this one does.