Tag Archives: sensitive skin

Make-Up Miracles: Sebamed Hand & Nail Repair Cream review

*UPDATE: I have since discovered some even more miraculous hand creams – check out my post here to find out more!*

You may have picked up from previous posts that a year at kindergarten dealing with adhesives, snotty children and copious amounts of antibacterial hand-wash on a daily basis left me ravaged, dry, scaly and flaking – and that was just my hands! Or should that be hooves. Seriously, I had the hands of an 18th century scullery maid… in her 60s.

I went through numerous hand creams, body butters, lotions, potions and prayers without any making much of a difference – and some even seemed to make it worse! But one day, reading through the SCMP’s Young Post section (and, in my opinion, the only readable part of the paper), I saw Sebamed’s Hand & Nail Repair Cream receiving a glowing recommendation. I’d had previous success with Young Post recommendations – it was they who put me in the direction of previous make-up miracle, Atorrege AD+ Spots Treatment – and the product didn’t seem too pricey, so I thought I’d give it a go.

I’ve not looked back since. I’ve since discovered that Sebamed is a bit of a hidden gem, a no-frills brand with plain packaging that gets great word-of-mouth Stateside. Their products are formulated to a neutral pH of exactly 5.5, the precise pH of healthy skin (soap, for instance, is a different pH and this is one reason why it can dry out and break up some skins), and this strengthens and stabilises the ‘natural barrier function of the skin’s acid mantle’ (I presume this is make-up speak for protects the skin so your skin can protect you!). Meanwhile, their gentle mild formulas are perfect for sensitive skin.

Their Hand & Nail Repair Cream was no exception. The medium consistency of the lotion seemed nothing to write home about but it absorbs super-quickly and is not at all greasy or oily, like some of the richer lotions on the market. There is a slight ‘bathroom cabinet’ scent but nothing unpleasant, instead vaguely reassuring, and it disappears quickly anyway. The cream also contains ingredients like allantonin, which regenerates the skin and makes it soft and supple, and bisabolol (the active ingredient from camomile), which alleviates irritation.

Although the packing might not be fancy, some of the claims Sebamed make certainly are! They reckon this cream will increase the skin’s capacity to retain moisture, restore the elasticity of the skin, smooth relieve and soften dry chapped hands and strengthen the nails, preventing them from breaking. And for once, each and every single one of these claims came true!

My hands were so dry and flaky that snakes probably mistook them for scaly skin they had shed earlier; my fingers were so cracked that my fingerprints no longer match the ones saved on my HK ID card. But after weeks of regular use (that’s daily, nightly and whenever else I find myself anywhere near the bottle), they slowly started to improve. My hands do indeed feel softer, my dry patches have indeed been healed and my nails do indeed seem stronger and haven’t broken once (also thanks to my trusty Nail Tek II, no doubt!).

My ultra-chapped areas are recovering at a promising rate and are completely smoothed and softened immediately after use, with normal levels of flakiness more ‘too many washing-up sessions with strong detergent’ rather than ‘just endured a trek to the North Pole’ or ‘may be regenerating into fish scales’. I also rub the lotion into the rough patches on my elbows and it seems to do a better job than the much-lauded Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream.

My 300ml bottle with a pump dispenser – which, bear in mind, I use like it’s going out of fashion – lasts me between 6 to 10 months. You can also buy a smaller squeezy tube that’s perfect for on-the-go use to keep your mitts permanently moisturised, especially in HK’s inescapable blasts of sub-Arctic air-conditioning. One thing that could be improved is the amount of excess packaging – the bottle comes in an unnecessary cellophane-wrapped cardboard box, whilst there is also another unnecessary plastic case around the head of the pump.

Overall, my hands are somewhere back to the plump, soft, never-seen-a-day-of-hard-graft status that they were at before my stint with a class of wild five year olds. And it’s solely down to Sebamed (I suppose Young Post could get a biscuit too). So welcome Sebamed’s Hand & Nail Repair Cream into your gallery of make-up miracles too – your hands, and anyone else who has to touch them, will be forever grateful!

Sebamed Hand & Nail Repair Cream, available from Meka and selected Watsons

Elemis Melting Cleansing Gel cleanser review

I was recently lucky enough to be sent some small sample sachets for a brand new product to Hong Kong – Elemis Melting Cleansing Gel.

I love the concept of this ‘dual-phase’ product. It starts life as a thick luxurious translucent gel, which glides silkily smooth onto the face. Next, massage it into your skin with wet fingertips, thus melting it into a milky creamy emulsion. Finally, wipe or rinse it off and you’re left with deeply-cleansed, super-soft and ultra-radiant skin.

The Melting Cleansing Gel also contains one of the current ‘It ingredients’ for cosmetics, Argan oil, which comes stuffed with naturally-occurring minerals and is renowned for its restorative and nutritive properties. Other high-achieving ingredients include rice silk (to mattify and eliminate shine), assai fruit (an antioxidant that prevents the skin from drying out) and rosemary leaf (a purifying antioxidant).

Even though I only had enough of the stuff to last around four days, I was bowled over. Elemis, much like one of my favourite skincare brands Bliss, originated from spa treatments and therapies and the Melting Cleansing Gel has a similarly amazing luxurious feel to it. I’m used to cleansers feeling very workaday so it was a lovely way to inject a little bit of luxury to my daily routine. The texture really is meltingly beautiful, gooey gliding goodness – as if someone made the softest cashmere, silk and velvet into gel form.

The results are instantly noticeable. My skin felt deeply cleansed without any of those familiar feelings of tightness or dryness and I was instead left feeling refreshed, relaxed and with supremely soft skin to boot. My complexion definitely seemed brighter and lighter too. Other reviews have commented on a pleasant citrus scent but oops, I was clearly enjoying the gel to cream transition to notice!

Because the Elemis Melting Cleansing Gel offers such a deep clean that feels more moisturising rather than stripping, I think it would be ideal for sensitive skin. Despite the whole melting dual-phase technology, it’s not especially time-consuming and can easily fit into your everyday skincare routine.

With just enough sample for four uses, I can’t really comment on the product’s long-term effects or how long it lasts for and it might be a little bit pricey to make it into everyone’s daily regime. However, what I can say is that I was so impressed by the Melting Cleansing Gel that I would definitely recommend it to others and would even give it a full-time trial myself!

Elemis Melting Cleansing Gel, $380 for 125ml, available from Elemis Day Spa in Central and Elemis counters at Lane Crawford and Joyce Beauty.