5 hand balms for bitter winter weather

Every year, in the non-equatorial world, it gets cold. When it's cold, it's dry. And almost immediately, my skin starts to crack and itch. Set the clocks back and cuticles start to peel away on cue, finger webbing gets all ashy and the backs of my hands age years. It's a hot look... not really. It's distracting and painful, mostly. I run several humidifiers at full whack in the house but can't stuff one in my bag for the road so hand balm it is when away from the tropical confines of my living room. Don't leave home without one of these five balms this winter (and if you happen to live in the Southern Hemisphere, start stock piling now for autumnal climes to come). While not all of these are necessarily hand balms, all come in sizes small enough to pop into your handbag without a problem. Find out which five work best in winter weather...

Diptyque Baume Genereux for the luxe junkie | Has a sweet nutty smell with a bit of apricot and a touch of spice. White tub, white cream, glides on super easily (slightly viscose), absorbs right in and hands stay soft and matte for hours. Love it even if I don't love the price tag.

Olivina Meyer Lemon Body Balm for the green & glam | More of a body balm-y lotion than a bona-fied balm, this stuff is wonderful if you don't like the residual feel of balms. It smells heavenly... green and citrus but not acrid nor like wood polisher. The body butter sinks right in and leaves your hands much like the Baume Genereux -- smooth for hours, in soft focus and nicely scented. I used it all over the body after my showers during the winter.

Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm for the cult label curator | Aesop is for those who might be a bit utilitarian about beauty, but in the sort of way that, say, the Bauhaus movement was. Yes, they valued function but the form didn't suffer. Aesop is like that for me. Utilitarian (in darkened chemist jars) displayed in minimalist shops with a varied, global following of die-hard fans who prize both style and substance. This balm is a bit more slippery than the others but stick with it. I find that it works well used on arms, chest and other fleshier bits that get dry. And although some hate tubes, I love the old-fashioned look.

REN Mayday Mayday Rescue Balm for hands beyond repair | Smells good (maybe a touch crunchy). You only need the tiniest bit of this heavy balm. Use it on cracks in your hands, lips, cuticles or anywhere else you immediately need to start repairing cracks.

Vaseline Petroleum Jelly for the super budget conscious | It's cheap as chips and creates a barrier between your skin and the elements. 'Nuff said. I can't comment on the moisturising propeties of petro-chemicals, but, hey, if you need a quick fix on a dime, this is it. And remember, it has the same ingredient base as Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream and many other more expensive balms.

Keep these in mind too: Tela Anti-Aging Lip Balm (good everywhere, not just the lips), Jurlique Love Balm, Body Shop Body Butters (minis are perfect on-the-go), Revolution All-Over Balm (smear it on lips, knuckles, cuticles... wherever to instantly relieve dryness), Kiehl's Imperial Body Balm (like Palmer's on steroids with Seabuckthorn), Crabtree and Evelyn La Source or L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream (now on offer in beautiful limited-edition tins so snap them up quickly).