This may come as something of a surprise, but among the things I do to earn a crust, I am a beauty journalist. Yes, it is possible to be an outdoorsy person who loves hillwalking and wildlife watching, and also to be, well, a bit girly, and enjoy painting my nails occasionally. And to know a bit about what makes a good beauty product and what doesn’t. And I have to be honest, I love the luxury side of my job – the receiving of beautifully tissue-wrapped, scented products that send me scurrying to the bathroom for an hour or two of pampering and self-indulgence.
However, there come times when my skin just needs something that’s a bit less fluffy and a bit more prosaic. Sometimes those luxury lotions and potions simply aren’t up to the task – maybe it’s an outbreak of psoriasis, maybe I’ve banged a knee and got a bruise that just won’t go away, or maybe my skin has got a bit windburnt or sun sore.
Certainly I find that with summer on the way and more skin on show, I need products that work quickly and effectively to treat any sore or unsightly spots. And I’m prepared to forgo the luxury element for a product that works.
I therefore have no hesitation in recommending the very down-to-earth Skin Therapy Cream from Outdoor Hands (£6.95, www.outdoorhands.co.uk). With no-nonsense packaging that declares it as being for builders, brickers, farmers, muckers and riggers (among others), it ain’t no spa treatment, but it’s a seriously effective handcream, creamy enough to feel good, but quick to absorb so even those whose usual reaction to anything cosmeticky is to go: ‘Ugh, no, I can’t stand anything greasy on my skin!’ should find it very usable. It also works brilliantly on my psoriasis-prone elbows, has an inoffensive, light, lemony scent and is made with natural butters, aloe vera and botanical oils, without parabens.
Sometimes it’s worth sacrificing the luxury element for something that does the job.