So let's have a look at today's contestants in order of price, starting with the most inexpensive which is the Garnier Body 7 Days Mango Hand Milk (£1.99). There are four different hand creams in this Garnier range, all addressing different needs and this product targets dry and coarse hands. It's an intensely moisturising cream with mango oil that adds nourishment to keep hands protected and the product claims to keep the skin hydrated even after a hand wash - so in theory if you keep using this you should always be one step ahead of dehydration. This hand cream has a lovely fresh, fruity and slightly aquatic scent, like most of Garnier's products and it sinks quickly into the skin. The only thing I'm not too keen on is the texture which has a slippery silicone feel to it, a bit like a cheap primer but that's probably the protecting ingredients and it also means that a little goes a long way. It's a lovely effective and budget friendly hand cream and you do get a generous 100 ml for next to nothing.
Next up is Caudalie's Hand and Nail Cream in Pink Grapefruit (£5.70) which with its 30 ml has a considerably less amount of product than the others, although the smaller packaging also means that it's more handy to carry with you in your handbag. For me this hand cream raises the bar significantly in terms of quality and it's most noticeable in the texture. In addition to traditional Caudalie ingredients from grapes and vine, including Vinolevure - a vine extract that protects and strengthens the skins immuno system and helps it to retain moisture, it also contains shea butter. The formula is beautifully light weight with a slight shimmer and it instantly blends into the hands when you apply it, making them velvety soft. I really love the original Caudalie hand cream scent of fresh, warm orange peels, but this is another incredibly delicate, soft and invigorating aroma from mixing citrus fruits with sparkling mint. It's a wonderful, glamorous hand cream and a real treat.
The last hand cream, and also the one at the top of the price range is an old favorite of mine - the amazing Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream (£20 for 100 ml). It's a great moisturising cream with extracts of Sesame, Japanese Mulberry and Myrrh. that softens and protects the skin, but it also nourishes and strengthens your nails and cuticles. It has a luxuriously creamy and smooth consistency and to say that it makes your hands soft and supple is the understatement of the year, there's just no dryness that this cream won't fix and then of course we have the beautiful refreshing creamy citrus scent that makes every application a pleasure. In comparison with the other creams it is a fairly expensive hand cream, but it also makes your feel fabulous and who doesn't want that on one of those days when you've had a wardrobe malfunction, your hair has a life of its own and things aren't generally going your way.
Most of the time it's fairly easy for me to pick a favorite among the products that I have tested, but in this case I can honestly say that all four of these hand creams are of great quality and the difference between them (except for the price) is really down to the small details. But it's based on those small details that ultimately my favorite is Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream.