Switching to Lush: hand cream review

This is part of an honest series on finding and replacing bath & body products with suitable Lush alternatives, due to a personal drive towards more ethical consumerism. As well as the products being cruelty-free free and vegan, Lush packaging is minimal and they offer a return-for-recycling scheme. I have very dry, sensitive, allergy-prone skin with eczema so skincare is a pretty big hassle. Therefore, I’m looking for products that do not compromise on treatment, but are also not gratuitously more expensive. These are the results 🙂

Switching to Lush series

Cleanser and toner


A couple of months ago, as each of my shower, bath, hair and body products ran out, I went to Lush to find a replacement.

I also had had a really long look at the catalogue online beforehand. I’ve found that really helps – because when you’re in the shop, the assistants are super-friendly and helpful but are throwing a lot of information at you about everything. The overall experience can be a little overwhelming and it helps to go in with a product in mind, or at least be aware of what you think you need. Otherwise, I find I would never be able to explore all the options available.

The very first product I chose to switch was hand cream, which seemed small and safe enough to try out.E45 Intense Recover Hand Cream

Previous product: E45 Intense Recovery Hand Cream
Price: £4.19 (£8.38 per 100ml)
Effectiveness rating: 5/5

Previously, I was a very big fan of E45 skincare. It is the only brand that was effective on my dry skin, and I was a sole E45 user for hand cream, body moisturiser and facial moisturiser for about 10 years. When I started the hand cream switch, the dermatitis/eczema on my hands was pretty bad. Two knuckles looked and felt like a cheese grater had been taken to them, bleeding and cracked, as well as red, raised patches on the back of my hands. I have come to terms with the fact that only steroid creams do actually clear this up, and that still is the case, but I need a cream to soothe and calm the skin between doses and especially after washing my hands.

Handy Gurugu

First Lush product tried: Handy Gurugu
Price: £7.95 for 100ml
Effectiveness rating: 2/5

A very butter-rich cream, made in response to customers telling us they wanted a heavier hand cream to tackle hard-worked hands.

I picked this one because it had great reviews online from people with hand eczema. However, this did nothing for my broken skin and actually irritated it a bit more. It worked fine on the normal patches and appeared quite moisturising at the time, but within a few minutes of it being applied to the eczema the skin would sting a little and get redder. This did calm down, but I was disappointed, as despite the moisturised feeling it gave normal skin, that is definitely overruled by any irritation and inflammation on broken skin. It has a very sharp, bright smell, and the fifth ingredient is lemon juice, which might be why my skin didn’t take to it.

Helping Hands

A nurturing almond, cocoa butter and chamomile hand cream to give back some of what life and washing has taken out.

Second Lush product tried: Helping Hands
Price: £7.95 for 100ml
Personal effectiveness rating: 4/5

Success! This is just as good as E45, and smells nicer than Handy Gurugu. This is actually a really lovely cream – it definitely adds moisture to all skin, as well as calming the dry parts immediately. One of the best things is both this and Handy Gurugu are cheaper per 100ml (£7.95 compared with £8.38) than the E45 hand cream, so it’s a definite swap.

A side-by-side comparison of Handy Gurugu (l) and Helping Hands (r)
A side-by-side comparison of Handy Gurugu (l) and Helping Hands (r)

Handy Gurugu is a very thick, solid cream with the texture of refrigerated butter that melts into the hands. It also has tiny black flecks of what I think might be vanilla pods in it which can take a bit of getting used to. It has a very silky feel when applied which is probably all the cocoa butter. In comparison, Helping Hands is really light and fluffy and more akin to jelly. It’s hard not to want apply too much.

Applying Helping Hands after washing my hands has helped a lot, and while the eczema flare-up hasn’t gone, it has calmed. Keen to stress strong steroid creams were also involved from time to time, but the cream has been very good at providing relief from dry skin.

Switching to Lush: cleanser and toner review

This is part of an honest series on finding and replacing bath & body products with suitable Lush alternatives, due to a personal drive towards more ethical consumerism. As well as the products being cruelty-free…

Nails Inc x Barry M

A recent discovery in Boots combined with a perfect Christmas present has made me super happy with my nails this week (sometimes it’s the little things, I guess).


    This is genius! And with excellent timing since the winter my hands get so bad that they always hurt so will be trying on some creams! And it’s so true about being overwhelmed walking into Lush, they always say a million things and I don’t understand the subtle differences!

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