It's a sad fact of life but hands that do dishes will never be as soft as your face.

Hands that clean the bathroom, do the dusting – any form of manual labour in fact – won't be baby-soft either. They will be dry, the skin will feel tight and at times they'll probably look as red as an underdone steak. Unless, that is, you slather them with hand cream.

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Ah, hand cream – my one true cosmetic addiction. Without it I feel lost, adrift in a sea of dry, crepey skin without a shea butter-infused moisturising paddle to save me. I always have three tubes on the go: one in my handbag, one at home and the last on my desk at work.

Despite my hand cream dependency I've yet to find the perfect formulation. The greasy stuff doesn't do it for me and don't get me started on that white, runny, shiny stuff some companies want to palm off as, er, cream for your palms.

I'm on the fence on the subject of scented hand creams. On the one hand one of my favourite brands, L'Occitane, regularly scents its creams and I don't hate them. On the other hand there are some hideous, sickly-smelling lotions I wouldn't put near my feet let alone my hands.

The one thing I'm fanatical about is drying-in time. A hand cream that takes half an hour to fully sink into your skin is no use. Instead I want a cream that within minutes (let's say five) disappears leaving nothing: no oily trace, no weird greasy residue on the palms, no shiny film on the back of your hands.

Here are a few of my top picks: Creme De La Mer Hand Treatment (£65); Aveda Hand Relief (£17.50); Darphin Aromatic Hand Cream (£24).