Skin(s)care Part 4: The hand cream that instantly turned me red

Review of The Sanctuary Spa Velvety Hand Cream and it’s ingredients to help you decide if this is a purchase worth making…the title is a spoiler alert as I am sure you can tell.

The hand cream has been re packaged and reformulated and I go in to more detail on that within the review.

Don’t let your hands dry out and crack!

[New ingredients: Superdrug]

Water (Aqua), Butylene Glycol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Myristyl Myristate, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Fragrance (Parfum), Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone, Panthenol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Lecithin, Montan Wax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cetearyl Glucoside, Polysorbate 20, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tristearin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Glucose, Citric Acid, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Limonene, Benzyl Salicylate, Benzyl Benzoate, Coumarin, Citral, Caramel, Yellow 5 (CI 19140). (Total 35)

[Old ingredients (the one I have)]

Water (Aqua), Butylene Glycol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Myristyl Myristate, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Fragrance (Parfum), Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone, Panthenol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Lecithin, Montan Wax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter,Cetearyl Glucoside, Disodium EDTA, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Polysorbate 20, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Cera, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool, Limonene, Tristearin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water,Benzyl Salicylate, Caramel, Coumarin, Citral, Citric Acid, Yellow 5 (CI 19140). (Total 36)

The old ingredients list has Disodium EDTA and Imidazolidinyl Urea which has been removed from the new ingredients.

The new ingredients list has added in Ethylhexylglycerin and Glucose. All other ingredients are the same, however, they may be in a slightly different order, but not by much.

As you can see in both ingredients list fragrance is tenth on the list. That is too far up the ingredients list in my opinion. I would prefer no fragrance at all but if there is going to be fragrance in it, it has to be as minimal as possible before I put it on my skin. Depending on who you ask, you will see online that people say the first 5/7/9/10 ingredients make up to 80-90% of the product. With that in mind, fragrance is definitely too near the top.

Within both ingredients lists, excluding “fragrance” on its own, is 7 other fragrance ingredients. All 7 have to be specified individually on a product within the European Cosmetics industry due to their high allergen potential. Lovely.

Fragrance comes in different guises.

Both old and new ingredients also have synthetic colourings which can cause rare but possible sensitivities. I can’t find anything on Caramel and Yellow 5 other than Paula’s Choice classing it as “good” but for me, it’s not “good” enough. I would have liked more information on it.

Packaging: It comes in a standard white plastic tube with an orange cap. It’s the typical lid you open and a hole for the cream to be squeezed out. Pretty unexciting. It keeps the product away from light, air, and bacteria so that is a positive of this product. It is easy to carry around with you without fear of it leaking. The bottle does require to be cut open, as you can see, to get all the product out. The packaging has since changed with the minor ingredients change however the bottle is the same style, it just looks different on the outside.

Price: I bought 2 of these (I regret buying 2 but I gifted one) from TKMaxx.I think it was for 4.99 for 75ml. Superdrug is selling the new cream for £3.00 for 30ml, Amazon is £4.80 for 75ml and Sanctuary Spa website is also selling the mini 30ml for £3.00.

It’s slightly more than I would expect to pay for a hand cream but with this cream, you are paying for “the luxury” of it being from a “Spa” brand and it being “velvety”. Bear in mind you can get Aveeno Hand Cream for £3.75 for 75ml. When I buy a hand cream, it is because I need something to protect and soothe my hands so I would always buy something effective rather than buy something because of all the gimmicky branding. That being said I bought these cream and I bought two of it so the gimmicky branding worked then, but I know better now.

Smell: It definitely has a strong smell that I don’t like. It smells like floral perfume. Even now I smelled the empty bottle which has been cut open and exposed to air for weeks and weeks and I can still smell the fragrance quite potently.

Texture and Application: It has a thick creamy soft texture. Very likely to be the shea butter and almond oil doing its job there. It goes on well and rubs in without leaving your skin greasy. The smell lingers for a while, however. In my opinion, this cream is all gimmick. I know shea butter has amazing properties, however, I used this cream to actually heal and soften my hands and it didn’t do that at all. I had hard skin around my fingernails and after using this cream for a prolonged period of time, it didn’t soften the harder skin. This cream is designed to soften already soft hands, but if you are looking for a cream to heal, soothe, soften harder skin, this isn’t the one for you. No reaction or irritation on my hands to this cream and I used the whole bottle consistently.

Reaction: On realising just how strong the smell was with this product, I attempted to use it up as fast as I could so I could replace it. I used it on my elbows and knees and it sent them bright red instantly. I never had a reaction on my hands that was noticeable. However, as soon as I put it on my knees and elbows it looked as if I had scolded them with hot water – they were very very red. A bizarre reaction to get on those areas and not on my hands. The redness wasn’t itchy in any way and the red subsided within a short while but something to be aware of if you are using this cream.


  • It has a nice thick creamy texture
  • The packaging keeps the product free from air, light, and bacteria
  • It can keep already soft hands, soft.
  • It contains shea butter, panthenol, dimethicone, butylene glycol, almond oil, lecithin – good for holding moisture and sealing it in. Citric acid is good for exfoliating which may be why it softens skin slightly.
  • Penetration enhancing ingredients allows for the few beneficial ingredients to penetrate deeper into the skin.


  • It is more expensive than higher regarded hand creams
  • The smell is very potent and off-putting
  • It turned my elbows and knees red
  • It didn’t soften slightly harder skin
  • It has fragrance and then a whole bunch other fragrance ingredients which are potential allergens
  • It has synthetic colourings (when the product dries out in the packaging it leaves behind a bright orange colour. Yuk).
  • Aside from the ingredients mentioned in the pros and the fragrance, all other ingredients are for texture, pH balancing, dissolving, etc and not adding benefit to the skin.
  • The second ingredient is a penetration enhancer allowing other irritating ingredients to get deeper into the skin like all the fragrance ingredients.

Overall, it is a no from me and I won’t be repurchasing or recommending. Even if it didn’t turn my knees and elbows bright red, I wouldn’t buy this product again for the sole reason that the smell is so potent and it is very off putting. That being said, there are also quite frankly better, cheaper and cleaner hand creams on the market regardless. I suggest Aveeno Intense Relief Repair Cream and Cerave SA Cream if your hands are really damaged and sore or you need something to soften hard skin. Keep the ingredients list fragrance-free especially if your hands are already sore and sensitive. Urea is also a good ingredient for adding moisture to the skin if you find a cream or lotion containing it.

Buy Aveeno Moisture Relief Cream* Buy Aveeno Moisturisng Cream*

Buy Cerave SA Cream*

S ❤ x

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