Dear Budget Babe,
My hands and cuticles get very dry and icky this time of the year. Can you suggest an inexpensive way to combat the harmful effects of harsh weather? — Chilly in NYC
BB: In many parts of the United States, low humidity coupled with cold winds and hot, dry indoor air can all wreak havoc on skin during the winter. Your first line of defense: Be sure to wear warm gloves every time you venture outside, and go easy on harsh soaps when washing hands.
Next, try a hand cream or lotion that contains oils to help lock in moisture and protect your skin - we recommend Alba Botanica Cocoa Butter Hand & Body Lotion. It features a balance of rich skin softening emollients and essential fatty acids derived from cocoa and shea butters and nutrient-packed oils of kukui, macadamia and flax designed to restore your skin's natural elasticity and softness.
What's more, all Alba products are hypo-allergenic, pH balanced and use 100% vegetarian ingredients, with no synthetic colors and no animal testing. Get a 7 oz. tube for $6.26 at GotBody.com (regular price: $8.95). You can also find the Alba line at Whole Foods stores.
Another thing you may want to consider is getting a humidifier. The budget version: Simply put a bowl or dish full of water on top of a radiator or near a heat source, and it will naturally evaporate and add moisture to the air. If you've got children (or aren't afraid to express your inner child), try this frog-shaped "Crane Adorable One Gallon Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier", just $27.99 at Amazon.com.
Your skin will thank you!