How I Met Your Mother, along with Chuck, Skins, Outrageous Fortune, and The Big Bang Theory, is my favourite show (yes, I know I just listed five shows. It's one for each night of the week!). And a few weeks ago, I picked up a wee gem from Barney, that blonde guy who always wears suits. "Suits are cool."
One of his many theories (which include the "Crazy-Hot Scale", and the fact that you can tell if a woman has children by the insides of her wrists) is that you can tell someone's age from their elbows.
Sure, I've known this subconsciously for years, but ever since watching the episode, I've been moisturising my elbows with a vengeance - I'm determined to get into negative equity with the theory. And so, without further ado, I bring you my best picks for youthful elbows.
1: Palmer's Olive Butter Formula. Admittedly, the main drawcard here for me is its fragrance. In general, I turn my nose up at olive-scented things - The Body Shop's Olive Oil Body Butter and Shampoo (although the shampoo does create unparalleled shine...) are really just not up there on my faves - but this Palmer's stuff is fantastic. It's designated for use on hands, elbows and feet - so it's richer than the average moisturiser, and perfect for getting your elbows baby-soft. Mmm.
2: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream. Yeah, you saw that one coming from a mile away. In general, I can't stand to use this on my hands because it's so sticky and weird, but it's the perfect solution to your overnight elbow moisturisation woes. Added bonus: the heat generated by your body while sleeping adds to its effect. It doesn't smell as good as the Palmer's stuff, but it comes with Hollywood's, and the dermatologist's seal of approval, so it can't be all bad!
3: St Ive's Oatmeal and Shea Butter Advanced Body Moisturiser. It's more of an all-over formula, but it's emollient enough to keep your elbows in tip-top condition. Pay extra attention to your elbows (and the heels of your hands, particularly if you're a cyclist like me) while moisturising your arms with this stuff. Keep it by your bed for first-thing-in-the-morning and middle-of-the-night topups. Yeah, I did mention that I've become pedantic about this! The great thing about St Ive's is that it comes in a giant bottle with a pumpy lid, and it's wicked cheap, but effective.
4: The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector. Unfortunately you can't use this to get high, not that I would ever be keen for that anyway. It's quite possibly the richest moisturising product on the market, and it truly works wonders for dry skin - whether it be on your hands, heels or ... elbows! When I first bought this product it came with a special scrub to use before it, which is pretty much my favourite scrub of all time. I've since run out (I bought it like, two years ago), which is a bummer, but this cream alone is fantastic. Buying from The Body Shop also means you're contributing to Community Trade projects in disadvantaged countries, so it's double happy!
Moisturising obsessively is not the only thing you can do to smooth things up. My personal method of exfoliation is with a pair of gloves from The Body Shop, teamed up with whatever body wash I happen to be using at the time. Don't EVER be tempted to use these gloves on your face. Sounds like common sense, right? Not to my sister, who only recently came to the realisation that maybe doing so was the cause of her red, dry sore facial skin. Only use a face-specific exfoliator on your face - these are much gentler. When it comes to elbows, however, you can afford to be a little bit more ruthless. Just be sure to moisturise immediately after showering - sloughing the epidermis and not creating a lipid barrier afterwards leaves your skin at the mercy of the elements, and will lead to roughness and occasionally even broken skin - the opposite of what we want!
L'Oreal's Exfotonic is hailed as one of the greatest exfoliating products ever, and with good reason. It's grainy and can sting a little, but the results are truly magnifique! In my experience, a little does not really go a long way, and it's for that reason that Exfotonic is a once-a-year treat buy. Other favourites include Clinique's Sparkle Skin, which comes with a delighful cooling sensation. Again, it's a must that you moisturise directly after use. If you're in a financial position to splash out, go for Origins Modern Friction. In fact, while you're instore, try and wangle your way into a hand and arm treatment. Louise (not my sister) and I had this opportunity at the Providence Place Mall a few years ago, and we had gorgeous hands for the rest of the day (until we got back to camp, when your hands invariably become chapped and covered in dirt immediately).
So that's my spiel on how to get nice elbows for the day. Don't let this be an excuse to neglect your knees though!!