Shi Kai Borage Dry Skin Therapy hand cream


39 reviews

84% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.9

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.9

Price: $$$


10/2013: Ingredients: Aloe vera gel*, safflower seed oil, glyceryl stearate, glycerine, jojoba seed oil, borage seed oil, cetyl alcohol (vegetable wax), vitamin E acetate, dimethicone, shea butter, sodium ascorbyl phosphate (vitamin C), phenoxyethanol, L-ergothioneine, ethylhexyl glycerin. *Certified organic.

on 3/23/2015 5:33:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Cool

Hair: Red, Other, Fine

Eyes: Green


This is an opaque white creamy lotion in a tube. It's not very creamy by the usual hand-cream (rich unctuous Channel Island) standards, but that also means it's quite spreadable. There's also a similar lotion in a bigger bottle which is thinner and more of a runny liquid; it's cheaper but not as moisturising. And then there's variations on the same theme but marketed differently (kids' stuff, scented versions, sightly different face versions, etc.) and the company also make a foot cream and a cleasing bar that's slightly scented with coconut, apparently (not used it).

While this hand cream has no fragrant ingredients at all, it has a slight smell to it. Some people dislike it. Some find it repugnant and offensive. This is individual. I'm OK with it, and that's no criticism either way on the product or on others who perceive its smell differently: individual noses perceive odour differently (and there's neuro-wiring and a genetic side with some scents, ex. cilantro). Be ye warned: try before you buy.

The odour is a definite problem because if this smells rank to you in a fresh new tube, it will smell just as rank if and when it goes off. Borage seed oil is very fragile and goes off quickly; to do with shorter-chain fatty acids oxidising faster. It is not a good idea to use rancid oil; it can indeed be a bad and dangerous one. If this stuff smells "off" to you, either it is off (in which case, return it whence it came) or you are one of the lucky people to whom borage oil smells off (in which case, ditto). Better safe than sorry and certainly better than olfactory misery. For the record, some other oils may smell similar to you, such as evening primrose.

I've used this off and on for some years. My man reason for using it in the first place was that I was looking for a North American equivalent to a stupendous much-beloved emollient cream I used in the UK and Ireland (Allergenics), that had some key ingredients in common. Particularly borage / starflower seed oil; yes, that's the key ShiKai ingredient, and that stinky stuff isn't just there to torment you, if you're getting massive skank off all things unscented ShiKai. It's a seed oil that's very high in the omega-6 fatty acid GLA, which can be a useful thing on skin. I'd used borage oil years ago, both applied topically and taken orally, for alleviating eczema symptoms. There's more evidence for it working when ingested--also easier and cheaper, capsules costs a lot less and are more stable than the oil--but some for it working directly on skin. It seems to help my skin when it has eczema, though I found it more immediately useful and faster in swallowed-capsule form.

Other useful ingredients: pretty much everything in here. Soothing stuff like aloe vera gel, hydrating stuff like glycerin, the well-tolerated safflower seed oil (high in omega-3 fatty acids, good on a range of skin sensitivities), jojoba oil (love/hate, I can deal with it in smaller doses as here but break out and dry up using it neat), emollient waxy stuff like cetyl alcohol and shea butter, plus antioxidant vitamins E and C.

The borage hand cream works decently as a hand cream. It sinks in fast and smoothly. The dimethicone heps form a decent barrier against dehydration. Backs of hands retained moisture well. Other emollient and barrier creams will do a similar job. For drier hands and cracked skin, I'll still resort to thick balms like shea butter, Prevex protectant cream, petrolatum; and heavy ointments like Aquaphor, the old Weleda unscented calendula one (was in "first aid" areas in health-food stores, alas reformulated for the worse in some countries and extinct in others), or the (scented but not as dire as that Skin Food catastrophe) Weleda baby calendula weather everything.

I've also used the ShiKai hand cream as a facial moisturising cream in colder drier winter weather. It's just right: my one peeve with Allergenics was that their cream was a little too thick and their lotion not thick enough; I'd often use that cream mixed with oil as a compromise. But the ShiKai borage hand cream feels, to me, on dryish sensitive skin, just right. It's also in a bigger tube for less money, compared to the ShiKai borage actual face moisturisers.

Best use and fabulous value for money: as an eye cream.

I'm not wearing foundation, but found that sunscreens (including silicone-based ones) and concealer in the eye area applied fine and smoothly on top.

COSTS: around $6-12 (USD or CAD), online is cheaper, often stocked in health-food stores and here in Vancouver it's in some supermarkets.

No animal testing or ingredients; that statement carries the usual caveats and limitations regarding historical testing of ingredients (especially in the 1940s-50s) and the sensible application of fixed cut-off date policies.

Contains preservatives, yay; not parabens, which will please many people; and neither silly idiocratically-toxicophobic pseudo-preservatives, nor the irritating frequent alternatives to parabens. This cream used to contain diazolidinyl urea (can be a common irritant and can be a formaldehyde releaser) in an earlier version; hasn't contained it on the Canadian market for some time now.

Squeezy tube, easy to use; the lotion is in a more convenient pump-bottle. Recyclable plastic and cardboard outer packaging. I don't see anything in the ingredients that's a known environmental hazard, so I'm guesstimating this cream is pretty biodegradable and water-safe. For more questions on ingredient-sourcing and production methods, sustainable and other ethical practices etc. contact the company. Made in the USA.

INGREDIENTS: Aloe vera gel, safflower seed oil, glyceryl stearate, glycerin, jojoba seed oil, borage seed oil, cetyl alcohol (vegetable wax), vitamin E acetate, dimethicone, shea butter, sodium ascorbyl phosphate (vitamin C), phenoxyethanol, L-ergothioneine, ethylhexyl glycerin

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 7/29/2014 5:34:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

The best hand cream I have ever used. I am almost 40 and my hands have recently began to be dry and take on a crêpe appearance. Have been using this for a week and already see a marked improvement. Much softer, plumper, and less "crêping." Very happy I bought this. Think I will start using on my décolleté as well.

on 5/7/2014 6:16:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Red, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Brown

This hand cream is very moisturizing. My skin is dry and it works well to keep my hands looking and feeling good. It has a relatively short ingredient list and contains beneficial ingredients. It's highly rated by Beautypedia.

on 5/1/2014 2:18:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Medium, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

This is a staple in my handbag. I haven't used a hand cream as moisturizing, or fast absorbing as this one. I usually never bought a hand cream that cost more than five dollars, because the bottles never seem to last very long anyway. This one is roughly about eight bucks, and I've had it for over a year now. The new packaging is slender, very convenient. A little goes a very long way. The ingredients consist of mainly plant oils and aloe vera, and there is no dicernible scent which I like. Not to mention my hand look a lot prettier after I use it :)

Age: Unknown

Skin: Very Oily, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

I got this at for $7.99. I don't believe it's sold in any stores near me. Mine has the addition of the words "fragrance free" on the tube but I am reviewing it under this listing. My job requires my hands to be in water, constantly wet dry wet dry, over and over again, so the skin on my hands gets dried out and can crack. This sinks in fast and isn't greasy at all, despite the oils it contains, and feels very moisturizing.
Ingredients: Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice (aloe barbadensis), Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) Seed Oil (carthamus tinctorius), Glyceryl Stearate (vegetable emulsifier), Glycerine, Jojoba Seed Oil (simmomdsia chinensis), Borage (Borago Officinalis) Seed Oil (borago officinalis), Cetearyl Alcohol (vegetable wax), Vitamin E Acetate (tocopherol acetate), Dimethicone, Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii) (butryospermum parkii fruit), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C) (Vitamin C), L Ergothioneine (amino acid), Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 4/19/2012 2:13:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Dry, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

This is an awesome hand cream. Because it has a lot of natural oils listed as moisturizers, I thought for sure it would take forever to sink in... not at all! It's super moisturizing, got my scratchy, flaky hands super soft and I didn't have to wrap my hands or hold them out in front of me and not touch anything, because it sinks in so quickly!

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

on 4/12/2010 10:36:00 PM

Age: Unknown

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

I like this hand cream, but I am not sure that it really is that different from the foot cream which you can use on your hands and which is more cost effective. I also use the regular lotion on my hands and notice a difference.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 4/24/2009 3:41:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Love this stuff! It hydrates my hands and makes them sooo soft! (I wash my hands a lot). I also like that it's fragrance free. Sometimes I don't like fragrances lingering on me all day. It isn't really thick and absorbs quickly. It doesn't leave my hands feeling greasy either. And the best part- no animal testing or yucky animal by products! Definitely will buy over and over again

on 1/22/2009 9:40:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Dry, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Other

Eyes: Blue

I had high hopes for this lotion, especially with all of the raves. However, it didn't offer the moisture I'd hoped and made my hands shiny and oily-looking for a good while after applying (shiny spots littered my pc keyboard).

Also, instead of even adding visual moisture, every line in my hands was emphasized by the shine. Not a desireable effect! continued >>

on 11/20/2008 4:54:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Ive been using this for about 3 weeks on a daily basis, about 2-3 times a day, and my hands are doing great. It moisturizes wonderfully, so now my hands are supper soft, even with the horrible fires we just had in so cal and the Santa Ana winds, my hands are not dry at all, on the contrary they are better then ever. In the past under these conditions even if I was using hand cream regularly my hands would definitely dry out anyway, but with ShiKai they are totally healthy. I love this cream!

The texture is kinda runny, but trust me, it definitely moisturizes like a heavy cream. It takes a moderate time to absorb, but is worth the minor wait, I dont have problems using it during the day.

I did not notice any offensive smell, it is fragrance free, so it has a mild medicine like sent, but it dissipates in pretty quickly and is not bad horrible to begin with.

Because of this hand cream Im going to try all the products in the Borage collection, I hope they are all this great.

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