Jan. 8, 2004 -- The chilly winter winds can do a number on your skin, but there are many ways to keep the damage at bay, from moisturizing lip balm to snug winter jackets.
Ellen Levine appeared on "Good Morning America" to share the Good Housekeeping Institute's top-rated products when it comes to keeping skin protected in the winter months. The lab tested jackets, gloves, hand warmers, lip balms, lotions and 24-hour moisturizers.
Here are the results:
Skin, Lip Care Products
Best Lip Balm: After sampling five new lip balms, the Good Housekeeping test panel gave Kiehl's Lip Balm SPF 15 ($7.50, kiehls.com), the highest marks for moisturizing. Molton Brown Lip Saver Vitamin SPF 8 ($16, moltonbrown.com) was a close second. Though not everyone found its applicator easy to use, most preferred Molton Brown's scent and taste to Kiehl's.
Best Hand Cream: Good Housekeeping evaluated the newest batch of hand creams with a corneometer, a machine that measures the level of moisture in skin. Of the five creams tested, Dr. Gendler's Skin Appointments Helping Hands ($30, available at Lord & Taylor) was the winner. (Testers measured moisture three times at 20 minutes, two hours, and four hours after application.) Volunteers cited the top cream for quick absorption and rich consistency.
Another winner was A-HA & Collagen Hand Crème by Frills. Testers found it had a lighter feel than the Dr. Gendler's product and it scored well on moisturizing and on scent.
All-Day Body Moisturizers: Good Housekeeping tested creams that claim to work for 24 hours and found that all kept their promise. But two softened skin best: Jergens Ultra Healing Intense Moisture Therapy ($5.99, drugstores) and Johnson & Johnson's Soft Lotion 24-Hour Moisture ($5.99, drugstores).
Hand Warmers, Winter Gloves
Hand Warmers: To evaluate products designed to warm hands, the Good Housekeeping Institute used an environmental chamber set to 30 degrees Fahrenheit and 50 percent relative humidity in order to simulate a cold winter day. The disposable hand warmers outperformed the battery-operated heated gloves. In particular, Grabber Mini-Mini Hand Warmers ($1.69 each, grabberwarmers.com) performed the best, testers found. They not only had the highest initial temperature, but they also had the highest average temperature over two hours and the highest final temperature after two hours had elapsed.
Given the expanded use of high-tech fabrics in winter gloves, Good Houskeeping wanted to see if the new technologies made a difference in the warmth, fit and appearance of the gloves. Some of the new features in gloves includes stretch leather, Outlast linings and advanced versions of Polartec (new technologies for warmth and wind resistance).
In order to gauge the effectiveness of the warmth of the gloves, testers did both lab and consumer testing. For the lab tests they placed thermocouples in glove fingers, put the gloves in the environmental chamber, and recorded how long it took for the glove to reach 30 degrees F after stabilizing at a temperature of 70 degrees F. Testers then had six women rate the gloves for warmth, appearance and fit after wearing them in a chamber set at 30 degrees F.
Best Performer: L.L. Bean Gore-Tex Primaloft Ski Glove. The typical "ski" type glove from L.L. Bean won hands down, after performing well in both the lab and consumer tests. ($49.50, llbean.com)
Best Appearance: The L.L. Bean Gore-Tex Primaloft Ski Glove again won with testers. ($49.50, llbean.com) Best Fit: The lightweight Super 200 Trailwind Gloves from L.L. Bean was the testers' favorite for fit. ($19, llbean.com)
Best Performer: There was a tie between the two styles offered by Swany. Both are a new combination of leather lined with Thinsulate and Outlast (a temp-regulating technology).
Swany Classic and Swany Mitten ( both $55, swanyamerica.com) Best Fit: There was a tie between the Swany dress mitten and the Fownes Classic for the dress glove that fit best for the testers. ($68, department stores)
In response to consumer demand, women's coat manufacturers have been trying over the past decade to create warm winter coats that aren't bulky. With new technologies now available in both natural and synthetic fibers, they may have finally achieved that goal. The institute tested four jackets available for fall 2003 that are designed to achieve warmth without bulk.
The jackets are from Nike, REI, Burton, and Woolrich, all companies known to be innovative in the fabric field.
In order to gauge the effectiveness of these jackets, 10 women who wear size 8 tried on each coat in a climatology chamber that was set at 30 degrees F. Upon exiting the chamber, they rated each jacket on warmth, appearance, and fit.
Warmth: The Woolrich Timber Point jacket edged out the Burton jacket as the one rated the warmest by the panelists. ($126, woolrich.com) Appearance: REI One led the way in appearance with a high rating by the testers. They loved the look of the jacket. ($185, rei.com) Fit: For fit, again REI was the best-rated, with Woolrich as coming in second. Even though the REI jacket did well in both appearance and fit; it didn't keep testers as warm as some of the other jackets. It was also the lightest, weighing in at 1 pound.