This $7 Hand Lotion Was Made for Corn Farmers — And We Love It

This relatively unknown brand has been making some of the best hand lotion since 1919

August 18, 2023 9:46 am
Corn Huskers Lotion hero
Getty Images / InsideHook

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My latest impulse purchase is called Corn Huskers Lotion, and at $6 for seven ounces, it is the cheapest thing I’ve used on my hands in a long time. I found it the same way I find 99% of my skincare discoveries: courtesy of Acne Whisperer and esthetician Sofie Pavitt. Granted, this lotion has nothing to do with acne, but Pavitt could suggest motor oil at this point and I’d try it. 

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Pavitt first came on my radar during early COVID, when I purchased two of her satin face masks and wore/washed them until they fell apart. I’ve continued following her for skin tips (mandelic acid or bust) and her adorable children. When she suggested Corn Huskers Lotion, I purchased it immediately and did the research after. 

The history:

This toy-looking product was introduced in 1919 (and apparently not given a rebrand or packaging refresh since then) specifically for corn farmers in Iowa. The fast-absorbing lotion helps repair skin in harsh farming conditions. It’s also recommended by fingerprinting experts because the oil-free formula leaves no residue, unlike regular hand cream. 

For context, I’ve been partial to Necessaire’s hand cream for the past few years, but I have complaints. First, the aluminum tube always leaks, and second, it’s overpriced. If Pavitt’s “favorite hand cream right now” (which one of her commenters called “the BEST hand lotion on the planet!”) could replace my go-to, I was more than ready to jump ship.

How I use it:

When I unboxed my Corn Huskers Lotion, the first thing it made me think of was the Oregon Trail. Or Laura Ingalls Wilder. The visual effect of the garish yellow and huge font is so old-school that it almost feels like a gag gift. Since the flask-shaped packaging doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, I started with a small dab to see how it would absorb.

I wasn’t surprised to find that it is definitely not a cream in the traditional lotion sense. It’s closer to a gel, but it doesn’t have the same lightweight feel or instant absorption that we usually associate with gels (such as the e.l.f. Cosmetics SuperHydrate Moisturizer) because of its viscosity. If anything, it reminds me of a serum with a texture similar to the ever-popular COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence and the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops Serum. Corn Huskers Lotion (CHL) has a tackiness on contact but any residual stickiness goes away after a moment. 

I rubbed it into the back of my hand, and it required a good amount of contact to fully absorb but left hardly any trace (hence the fingerprinting recommendation). At most, it has a bit of the same feeling you get after using hand sanitizer as if there’s a film on your hands that you recently peeled away. If you’re typing on a brand-new laptop or handling something that you wouldn’t touch with greasy lotion hands, fear not. 

I should note that the odor is noticeable. Some Amazon reviewers were disgusted by the smell while others were only slightly put off (some didn’t mention it at all.) I fall somewhere in the slightly affected category. It’s not the overpowering scent of added fragrance, but a chemical smell that reminds me of doctor’s offices and patient examination rooms. I can’t say I like it, but it wasn’t enough to deter my experiment.

Why I Swear by it:

I slathered the Corn Huskers Lotion on my hands several times a day (at least three) for a few weeks and I understand why Sofie Pavitt raved about it. CHL (which is subtitled “Heavy Duty Hand Treatment”) does not mess around. The softening effect takes place immediately, but where I was most impressed was around my nailbeds. No matter the season, the skin around my fingertips cracks and peels and I usually use a cuticle serum which helps in the short-term but never solves the issue. After using CHL for a week, the skin itself had transformed. 

I discovered another use for CHL beyond the hands — it’s replaced my beloved Gehwol as a foot cream. As much as I swore by the German formula, it was a slip-and-fall waiting to happen when applied to heels and soles. CHL is equally effective in healing cracked feet and keeping them in sandal-ready condition without the need to tiptoe for a midnight snack or glass of water. 

The question is: why stop at hands? Why not use CHL for your entire body? I personally like the sensation of luxurious body butter and nourishing oil for the rest of my person (especially on a self-care night). The feeling of being actively moist is something you won’t get with CHL, and that’s by design. Corn Huskers Lotion is designed for expediency and it does its job to a T.

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