Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant ($27) is the type of iconic beauty product that has stood the test of time and generations. Its multipurpose formula is known to be a cure-all for dry skin from your face all the way down to your feet, and nearly a century after its inception, a tube of the stuff still reportedly sells every 30 seconds. Even if you haven't tried it yourself, you're likely familiar with it as a staple in your mom and grandmother's beauty cabinets—which was exactly the case for Prince Harry, who made headlines last week after revealing that he used his mom and grandmother's favorite facial cream to cure frostbite on his penis.
... Plot twist, huh?!
If you somehow missed this internet-breaking news (... I'm jealous of your algorithm), allow me to explain. According to a passage in his new memoir, Spare, Prince Harry returned home from a trip to the Arctic with a frostbitten "todger"—which is British for "penis," apparently—and a friend suggested he use the Eight Hour Cream to treat it. He was already familiar with the product because his late mother, Princess Diana, used to use it on her lips (Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton are also reportedly fans). And after going off on a very uncomfortable Freudian tangent (he says the smell made him feel like this mother was "right there in the room" before he slathered the stuff on his nether regions, a sentiment that makes my skin crawl every time I read it), he revealed that it really did help with his situation. Go figure!
To be clear, Elizabeth Arden doesn't claim that the formula can help cure frostbite—only that it can "help protect your skin from windburn, particularly when venturing outdoors—so if you are dealing with frostbite on your nether regions or anywhere else, please, don't try this at home. However, as someone with very, very dry skin, I have to admit that my interest in the product was piqued when I learned of Prince Harry's success using it to defrost his penis popsicle. So obviously—in the name of research!—I had to give it a try.
There's a lot to unpack here, but because I'm a beauty editor and not a psychologist, we're going to stick with the product itself and not the obvious mommy issues that are revealed in Prince Harry's description of it.
SO, let's start with the ingredients list—which reads like a gussied-up version of Vaseline. Petrolatum (aka petroleum jelly)—which is known to be the "Swiss Army Knife of skin care"—is the star of the show. As a heavy occlusive, petroleum jelly creates a seal on top of your skin to lock in moisture, strengthen the skin barrier, and protect against external aggressors—which is why so many people swear by it for their "slugging" practices. Unlike regular old Vaseline, which is just straight-up petrolatum, Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream pairs the powerful occlusive with a few other derm-beloved hero ingredients.
"I would recommend this product," says Jaimie Glick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. "Similar to Vaseline, the product contains primarily petrolatum, a non-comedogenic that locks in moisture "It also contains lanolin, which acts as an emollient to soothe and soften dry winter skin; mineral oil, which is both a powerful occlusive and emollient; salicylic acid, which helps reduce the skin's pH to improve hydration and soften the skin during the cold winter months; and tocopheryl acetate, a form of vitamin E that provides antioxidant and stabilizing properties to skin-care products, essentially protecting both the skin from environmental stressors and the product itself from breakdown."
And as for why it may have helped with Prince Harry's frozen bits? "Lanolin is often used as an emollient for nipple soreness and cracking in breast-feeding mothers so it may also have helped cracked irritated skin of the penis," says Dr. Glick. The more you know!
What happened when I tried it
It feels worth sharing that the day after the royal penis news hit the internet, Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream was not so easy to come by. It was sold out on the first two sites I tried to buy it on, and when I finally found it on Amazon I was alerted that there were only two tubes left for sale. If this whole author thing doesn't work out, Prince Harry clearly has a future in beauty influencing.
When the product finally arrived, I was... surprised. It's called a "cream," but it is absolutely not even a little bit a cream at all. It's an orange-tinted (???) balm, and though "Fancy Vaseline" feels like a lazy way to describe it, it's the only one that feels right. The formula is "fragrance-free," but it does have a pungent, familiar smell that took me two days to identify as "diaper rash cream."
The first time I tried the Eight Hour Cream, I slathered it all over my skin first thing as the final step in my morning routine with the intention of immediately putting makeup on top of it. Mistake. It left my skin shiny and sticky—the way it typically looks after slugging—and I had to wait a half an hour for it to fully sink in. I was behind schedule and annoyed about it, so the formula was already facing an uphill battle for my approval within minutes of application.
Once it dried, though, my frustrations were quickly forgotten—I was genuinely impressed, and (for what it's worth) my makeup went on just fine. I wore the cream for 10 straight hours bopping around on a freezing, windy New York City Sunday, and my skin still felt soft and hydrated when I got home—there was never a single second of the dryness and flaking I'm typically prone to in this weather. I used the cream again before bed (this time as the last step in my PM routine, on top of my strongest retinoid), and once again it left my skin moisturized and irritation-free. Since then, I've been applying it to my face every morning and night and keeping the tube in my bag so that I can slather it on my hands, lips, and cuticles whenever the mood strikes.
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