This afternoon, I noticed that several days of trudging through slush laced with rock salt had left my leather boots in sad shape. The leather around the toes felt dry and was creasing more than usual, and crusty dried-on salt was everywhere. It would be hours before I could get home and clean the boots properly and rub mink oil into them. In the meantime...hmm...would hand lotion work?! I eyed the Vaseline hand moisturizer on my desk.
I worked dabs of lotion into the creased leather with my hands, rubbing it in until I couldn't feel the residue. Within 5 minutes, the traces of salt disappeared. The leather uncreased and looked smooth and shiny. I felt so proud of my makeshift shoe-care prowess that I couldn't resist sharing this tip with you.
I don't recommend this for all types of leather, of course. My boots are made of the tough sort that looks shiny and feels smooth to the touch--definitely treated. Don't try this with untreated leather or suede. But if you're out and about and the leather on your shoes looks like it might be on the verge of cracking before you can tackle it with oil, hand lotion is an excellent improvisational solution.