I make my own lotion with emulsifying wax, water, and sweet almond oil. I have very dry skin, so I use it as hand, face, and body lotion, basically whenever I wash anything. I also avoid showering more frequently than is really necessary (usually every other day), since soap and water are both very drying. This lotion is, hands down, the very best and cheapest I've ever used. It soaks in wonderfully, and feels so good on dry skin when I put it on.
I also agree about using whatever you use consistently. If I don't just automatically apply lotion whenever my skin comes into contact with water, it shows it. My hands in particular are prone to cracked skin and eczema patches, so regular lotion application is key for preventing that. Plus, prevention is much easier than trying to fix dry, cracked skin.
When my hands or feet need some extra TLC, I use coconut oil and wear socks overnight.
Octavia, you could try using a butter, like shea or cocoa. I use mango butter as part of a combination of oils I use to cleanse my face (oil cleansing method, but the oil is made solid with beeswax and mango butter). I like the mango because it doesn't really smell like anything.