The winter months chap and the summer months drain the liquid from within, leaving you with dry skin that ages all too quickly and scampering to find the best hand creams or lotions to alleviate the problems you’re forced to face. You want only the best for your body, and we’ve prepared a detailed beauty guide to help ease the task of finding the best products for soft, supple skin free from the pain that comes with the cracks.
With far too many options on the market to choose from, the process of finding what works for you can be especially daunting. It is often hit and miss unless you use trusted larger websites with many reviews.
We’ve vetted the information for you and present a meticulous list of the best hand creams, based on quality and often with a price point that makes sense. No matter your choice in a product that pampers from head to toe, the guarantee is for smoother, fresher, and younger skin that positively glows!
Your Guide to the Best Hand Creams: Contents
- 19 Best Hand Creams & Lotions for Every Skin Type and Concern
- Why Should We Use Hand Creams?
- What to Look for in a Hand Cream?
- Hand Cream vs Lotion: How to Choose the Best for You
- Can You Use Hand Cream on Your Face?
- How Often Should Hand Cream Be Used?
- Top Alternative Uses for Hand Creams & Lotions
19 Best Hand Creams & Lotions for Every Skin Type and Concern
From the best drugstore find to the best nourishing and hydrating options, you can find the best hand creams for your own specific needs below.
1. Best Overall: Gold Bond Ultimate Intensive Healing Hand Cream
Made specifically for sensitive skin, this hand cream is considered the best in the industry. Ultra-light and fresh in scent with its jojoba and aloe extracts, it will absorb quickly, without leaving any grease behind. Hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested, the healing cream adds a protective layer of moisture to restore smooth and healthy-looking skin. At only 4.99 on Amazon, it’s the best find for the best results.
2. Best Luxury: Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm
This rich and easily absorbable product is a balm meant to repair laboring hands and protect tattered cuticles. Paraben-free and completely vegan, the ingredients constitute a blend of fragrant botanicals, prepared as such that it’s suitable for full-body coverage. It is available through Nordstrom.
3. Best for Active Hands: Kiehl’s Since 1851 Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Meant for active hands that need maximum-strength coverage, this hand cream offers a positive solution to dry and dull skin with uneven texture. Old-world apothecary meets modern invention with this one. The glove-like barrier it produces over the skin is only enriched with botanical oils and natural waxes, ensuring the high absorption of moisture and the conditioning of the hands. It has a wonderful eucalyptus scent, as well! Sephora carries this hand salve that boasts near perfect reviews and works like a charm.
4. Best for Eczema: Skinfix Eczema + Hand Repair Cream
This incredible find is good for all skin types but especially effective against the harshness of eczema. A hand cream of incredible results, the colloidal oatmeal (1%) temporarily helps relieve dermatitis irritations and itching, while the sweet almond oil (5%) offers some much-needed nourishment. Rich natural butters and emollient oils help increase moisture retention while reducing skin stinging and burning. Pick it up online at Sephora!
5. Best with SPF: Supergoop! Handscreen SPF 40
A nourishing hand cream meant to fight off the harmful effects of UV ray damage on the skin, this bright-capped simple moisturizer is meant to be used on hands and feet. The sea buckthorn extracts mixed with argan and meadowfoam seed oils will ensure just the right amount of moisture without that greasy feeling we hate. Added bonus: the size of the packaging fits perfectly in your car’s cup holder. It can be found at Dermstore.
6. Best for Cracked Skin: GEHWOLmed Salve for Cracked Skin
This is the best hand cream that soothes and heals those red and burning knuckles facing the wrath of cold winds and rain. A combination of medicated soaps, lanolin, and Vaseline, it softens and smooths. The minor cracks are healed by the bisabolol and panthenol, while the eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary, camphor, and menthol cool and refresh, stimulating the blood flow to warm the extremities. Nordstrom carries the best-formulated hand lotion for cracked skin.
7. Best for Extremely Dry Skin: O’Keefe’s Working Hands Hand Cream
Amazon’s Choice as one of the best hand creams, here is a complete treat for the hands at a low price. The small cylinder holds a marvel known as the best on the market for extreme dryness, relieving and repairing cracked skin while creating a protective layer. Safe for people with diabetes, it works best after hand washing or bathing. Highly worth the investment! Grab it from Amazon!
8. Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
Available through the best drugstore for top skin products, this fragrance-free concoction is for the laboring hands that are always rough and dry and in need of some glycerin-rich (40%) TLC. Great for use to combat eczema, it offers moisturization for up to 24 hours. Find it online on Amazon!
9. Best Portable: Glossier Hand Cream
Glossier offers a lovely palm-sized pod for the best portable hand cream with an easy squeeze and sleek curves. Made of meadowfoam seed oil and coconut extracts, this sweet-smelling product nourishes and softens the skin. Formulated to be GMO-, soy-, dairy-, and nut-free, it is suitable for all skin types and a great addition to your personal care pieces in your purse. Get it directly from Glossier!
10. Best for Intense Healing: Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer
Infused with vitamins A and E, this is considered one of the best for healing excessively dry spots on elbows, feet, and knees and perfect for those in work with their hands all day. It dries to a velvety-smooth finish and works its magic on the chapped and cracked skin amazingly well. Sephora carries this product rated nearly perfect.
11. Best Brightening: Algenist GENIUS Liquid Collagen Hand Cream
Aging doesn’t have to mean dark spots, fine lines, or wrinkles. With a combination of alguronic acid, active vegan collagen, and both vitamins E and C, this lightweight lotion provides visible improvement in your skin’s resiliency and bounce, brighter and even tones, and an overall youthful appearance. Pick it up online at Sephora!
12. Best Hydrating: Aveeno Skin Relief Intense Moisture Hand Cream
Complete with soothing oats and rich emollients, this Aveeno fragrance- and steroid-free product is the best hydrating hand cream, as well as one of the longest-lasting with a 24h protection guarantee. It easily lasts through handwashing, available for a mere 10 USD. It will hydrate even the driest skin types with its unique blend of ingredients, including oatmeal. Find it online on Amazon!
13. Best Natural: Burt’s Bees Almond & Milk Hand Cream
Skincare without parabens, phthalates, or otherwise harmful ingredients, Burt’s Bees offers the best natural hand cream that will enchant you with its almond milk scent and vitamin E moisturizing abilities. It seals and conditions the skin with its beeswax while offering soft and smooth hands for when you’re on the go, all for under 9 USD. It’s available through Amazon.
14. Best Fast-Absorbing: L’Occitane Hand Cream
With over a thousand reviews, this find is simply too perfect to pass up, especially when you’re on the lookout for the best fast-absorbing cream out there. Enriched with shea butter, it deeply hydrates without that greasy feeling. The scent is delicate due to the cherry extract, and the combination of smell and touch is reminiscent of a blossoming spring season. Add roses from around the world for the most luxurious French effect. You can get it from Sephora.
15. Best for Hands & Nails: Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream
Beautiful hands require beautiful nails as well, and that is where this hand cream comes in. The perfect manicure ends when the cuticles are happy, the product working wonders on the dry and chapped skin in the quickest possible fashion. Nordstrom has you covered with this affordable top hand cream.
16. Best for Sensitive Skin: CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream
Fragrance-free, you will simply fall in love with this protective product that helps prevent chaffing, chapping, or cracking with its combination of hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. Rich in vitamins and minerals, it is one of the few with essential ceramides to help restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier. This one is best for sensitive skin and perfect for use against eczema. It is available online on Amazon.
17. Best Nourishing: EltaMD So Silky Hand Crème
For the best nourishing hand cream, turn to EltaMD’s perfect star-rated masterpiece. The creamy texture fights aging and dryness, smoothing out fine lines, healing free radical damage, brightening discoloration, and extending skin hydration to 12h, even with consistent hand washing. Sclareolide, ceramides, vitamin E, and jojoba esters come together for the perfect protective finish. It is especially good to use if you are under the sun more often than not. Grab it from Dermstore!
18. Best Exfoliating: Eucerin Advanced Repair Hand Crème
Rich in glycerin, this hand cream is meant for repairing damaged skin and is considered the best exfoliating formula on the market. You will see an immediate effect, even with the driest skin types. Considered to be great for hand eczema, you should carry this affordable product wherever you go. It is quick-absorbing and long-lasting, buffered with alpha hydroxy acid to gently exfoliate laboring hands. Get it from Amazon!
19. Best Non-Greasy: Soap & Glory Hand Food
The best non-greasy hand cream out there has got to be the adorably-packaged, funky-looking original pink rose and bergamot concoction. Rated nearly 5 stars, it is one of the most striking finds to offer some of the best results. Of course, the ingredients are just as funky as the packaging, with the combination of shea butter, macadamia oil, and marshmallow. This is not, however, meant to be used on irritated or damaged skin. It’s available at Ulta and Amazon.
Why Should We Use Hand Creams?
Hopefully, the options we listed offer a nice enough morsel to choose your favorite from, however, consider why it is so necessary to even have a tube in your purse and on your nightstand at all times.
Use a hand cream (or lotion) if:
- You want silky smoothness to accompany your manicure;
- The air around you is dry, and you need help with hydrating your body from the outside;
- You face some harsh weather conditions, such as too much sun, too much wind, extreme cold, etc.;
- Your health records include skin irritations and conditions, which require constant attention and assistance in repair/ protection.
No part of your body should be neglected. It is important to not only look but also feel beautiful. The perfect hand cream, curated to your needs, will ensure you can brave the elements with relative ease.
What to Look for in a Hand Cream?
So, what makes a hand cream worth buying?
• To heal dry skin and protect from harsh weather conditions, go for rich nutritive creams with essential fatty acids, such as argan oil, avocado oil, or jojoba oil.
• For the best soothing effects, pick lotions with allantoin or aloe vera, known for their healing properties.
• Other beneficial ingredients in a hand cream are vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin E, lanolin, peptides, shea butter, etc.
• If you have sensitive skin, consider getting hand lotions free from fragrances or any added color.
• Those with aging hands or hyperpigmentation should give preference to deeply hydrating options and ones with SPF that will protect from further damage.
• For healthier nails, pick hand creams advertised for nails as well.
Hand Cream vs Lotion: How to Choose the Best for You
When searching for the right product for your skin, you might be confused by the fact that there are hand creams, gels, and lotions to choose from. You want to make the most of the money spent and have to ensure the results are worth every penny invested in the skincare brands you pick from. Scent or no scent? Natural or chemically enhanced? For regular or sensitive skin? There are many questions to ask.
• Creams and gels have higher oil content (50/50), are generally thick and are kept in jars and containers instead of tubes. Hand gels are best for dry weather conditions, offering more protection. The creams and gels are meant for aging skin more because of the higher concentration of their ingredients. However, it should be noted that creams tend to be greasier and heavier, in general. They work wonders in creating protective layers for long-term hydration, however.
• On the other hand, lotions are free-flowing, come in tubes and easy-to-use dispensers, and have high water content. The lower oil concentration means easier absorption by the body. They are for spreading on larger patches of skin and often used for daily care. Humid summer days call for lotions, while cracked and irritated skin from the winter chill calls for creams, balms and gels.
Can You Use Hand Cream on Your Face?
While you most certainly have tried this at one point, you might have realized that hand creams on the face just leave your features oily and shiny. Unless you have a specific skin condition, it’s best to keep the face care to lotions, while creams work wonders on hands, feet, and limbs.
Face cream prices are almost double those of hand creams, we know, but there are reasons to avoid maximizing the use of the product at hand. Since hands are exposed to labor, and the elements a whole lot more than the face, anti-aging technologies are available in higher amounts, which could potentially pose a risk when used on areas that are normally softer, more pliable.
Furthermore, even with the most natural products, you are looking at clogged pores and increased blackheads or whiteheads. Certainly not the look you desire.
How Often Should Hand Cream Be Used?
There is always a too-much and too-little spectrum for everything that you do. This includes the use of hand creams, no matter how dry your skin is at the start.
Hand creams are often formulated to prevent aging, filling out the fine lines and smoothing the wrinkles. Many also work hard to fight off discoloration and sunspots.
Use it multiple times a day, as you feel the need for it. Once the dryness sets in, you will need it more. However, be careful to keep it from getting greasy, as well.
Whether you pick the cream, gel, or lotion, the best time to apply them is directly after a shower or soak in the tub, when your pores are unclogged and enlarged, ready to soak in the goodness you have to offer. It is especially beneficial to keep some moisture on the body before applying the creams and lotions, for this ensures you trap the water against your skin, increasing the amount of time the hydration will last you.
Some products survive regular hand washing, but it’s good to have the tube or container with you, just in case.
Top Alternative Uses for Hand Creams & Lotions
Most products out there are good for a lot more than just what they were intended for. This includes hand creams and lotions. While some might feel a bit more conventional, others are quite creative and surprisingly useful.
• If you find yourself facing a frizzy hair day, put a small amount of hand cream in your palms, and tame those unruly strands. Apply the cream in a single direction, and pull it down, letting gravity do its work. The final result will surprise you.
• Curls often need special treatment, and hand cream works wonders in helping the strands retain their springiness. Keep your hair bound and allow moisture to soak in, creating a protective barrier. Let go, and enjoy a night on the town.
• Split ends have a tendency of appearing when we least want them around. They are frustrating and really affect the look of your tresses. Hand lotion cannot repair it, but it will temporarily bind the split sections, instantly making you look healthier, shinier, more beautiful than ever.
• Shaving isn’t always fun, and the dryness after the removal of unwanted hair can be daunting. Hand cream works perfectly well, though lotions can cover a lot more ground with similar results. Always have some handy, even if there’s no aftershave.
• The winter months can get super dry indoors, with the heat on all the time. Bodies itch, and unpleasant static can be found on clothing, particularly those made of synthetic fibers. To prevent this, a small amount of hand cream spread across your palms and applied gently to the fabric works best.
• Funny enough, hand creams can be used as a base to grease different tools, particularly due to their high oil concentrations. Polishing shoes with hand cream is also an option and not one we normally consider. As for those old scissors? A bit of lotion will help rid the tool of dullness and rust. Water and oil combat the stiffness really well, as well. The same goes for squeaky hinges and sticky keyholes. No need to find the oil. Your lotion does the trick.
• Removing stickers and glue residue has never been easier, really. Those annoying remnants on your china, your care products, or even your furniture can really affect your mood. A dollop of hand lotion and the glue doesn’t stand a chance.
• Lotions mixed with sugar actually work exceptionally well as light exfoliators of the skin, effectively hydrating while also peeling away the dead skin cells.
• If you notice your tanning lotion is prone to streaking, mix with the hand cream or lotion, depending on the consistency you desire. It will help the product go on more evenly all around.
• As for those rings that tend to get stuck when you swell in the summer heat? A bit of cream or lotion and that gorgeous circlet will slide right off, allowing your digits to return to normal.
Photos via Instagram