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When we think of skincare, our mind typically goes to products that are applicable to the face. So, it's no surprise that skincare brands focus a majority of their time and energy on creating products that hydrate, nourish and protect facial skin. That being said, a majority of our skin isn't on our face, but of course, the rest of our body, from décolletage to toe. The skin covering our body is just as important, though often forgotten, and deserves some TLC along with the proper products that pamper and cater to the skin.
Hand creams, in particular, are a large part of that equation. Our hands are consistently exposed to environmental aggressors including sunlight, and seasonal irritants including dry, chapped skin during colder, dryer months. Subsequently, they require products that will treat and prevent damage, not to mention the signs of aging that go along with it. So naturally, we decided to research and round up the top-rated hand creams to give life to dry, tired hands.
Read on for the best hand creams available today.
Best Overall: Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm
Aesop, the all-natural brand that makes highly sought-after personal care items, is responsible for one of our all-time favorite antioxidant-rich hand creams. Just as the name implies, this hand cream is super fragrant thanks to active botanicals and natural ingredients (it smells like a mix of lavender, citrus, and wood).
It's basically like a personal aromatherapy session packaged down into a travel-friendly bottle, which is why it deserves a spot in every carry-on bag, purse, and gym bag, and on every nightstand, desk, and vanity.
Best Budget: J.R. Watkins Anti-Aging Hand Cream
This drugstore hand cream is antioxidant-rich and full of vitamins, meant to work together to provide an anti-aging effect as well as environmental protection. Since it's so affordable, we don't feel bad buying it in bulk to store in every spot we could possibly need it.
Best With SPF: Supergoop! Handscreen SPF 40
Harmful UV rays are everywhere and exposure is inevitable, especially for hands. Don’t let them go neglected. Protect your hands just as you would your face.
This cruelty- and paraben-free hand cream boasts SPF 40, which is almost unheard of for a hand cream. It also contains antioxidants and omegas (as well as the buzzy skincare ingredient sea buckthorn) meant to target signs of hand aging like loss of firmness and hyperpigmentation. Stash it in your bag or purse to hydrate the skin and keep hands protected from any rogue UV exposure that happens throughout the day.
Best Portable: Glossier Hand Cream
Yes, this moisturizer from Glossier packs a punch in terms of hydration—including ingredients like meadowfoam seed oil and coconut fruit extract—but its design is what sets it apart even more. Its adorable pale pink packaging is ergonomically designed for on-the-go use, and its click-to-close cap prevents any leaking in your bag. Also, if you're a fan of Glossier's debut fragrance, you're in luck—the brand reimagined the scent for the hands, here. This product is also dermatologist-tested, cruelty-free, and suitable for all skin types.
Best Fair Trade: Alaffia Coconut Reishi Hand and Body Cream
This nourishing hand cream has ingredients that are good for your skin, and good for local artisans. The fair trade coconut oil and reishi mushrooms work together to hydrate your skin and protect against the elements. The creamy formula absorbs quickly into the skin yet, which is super important for a quality hand cream, yet it's powerful enough to heal even the driest, cracked hands.
Best Luxury: Sisley-Paris Sisleÿa L'Integral Anti-Age Hand Care Anti-Aging Concentrate
This is definitely the most luxurious (and expensive) hand cream on this list, but that's to be expected as it comes from Sisley, the Parisian brand known for its high-end skincare (like the ever-popular Black Rose Face Mask). It's famous for tackling the visible signs of aging like wrinkles, firmness, radiance, and more for more youthful-looking hands. And between us, it makes for the chicest addition to a vanity.
Best for Cracked Skin: O'Keeffe's Working Hands Hand Cream
It’s not every day that you come across a product that you can see work miracles right in front of your eyes (basically). Most ointments, even the strong prescription stuff, take at least a week to show real results, but that's not the case with O’Keefe’s Working Hands Hand Cream.
This Amazon's Choice formula instantly starts repairing as soon as it touches your skin. If your hands are seriously cracked or chapped, it might sting at first. But don’t worry—it’s that you-know-it-must-be-working kind of sting and that’s because it is. In less than 24 hours, super soft hands will be your new reality, according to the brand. Cracks will mend. Dry patches will heal. And all it takes is a pinch o’ product. When we say a little bit goes a long way, we mean it. Although the texture is thick, it doesn’t leave hands feeling sticky or wet. If anything, it has a slightly tacky feel to it.
Best for Eczema: Gilded Supreme Body Balm
I know, I know, this balm can be used anywhere on the body, but it's nourishing, non-greasy texture makes it a soothing solution for troubled hands. It's made of ultra hydrating shea butter and meadowfoam seed oil, but the real hero ingredient is cupuacu butter. It's rich in antioxidants and acts as a natural treatment for sunburn, dermatitis, and eczema.
What to Look For in a Hand Cream
When choosing a hand cream, antioxidants are always a plus. "Antioxidants work by reversing and preventing oxidative stress aka free radical damage," says Sonya Dakar, skincare expert and founder of Sonya Dakar Skin Clinic. "Think of antioxidants as an insurance plan for your skin. They protect you from future damage as well as help reverse damage to your cells." Antioxidants can help with premature aging, inflammation, and hyperpigmentation, all of which our hands are particularly exposed to. They are also super anti-inflammatory.
If you are purchasing a hand cream to tackle the all-too-common issue of dry hands, seeking a cream that nourishes the skin should be a priority. Hydrating ingredients including shea butter and coconut oil help keep the skin nourished and happy, and help fight dry, cracked skin.
Just like any skincare product, there are different hand cream formulas to choose from. In winter (or dry, colder months) opt for a heavier thicker cream or ointment (don't worry, we've listed those that don't leave a greasy residue on your hands). In the summer months, opt for a lighter-weight hand cream. And of course, year-round, always opt for a hand cream that has SPF when possible.
Which hand cream is best to tackle fine lines and wrinkles?
When looking to tackle fine lines and wrinkles, opt for a hand cream with antioxidants. As discussed, antioxidants help prevent and reverse premature aging, giving your skin a fighting chance against pesky wrinkles. Also opt for a hand cream with SPF to fight any damage the sun may cause, which too can lead to fine lines.
What ingredients should be avoided in hand cream?
Avoid exfoliating ingredients in hand creams that can further irritate dry or chapped skin. You'll technically want to avoid harsh ingredients altogether if you have sensitive skin, such as alcohol and fragrance.