These 13 Soaps Make Hand Washing Way More Enjoyable

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Best Hand Soaps

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

It’s safe to say that hand soap is a basic necessity to kill germs, making it pretty tricky to find any reason to deny keeping a bottle (or two) next to every sink in our homes. Luckily for us, the days when soap only came in a simple bottle—with just lemon or berry flavor options—are gone. Instead, there are aisles full of every hand soap you can imagine, ranging from budget-friendly picks to something a bit fancier for a much-needed self-care moment, there's hand soap out there for you. 

To help make the process of finding the ideal hand soap a bit simpler, we sorted through the suds to find the best hand soaps for every room, occasion, or preference.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Jeannette Graf is a Board Certified Dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

Keep reading to find the best hand soaps.

In This Article

Best Overall: Bath & Body Works Luxe Hand Soap

PEACH BELLINI Creamy Luxe Hand Soap

Amazon

What We Like
  • Comes in various scents

  • Creamy, foam-like texture 

  • Doesn’t leave hands feeling dry

What We Don’t Like
  • Strong scent

There are so many reasons why we find ourselves drawn to Bath and Body Works' endless hand soap options. Not only are there an abundance of formulas, ranging from gentle foaming to exfoliating, but there are also more than 50 different fragrances to choose from. Their adorable packaging and affordable pricing don’t hurt the matter either, which is just another reason why you’ll adore them as much as we do. 

Size: 8 fluid ounces | Scent: Warm vanilla sugar, peach bellini, berry cherry merlot, Japanese cherry blossom | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Budget: Organic Bath Co. PeaceFull Hand Soap

Organic Bath Co. PeaceFull Hand Soap

Organic Bath Co.

What We Like
  • Wonderful scent

  • Doesn’t leave hands feeling dry

  • Big bottle size

What We Don’t Like
  • Dispenser can be a bit difficult

With a gentle, effective formula, it’s hard to believe that this soap rings in at under $10. While it may not be the cheapest on the market, you can rest assured knowing that the 10 fluid ounces will last you quite a while. Plus, its formula is crafted with a whole slew of ingredients that won’t dry your hands out every time you lather. 

Size: 10 fluid ounces | Scent: Lavender | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Drugstore: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Comes in various scents

  • Affordable 

  • Lathers nicely

What We Don’t Like
  • Can be drying

  • Dispenser can be a bit difficult 

If you haven’t gotten on the Mrs. Meyer's hand soap train, then you’re in for a treat. Aside from being readily available at most drugstores and grocery stores, it also has a clean formula with a delicious fresh-smelling scent. Its cute retro packaging, super affordable price tag, and wide selection of equally yummy scents only add to its appeal. 

Size: 12.5 ounces | Scent: Basil, acorn spice, apple, apple cider, bluebell, compassion flower, daisy, eucalyptus, fresh cut grass, geranium, honeysuckle, Iowa pine, lavender, lemon verbena, lilac, mint, mum, oat blossom, orange clove, pear tree, peony, peppermint, plum berry, radish, rain water, rhubarb, rose, rosemary, snowdrop, watermelon | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Scent: Le Labo Hand Soap

Le Labo Hand Soap

Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Luxurious texture 

  • Wonderful scent 

  • Lathers nicely

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

Each time you take a whiff of this delectable scent, you’ll be transported to the Buddhist temples of Mount Koya in Japan, which carry the unmistakable scent of the nearby hinoki trees. Hinted with notes of sea buckthorn, rosemary leaf, and sugarcane, the jumbo-sized bottle will become an instant favorite of years. Also nice: It's an easy-to-use pump, smooth lather, and thick, luxurious texture. 

Size: 16.9 fluid ounces | Scent: Hinoki, sea buckthorn, rosemary leaf, sugarcane | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Scent, Runner-Up: Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash

Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash

 Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Gorgeous packaging

  • Wonderful scent 

  • Luxurious texture 

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

This cleansing gel leaves hands fresh and clean, though never stripped of any moisture, due to its addition of orange, rosemary, and lavender essential oils. Truth be told, we can’t get enough of the citrusy, woodsy, herbaceous scent, which is a crowd-pleaser among all. Bonus points for the ultra-chic bottle and its jumbo-sized bottle that seems to last forever. And it’s a top pick of Dr. Graf. “I love how silky this makes skin feel after use, thanks to the infusion of essential oils within its formula. It effectively cleanses without drying out the hands.” 

Size: 16.9 fluid ounces | Scent: Citrus, woody, and herbaceous | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Antibacterial: Softsoap Antibacterial Hand Soap

Softsoap Antibacterial Hand Soap

Walmart

What We Like
  • Comes in various scents

  • Affordable

  • Refillable

What We Don’t Like
  • Can be drying

  • Doesn't lather well

Aside from giving off a pleasant scent, this antibacterial soap from Softsoap is both affordable and easy to use. “It’s an inexpensive option that is clinically proven to eliminate 99.9 percent of bacteria while still smelling great,” explains Dr. Jeannette Graf, Board Certified Dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. And the bottle is refillable, so you don’t need to worry about running to repurchase a new bottle every time you run out. 

Size: 11.25 ounces | Scent: White tea and berry, fresh hands/zesty lemon, fresh citrus, crisp clean, sparkling pear, cool splash | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Luxury: Acqua di Parma Colonia Hand Soap

Acqua Di Parma Colonia Hand Soap

Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Lathers well

  • Wonderful scent

  • Gorgeous packaging

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

Thanks to its rich, creamy lather, you’ll want to slather this Acqua Di Parma Hand Soap on your hands every chance you get. Its fragrant—but not overbearing—citrusy scent holds notes of lemon, bergamot, and patchouli, which are meant to emulate the Silician fruit of Colonia. Plus, you’ll love how its gorgeous yellow packaging looks on your counter. 

Size: 10.1 ounces | Scent: Colonia | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Moisturizing: L'Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Hand Wash

loccitane shea butter hand wash

Courtesy of Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Leaves hands feeling soft

  • Great for gifting

What We Don’t Like
  • Thin consistency 

  • Strong scent

When you're washing your hands as much as we have been, keep this hydrating option at the ready. The formula is loaded with fatty acids to help replenish moisture, along with 5 percent shea milk and oat milk to soothe and protect. Each pump will feel like lotion, leaving your hands feeling soft, hydrated, and ready to take on excessive hand washing. 

Size: 10.1 fluid ounces | Scent: Shea classic | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Exfoliating: Diptyque Exfoliating Hand Rinse

Diptyque Exfoliating Hand Rinse

Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Gorgeous packaging

  • Leaves hands feeling soft

  • Refillable

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

  • Can be drying

Housed in sleek glass packaging, this Diptyque hand soap will make a statement in your bathroom. It’ll keep your hands super soft all year round, thanks to a formula filled with exfoliating—but not drying—ingredients. “This hand wash exfoliates to rid the skin of dead skin cells using ground olive stones,” explains Dr. Graf. Also, it’s refillable, so you’ll only have to splurge on the gorgeous bottle once. 

Size: 12 ounces | Scent: Floral and woody notes | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Foaming: Ecodaisy Foaming Hand Soap

Ecodaisy Foaming Hand Soap

Walmart

What We Like
  • Lathers well

  • Filled with a mixture of essential oils

  • Gorgeous packaging

What We Don’t Like
  • Only arrives in packages of four soaps

There’s nothing quite like lathering up with a luxurious foamy hand soap, so it only makes sense to add one to your rotation. Filled with a mixture of essential oils, the formula will keep your skin from drying out while adding in a bit of aromatherapy. The cute, simple packaging makes it ideal for any bathroom space, too. 

Size: 12.5 ounces | Scent: Peppermint | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Splurge: Byredo Suede Hand Wash

byredo suede hand wash

Courtesy of Neiman Marcus

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Wonderful scent

  • Light texture

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

Sure, you could save this pricey soap for days when you need a bit of self-care, but in the spirit of treating yourself, we say snag one (or two) bottles for everyday enjoyment. Similar to the brand’s iconic perfumes, Byredo’s handwash ups the ante with its lovely aromas. Choose between Suede and Tulipmania, which both add a floral and fruity scent, Rose, a mix of musk and pink pepper, or the earthy yet sweet Vetyver. Luckily, all smell delicious, so you truly can’t go wrong with whatever you ultimately decide. 

Size: 15.2 ounces | Scent: Bergamot and pear | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Gentle: Alaffia EveryDay Shea Liquid Hand Soap

Alaffia EveryDay Shea Liquid Hand Soap

Amazon

What We Like
  • Great value 

  • Gentle formula

  • Lathers well

  • Unscented options

What We Don’t Like
  • Thin texture

You use gentle products on your face, so why not your hands? Within this particular soap is a mixture of three pure ingredients—shea butter, virgin coconut oil, and neem leaf—which will let you throw away your worries about dealing with irritation or dry, red patches of skin due to unknown ingredients. To add an extra layer of protection, it’s also unscented and free of any sulfates, parabens, phthalates, silicones, and more. 

Size: 18 ounces | Scent: Unscented, lemon verbena, peppermint tingle, lavender spice, lavender, vanilla passion, honeysuckle, mandarin mango, vanilla mint, eucalyptus mint | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Natural: J.R. Watkins Tumeric & Citron Plant-Based Hand Soap

J.R. Watkins Tumeric & Citron Plant-Based Hand Soap

Amazon

What We Like
  • Gentle formula

  • Big bottle size

  • Affordable

What We Don’t Like
  • Dispenser can be a bit difficult

We’d be remiss not to mention that this hand soap from J.R Watkins provides the best scent combination, along with a formula filled with only natural ingredients. It has a great price tag—and large bottle size—so you can truly get the biggest bang for your buck. Plus, it’s cruelty, paraben-, silicone-, and sulfate-free. 

Size: 12 ounces | Scent: Turmeric and citron, monoi and sandalwood, rosewater, rosemary and rosewood, oud | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Final Verdict

Since washing our hands is important, it’s a good idea to make sure you use a hand soap you enjoy. You truly can’t go wrong with the Bath And Body Works Creamy Luxe Hand Soap (view at Bath and Body Works), an affordable classic with a barrage of different scent and formula options. If you’re looking for a scent that’ll blow you away, opt for Le Labo Hand Soap (view at Nordstrom) or Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash (view at Aesop). And, if you’re a sucker for a foamy lather, try the Ecodaisy Foaming Hand Soap (view at Ecodaisy). It’s a wallet-friendly pick that touts a delicious peppermint scent and naturally derived formula. 

FAQ
  • How do you use hand soaps?

    To use hand soaps, make sure you wet your hands with lukewarm water, advises Dr. Graf. She recommends placing a nickel-sized amount of soap on the palm of your hand and rubbing it all over the surface of your hand for 60 seconds. ”Dry your hands with a clean, preferably disposable towel to avoid bacteria drying onto your hands.” 

  • Does hand soap dry out your hands?

    Yes, hand soap dries the skin, says Dr. Graf. “It is important to use hand lotion or cream immediately after washing your hands to avoid drying the skin.” She recommends applying the lotion to the back of your hands first and then rubbing them together to prevent cracked, dry skin, which may be more vulnerable to infection.

Why Trust Byrdie?

Byrdie Contributor, Rachel Dube, has spent a whole lot of time testing hand soaps over the last two years. As someone who struggles with eczema breakouts on her hand, she’s always on the hunt for soaps that smell delicious and don’t cause red, patchy flare-ups. Some of her personal favorites include Byredo, Acqua Di Parma, Bath and Body Works, and Mrs. Meyers.

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