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It’s not just your face (and neck) that deserve a dedicated skincare routine. Our poor hands really go through the wringer—perhaps this year more than ever—with constant hand-washing plus exposure to UV rays and the elements. And while you may think that dryness is the only skin concern when it comes to your hands, think again. They’re a prime spot area where all kinds of signs of aging can show up, including wrinkles, spots, thinning skin, and more.
The bottom line: By all means, please use a hand cream and sunscreen daily. But on top of that, consider incorporating a hand mask into the mix. Like your weekly face mask, they’re an easy way to give your hands some extra TLC with a concentrated dose of active ingredients, and also makes for a fun, spa-like experience. The ingredients to seek out in a hand mask are actually pretty similar to those of a face mask. You'll want to look for ones such as hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and retinol. And of course, a glove or patch shape will keep your mask from making a mess.
Read on for the best hand masks.
Best Overall: Starskin Hollywood Hand Model Nourishing Double-Layer Hand Mask Gloves
Like a sheet mask for your hands, these single-use gloves are infused with a deeply moisturizing serum. Slip them on for 15 minutes and let the combo of shea butter, oils, and botanicals give skin the hydration and repair it needs. The double-layer of the gloves creates a warming effect that further helps enhance the penetration of the serum—and it feels quite delightful, too.
Best Budget: Epielle Intensive Repairing Mask
This six-pack comes out to less than two dollars per treatment, ideal for those who want to make hand masking a weekly thing (which we fully support). Coconut oil, milk extract, and hyaluronic acid add much-needed moisture to both dry hands and nails. FYI, there’s also an even more affordable 12-pack that comes with the foot version of this mask as well.
Best Fast-Acting: SiO Hand Lift Patches
Looking for a way to make your hands look more youthful, fast? Pop on these patches. Made of medical-grade silicone, they gently compress the skin to help smooth out lines and wrinkles, while also locking in moisture for a nearly-immediate plumping effect. You can wear them overnight or for a few hours during the day (because they only go on top of your hands they won’t interfere with any activities). They’re also reusable up to 10 times, a major win since results will only get better with continued use.
Best K-Beauty: Oh K! Violet Flower Intense Moisture Hand Mask
It should come as no surprise that hand masks are a K-beauty staple. This intensely moisturizing option boasts violet flower extract and has the added benefit of a lovely sweet scent, a favorite attribute among happy users.
Best Drugstore: Aveeno Repairing CICA Hand Mask
Affordable, effective, and fast-acting, this option works in just 10 minutes. In true Aveeno fashion, it’s packed with soothing oat and deeply moisturizing shea butter to help balance the skin’s natural moisture barrier and simultaneously calm irritation. Speaking of, this pick is also paraben- and fragrance-free, a nice option for those with sensitive skin.
Best Anti-Aging: Earth Therapeutics Anti-Aging Retinol Hand Mask
Fun fact: Retinol isn’t just for your face. Here, it’s the star ingredient that helps to smooth out lines and fade spots on your hands. Meanwhile, a litany of certified organic oils help impart mega moisture, too.
Best Hydrating: Karuna Hydrating + Hand Mask
When hand cream just isn’t cutting it, reach for this mask. The gloves are infused with all kinds of heavy-hitting hydrators—camellia oil, shea butter, jojoba oil, hyaluronic acid and more. The formula works in just 10 to 20 minutes, but, for max results pop them on overnight. Either way, don’t rinse after removing, just massage in any excess.
Best on Amazon: Bodipure HandPure Hand Mask
This fan favorite consistently pulls in rave reviews for quickly and easily addressing dry, cracked hands. Pop on the gloves for just 20 minutes and let the mineral oil-formula do its thing; as an added bonus, they’re touch screen compatible so you can keep scrolling through Instagram while you mask.
The skin on your hands is just as susceptible to signs of aging as the skin on your face, and hand masks offer a nice complement to a basic routine of hand cream and SPF. There are plenty of affordable, single-use serum-infused gloves out there that work to deliver moisture and anti-aging active ingredients in minutes. The Starskin Hollywood Hand Model Double-Layer Hand Mask Gloves and Epielle Intensive Repairing Mask are two of our faves. And if fine lines and wrinkles are your main concern, try either the Earth Therapeutics Anti-Aging Retinol Hand Mask or the reusable SiO Hand Lift Patches.
What to Look For in a Hand Mask
We know, we've talked about it endlessly—but hyaluronic acid really is an incredible moisturizer. Because it improves the appearance of lines and wrinkles, it can also give your hands a much needed aesthetic boost. It has become a progressively more common ingredient in hand creams nowadays for precisely that reason.
Whenever anti-aging is your goal, retinol is likely on your mind. There are many different full body lotions that contain it, because of how powerful it is at age protection. Dr. Devika Icecreamwala, a board-certified dermatologist, says that “retinol helps rebuild collagen and thicken the dermis, which over time will improve the appearance of crepey or loose skin,” and that "it also works to smooth the skin, so can be used on areas of the body that appear bumpy, and it helps improve acne and discoloration.”
Sure, you could just open up a vitamin E capsule and massage it directly into your hands, but we love the tidier version of including E in a hand mask. Board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD tells Byrdie that "Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that can help calm inflammation, prevent free-radical damage, and even skin tone."
Glove or Patch Shape
When choosing a hand mask, you want to make sure its structure fits your lifestyle. If you have time on your hands (pun intended) to hang out with mittens on and watch some Netflix, there's no need to avoid a mitten shape, or even a loose cream. But if you want to be able to go about your day while wearing a hand mask, a glove shape that separates the fingers, or a patch that sits on top of your hand will both be a little easier for anything you want to do.
Do hand masks work?
No product is a miracle cure, but yes, hand masks can work very well at what they are intended to do: add moisture to your hands. That can help heal cracked hands and rough, dry skin. In addition to moisturizing, many contain ingredients that may improve the appearance of your hands over time.
How often should you use a hand mask?
It's typical to use a hand mask once a month, though if you're dealing with inclement weather that your hands are exposed to regularly, you're unlikely to cause any harm by using a hand mask slightly more often.
What do you do after a hand mask?
Hand masks are treated similarly to sheet face masks. When the allotted time is up, you can massage any extra product into your hands that hasn't fully absorbed. If there is too much left for that to be viable or feel good, you can go ahead and wipe it off. You'll want to wait a short while to wash your hands, just to ensure all the moisture possible has been absorbed.