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Why is it that we spend hours tending to the skin on our face and body, but our hard-working hands hardly ever get a look in? Sure, we might indulge in the odd manicure and slap on some hand cream in the depths of winter—but how often is it that we stop showing them some TLC?
A hand mask is a simple but easy way to do just that. Whether you use a pair of hydrating gloves or a superlative leave-on treatment, a great quality hand mask formula is an unlikely skincare buy, but once you try it, we promise you’ll be hooked! And so here we’ve compiled the very best, from those spiked with actives (hello, retinol) to super repairing options.
Meet the Expert
Keep scrolling to shop the best hand creams.
Best Overall: Starskin Hollywood Hand Model Nourishing Double-Layer Hand Mask Gloves
Can be chilled
Double-lined to avoid spills
Only single use
Like a sheet mask for hands, these single-use mitts are infused with a deeply moisturizing serum—think shea butter, macadamia, and nourishing olive extract. The double-layer glove has a lovely warming effect, or you can pop them in the fridge before use for a refreshing, spa-like experience. In 15 minutes, expect hands that are silky soft and cared-for.
Active Ingredients: Shea butter, botanical oils, botanical extracts | Size: 0.6 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Budget: Epielle Intensive Repairing Hand Mask
Comes in a 6-pack
Reviewers claim they don’t have enough serum
Cheap and cheerful, these gloves supposedly come with a serum rich in coconut oil and hyaluronic acid to nourish tired hands. We love the affordability factor, too!
Active Ingredients: Coconut oil, milk extract, hyaluronic acid | Skin Type: Dry | Size: 1 pair | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Drugstore: Aveeno Repairing CICA Hand Mask
Paraben- and fragrance-free
Reviewers claim results don't last long
A crowd favorite (and for good reason), this simple soothing hand mask set from Aveeno is excellent for sensitive skin. “The inclusion of oat and shea butter is great for depleted skin,” says Petroni. “Petrolatum, while not nourishing, will also prevent further damage and water loss,” she adds.
Active Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, shea butter | Skin Type: Dry, sensitive | Size: 1 pair | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Hydrating: Karuna Hydrating + Hand Mask
Can use overnight
Comes in a 4-pack
Packed with nourishing ingredients like shea butter, camellia oil, jojoba, and glycerin, these luxe gloves are a treat for dry, chapped, or calloused hands. Bonus: they even contain a touch of lactic and glycolic acids to slough away rough or flaky skin.
Active Ingredients: Camellia flower extract, shea butter, collagen | Skin Type: Dry | Size: 0.51 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Elixir Premium Labs Korean Moisturizing Hand Mask
Can use on a touch screen
Reviews claim they are small in size
These top-rated gloves from Korean skincare brand Elixir Premium Labs are packed with natural ingredients (like rose extract, shea butter, and olive extract) as well as mineral oil to create a protective barrier around the hands. According to reviews, they are quite fragrant though, so keep that in mind if you’re sensitive.
Active Ingredients: Shea butter, rose | Size: 1 pair | Scent: Floral, sweet | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Sephora Collection Cucumber Hand Mask
Only single use
What’s great about this hydrating hand mask set from Sephora Collection is that they contain both hyaluronic acid and saccharide isomerate. The second one especially is an exciting ingredient said to increase skin hydration for softer, smoother hands.
Petroni agrees it’s a great ingredient, especially alongside hyaluronic acid and glycerin to “improve skin moisture, smooth skin appearance, and reduce the incidence of both flakes and fine lines”. It’s a yes from us.
Active Ingredients: Saccharide isomerate, hyaluronic acid, cucumber extract | Size: 1 pair | Scent: Fresh, green | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Patchology Warm Up Perfect 10 Self-Warming Hand & Cuticle Mask
Has a warming effect
Want to hydrate your hands and treat yourself to a spa-like experience in 10 minutes flat? Try on these warming gloves from Perfect 10. Packed with rich macadamia oil and shea butter, they replenish and restore softness, resulting in cared-for hands and cuticles. This is also a great one to work into your DIY manicure routine.
Active Ingredients: Macadamia oil, shea butter, rosehip oil | Size: 1 pair | Scent: Subtle, floral | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Fenty Skin Hydra’Reset Intensive Recovery Glycerin Hand Mask
Comes in a multi-use tube
Trust Bad Gal Ri Ri to bless us with an intensive treatment that works while we snooze. Enriched with an impressive 40 percent glycerin—a humectant that binds water to skin cells, fighting dehydration—it’s a balmy treatment that works to reduce flaking, chapping, and dryness. While it is an overnight treatment, we’re still pleased to report that Hydra’Reset is neither sticky nor greasy—a great antidote to over-sanitized mitts.
Active Ingredients: Glycerin, mango seed butter, murumuru seed butter | Size: 2.5 fl. oz. | Scent: Fruity | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Starskin Red Carpet Ready Hand Super Hydrating Foil Mask Gloves
Has a warming effect
These hard-working foil gloves generate a subtle warmth, helping to infuse the nourishing ingredients right into the skin. Because the serum itself is packed with butters and oils, these are a great pick for those in need of extra care—think torn cuticles, cracked knuckles, and reptilian-like texture. In 15 minutes, your hands will feel softer, smoother, and much more comfortable.
Active Ingredients: Macadamia oil, shea butter, coconut oil | Size: 1 pair | Scent: Subtle, slightly sweet | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Mavala Rejuvenating Hand Mask
“This is a staple formula in my salon,” explains Petroni. “The clay buffs away built-up skin while ceramides and allantoin rebuild a resilient barrier. I like to leave it on for 15 minutes, remove with a warm towel, and then apply a cream for best results”.
We love the fact it comes with plastic gloves, too, for optimal penetration (and minimal mess).
Active Ingredients: Ceramides, kaolin, glycerin, allantoin, aloe vera | Size: 2.5 fl. oz. | Scent: Floral, green | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Anti-Aging: Earth Therapeutics Anti-Aging Retinol Hand Mask
Can apply remaining serum to arms/chest
Must use weekly to see results
If you want to target discoloration, sun spots, or fine lines, a targeted hand mask like this one from Earth Therapeutics is the way to go. It contains retinol, the gold standard ingredient in skin renewal and repair. The only caveat though is that you need to use them weekly—if not biweekly—to see results. But if you’re committed, they’re a great product! Be sure to massage any remaining serum into your arms and chest.
Active Ingredients: Retinol, botanicals | Skin Type: All | Size: 0.54 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Miss Spa Deep Therapy Hand Treatment
Only single use
Affordable but oh so effective, this simple glove set hydrates the skin without any sticky residue. We love the fact they contain glycerin and safflower oil, as well as essential oils for a sensorial experience.
Active Ingredients: Safflower oil, glycerin, beeswax | Size: 1 pair | Scent: Floral | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
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 Patchology Warm Up Perfect 10 Self-Warming Hand and Cuticle Mask are two of our faves. As for leave-on formulas, we can’t go past the Fenty Skin Hydra’Reset Intensive Recovery Glycerin Hand Mask or the Mavala Rejuvenating Hand Mask.
What to Look For in a Hand Mask
We know, we've talked about it endlessly—but hyaluronic acid 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. Many different full-body lotions 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 [it] 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 didn't fully absorb. 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 to ensure all the moisture possible has been absorbed.
Why Trust Byrdie
For this article, Emily Algar not only tested a bunch of hand masks (it’s a tough gig!) but also researched peer-reviewed articles, consulted an expert, and trawled through internet reviews to find you the best of the best.
Hartini H, Vlorensia ., Abdullah H, Martinus AR, Ikhtiari R. The effect of a moisturizing cream containing saccharide isomerate and ceramide on reducing transepidermal water loss in eczema: In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Health Informatics and Medical Application Technology. SCITEPRESS - Science and Technology Publications; 2019:411-417.
Milani M, Sparavigna A. The 24-hour skin hydration and barrier function effects of a hyaluronic 1%, glycerin 5%, and Centella asiatica stem cells extract moisturizing fluid: an intra-subject, randomized, assessor-blinded study. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2017;10:311-315. Published 2017 Aug 11. doi:10.2147/CCID.S144180