I’m going to be completely honest here: I judge people on their hand soap. When I’m over someone’s house for a dinner or gathering, I always notice the soap they have in their bathroom. It’s not the sort of thing where I’d be like, “Oh, you have terrible vanilla scented gel soap. We’re not friends anymore,” but it does tell me something about them. The scent you choose to put on your body several times a day is a reflection of your tastes, your attention to detail, and your priorities. So I have to admit, as an adult I finally get the whole putting out the guest soap thing during the holidays.
Hand wash is one of the small activities throughout our increasingly busy days that we’ve forgotten we can enjoy–routines that are so rushed that we don’t take advantage of that small moment of relaxation. Things like our morning coffee, showers, and washing our hands. Taking the time for brief moments of mindfulness, by paying attention to how your soap feels, the way it lathers, and the way it smells, can actually reduce anxiety and depression and turn a boring chore into a quick underwater hand massage.
You never get those minutes of your day you spend washing your hands back. Make them something you enjoy.
Treating yourself to truly high quality hand wash is one way to ensure those minutes of your day are relaxing and luxurious, instead of mindlessly scrubbing your hands with a fake, chemical-smelling hand gel. This is a product you’re going to use several times a day, every day. Skimping on it can actually hurt your skin.
Soap can be really harsh on your hands if you’re not paying attention to what’s in it and just grabbing the first bottle with a cute label you see at the grocery store. These cheap soaps can dry your hands to the point of cracking and contain harmful chemicals. A hand wash should be refreshing, relaxing, and make your hands feel better than before you washed them–not worse.
Taking care of your hands means a lot more than just using the best hand wash–it’s also about maintaining your nails, moisturizing, and avoiding products that could harm or dry your hands out. See my guides to the best luxury hand cream, best manicure kits and sets, and best nail polish removers for products to help you take the best care of your hands possible. If your nails are already dry and painful, see my guide to the best cuticle oils and creams for emergency moisturizing.
If you’re looking for another way to add multi-dimensional, stunning fragrances to your home, see my guide to the best luxury candles.
These are the best luxury hand washes out there right now to turn your everyday routine into a mini spa treatment for your hands.
1. Molton Brown Hand Wash in Orange & Bergamot
Molton Brown is one of the top luxury hand soap brands around and is imported from England. Molton Brown’s scents are delicate but complex and layered enough to be refreshing. All their fragrances are very multi-dimensional and you’ll be finding new notes within the scent every time you use it. The Orange & Bergamot scent Molton Brown’s most classic fragrance. It pairs the bright sweetness of orange blossom with the softness of bergamot and has Sevillian orange oil to hydrate your hands and provide for a citrus finish to the scent.
Molton Brown soaps are never drying, always rich feeling, and will leave your guests jotting down the name of the brand in a jealous fervor. If you don’t want your hand wash scent to last, this isn’t the brand for you. Molton Brown’s scents last long after you’ve washed your hands which I love. They have a huge selection of scents including Pomegranate & Ginger (ginger, lily of the valley, and cardamom) and Rockrose & Pine (Siberian pine oil, amber, and rockrose).
- Cruelty free
- Complex, layered scents
- Never drying
- Fragrance lasts
- Lots of scents to choose from
- Not for people who want extremely subtle fragrance
2. L’Occitane Verbena Cleansing Hand Wash
This hand wash from L’Occitane uses plant-derived moisturizers and wheat proteins to nourish and moisturize your skin without ever leaving your hands feeling greasy. The only downside is that means this soap isn’t gluten free which may be an issue to keep in mind. The gel is a smooth and refreshing formula that lathers nicely and rinses off easily.
L’Occitane’s Verbena scent is the star of the show here. It’s bright and lemony with herbal base notes. Verbena is the sort of fragrance that just makes you feel cleaner. While the scent lingers on your hands a little bit, it won’t last nearly as long as Molton Brown’s soaps. This soap is imported from the Provence region of France and uses organic verbena extract for its light and airy fragrance. L’Occitane also has surprisingly affordable refill soap available which gives them major points in my book.
- Rated 4.7 out of five stars by users on Amazon
- Bright, refreshing verbena scent
- Product of France
- Won’t dry your hands
- Not gluten free
3. Antica Farmacista Hand & Body Wash in Prosecco
I love the Antica Farmacista packaging. It looks like a soap you might find in a luxury hotel. Antica Farmacista is a Seattle-based company and their hand wash does more than just get your hands clean. This wash is for both hand and body and contains botanicals to make your skin look and feel healthier. The Antica Farmacista Hand & Body Wash contains aloe vera, chamomile, hydrolized silk, silk amino acids, sweet almond oil, and honey extract to nourish your skin. On to the scent.
Prosecco is a bubbly and citrusy scent that begins with nectarine, apricot, and passion fruit and mellows to notes of black currant and vanilla. It’s relaxing and refreshing all at once. I like that the bottle doesn’t dispense too much soap in each pump so it lasts longer, and that the soap’s color reminds me of prosecco. I love this scent so much I featured it my Top 10 Best Luxury Candles guide. If Prosecco isn’t for you, Anitca Farmacista has a wide range of scents including Acqua (marine agae and musk) and Green Fig (fig, lemon blossom, and amber.)
- Complex, refreshing scent
- Long lasting
- Nourishing botanicals
- Not vegan
4. Aromachology Hand Wash in Bold & Brisk Woodsy
The Bold & Brisk Woodsy scent by AROMACHOLOGY is an invigorating, get up and go kind of experience. As a liquid soap, the formula is smooth, non-drying, and creates the right amount of lather. This one doesn’t contain parabens or sulfates which my skin appreciates. The fragrance starts with cyclamen and jasmine, with a heart of ginger and apple blossom. White Egyptian musk and patchouli form the foundation of the scent. It has that kind of energy that makes you want to go for a walk just to enjoy the air. If woodsy isn’t your style, AROMACHOLOGY offers several scented hand soaps like Totally Edible Gourmand (raspberry, lemon drop, and sugar cane) and Exotic & Spicy Oriental (honeysuckle, peony, and cinnamon.)
- Energizing scent
- Made in Canada
- Several fragrance choices
- Not everyone will love the bright color
5. Archipelago Botanicals Hand Wash in Black Honey
This moisturizing gel soap gets its skin nourishing power from black honey. Only found near rainforests, black honey is produced by large bees in Southeast Asia and is much darker than the honey you find in bear-shape at the grocery store. Honey has long been used for softening skin, and black honey is gathered in rainforest zones free from pesticides for a purer honey. That’s only one part of Archipelago Botanicals’ hand wash. It also contains extracts of green tea, honeysuckle, oat, arnica flower, acai berry, and vitamin E. So if soft hands is your main priority, this may be the soap for you. The fragrance is of honey and ginger with lighter notes of grapefruit and lemon. I featured Archipelago Botanicals’ scented candles in my guide to the best luxury candles.
- Paraben, sulfate, and gluten free
- Nourishing botanicals including rare black honey
- Not vegan
6. Crabtree & Evelyn Cooks Citrus Hand Wash
If you need a kitchen hand soap, this is the one. It’s fresh and citrusy with extracts of grapefruit, lemon, and orange. The scent is strong enough to be lively but not so much that it overtakes your home cooking. Cooks Citrus Hand Wash can get rid of garlic, onion, fish, and other strong smells that feel like they can stick to your hands for days. It’s strong enough to tackle the strong odors and messes that happen in a kitchen, but still gentle on your hands. You know how some kitchen soaps can make your hands feel like you just washed them with dish soap? This is not one of those washes. The silky lather leaves your hands smooth and smelling like oranges.
Price: $28 (6 percent off MSRP)
- Rated five out of five stars by users on Amazon
- Eliminates kitchen odors
- Made in America
- Only one choice of fragrance
7. Lafco House & Home True Liquid Hand Soap in Marine
The base of this Italian-made liquid hand soap is cold-pressed extra virgin Italian olive oil. This is the most moisturizing hand soap of the list. Lafco soaps do lather up, but not with as much foam as synthetic soaps. With how hydrating they are and how clean they leave your hands, I’m willing to give up a few suds. This soap also contains hydrolyzed wheat and oat proteins to nourish your skin. The Marine scent is inspired by the breezy late afternoon sea air with notes of ozone, water lily, bergamot, and vetiver. Their Marine Candle is part of their House & Home Collection and is designated as a bathroom scent so this would be a great choice for a bathroom hand wash. Lafco has 12 other scents if sea air isn’t for you, including Fleurs de Baies (bayberry leaves, black currant, and raspberry) and Moonglow Apricot (apricot, lychee, and white tea.)
- All natural soap with no synthetics
- Moisturizing olive oil base
- Made in Italy
- No GMOs, silicones, sulfates, parabens, PEGs, or dyes
- Lots of fragrance choices
- Not gluten free
- People not used to olive oil soaps may think it feels too moisturizing
8. L’Occitane Shea Butter Liquid Soap in Lavender
I don’t think you’re allowed to have a best hand soap list without featuring a lavender soap. It’s some unwritten rule. I love lavender, but if not done well it can smell soapy and chemical. The French can do lavender and this liquid soap from L’Occitane comes from Provence, France. The fragrance is light, floral, and true to the flower itself. Shea butter and aloe vera are included to moisturize your hands. This soap definitely has more of a hydrated feel to it when you wash your hands which some people might not be used to, but it’s a good thing. Be warned though, it’s said that once you try this hand soap, you can never go back to grocery store brands. Luckily, L’Occitane offers relatively cheap hand soap refills.
- Addictive lavender scent
- Product of France
- Large bottle
- If you don’t like lavender, skip this one.
9. Noodle & Boo Healthy Hand Wash
If you’re looking for a gentle hand wash, the Healthy Hand Wash by Noodle & Boo is made for parents and other caregivers of babies who need to wash their hands multiple times a day. It’s Dermatologist and Pediatrician tested to be safe for sensitive skin for adults and little ones. It has a light fragrance for sensitive noses and is paraben, sulfate, phthalate, and cruelty-free. To keep hands from drying out with frequent washings the soap contains aloe vera, sweet almond oil, and vitamins A, C, and E. It also supports skin healthy with organic honey, milk protein, and hydrolyzed wheat protein. While that’s great for most skin, just keep in mind that a small number of folks have allergies.
- Moisturizing aloe vera and sweet almond oil
- Formulated for frequent washing
- No sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or dyes
- No animal testing
- Contains milk and wheat products
- Not vegan
10. Crabtree & Evelyn Conditioning Hand Wash in La Source
The La Source Collection from Crabtree & Evelyn was released in Spring 2017. This is a soap-free cleanser that moisturizes and sweeps you off your feet with its ocean scent. It’s a pH balanced soap to leave your hands feeling healthy and packed with sustainably harvested green seaweed extract and brown algae extract to cover your hands in anti-oxidants, amino acids, and hydrate your skin.
Despite being a soap-free formula, this hand wash really suds up and you’d never be able to tell that it’s lacking those synthetic chemicals. I do really like when a soap foams up. I just feel cleaner that way. The fragrance of La Source is maybe indescribable. It’s not like most “beach” scents that are vaguely marine and blue smelling. La Source captured that salty breeze and smell of sun-baked sand dunes. You have to smell it to believe it.
- Amazing ocean scent
- Soap free
- Moisturizing marine botanicals
- Good lather
- Contains synthetic dyes (I’m really reaching here, folks)
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