We put our hands through a lot so they deserve the best hand cream.
Hands are probably the body part we use most and, other than our feet, use most roughly. We use our hands for everything. They scrabble in the garden, yanking weeds.
Our hands communicate by gestures and by typing. They build houses and keep them clean. They paint, sculpt, and make music. Our hands hold our loved ones.
Between harsh winters, the chlorine of pool water over the summer, and everything in between, your hands take a beating.
Run your hand down your arm. Does the skin of your palm feel the same as your wrist? What about the top–does the skin of the top of your hand feel the same as your arm? Does the top of your hand feel anything like your palm?
The skin of your hands is so different from the rest of your body and has very specific needs. This is why body lotion simply won’t cut it when it comes to keeping your hands feeling moisturized and healthy.
Hands are one of the first places that begin to show signs of aging. As we grow older we lose collagen and elasticity causing our skin to visibly wrinkle. The skin of your hands is a paradoxical mix of tough and delicate making it hard to find a lotion that addresses all your hands’ needs.
It doesn’t help that we truly abuse our hands throughout the day. I know I’m guilty of washing dishes without wearing gloves. Dish soap can dry out your hands enough that your skin cracks. The harsh chemicals in the cleaning solutions we use aren’t a picnic for your hands either but we use it anyway and expect our hands to cope.
Just think about how many times a day you wash your hands. Most hand washes are drying and can leave your hands chapped and painful. Hands that are so dry that they split can leave you vulnerable to infection which is the complete opposite of the point of washing your hands.
This can be avoided by using a high quality hand wash that swaps traditional drying agents with moisturizers. Read my guide to the Best Luxury Hand Soaps for more information. A good quality hand cream is essential to replacing any lost moisture at the end of the day.
Lots of lotions out there call themselves hand creams, but there is a certain hydration level that your hands need that can only be found in higher quality creams. These are the top 10 luxe hand creams that will pamper your hands so they feel like you just left the spa.
1. Archipelago Botanicals Soy Creme Milk Hand Cream
This Archipelago Botanicals hand cream is a perfect example of why mall store body lotion simply can’t compete with high end hand cream. While many thick body lotions will contain highly moisturizing oils like jojoba oil and coconut oil, the Soy Creme Milk Hand Cream contains jojoba esters and coconut oil esters.
What’s the difference? Jojoba oil, for example, is made up of several molecule types. Esters are the part of the oil that most closely resembles our body’s natural oils. By extracting only the esters from the jojoba oil and coconut oil, Archipelago is ensuring that these deep moisturizers will not only be quickly absorbed into your skin, but that there won’t by any greasy feeling afterward because there aren’t any oil by products that your skin can’t use.
The Soy Creme Milk Hand Cream has a light fresh scent, reminiscent of rice and vanila soy milk, that is barely there and gender neutral so it can be comfortably used by anyone and everyone with dry hands.
Botanicals like arnica, chamomile, rosemary, and vitamin E deeply nourish your skin and reduce signs of aging through high levels of antioxidants. Milk and soy protein add to the creamy consistency and provide your skin with the building blocks it needs to encourage cell growth. The convenient tube looks like something you’d buy in a turn of the century apothecary which I love.
The only real downside is that this cream contains silicones, which some people prefer to avoid. Silicones give products their slip and make lotions spread easily over your skin. In hand cream, silicones soften, smooth, and protect your skin from pollution. The main argument against silicone is that its environment impact isn’t clear yet and could be negative.
- Unique jojoba and coconut esters
- Made in America
- Nourishing protein and botanicals
- Light, gender-neutral scent
- Free of parabens, sulfates, and gluten
- Contains silicones
2. Ahava Mineral Hand Cream
The Ahava Mineral Hand Cream is one of the most raved about hand creams out there. It’s made with Dead Sea water and allantoin, from comfrey root, which both calm irritated skin and have been shown to treat skin disorders like acne and psoriasis.
One of the things I really love about the Ahava Mineral Hand Cream is that it contains witch hazel which is naturally antibacterial. It’s also an astringent which means it helps your skin lock in moisture and keep your hands from drying out.
The cream itself is decadently smooth and instantly makes your hands feel supple and hydrated without being greasy. While it does contain silicone, this cream is paraben, sulfate, GMO, and cruelty free.
This cream is available in several fragrances so you can choose from the original Mineral Hand Cream (sandalwood and floral plum), Sea-Kissed (ocean breeze and marine), Mandarin & Cedarwood (what it says on the tin), Prickly Pear & Moringa (lightly sweet and after rain) and Cactus & Pink Pepper (bright and peppery citrus.)
- Several scents to choose from
- Vegan and paraben, sulfate, GMO, petroleum, and cruelty free
- Contains naturally sanitizing witch hazel
- Contains Dead Sea water and allantoin for intense hydration
- Contains silicone
3. Elemis Pro-Radiance Hand & Nail Cream
This hand cream from the high end brand Elemis is probably the longest lasting hand cream on here. It’s a non-greasy formula that soaks in fasts and keeps your hands feeling moisturized for hours.
I know when I put on a typical hand cream, it feels amazing right away but after half an hour, my hands are feeling dry again. The Elemis Pro-Radiance Hand & Nail Cream keeps your hands hydrated far longer than other brands.
It’s silicone, paraben, and sulfate free, though it does contain wheat germ oil which is something to keep in mind if you need to avoid wheat products. Elemis uses a unique blend of jojoba oil, macadamia nut oil, Chilean hazelnut oil, Camellia seed oil, and plum seed oil along with ultra-hydrating glycerin to soften rough hands, quench dry skin, and plump dehydrated skin giving it a youthful glow.
Milk protein gives the cream its thick, silky texture and luxuriant, residue-free feeling. The white flower fragrance is mild, which I appreciate in a hand cream.
- Long lasting hydration
- Free of silicones, parabens, and sulfates
- Unique blend of oils
- Contains wheat products
4. Antica Farmacista Hand Cream in Lemon, Verbena & Cedar
Antica Farmacista is a fragrance house out of Seattle that I’m really into at the moment. Their scents are bright, interesting, and unique. This hand cream is incredibly silky and feels amazingly decadent, spreading easily.
It never leaves my hands feeling greasy or tacky. In fact it soaks in so quickly I wonder if I need to be applying more but my hands are soft so it’s doing its job.
Shea butter, safflower seed oil, and glycerin deeply hydrate while silicone seals all that moisture in. I get very dry hands and some nights I’ll use this instead of cuticle oil. They also include vitamin E and grapefruit extract to keep your hands feeling smooth and soft for a long time.
The fragrances are addictive. I have the Lemon, Verbena & Cedar and it’s bright, citrusy, and warm.
It begins with that pop of lemon but sweeter, almost grapefruit, and deepens into cozy, woodsy cedar.
If that doesn’t appeal to you, Antica Farmacista has many scents to choose from including Bergamot & Ocean Aria (salt air, oakmoss, and jasmine) and Prosecco which I have in their body butter and it’s a toss up which fragrance I love more.
Prosecco is effervescent with bright sweet currant and juicy apricot and passion fruit. I was sent a body butter by Antica Farmacista along with some samples, including this hand cream, to try out, but made it very clear that was not a guarantee of a positive review or even that I would review any of the products at all.
- Hydrating shea butter and safflower seed oil
- Never greasy
- Conditioning vitamin E and grapefruit extract
- Fragrances to die for
- Choices of scent
- Paraben free
- Contains silicones
5. Lafco New York Protective Hand Cream
This Protective Hand Cream is highly moisturizing, smooth, decadent, and like a mini spa treatment at home. Shea butter, cottonseed oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, corn germ oil, and allantoin hydrate chapped hands giving them the soft, supple feel we all want.
Hydrolyzed wheat and rice protein help make this cream thick and smooth while giving our hand an extra layer of protection, locking in moisture.
Lafco fragrances are multidimensional and balanced, and there are several of them to choose from in their Protective Hand Cream line including Violet & Amber Wood (orchid, dewy moss, and cedar), Gardenia & Lime (delicate florals, lime, and nectarine), and Watermint & Neroli (crisp watermint, bamboo, and bitter orange.)
- Many scents to choose from
- Free of synthetics, parabens, silicones, sulfates, petrochemicals, PEG’s, and dyes
- Made in Italy
- Contains wheat products
- Smaller tube than others on the list
6. Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer
This hand cream is targeted toward hands that have really been put through the ringer. We’re talking chefs, mechanics, construction workers, athletes, and others who are either rough on their hands or spend time in harsh environments.
The Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer works for them so you can be sure it will take care of your weather chapped hands. A lot of industrial hand creams are effective, but most leave a greasy residue that you learn to deal with in exchange for how great they make your hands feel later.
I bought this myself and found that the hand cream is never greasy and is instead a rich, thick cream that feels amazing going on. Macadamia nut oil and sunflower seed oil hydrate while eucalyptus oil cools and is a natural antiseptic to aid healing.
Vitamins A and E, white tea extract, linseed extract, and pomegranate extract nourish and help heal damaged skin. It’s unscented, but when anything contains eucalyptus you’re always going to have that menthol fragrance of eucalyptus leaves. It’s not unpleasant and it also doesn’t last a long time.
The Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer is marketed as a men’s hand cream, but I feel like hand cream in general is gender neutral and this one works for any and all hands. If your hands are in seriously bad shape, this cream is the hand rehab that will get your skin back on track and looking healthy and soft again. It also comes in a larger, hand pump bottle for when you find yourself utterly addicted.
- Vegan and dye, paraben, alcohol, gluten, and cruelty free
- Nourishing and antibacterial botanicals
- Can tackle even the driest, most abused hands
- Contains silicones
- Marketed as for men (but try and stop me)
7. L’Occitane Elegant & Light Lavender Hand Cream
We’ve looked at a lot of very thick creams and I think it’s time we looking at something that is more of a silkier lotion. The L’Occitane Elegant & Light Lavender Hand Cream is lightweight, whipped, and smooth.
It won’t feel heavy or greasy and your skin absorbs it quickly for immediate results. L’Occitane sources their lavender from farmers’ cooperatives in Provence, France so you know the lavender oil in this will smell heavenly and impart that relaxing atmosphere lavender flowers are known for.
For deep hydration, L’Occitane uses shea butter, grape seed oil, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, and beeswax. It’s luxuriant and feels like true pampering on your hands.
- Free of parabens, phthlates, and sulfates
- Made in France
- Lavender oil from Provence
- Lightweight and non-greasy
- Not vegan (beeswax)
- Contains silicones
8. Creative Nail Design Almond Hydrating Lotion
CND, or Creative Nail Design, is best known for their long lasting Shellac nail polishes. They know about nail care and making sure you’re hands aren’t overly dry and chapped looking is definitely part of that. It’s hard to show off a gorgeous manicure when your hands are dry and scaly.
Compared to the other hand creams on this list, the Almond Hydrating Lotion bottle is huge. This bottle gives you 33 fluid ounces which is easily quadruple some of the other creams on here. So if value for your money is important, this might be the one for you.
It’s still intensely hydrating and silky, but this one is a little thinner than the others. If you need a cream to be thick in order to feel luxe, you probably want to pick a richer cream.
I’m crazy about almond fragrance and this has it in spades. It’s that kind of scent that is there but not so much that it interferes with perfume. It just smells clean. CND uses whipped jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil, and glycerin for deep moisture and vitamin E for skin health. CND has just overall great hand care products.
- Large bottle
- Whipped jojoba oil
- Never greasy
- Paraben and sulfate free
- Thinner than others
- Contains silicones
9. Tonymoly Magic Food Banana Hand Milk
Okay, right off the bat, this is a banana. That can’t be ignored. Korean beauty products are really taking off in the States right now and this Tonymoly Banana Hand Milk exemplifies the Korean beauty product aesthetic.
Korean packaging is clever and fun. For some people, a lotion shaped like a realistic banana won’t interest you, and that’s fine. But I can’t relate to that personally.
Tonymoly uses shea butter, macadamia nut oil, coconut oil, and glycerin to make this a highly moisturizing cream. It also contains milk protein and banana fruit extract to nourish your skin. It is a much thinner cream than some of the others on the list and doesn’t have that whipped, rich thickness that most associate with luxe hand cream.
This super cute banana hand milk is a perfect size for carrying around in your purse. You do have to love bananas to love this one because the hand cream has a definite banana smell which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. If banana scent is right up your alley, I have to tell you there’s a matching banana lip balm.
- It’s a banana
- Paraben, sulfate, and silicone free
- Great size for your purse
- Makes a fun gift
- Much thinner and not as rich as other creams
- Banana smell isn’t for everyone
10. Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy
Crabtree & Evelyn’s Gardeners line is made specifically for people who love to get their hands dirty in the garden but don’t want them to stay rough and dry later. Like industrial hand creams, even if you’ve never pulled a weed in your life, this hand cream will soothe and hydrate your chapped hands.
It soaks in fast and macadamia nut oil and shea butter deeply moisturize and soften your skin. Botanical extracts of rosemary, sage, treemoss, and cucumber along with vitamin E and soy protein tend to your skin’s overall health.
This cream has a subtle, almost spicy scent that works well on anyone and won’t interfere with perfume if you wear it. A little goes a long way with this potent stuff so your tube will last you a while.
- Contains nourishing botanicals and protein
- Paraben free
- Contains silicones
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