The 12 Best Hand Creams of 2021

Give your skin the hydration it craves

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Our Top Picks
"This rich cream relies on shea butter to soothe the skin while superstar ingredients honey and coconut oil provide moisture."
"Equipped with SPF 30, this two-in-one moisturizer gives you the best bang for your buck, providing both hydration and protection."
"This pick draws on a blend of natural oils—almond oil, coconut oil, and lavender oil—to soothe and soften the skin."
"A great option for those with sensitive skin, this cream includes a blend of vitamins that help to further soothe the skin."
"Designed to soothe dry, cracked, and calloused hands, this pick is powered by vitamin A and macadamia nut oil."
"If you prefer a natural formula, this option features a natural fruit acid complex for exfoliation and glycerin for hydration."
"Dry skin sufferers appreciate the intense hydration provided by this cream, thanks to the glycerin, petrolatum, and oatmeal base."
"Ideal for dehydrated skin, this cream draws on a combination of glycerin and urea for hydration and beeswax to seal in moisture."
"Recommended by the National Eczema Association, this dermatologist-developed cream uses glycerin to provide 24 hours of hydration."
Best for Aging Skin:
Verso Hand Serum at Dermstore
"This serum is complete with a retinoid, which not only strengthens your skin, but also provides the hydration aging skin needs."

We all have those days when our hands just need a little extra love. From facing off with harsh weather to washing our hands frequently, there are many reasons why we can end up with dry, chapped hands. In these moments, it can help to invest in hand cream, a moisturizer specifically designed to hydrate and nourish your hands. 

Here are the best hand creams on the market for every skin type and budget.

Best Overall: L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

L’Occitane’s Shea Butter Hand Cream can feel a bit indulgent, but the fan-favorite is worth the investment.

The rich cream relies on a shea butter base to soothe the skin and superstar ingredients honey, coconut oil, glycerin, and butylene glycol to moisturize it. Meanwhile, dimethicone, a popular occlusive, locks in that moisture, leaving you with hands that feel silky-smooth and hydrated for hours. 

Key Ingredient

Occlusives slow the evaporation of water from the skin, which can help your skin stay hydrated once it’s been moisturized. Popular occlusives include petrolatum, cyclomethicone, dimethicone, mineral oil, and beeswax. Some occlusives (like petrolatum) may feel greasier than others (like cyclomethicone and dimethicone).

Best Budget: Eucerin Daily Hydration Hand Cream

Eucerin’s Daily Hydration Hand Cream isn’t your average hand cream. Equipped with SPF 30, the two-in-one moisturizer promises to hydrate and protect, making it a great pick for everyday use.

Though the cream offers sun protection and long-lasting hydration, the formula is not greasy. And since it’s fragrance-free, it's friendly for sensitive skin, too.

Best Splurge: Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm

aesop resurrection aromatique hand balm

Aesop’s Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm is rich and creamy, hydrating every part of your hands right down to your cuticles. The balm draws on a blend of natural oils—sweet almond oil, coconut oil, and lavender oil—to soothe and soften the skin. It also uses glycerin, a popular humectant, to moisturize it.

Apply this luxurious cream any time your hands need a little hydration. The fast-absorbing formula is great for everyday use.

Key Ingredient

Humectants hydrate the epidermis—the outermost layer of the skin—by pulling water in from the dermis, the layer directly beneath the epidermis. Humectants can also pull water in from the atmosphere when humidity levels are higher than 70 percent. Popular humectants include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, propylene glycol, and urea.

Best Drugstore: Dove Dermaseries Fragrance-Free Hand Cream

This fragrance-free hand cream from Dove provides lightweight moisture that won’t leave your hands feeling sticky or greasy. The hand cream draws on glycerin to hydrate and uses dimethicone to lock in moisture. It then tops things off with a blend of vitamin B3, vitamin C, and vitamin H to further soothe the skin.

Since the hand cream is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, it’s a great pick for those with sensitive skin. It’s even received the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance.

Best for Men: Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer

Jack Black’s Industrial Strength Hand Healer was designed to soothe dry, cracked, and calloused hands, and it draws on a blend of MVP ingredients to do so.

Glycerin moisturizes the skin and cyclomethicone makes sure that the hydration lasts. While those popular ingredients are hard at work, vitamin A, vitamin E, and macadamia nut oil work together to further soothe the skin. The result is a fragrance-free moisturizer that offers deep hydration without leaving a greasy residue behind.

Expert Advice

Harold Lancer, M.D., a Beverly Hills-based dermatologist, recommends using hand creams two to three times each day. (No, that’s not overdoing it!) You may want to apply hand cream after bathing, after stepping out into cold weather, and after using hand sanitizer or washing your hands.

Yes, washing your hands often can leave your skin feeling dry and irritated, but it's still important to do so. According to Hadley King, M.D, a New York City-based dermatologist, “If the skin on your hands is getting dry and irritated, don't stop washing and sanitizing.” Instead, use hand cream to mitigate the damage.

Best Natural: Burt’s Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream

Burt's Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream

Burt's Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream offers an all-natural way to soothe and soften your skin. The hand cream uses a natural fruit acid complex to gently exfoliate the skin. Meanwhile, it draws on a blend of baobab oil, pumpkin seed oil, and green tea extract to soothe skin, as well as glycerin to hydrate it.

The rich yet non-greasy moisturizing cream is both hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, making it an excellent option for sensitive skin as well.

Best for Dry Skin: Aveeno Skin Relief Intense Moisture Hand Cream

Aveeno Skin Relief Intense Moisture Hand Cream

Aveeno’s Skin Relief Intense Moisture Hand Cream delivers intense hydration that lasts. The hand cream boasts a soothing oatmeal base that supports the skin without gumming up your hands with grease. Glycerin hydrates the skin while petrolatum and dimethicone work together to lock in that moisture and make sure the hydration lasts.

Though the hand cream is rich, it absorbs quickly, making it suitable for everyday use. The cream is also fragrance-free and sensitive skin-friendly. 

Best for Cracked Skin: O'Keeffe's Working Hands Hand Cream

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream is ideal for extremely dry, cracked, and chapped hands. It draws on a simple combination of glycerin and urea to hydrate the skin. It then uses beeswax, a natural occlusive, to lock in that moisture.

If your skin is extremely chapped, it may take a little time to recover, but this cream will leave your hands feeling softer and smoother within a matter of days.

Best for Eczema: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula Hand Cream provides rich long-lasting moisture. And since it’s both fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, it's a great pick for those with sensitive skin. (The National Eczema Association even recommends the product on its website).

The dermatologist-developed hand cream uses a single ingredient—glycerin—to deliver hydration that lasts up to 24 hours. And because the cream uses such a high concentration of glycerin, it leaves your hands feeling soft and smooth after just one use. 

Best for Aging Skin: Verso Hand Serum

verso hand serum

Verso’s Hand Serum is creamy and hydrating, and since it contains a retinoid—retinol 8—it helps to strengthen your skin, too. The serum is loaded with soothing ingredients like shea butter, turmeric, vitamin B3, vitamin C, and vitamin E. While these ingredients are hard at work, citric acid gently exfoliates your skin and glycerin hydrates it.

Since the serum is fragrance-free, it is safe for sensitive skin. However, since it contains a retinoid, you may only want to use it at night. (Retinoids can make your skin more sensitive to the sun). 

Key Ingredient

Derived from vitamin A, retinoids are used to strengthen the skin, smooth out wrinkles and bumps, and stimulate hydration. Retinoids are available over the counter (usually in retinol form) and by prescription. They are quite powerful, so they may be harsh on the skin when you first start using them.

Best for Nighttime: Gold Bond Ultimate Overnight Lotion

Gold Bond’s Ultimate Overnight Lotion is thick, rich, and loaded with hydrating ingredients.

The lotion is powered by four different humectants—glycerin, urea, hyaluronic acid, and coconut oil—a combination that’s sure to deliver intense moisture. It also draws on two different occlusives—petrolatum and dimethicone—to lock in that moisture. It contains shea butter extract and vitamin B3 as well to further soothe and soften the skin.

What Experts Say

According to Dr. Hadley King, day creams are often lightweight and fast-absorbing, and they sometimes contain SPF. Meanwhile, night creams tend to be heavier and may contain retinoids, which can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

“It can be a nuisance during the day to feel that your hands are greasy and slippery,” she said. “[But] it’s not as much of a problem to have greasy or slippery hands once you’ve gone to bed.”

Best Scented: J.R. Watkins Lavender Hand Cream

J.R. Watkins’s Lavender Hand Cream soothes, hydrates, and delivers a fresh lavender scent that’s present without being overpowering. The cream uses a blend of shea butter, cocoa butter, and lavender oil to soothe the skin while citric acid provides gentle exfoliation. Glycerin and coconut oil offer some welcome hydration and beeswax locks in moisture.

Since the hand cream is packed with natural, non-irritating ingredients, it is considered sensitive skin-friendly. With that said, it is scented, so it may not be right for everyone.

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for an everyday hand cream, you can’t go wrong with Eucerin’s Daily Hydration Hand Cream. The lightweight moisturizer promises to hydrate your skin while also protecting it with SPF 30. If you’re craving something a little more intense, Aveeno’s Skin Relief Intense Moisture Hand Cream will get the job done. The hand cream relies on a combination of glycerin, petrolatum, and dimethicone to deliver long-lasting moisture that will keep your hands soft, smooth, and hydrated.

What to Look for in a Hand Cream

Long-Lasting Moisture

The chief job of hand cream is to moisturize. And ideally, you want that moisture to last. Look for hand creams that contain humectants like glycerin and urea and occlusives like petrolatum, dimethicone, and beeswax. The humectants will hydrate your skin while the occlusives will lock in that moisture.

Texture

Hand creams can range in thickness (from lightweight to rich) and oiliness (from quick-absorbing to greasy). If you’re looking for an everyday cream, you probably want something lightweight and fast-absorbing, so look for lightweight occlusives like dimethicone and cyclomethicone. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a night cream, you can go as greasy as you want, so heavier occlusives like petrolatum are welcome. 

Scent

Some hand creams are scented while others are not. Be sure to keep fragrance in mind, especially if you’re looking for an everyday hand cream. Ultimately, you want your pick to be something you’ll be happy smelling for weeks on end.

Sensitive Skin-Friendliness

Some hand creams are more sensitive skin-friendly than others. If you have sensitive skin, look for hand creams that are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. You can also keep an eye out for the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.

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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Cleveland Clinic. 2019. Understanding Skin Care Product Ingredients. [online]

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