The 6 Best Hand Creams That Actually Work
Look, I can admit it: I'm an Aries, and I'm extremely stubborn. For instance, no matter how cold it is, I refuse to wear gloves in the winter. Instead of keeping my hands warm and toasty in a pair of knitted mittens or ones of the Heattech variety, I prefer to stick my hands in my coat pockets and suffer.
In my defense, gloves get in the way. The touchscreen ones that you're supposed to be able to text in never work for me. And then there's keeping track of them. I've lost count of how many gloves I've left in Ubers, at the cash register in Whole Foods, and on the subway. If only people like me had a "Find My iPhone" feature for gloves.
My no-gloves stance means that my hands easily get dry, red, and flaky during the winter. That's where a solid hand cream comes in. Whether or not you wear gloves, it's a well-known fact that not all hand creams are created equal. A lot of them offer temporary hydration and relief, but don't actually repair your hands' damaged skin barrier to keep them from getting dry all over again.
There is some good that's come out of letting my hands freeze every winter. After trying dozens of hand creams, I've narrowed down which ones actually work.
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Dove Dermaseries Fragrance-Free Hand Cream for Dry Skin
- Best Scent: Byredo Mojave Ghost Hand Cream
- Best Non-Greasy Formula: L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream
- Best for Anti-Aging: Chanel La Creme Main Hand Cream
- Best for Cracked, Flaky Hands: Aveeno Skin Relief Intense Moisture Hand Cream With Oat
- Best Overall: Lano Everyday Rose Hand Cream Intense
Best for Sensitive Skin: Dove Dermaseries Fragrance-Free Hand Cream for Dry Skin
I've waxed poetic about Dove's DermaSeries Body Wash, but the hand cream from the line deserves your attention, too. Even though it's super-rich, it dries down quickly without any greasy residue. Just like the rest of the DermaSeries range, it's fragrance-free and gentle for sensitive skin, yet effective.
To buy: $8; Walmart.com.
Best Scent: Byredo Mojave Ghost Hand Cream
This Byredo cream is really, really ridiculously good looking, and it keeps hands smooth, too. When I'm obsessed with a fragrance, I want to be able to enjoy it as much as possible. That's why the hand cream version of the cult-favorite Mojave Ghost scent is one of my go-tos.
To buy: $42; Net-a-porter.com.
Best Non-Greasy Formula: L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream
Even though it's an OG skincare ingredient, shea butter has a bad rep for being too thick, greasy, and smelly. I thought the same thing until I tried this L'Occitane repairing hand cream. Despite its 20% concentration of shea butter, it doesn't leave a slimy film on my hands. It does, however, still have a strong (but pleasant scent), thanks to the floral essences, and honey and sweet almond extracts added to it.
To buy: $29; Nordstrom.com.
Best for Anti-Aging: Chanel La Creme Main Hand Cream
This photogenic egg is actually a great hand cream, too. On top of moisturizing, it also brightens dark spots and creates a shield for the skin barrier to keep it from getting dry all over again. What's more handy than how perfectly this Chanel egg fits in your palm is its hard shell. It never explodes in my bag, and a single squeeze of it distributes just the right amount of hand cream I need.
To buy: $50; Nordstrom.com.
Best for Cracked, Flaky Hands: Aveeno Skin Relief Intense Moisture Hand Cream with Oat
I'm notorious for losing gloves during the winter, so I avoid having mismatched pairs by simply not wearing them. Sticking your hands in your coat pockets can only do so much, which is why by mid-season, my hands are permanently red, raw, and flaky. Enriched with soothing oatmeal, Aveeno's cream relieves painful, extremely dry skin, while repairing it. When my hands are in such a sensitive state, the drugstore staple is my first choice because it's fragrance- and steroid-free so it doesn't irritate my skin to the point where it feels like it's burning off from a chemical peel.
To buy: $7; Walmart.com.
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Best Overall: Lano Everyday Rose Hand Cream Intense
I reach for this Lano cream whenever my nails and cuticles look just as busted as my hands. The brand gets its name from triple lanolin, the hero ingredient in all of its products. This a wax secreted by sheep that mimics our own skin lipids, which makes it super moisturizing. Yep, it sounds kind of gross, but my hands and cuticles do a complete 180 whenever I use it.
To buy: $15; Nordstrom.com.