The 12 Best Hand Creams of 2022
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Our top pick is the Burt’s Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream for its hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, and deeply moisturizing formula.
Whether you constantly wash your hands or simply live in a cold and windy climate, a good hand cream can help hydrate extremely dry, cracked skin.
To find the best hand creams, we spent hours reviewing dozens of options and assessed them on ingredients, formulation, scent, size, price, and more. We also tapped two experts—Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, and Elaine Kung, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Hospital.
These dermatologists weighed in on what ingredients to look for in a hand cream—and a couple to avoid. “Some key ingredients to look for in a hand cream include shea butter, glycerin, dimethicone, cocoa butter, coconut oil, vitamin E, ceramides, and aloe vera,” says Dr. Jaliman.
Our best overall pick is Burt’s Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream. The hypoallergenic formula is dermatologist-tested, and it’s packed with botanical extracts and moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and beeswax. It contains a gentle exfoliant to help revive dull, dry skin—and the 3.2-ounce tube is super affordable, too.
Here are the best hand creams.
Burt’s Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream
Best Overall Hand Cream
Who it’s for: People who want effective, unscented hand cream at a budget price.
Who it isn't for: People who want a scented or luxury hand cream.
The Burt’s Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream is our top pick because it’s an effective formula that’s still very affordable. This hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested hand cream features moisturizing agents like shea butter, beeswax, jojoba butter, baobab oil, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, and watermelon seed oil. Per the brand, the formulation also contains a “natural fruit acid complex” to gently exfoliate dry skin.
This hand cream is also fragrance-free and free from phthalates and parabens. It's not a luxury pick, but the unfussy, effective formula does wonders for extra dry skin. Burt's Bees also has a few other hand creams if this one isn't right for you: There's also the Shea Butter Hand Repair Cream, Honey & Grapeseed Hand Cream, and Almond & Milk Hand Cream, all of which are intensely moisturizing for dry hands.
Price at time of publish: $13
Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, shea butter, baobab oil
Size: 3.2 ounces
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
Best Drugstore Hand Cream
Who it’s for: People who want an inexpensive hand cream they can find at their local drugstore.
Who it isn't for: People seeking a scented hand cream.
Designed for rough and dry skin, this hand cream from Neutrogena contains a large amount of super-moisturizing glycerin, a humectant that draws water into the skin and helps keep it there. It’s dermatologist-tested and free of fragrances, dyes, parabens, phthalates, and oils. Just a tiny bit of this non-greasy hand cream goes a long way—according to the brand, a 2-ounce tube should contain more than 200 applications of hand cream.
Price at time of publish: $5
Key Ingredients: Glycerin
Size: 2 ounces
Augustinus Bader The Hand Treatment
Best Luxury Hand Cream
Who it’s for: People who want to splurge on a luxury hand cream.
Who it isn't for: People who prefer unscented hand cream.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more for a high-end hand cream, then we recommend Augustinus Bader’s The Hand Treatment. This hand cream contains hydrating shea butter, honey, and glycerin. A star ingredient is the Augustinus Bader TFC8 formula, which the brand describes as “a complex of natural amino acids, high-grade vitamins, and synthesized molecules naturally found in skin,” designed for skin repair.
It absorbs quickly and won’t leave hands feeling greasy or slippery. Keep in mind that this pick does have a light, refreshing scent due to the white peony extract and other botanical ingredients, but it is free from artificial fragrance.
Price at time of publish: $53
Key Ingredients: Glycerin, shea butter, honey, vitamin E
Size: 1.7 ounces
Attitude Hand Cream With Oatmeal
Best Natural Hand Cream
Who it’s for: People who want a hand cream made with natural ingredients.
Who it isn't for: People who want a scented hand cream.
Attitude’s hand cream is designed for sensitive skin, so it’s hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested. It contains oatmeal, an ingredient known for its soothing and moisturizing properties, as well as shea butter and plant oils. If you do want a scented cream, this product is also available in a chamomile version, avocado oil version, and argan oil version.
It’s also an EWG Verified Product, meaning the ingredients meet high health standards set by the Environmental Working Group. Plus, the ECOLOGO Certification means this hand cream is made sustainably and has a reduced environmental impact.
Price at time of publish: $15
Key Ingredients: Oat flour, shea butter, olive oil, grapeseed oil
Size: 2.5 ounces
Weleda Skin Food Light Nourishing Cream
Who it’s for: People who want a lightweight, non-greasy cream that can be used on the body and face as well as the hands.
Who it isn't for: People looking for a lightweight gel hand cream.
Hand creams are often very rich and thick, but there are lightweight options available—like this one from Weleda that’s made with chamomile, calendula, and pansy. It's a lighter version of Weleda's iconic Original Ultra-Rich Cream, and it absorbs quickly and can be reapplied multiple times per day without making your hands feel greasy.
This dermatologist-tested cream can also be used on as a body cream or face moisturizer, making it one of the most versatile (and best value) creams on the market. It's also free from synthetic preservatives, fragrances, and colorants.
Price at time of publish: $19
Key Ingredients: Chamomile, calendula, and pansy
Size: 2.5 ounces
Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Best Hand Cream for Very Dry Skin
Who it’s for: People with dry hands who want an extremely hydrating product.
Who it isn't for: People who want a hand cream that soaks in easily.
If your hands are cracked, scaly, or irritated, you need a heavy-duty product to soothe and repair your extremely dry skin. Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve is for “severely dry” hands, according to the brand. The formula features moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, avocado oil, and sesame seed oil, which draws in moisture and prevents your hands from drying out.
The rich formula can be used multiple times per day for maximum effect. Even though it’s thick, it doesn’t leave a greasy residue when massaged in.
Price at time of publish: From $16
Key Ingredients: Glycerin, avocado oil, shea butter
Size: 2.5 or 5 ounces
CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream
Best Hand Cream for Eczema
Who it’s for: People who want a lightweight, non-irritating hand cream to soothe eczema.
Who it isn't for: People looking for a thicker hand cream.
This hand cream from CeraVe contains some of the ingredients you might commonly see in a facial moisturizer, like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides. The lightweight formula, which is designed to protect the skin barrier while providing moisture, also contains dimethicone (a type of silicone often found in skincare products) to help give your skin a silky feeling.
The product has a seal of approval from the National Eczema Association, meaning it’s free from common irritants and suitable to use on eczema or sensitive skin. You can also use it on your body and face, giving you even more bang for your buck.
Price at time of publish: $11
Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone
Size: 3 ounces
StriVectin Volumizing Hand Cream
Best Hand Cream for Aging Hands
Who it’s for: People with mature skin who are looking for a hand cream that moisturizes and smooths wrinkles.
Who it isn't for: People looking for an inexpensive hand cream.
According to StriVectin, this hand cream is designed for “thin and aging skin” and can address issues such as sun damage and hyperpigmentation. Shea butter, glycerin, and dimethicone provide moisture, while beetroot extract helps with hydration and a botanical extract called arbutin keeps skin bright and targets discoloration.
This hand cream also contains the brand’s proprietary NIA-114 formula, a type of vitamin B3 that aims to strengthen your skin barrier. The lightweight formula absorbs quickly, too.
Price at time of publish: $29
Key Ingredients: Squalane, glycerin, shea butter, dimethicone
Size: 2 ounces
Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream
Best Hand Cream for Nails
Who it’s for: People who want a hand cream that strengthens their nails, too.
Who it isn't for: People who want an unscented hand cream.
Dry, cracked nails can be caused by anything from removing gel polish the wrong way to using harsh cleaning products without gloves. Nail slugging is one way to help nurse your brittle nails back to health, but using a hand cream designed to strengthen nails can make a difference, too.
If you’re dealing with dry hands and damaged nails, the Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream can help solve both problems. It contains glycerin, sesame oil, shea butter, and baobab seed oil to help your skin retain water and moisturize your cuticles. It also contains myrrh resin extract, which the brand says can strengthen and fortify nails.
Price at time of publish: $31
Key Ingredients: Allantoin, sesame oil, glycerin, tocopherol, myrrh
Size: 3.5 ounces
Supergoop! Handscreen SPF 40
Best Hand Cream With SPF
Who it’s for: People who want a hand cream that offers sun protection.
Who it isn't for: People who want a nourishing hand cream to apply before bed.
You’ve heard it before: When you’re applying sunscreen, don’t forget your hands. The skin on your hands is just as prone to sun damage as any other part of your body. Luckily, Supergoop’s Handscreen SPF 40 helps protect them from UV rays while moisturizing them simultaneously.
The formula contains avobenzone, octisalate, and octocrylene for sun protection. Its moisturizing power comes from botanical oils (like radish seed, clove leaf, and meadowfoam seed oils), glycerin, and sunflower seed wax. This hand cream absorbs quickly, and you can rest easy knowing that the sunscreen is dermatologist-tested.
Price at time of publish: From $14
Key Ingredients: Avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, glycerin
Size: 1 or 6.7 ounces
Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm
Best Scented Hand Cream
Who it’s for: People who want a scented hand cream.
Who it isn't for: People who want an affordable, dermatologist-recommended hand cream.
If scented products bring you joy, look no further than this Aesop hand cream. It’s packed with moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil, sweet almond oil, shea butter, and cocoa seed oil. It also contains botanical extracts, including rosemary leaf oil and mandarin orange rind oil, to contribute to the “citrus, woody, herbaceous” scent.
This medium-weight cream absorbs quickly, and the brand also recommends applying it to your cuticles to help soften and moisturize them.
Price at time of publish: $31
Key Ingredients: Shea butter, sweet almond oil, coconut oil
Size: 2.6 or 17 ounces
Dionis Unscented Goat Milk Hand Cream
Best Unscented Hand Cream
Who it’s for: People who want an unscented yet deeply hydrating hand cream.
Who it isn't for: People who prefer vegan skincare products.
The star ingredient in this unscented hand cream is goat milk, which contains lactic acid—an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that gently exfoliates and helps your skin retain moisture. The thick, rich formula is unscented, making it ideal for people with sensitive skin or anyone who prefers a fragrance-free cream.
Since this hand cream contains goat milk, it’s not ideal for people who are looking for vegan skincare products.
Price at time of publish: $13
Key Ingredients: Goat milk, glycerin, dimethicone
Size: 3.3 ounces
Our pick for the best hand cream is Burt’s Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream. It’s hypoallergenic and tested by dermatologists, with ingredients including coconut oil and shea butter that provide moisturizing power. The formula also helps gently exfoliate dry, dull skin.
How to Shop for Hand Creams Like a Pro
As mentioned above, Dr. Jaliman says some of the best ingredients for hand creams include vitamin E, shea butter, coconut oil, glycerin, and ceramides.
Other ingredients to look for in a hand cream include jojoba oil, lanolin, and hyaluronic acid. “These ingredients are either similar to the components of our skin's lipid layer, seal our skin barrier of its moisture, or help skin draw in more moisture from the environment,” says Dr. Kung.
Dr. Kung also recommends following guidelines from the American Academy of Dermatology, which suggest using a hand cream or ointment that contains mineral oil or petrolatum and is free from fragrances and dyes.
A rich, thick hand cream will generally moisturize better than a lighter formula. If you’re using a super-thick hand cream formula, take the time to massage it into your skin—the heat from your hands can help. If your hands aren’t extremely dry, then you might prefer a more lightweight cream—especially in the summer.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using hand cream that comes in a tube rather than a pump bottle, noting that they are typically more effective. Products in tubes are usually richer and thicker, which are important qualities in a good hand cream.
Questions You Might Ask
Can you use body lotion on your hands?
You certainly can—but don’t expect stellar results. “If your hands are very dry and/or chapped, a body lotion will not provide the necessary moisture,” Dr. Jaliman says. It depends on what lotion you use, but many body lotions have a lightweight formula that might not adequately moisturize extremely dry hands.
Can you use hand cream on other parts of your body?
According to Dr. Jaliman, thick hand creams can moisturize super-dry skin on your body, but rich formulas can also block your pores. “If you have acne-prone skin on your back, for example, a hand cream might be too thick of a consistency and clog your pores,” she says. So it’s best to avoid using hand cream on areas where you typically break out, but you can likely get away with using it on dry elbows, for example.
How often should you apply hand cream?
There’s no one-size-fits-all routine: Just apply it when you need it. If you’re prone to dry skin on your hands, a good rule of thumb (no pun intended) is to use hand cream after you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. You can also use a moisturizing hand soap, which is less likely to strip your skin of oils and leave your hands feeling uncomfortably dry and papery.
Take Our Word for It
This article was written by Nina Bahadur, who has over 10 years of experience writing about health, beauty, home, and lifestyle topics. She researched dozens of hand creams, reviewing ingredient lists and comparing their sizes, scents, and formulas. For expert input, she tapped Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, and Elaine Kung, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at NewYork Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Hospital.
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