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The best hand creams are powerful moisturizers, just like you use your face and the rest of your body. They will keep your skin clear of cracks, calluses, dryness, and hangnails.
Winter is tough, with the cold, dry air (and the temptation to take long, hot showers). But summer can be bad, too, what with air conditioning, swimming pools, and salt water. And year round, every time you wash or sanitize your mitts, you strip away moisture, even with a hydrating and nourishing soap. Good luck making any confident handshakes with those rough things. But with the best hand cream, you can get ahead of these gnarly situations.
That’s why we went out and tested the best hand creams, lotions, salves, balms, and even serums—to keep you smooth.
The Best Drugstore Hand Cream
Even if they weren’t the best-priced brand on the block, everyone would still adore CeraVe. This hand cream has their signature ceramide formula to preserve your skin’s moisture levels. Add to that hydrating hyaluronic acid and nourishing/smoothing niacinamide, and this hand cream is a low-cost, easily absorbed recipe for success.
The Best Dual Hand-Body Lotion
Need a good all-over lotion, and not just something for the hands? It’s easy as (vitamins) A, B, C, and D. Nécessaire’s nourishing lotion firms, smooths, and hydrates the skin rapidly. Best of all, it’s formulated to preserve the skin’s natural pH levels. Deploy it daily and your skin will never fall out of balance.
The Best Clinical-Grade Hand Cream
If your hands seem, well, out of hand, then get something clinical grade. This one’s all in the name: SkinClinical makes what might be the most effective and fastest working cream on the market. This cream reverses itching, inflammation, minor wounds, scarring, and (of course) extreme dryness. SkinClinical uses a collagen-boosting, elasticity-magnifying formula called SBD-4 (it’s patented), which fights and reverses signs of aging and environmental wear.
The Best Hand Balm for Achy Hands
If you have tired, worn-out hands (the type you feel, no matter how they look), then lather on some of Dr. Bronner’s arnica-menthol balm. This stuff tingles to the touch, and nullifies and agony while simultaneously nourishing skin with beeswax and oils of jojoba, olive, coconut, avocado, and hemp. We suggest applying a little to your lips at bedtime too, to prevent cracked corners, and to enjoy that pepperminty freshness and tingling as you fall asleep.
The Best All-Purpose Hand Balm
One of our go-to experts on all things skincare, Doctor Rogers has packed all her dermo know-how into this healing balm, which is denser than your average hand cream. It uses castor oil to hydrate and nourish pretty much any body part—from grubby mitts to chapped lips, from skin covered in tattoos or inflicted by eczema. You can even use it to tame hair flyaways or to shield cuts and small wounds.
The Best Healing Hand Cream
A heavy duty cream for active hands, Jack Black’s macadamia- and vitamin-packed recipe helps rid of dryness, cracks, calluses, and hangnails. It’s a good medium-density option for people who need to use their hands quickly after application.
The Best Hand Cream for Calluses
If you use your hands for heavy lifting or manual labor, then you might need something that softens dead skin and prevents calluses from accumulating. (Even if you like to keep a bit of a base for better gripping, there’s no need to let them proliferate.) Use this unscented cream, which has urea to dissolve dead cells as the rest of it softens skin.
The Best Hand Cream to Gift
If you’re gifting a grooming product to someone, you want it to feel nice—along those lines, anything from the Portuguese brand Claus Porto makes a perfect present. This hand cream is no exception, particularly in this “Voga” scent with its woody-floral finish. (You can choose from any of the brand’s numerous scent families, which span their entire roster of products, from soaps to lotions to shave creams.)
The Best Hand Serum
La Mer’s proprietary “Miracle Broth” soaks deep into the skin just like a skin care serum absorbs into all three layers of your face. It wears away at dark spots and rough patches, and reverses signs of aging—which, Lord knows your hands have experienced more than any other body part. Follow with a thick hand lotion or balm of your choice before bed to wake with the smoothest handshake in the game.
The Best Hand Cream for the Frequent Host
You may have seen Aesop’s balm in the bathroom of a friend with good taste, or at some high-end hotel bathroom. That’s precisely why it belongs in your WC too: because you’ve got great taste, and you want all of your guests to feel looked after, all the way down to bathroom details. It works wonders, too: the blend of almond, coconut, and macadamia nut oils absorbs cleanly, and leaves a crisp but deeply soothing aroma in its wake.
The Best Smelling Hand Lotion
This list has creams, lotions, balms, and even serums… and we’ll cap it with a milk. This super liquid-like lotion absorbs quickly into skin, and smells fantastic—which anyone knows to expect when at the hands of Frederic Malle. It is woody and spicy, thanks to a blend of cedar, cardamom, and pink pepper. And it soothes hands, body, feet, whatever, by quickly absorbing and leaving that splendid aroma behind.