We have been busy testing hydrating hand creams and consider the Cetaphil Repair Sensitive Hand Cream as the best hand cream of 2020. It is a reasonably priced cream and a saviour for working hands and dry skin. It is exceptionally moisturising, but at the same time, a hand cream that doesn’t leave you with that greasy feeling.
The best premium choice and the best anti-ageing hand cream was decided to be the Clarins Hand & Nail Treatment. This hand and nail cream is also good value, non sticky, and it gives a smooth result. The skin on your hands felt soft and the creamy texture makes it easy to rub in evenly.
We carry out our tests in-house and tested every hand lotion as they were intended to be used, as explained by their respective brands. The hand creams in these tests have been tested by regular people – office workers, gym-goers, parents and more - in their everyday lives. The tests took place over a long period and the creams have therefore been used under a range of different conditions. They have been evaluated both during normal application, under specific conditions where testers couldn’t wait long for the cream to be absorbed, and in conditions involving water. The parameters below formed the basis of their final review score.
Drying time: Is the hand lotion fast absorbing? Is the hand moisturiser properly absorbed into the skin or does it stay sticky? After the cream has been absorbed, how does it behave on contact with water? Is it suitable for those with sensitive skin?
Moisturising ability: Does the hydrating cream moisturise the skin without feeling too greasy? Does it come with sunscreen protection, make the skin smooth and result in younger-looking hands? Does the cream come with lanolin or other special ingredients?
Scent & packaging: Is the scent overpowering or does it suit more those with a sensitive nose? Is the scent suitable for both men and women? Is the container easy to carry with you and store?
The review is based on the total overall experience of the hand lotion. This has then been evaluated against the product’s price to determine a final score and discover an inexpensive effective hand cream.
Affordable and the most effective hand cream for dry skin that produces top results!
Price class: Budget Degree of moisturising: High Formula: Cream Packaging: Plastic tube Drying time: Fast Quantity: 50 ml
The packaging perhaps isn’t the most attractive we’ve ever seen, but you should never judge this hand cream for dry hands by its tube! That’s because the contents of this tube affords perfect moisturisation for even the most sensitive hands. Cetaphil Repair Sensitive Hand Cream is an inexpensive really thick cream with skin reparative benefits, and when you first squeeze some out you’d be forgiven for thinking that it's going to be hard to rub in. But here, too, you’ll get a nice surprise. This cheap cream quickly absorbs into the skin, and if you work in an office with lots of paperwork, you won’t leave greasy fingerprints everywhere!
The ingredients of Cetaphil Repair Sensitive Hand Cream include squalane, which can have a positive effect on the elasticity of the skin (something the skin loses gradually over time) and glycerine, which is perfect for moisturising. The snap lid is practical, and the nourishing properties of this good hand cream for dry hands will quickly make it an affordable favourite. It has an extremely mild scent – almost unscented - making this hand lotion an excellent hand cream for men who want to own a cheap masculine hand cream for working hands. Anyone who needs a lotion for frequently washed hands will also benefit from this formidable hand cream.
A hand cream that’s incredibly good value for money and won’t leave your hands dry
Price class: Budget Degree of moisturisation: High Formula: Liquid Packaging: Tube Drying time: A few minutes Quantity: 100 ml
Atrix is a bit of a grandmother’s favourite. Or at least you’re likely to find this brand in your gran’s bathroom cabinet.
The light green tub takes you back to your childhood – as does the scent. It smells good, and it’s almost impossible to avoid thinking that you smell like your grandparents when you use it. Which isn’t a negative thing – it’s a comforting and mild scent.
Atrix Intensive Protection Cream does its job well, and for almost no money at all. A large, 100 ml tube costs half as much as many other hand creams for twice as much cream. So if you're looking for the best bang for your buck, you should definitely go for Atrix.
The cream is quickly absorbed into your hands and leaves behind silky smooth skin with the scent of your childhood. It’s easy to understand why Atrix is often used in workplaces where there’s a lot of paper – it’s absorbed quickly and you can get back on with the paperwork almost immediately.
Economical hand moisturiser that’s a saviour for cracked hands in winter!
Degree of moisturising: High Formula: Cream Format: Plastic tube Drying time: Quick Quantity: 50 ml
Here comes the most effective saviour for dry hands in winter - and a cream recommended for nurses and busy professionals on the go. Neutrogena Nourishing Hand Cream has an incredible ability to moisturise and calm dry and irritated working hands. In the winter, this is a helpful companion to combat cracked hands, and the small size of the tube means you can easily pop it into your bag. After rubbing it in, your very dry hands become smooth and soft. The cream is very economical, and as long as you don’t put too much on it’s never overly sticky. The product is a thick hand cream and the consistency is rather stiff. This means that the best method for applying the cream is to put a dab on each hand and then rub it into one hand at a time.
The tube has a screw cap. This is obviously rather fiddly and makes it more difficult to apply the cream when somewhere like a busy underground train or bus. The faint, neutral scent means that it suits both men and women requiring a lotion for extremely dry hands. Neutrogena Nourishing Hand Cream has a very low price, which together with all of these top-rated benefits quite clearly makes it a good hand cream for men and women with cracked hands during winter.
Non-sticky and economical scented hand lotion that gives incredibly soft results!
Degree of moisturising: Average Formula: Cream Format: Plastic tube Drying time: Short Quantity: 100 ml
Clarins Hand & Nail Treatment is a luxury hand cream absorbed by the skin incredibly quickly to make your hands soft, without leaving a film of grease. After use, it feels like your skin is naturally this soft and is a great lotion for ageing hands. This hand and nail cream is economical and it’s easy to apply the right amount, which means that it lasts a long time. The skin on your hands becomes smooth and the creamy consistency is easy to spread evenly. The mature scent may first strike you as strong, but it subsides and becomes fainter after you have finished rubbing the cream into your hands.
Clarins have given their scented hand and nail cream the same classic design as all the brand’s products. It simply looks exclusive. Unfortunately, the tube has a screw top and is quite large, which means it’s not very practical to take with you on the go. This type of packaging is most suitable for keeping in the bathroom cabinet or standing on your desk. But this disadvantage can be seen as marginal, because the positive characteristics are usually more important to consumers. Because of the fantastic results achieved with this luxury hand cream, Clarins Hand & Nail Treatment takes a well-deserved top position in our test.
Pleasant consistency that’s quickly absorbed by the skin and produces soft hands.
Degree of moisturising: Average Formula: Gel/cream Format: Plastic tube Drying time: Short Quantity: 75 ml
This hand treatment product looks at first glance like a cream, but according to Elizabeth Arden, it’s a combination of a cream and a gel. And that becomes apparent when you use it. It’s absorbed by the skin as easily as a gel, while leaving the hands as moisturised as if you had used a cream. And it really does moisturise, entirely without stickiness. Eight Hour Cream Hand Treatment makes the hands soft and keeps the skin feeling elastic. Although you can rapidly carry out dry activities after using it, your hands can be a little oily on contact with water.
As the scent is not too sweet, this product is suitable for both men and women. The scent can initially seem too strong, but it subsides after a short while. However, for sensitive users, the strength of the initial scent may be too much. The tube is small and perfect as an on-the-go hand treatment, and it has the classic Elizabeth Arden appearance. The cream is rather expensive, but it is economical when used - and the moisturising ability means that this Eight Hour Cream Hand Treatment is good value for money.
A light formula that still provides good moisturisation
Price class: Medium Degree of moisturisation: Average Formula: Cream Format: Metal tube Drying time: Short Quantity: 100 ml or 50 ml
The Body Shop's Classic Hand Cream combines a light formula with good moisturisation. The thin consistency of the cream means that it can be easily spread over the skin and that it dries quickly. It doesn't form a film and you can quickly get back to whatever you were doing, although you may need to wait a little longer before getting your hands wet. It's not the greasiest product on the market, but it makes the skin smooth and is great for combating normal winter dry patches on your hands.
The cream is available in a number of different scents, but unfortunately most of these are very strong, which can be unpleasant for a sensitive user. The packaging has a screw top, which makes it tricky to use on the go as you really don't want to lose the top if you're moisturising your hands while you wait for the bus. The cream is available in both large and small format tubes and the small one is perfect for keeping in your handbag. Final thoughts? The Body Shop Hand Cream is a good hand butter for normally dry hands.
Expensive but economical hand cream with a scent of lavender
Price class: Premium Degree of moisturisation: Medium Formula: Liquid Packaging: Tube Drying time: Fast Quantity: 50 ml
Scratch Nails are experts at hand and nail care, which you really appreciate when you use Scratch Nails No Dry Hands Moisturizer. This is an economical and quick drying hand cream.
The black and gold packaging has a snap lid, which makes things much easier than a screw cap. The tube contains 50 ml of cream, and although this is a standard size for hand cream, because the price is quite high it means it’s relatively expensive per ml.
But a little goes a long way, so the tube will last longer than a less economical product. The hand cream smells of herbs and lavender, which isn’t necessarily a scent to everyone’s taste. But the smell does fade quickly from your hands.
Scratch Nails No Dry Hands Moisturizer moisturises really well and is very economical. The lavender scent comes from the lavender oil the cream contains. The ingredients also include sesame oil, oil of myrrh and meadow flowers, and jojoba oil, together with glycerine – so it isn’t surprising that the cream quickly makes your hands soft and smooth.
Hand cream that smells delicious and is simultaneously mild on your hands
Price class: Medium Degree of moisturisation: High Formula: Liquid Packaging: Tube Drying time: A few minutes Quantity: 50 ml
Weleda promise that their hand cream containing almond oil is a mild product for sensitive hands. And that’s absolutely true.
Weleda is a brand associated with mild, organic and natural products. The brand also has a line entirely devoted to baby products. Weleda Almond Sensitive Skin Hand Cream comes in an attractive pink aluminium tube. The hand cream has a mild almond scent.
The cream is pleasantly smooth and thick. It leaves just a hint of the scent behind on your hands, while your skin feels like silk. Our testers found it to have a calming effect on very dry hands, and it doesn’t irritate at all. Not even a school-age child with sensitive skin that’s often irritated complained when this cream was applied – which we think is a pretty good indicator.
Weleda Almond Sensitive Skin Hand Cream is a really useful product for dry hands, which is absorbed quickly and leaves your skin silky smooth.
An unscented and extremely moisturising hand cream for really exposed hands
Price class: Medium Degree of moisturisation: High Formula: Solid cream Format: Jar Drying time: Long Quantity: 96 grams
A hand cream like O’Keeffe’s Working Hands will never win prizes in the fashion magazines’ tests of hand moisturisers. But nor is that really the audience they're going for with this hand cream.
You can find O’Keeffe’s, in its lurid green plastic container, everywhere from the pharmacy to the DIY shop – and the fact that you can find it in the latter gives you an indication of who it’s aimed at. In other words, it's an exceptionally greasy hand cream for hands that are exposed to a lot of wear. Do you often work in your garden with your hands in the soil? Are you a handyman? Do you come in contact with substances that dehydrate your skin during your working day? Do you work in an industry that’s tough on your hands? If so, this is the hand cream for you.
O’Keeffe’s Working Hands is a solid salve that sinks in to the skin as you rub it in. The salve contains reliable moisturisers including glycerine, but you do need to use it when you're not in a hurry. For instance, it's not a good idea to apply O’Keeffe’s just before touching paper. This is a cream that takes a long time to be absorbed. The best thing is to apply it in the evening before bedtime.
But if you do have time, your reward will be really moisturised hands and a baby-smooth feeling. It also works very well on dry cracks in your skin (and you can also use it as a foot cream if you get cracks in your heels, for instance). Our tester who works in the food industry swears by this hand cream to care for his dry hands.
This may be a hand cream that primarily seems to be aimed at men, but it works like an intensive moisturiser for absolutely anyone.
A budget friendly hand cream that’s absorbed quickly
Price class: Budget Degree of moisturisation: Medium Formula: Liquid Packaging: Tube Drying time: A few minutes Quantity: 75 ml
It isn’t just your hands that can become dry and chapped – your nails also suffer from cold weather and frequent hand washing. And this what Vaseline Intensive Care Healthy Hands Stronger Nails aims to help with. This hand cream promises that your nails will be 10 times stronger in just two weeks.
It’s an easy-to-use cream that comes in a practical tube with a snap lid. The cream is neither too liquid nor too thick, but instead more like a thickish lotion. Application is easy and the product is absorbed quickly. Afterwards it feels like your hands are covered in a protective film, but they don’t feel greasy or sticky. Perhaps a little slippery for the first half an hour after application.
Whether or not your nails are 10 times stronger after two weeks is hard to tell. But it’s clear that in any case they certainly feel better for using Vaseline Intensive Care Healthy Hands Stronger Nails. Your cuticles will feel happier too.
This hand cream is available both as a 75 ml tube and a large bottle (200 ml), and regardless of which you choose, the price is low. Even the smaller tube contains more than many standard size hand creams.
The scent is a little old-fashioned and unnecessarily intense. Sometimes it’s a difficult balancing act when it comes to the scent of basic products like hand cream. It’s nice when a hand cream smells good. But then again you don’t want the scent to be too overpowering.
This is a good value for money hand cream that’s reasonable at moisturising, but at the same time it doesn’t really offer a startling experience for the hand cream connoisseur. If you're looking for a no frills hand cream, Vaseline Intensive Care Healthy Hands Stronger Nails is a good choice.
Very economical to make your hands soft with a faint scent.
Degree of moisturising: Average Formula: Cream Format: Plastic tube Drying time: Average Quantity: 100 ml
You only need a small pea-sized amount of this 100ml cream for both hands, which makes it very economical and means that the tube lasts a long time. Biomains Hand & Nail Treatment is quite oily. The cream moisturises well, but still dries quickly. These are perfect characteristics for a cream to have with you on the run if you quickly want to carry on with your usual tasks after moisturising your hands. However, if the cream isn’t carefully rubbed in, it can continue to feel rather sticky towards the bottom of your fingers.
The relatively large tube has an attractive design and is obviously a Biotherm product. The size means that the cream isn’t so useful for carrying in your bag. But this is balanced out by the fresh but faint scent that means you can use the cream in the office or in other environments where you need to consider other people. Because the scent is so neutral, the cream is also suitable for both genders. The price is high, yet, given the positive characteristics of Biotherm Biomains Hand & Nail Treatment, it’s worth it if you want a good hand cream for dry hands.
An elegant hand cream with a fantastic scent!
Price class: Premium Degree of moisturising: Medium Formula: Cream Packaging: Tube or pump bottle, depending on size Drying time: Medium Quantity: 70 ml
It’s hard not to be seduced by L:A Bruket’s stylish and luxurious packaging. If you choose the small (30 ml) or medium (70 ml) size, the cream comes in a sleek white aluminium tube. If you buy the large bottle, you get a dark brown pump bottle that looks fantastic in your bathroom next to a matching soap. But packaging isn’t everything – so what’s inside?
L:A Bruket Hand Cream is a softening and moisturising hand cream with a mild antiseptic effect. While it doesn’t produce miraculous results on the driest of hands, it still feels calming and softening. It’s absorbed relatively quickly, and your hands will feel smoother. The scent of bergamot and patchouli is rather prominent, and if you don’t like these notes, you’d probably best off choosing something else. However, if you like this type of earthy and woody scent, you’ll really love the smell of this hand cream because the scent lingers for a long time. Given the substantial price, there are many other hand creams that are considerably more effective for cheaper. But if you’re after a touch of luxury in your everyday life, L:A Bruket isn’t a bad choice.
Extremely moisturising and very economical, with a subtle scent!
Degree of moisturising: High Formula: Cream Format: Metal tube Drying time: Long Quantity: 50 ml
L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream is an extremely good moisturising hand cream – a real saviour for hands dried out by the brisk winter weather. Only a very small amount, slightly larger than a pea, is enough to moisturise both hands. The consistency is thick and creamy, but the cream is still easy to spread evenly over both hands. Because the hand cream is so greasy, it takes quite a long time for it to be absorbed. If the hands aren’t completely dry, it’s also more difficult for the skin to absorb all the moisture, which can produce a sticky feeling.
The stylish tube comes in an exclusive box and the packaging gives an impression of luxury. As the tube is relatively large, it’s most suitable for keeping at home in the bathroom cabinet. The scent is very faint and is therefore also suitable for buyers with a sensitive nose. L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream is an extremely nourishing cream with shea butter for hands needing an extra boost of moisture. Add it to your shortlist in the quest for soft moisturised hands!
Light gel that’s absorbed in no time and has a nice scent!
Price class: Budget Degree of moisturisation: Average Formula: Gel Format: Plastic tube Drying time: Quick Quantity: 75 ml
Depend has a whole series of products for nails and hand care in general. The brand's O2 Moisturizing Gel is one of those products and has a nice, cool scent that quickly subsides when you rub the gel into your hands and dry cuticles. The consistency is very light, which means that the gel is absorbed by the skin in no time and allows you to get on with your day without sticky hands. In other words, you'll be able to open a jar without problems shortly after you use the gel.
Despite its light consistency, Depend's O2 Moisturizing Gel moisturises well and results in smoother hands. However, if your hands are very dry, the gel can feel a little bit too thin, which means that you can easily apply too much. The gel is an economical choice, but if you use more than you need by mistake it can mean that the gel runs out quicker than it might have. Overall, Depend’s O2 Moisturizing Gel for cuticles and hands is a light and effective cream that's perfect if you don’t want to sit and wait to get on with the rest of your day.
**Price class:** Budget **Degree of moisturisation:** Medium **Formula:** Liquid **Packaging:** Tube **Drying time:** A few minutes **Quantity:** 44 ml
Price class: Budget Degree of moisturisation: Medium Formula: Liquid Packaging: Tube Drying time: A few minutes Quantity: 44 ml
Eos Essential Hand Lotion comes in a small, neat, rounded container that stands out from the crowd. It fits perfectly into your handbag. It contains a bit less than a standard tube of hand cream (44 ml compared to the more common 50 ml).
Eos Essential Hand Lotion is available in several different scents. We tested Berry Blossom, which turns out to be rather overpowering. It’s sweet and rather sharp at the same time. And the scent hangs around for a very long time, which is a shame. It’s nice to have a scent that lasts, but not when it takes over.
Just like the name indicates, this is a lotion. This means that it has a slightly runnier consistency than a cream. You can work it into your hands quite quickly and they feel smooth and moisturised straight away, but the effect isn’t particularly long lasting. In fact the scent stays on your hands for longer than they feel moisturised.
But because it’s so quickly absorbed its quite a useful product to have at work or anywhere you don’t want to risk leaving greasy fingerprints on everything you touch.
Has a neutral scent and comes in handy packaging – pun intended!
Degree of moisturising: Low Formula: Cream Format: Plastic tub Drying time: Long Quantity: 75 ml
Nivea’s container for Repair & Care is unlike the majority of competitors’ as the cream comes in a flat tub with rounded edges. This is useful packaging as it means it fits into even narrow bags and on all of the shelves in the bathroom cabinet. Unfortunately, the content of the bottle isn’t as impressive. When you apply the cream, it feels like there’s still a film of grease on your skin. It takes a long time for the cream to absorb in, and even quite a while after using it, your hands still feel sticky. Nor is it particularly moisturising compared to its competitors. For normal skin, it works as intended even with a small amount, which means that the cream lasts for a long time. However, dry hands are often too tough a challenge, meaning that more cream has to be applied – and then the product is no longer as economical.
The hand cream has almost no scent at all, which means it can be used even with other people around you. The scent is neutral for use regardless of gender - or if you also want to pair it with other perfumes. Despite the fact that the price of Repair & Care is so low, we expected more from a hand cream made by the well-established, Nivea.
A budget-friendly hand cream with a pleasant scent!
Price class: Budget Degree of moisturising: Medium Formula: Cream Packaging: Plastic tube Drying time: Long Quantity: 40 ml
The demand for vegan beauty products is increasing, and the Indy Beauty brand got a warm welcome when it was launched in 2018. With cute packaging and wallet-friendly prices, there’s a lot to love about this Swedish brand.
Sadly, Indy Beauty The Velvety Hand Cream isn’t one of their best products. The packaging is certainly practical and cute, but the cream is extremely runny. This makes it easy to over-apply if you happen to squeeze the tube a little too hard.
And the cream is also hard to rub in completely. You end up with a sticky film on your skin that you’d really like to wipe off, which also causes greasy fingerprints on keyboards and mobile phone screens.
And in terms of effect, Indy Beauty The Velvety Hand Cream doesn’t offer anything outstanding either. Despite the fact that it feels greasy on the skin, the moisturising effect is minimal at best.
This may be a budget-friendly hand cream, but Indy Beauty The Velvety Hand Cream is still a disappointment. There are many products in this price bracket that do the job much better. Ultimately in time, this cream will inevitably end up forgotten in the bottom of your handbag.
For many people, dry skin is a problem, not least in the autumn and during cold weather in winter. Cracked hands become an unwanted guest in everyday life - and even your nails can become brittle. One way for both men and women to prevent dry hands is to regularly moisturise them with a good hand cream for very dry hands. But of course, you can use hand cream all year round if desired, especially if you want to tackle wrinkled hands. There are even hand creams with antibacterial properties, which can come in useful for surgeons and healthcare professionals. And there are even creams with SPF for advances sun protection. Many products also contain anti ageing substances – i.e. with collagen - to counteract ageing skin and may be intended for wrinkled hands. You can find special products in the pharmacy for red sore hands or for those with eczema.
When you choose products for very dry hands, you should note whether it contains water or alcohol, and if so, how much. This is because these are usually substances that can make dry skin worse. Otherwise, you should think about whether the hand cream is intended for a special purpose, if it should have a sun protection factor or a less feminine scent suitable for men. To provide extra moisture, it’s useful if the cream contains hydrating substances such as Aloe Vera. Other considerations when you are buying hand cream are whether it smells good and if it feels sticky after application.
So that you don’t end up with too much cream, we recommend that you apply a small amount of hand cream on the back of one hand and then rub it in over both hands. It’s better to use a little bit at a time and add more if it wasn’t enough. Too much hand cream means that your hands can easily become sticky as the skin becomes saturated and can’t absorb any more. For example, if your knuckles are particularly dry you can add more cream to this area afterwards.
Hand cream is fantastic for dry skin, but there are more things you can do to make your hands soft and smooth. In winter, water and cold temperatures are often the problem. It’s important to wear gloves when you’re outdoors and to avoid getting your hands wet as often as possible. It’s a good idea to wear rubber gloves for washing dishes or cleaning. You can also have hand cream as a natural part of your handwashing routine, which is easy to achieve by keeping a pump of cream on the sink. Just like your face, you can exfoliate your hands and give them a mask on a regular basis. If you don’t want to buy products for dry hands, there are homemade versions that you can make with ingredients you will already have in your cupboards. You can make a hand scrub by mixing honey and coconut oil or olive oil and sugar. You can also make a mask with coconut oil for your dry hands. Give it a try yourself!
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