The Best Hand Creams and Top Ingredients to Look Out For

Our skin care routines are so often focused on our faces and bodies, we often forget the struggle our hands go through until they begin to show age and damage. This is because our hands are easily dried out and compromised from all of our work, travel and using stripping ingredients when we wash our hands.

Giving a bit more protection and care to your hands, nails and cuticles can be a fun and luxurious moment in your everyday skincare routine. Here are a few key ingredients you'll want to search for when you’re shopping. Proven effective, these top four hand cream ingredients will restore and revitalise your skin.

Jurlique Rose Hand Cream - one hand holds bottle while squeezing product into palm of other hand with a dark blue background- 700 x 440Jurlique Rose Hand Cream - one hand holds bottle while squeezing product into palm of other hand with a dark blue background- 700 x 440

Vitamin E

One of the most beloved natural moisturisers on the planet, Vitamin E is the gold standard of skincare ingredients. Proven to improve your skin’s natural UV defence, Vitamin E is present in a wide range of sunscreens, after-sun creams, anti-ageing products, and, of course, moisturisers.

Many of our favourite hand creams contain Vitamin E because it heals and protects by fighting off free radicals and works (very hard) to soften and moisturise the skin.

This can be a great ingredient to use for those with sensitive skin, as it also helps to protect the outer layer of the skin from irritation.

Top hand cream picks with Vitamin E:


SPF is the number one anti-ageing ingredient for any area of the body. Since our hands generally don't get quite as much sunscreen attention as the rest of our skin, they tend to show age first.

The skin on your hands is extra-thin, which means UVA rays can easily penetrate to the dermis. The result? An eventual breakdown of collagen and elastin, dark spots, and other signs of ageing.

If you haven't started protecting the skin on your face with SPF, here are some of our top picks. However, we strongly recommend giving all round protection a go.

Top hand cream picks with SPF:

My-Mum-Is-Obsessed-With-This-Hand-Cream-(And-With-Good-Reason) The-Chemistry-Brand-Hand-Chemistry-100ml 0082My-Mum-Is-Obsessed-With-This-Hand-Cream-(And-With-Good-Reason) The-Chemistry-Brand-Hand-Chemistry-100ml 0082

Shea Butter

Shea butter is one of the oldest remedies for dry skin. This stuff is rich in vitamins A, E, and essential fatty acids. Shea improves skin's barrier function and naturally offers a small amount of UV protection.

Using a hand cream with Shea butter in it at night can be like a sleeping mask for your hands, as it is extremely nourishing and reparative.

Shea butter also helps to re-texturise skin and improve circulation, helping you to revive sore hands if they are feeling tired and over worked.

Top hand cream picks with Shea Butter:


Glycerine is an important ingredient found naturally in the skin. When combined with other ingredients, this powerful humectant seals in moisture and helps keep your skin's natural barrier strong and healthy.

This ingredient can also help to heal and restore hands that have been stripped due to excessive hand washing, by drawing moisture back to the skin's surface.

Glycerine is also a natural anti-ageing ingredient that helps smooth out lines and improves elasticity.

Top hand cream picks with Glycerine:

  • Jurlique Rose Hand Cream - 125ml is made with Safflower oil, Almond oil, Glycerine, and Vitamin E to calm and protect skin. Rose flower extract also helps to soothe and soften while providing a light, lovely scent.

  • La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Hand Cream is a potent treatment that helps repair environmental damage with Niacinamide. Glycerine, as mentioned, helps keep the skin barrier intact.

Best Luxury Hand Wash and Lotion - Two hand rubbing in lotion together against dark blue background - 650 x 369Best Luxury Hand Wash and Lotion - Two hand rubbing in lotion together against dark blue background - 650 x 369


The best hand cream for frequent washing

Hand washing is absolutely one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. We also know that over-washing our hands can unfortunately leave our hands dry, tight and flaky.

However, that does not mean we should be ditching the hand soap and antibacterial wash at any point, it just means we have to be taking extra steps to restore the skin's barrier.

When looking for a hand cream to help soothe hands stripped by over washing, look out for ingredients like Vitamin E and Glycerine.

These ingredients not only draw moisture to the skin's surface, they also help lock it in and protect the skin from irritation caused by harsh detergents.

"I love this handcream so much that I have quite a few of these stashed all around the house and in each handbag! Leaves your hands feeling super soft without them being oily!" - Jim ★★★★★ ´

The Chemistry Brand Hand Chemistry 30ml is the brain child from the brand that brought you The Ordinary.

This elegant formula contains a bio-technical derivative of mushroom proven to be 400x more moisturising than Hyaluronic acid, taking hydration to a whole new level.

This hand cream is designed to protect your hands by using Glycerine, Sacha Inchi Oil and Maize Propanediol to increase the moisture barrier and lock it in. Not to mention it's fairly cheap and super re-purchasable!

The best hand lotion for dry, cracked hands

As I've touched on, frequent hand washing can diminish our moisture barrier and cause our hands to become drier.

As we move into the winter months environmental factors also play a role, as our hands become exposed to cold winds and excessive heating.

For dry, cracked hands we recommend using a cream, lotion or balm with a simple formula that uses ingredients that are going to target this sort of damage.

Look out for highly emollient ingredients including Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Beeswax and Squalene.

Not only do these ingredients seal in moisture, they also create an occlusive, protective barrier on the surface. That means the skin is allowed to heal, while being protected from further damage.

"All-rounder! Have so far used as a body moisturizer, on my heels and elbows, as a lip balm, eyebrow tamer, hand cream, on my little boys cheeks that get cracked and dry, cuticles and itchy bites! It's really good for traveling as it replaces heaps of products and saves space!" - Stacey ★★★★★

Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream is a multipurpose product that has a solution for almost every problem under the sun.

This hand cream contains highly effective and emollient ingredients including Olive Oil, Honey, Beeswax, Royal Jelly, Bee Pollen and Bee Propolis.

Sufferers of Eczema and Psoriasis have sworn by this balm, which is known to help the healing of blisters, burns, rashes, as well as dry, chapped skin.

The best lotion for frequently washed hands

Some people may want to opt for a nourishing, yet lightweight lotion instead of using a thick cream or balm on a regular basis.

Using a lightweight lotion immediately after hand washing is actually one of the best ways to support the moisture barrier, and keep your hands happy and hydrated.

If you're using a lotion regularly you not only want it to contain moisture boosting ingredients like Vitamin E and Glycerine, but also UV protection in the form of SPF or antioxidant protection.

Not only does this keep hands hydrated, but it also keeps them protected from environmental aggressors that can cause significant damage over time.

"The smell and texture is everything. I was religious and exclusively an Aesop user but I absolutely love Hunter lab. Really reasonable price, these scents are fantastic and the products are extremely high quality product with amazing ingredients. Added bonus - they look amazing in your bathroom." - Maddison ★★★★★

Hunter Lab Hydrating Hand & Body Lotion 550ml comes from an Australian brand focused on high quality natural ingredients (all encased in sleek, matte black packaging)!

We love this hand lotion for it's lightweight texture, quick absorption and gorgeous scent.

We also love it's effective blend of Almond Oil, Vitamin E and high levels of antioxidants to form UV protection and promote collage and elastin production.

This hydrating hand lotion is an extremely attractive bathroom staple for anyone struggling with dry hands due to excessive washing.

The best heavy duty hand cream

While some of us are fine with the regular use of a lotion or even a nourishing cream, others really need the serious stuff.

I would suggest that balms, or creams with balm like textures are going to be your best shot at locking moisture in because they help your skin retain that moisture by reducing evaporation.

Thicker creams with skin loving ingredients like Shea Butter, Vitamin E, Glycerine, or anything else that is going to boost moisture and provide a layer of protection are going to be your best bet.

You can really slather these products on and even use them like an overnight treatment to let them take full effect.

"Ive been using this product as a hand cream before bed every night and when I wake up my hands are still super moisturized. I am super impressed and can see why this is such a cult product! You dont need much as the product is super thick. Would recommend to everyone!!" - Bek ★★★★★

Weleda Skin Food is a cult product, with well loved ingredients that have remained unchanged since 1926.

This highly nourishing multipurpose hand cream is packed with 100% natural ingredients including Chamomile, Rosemary, Lanolin and Sweet Almond Oil.

Known for it's healing properties, this hand cream helps repair and soothe truly dry and damaged skin by sealing in moisture with it's thick, balmy texture.

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty’s highly trained Customer Service team. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.

This article has been updated on 19/03 to replace discontinued products with our recent product recommendations. Brooklyn from our Customer Service team has helped to bring you our most recommended products and up-to-date information.  

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