The best hand creams to moisturise, protect and soothe skin all year round

Our expert reviews the best hand creams to shop now, whether you want something reparative, protective, or luxurious

A selection of the best hand creams we tested, on a pale background.
(Image credit: Future)

Truly a product that can call itself an essential, the best hand cream can nourish dryness, support the skin barrier, and even reduce the visible signs of ageing. It’s nothing short of a must to have one on your bedside table or in your handbag to keep your skin feeling soft. 

But we’re sure we don’t need to tell you that, much like the best body creams, there are hundreds on the beauty market, and so tracking down the right one for you requires some research. There's a myriad of factors to consider, from specialist skincare ingredients to its price and portability. 

“A good hand cream should really be a mix of the three moisturising ingredients: humectants (for example glycerin), occlusives (for example shea butter), and emollients (for example lanolin),” says consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto, founder of Self London. "A good ratio of these ingredients is a must for moisturising effectively. I also really like ceramides in hand creams as they are natural lipids that support the skin barrier and help to prevent moisture loss."

Thankfully, our beauty expert has been testing hand creams for years, and has drawn on her experience – plus, tested several new launches – to provide in-depth reviews of the best ones you can shop in 2023. Not only that, she’s also spoken to two doctors to get their expert insights into what you should look for in a good hand cream, and how to use it in your regime for optimum results. Without further ado…

Dr Anjali Mahto
Dr Anjali Mahto

Inspired to become a doctor after her own journey with acne, Dr Anjali Mahto is one of the most respected dermatologists in her field. She has authored a book about skin, called The Skincare Bible.
Dr Sophie Shotter

Dr Sophie Shotter has over a decade of medical experience and has won a number of awards for her work as an aesthetic doctor. 

BIrd's eye view showing the hand creams tested for this feature in a pink vanity case

(Image credit: Lucy Abbersteen)

Our contributing beauty editor Lucy Abbersteen has tried plenty of hand creams, and swears by the best ones for keeping her dry skin hydrated in a hurry.

The best hand creams, tested by a beauty editor 

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

How we tested the best hand creams

Our tester went back to some of her existing favourites that she's tested and loved during her career as a beauty editor, as well as some she hadn't previously tried on top of the latest hand cream launches. She also ensured that selections ranged from under £10 / $15 budget picks to very high-end luxurious brands to ensure that a broad range would be tested and included in her in-depth guide. Each cream was tested at least once, with its results observed throughout the day, and the following factors were all taken into account during the trialling period. 

  • Inclusion of noteworthy skincare ingredients in the formula
  • Texture and consistency
  • How well it absorbed into hands 
  • Any lasting or greasy or sticky feeling
  • How our hands felt throughout the day after applying
  • Packaging and dispensation
  • Price


How often should you apply hand cream?

“This very much depends on the product and on the skin condition,” says Dr Shotter. “At least twice a day is basic guidance, but if you suffer from irritated or dry skin on the hands, I would recommend doing so after every time you wash your hands.”

Dr Mahto agrees that it’s best to apply your hand cream in the following instances:

  • After washing your hands: "Frequent handwashing can strip the skin of its natural oils. Apply hand cream immediately after washing to prevent moisture loss."
  • Throughout the day: "Reapply as needed, especially if you have dry skin or work in a profession that requires frequent handwashing or exposure to harsh chemicals."
  • Before bed: "Applying hand cream before bed allows it to work overnight to repair and hydrate your hands."

How much hand cream should you use and can you put too much on?

Dr Mahto says that it's not necessarily the case that you can apply too much hand cream, "but applying an excessive amount can lead to a greasy or sticky feeling. Generally, using a pea-sized amount and applying it after hand washing or when your hands feel dry is sufficient for most individuals. If you find that your hands still feel greasy or uncomfortable, you may be using too much, and you can adjust the frequency accordingly."

What is the best hand cream for ageing hands?

“Anti-ageing partly involves hydration status, but can also involve active ingredients to help boost collagen stimulation or to help target pigmentation," says Dr Shotter. Retinol in particular is an ingredient that is proven to improve the visible signs of aging in the skin, targeting fine lines and pigmentation, so Beauty Pie's hand cream is a particularly good option in our guide on that front. It is imperative that you apply SPF during the day if you are using retinol on your hands – our guide on how often you should use retinol has more expert advice on using this ingredient in your regime. 

Hopefully you've found a hand cream on this list that suits your skin type, budget and feels like a treat to apply. Chapped, rough hands, be gone. 

Lucy Abbersteen

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for the likes of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, OK!, Women's Health and more, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare tips to the latest product launches and the show-stopping beauty looks spotted backstage at London Fashion Week. During her career she's interviewed some seriously famous faces, from Little Mix to Drag Race royalty The Vivienne, as well as chatting to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists.