HAND CREAM is a handbag and home staple year-round.
It's essential for hydrating hands and can even treat and protect dry, cracked skin – the best hand cream will ensure hands look and feel their softest and smoothest.
There are different hand creams to suit your skin's needs, whether you want age spots to fade, are looking to smooth and hydrate skin or need to protect your hands from wind and harsh weather.
You can also find a hand cream to suit your budget – from fantastic drugstore buys under a fiver through to luxurious designer hand creams.
Why should you use hand cream?
Just like moisturising the skin on our face has become second-nature to us, keeping our hands hydrated is incredibly important.
From restoring moisture to dry hands to helping hands look more youthful, hand cream is just handy, to have in your cosmetics bag and at home.
Hand cream is also good to use no matter the time of year: in winter, it can protect and nourish dry and damaged hands with essential oils.
In the summer months, you can still use a lightweight hand cream to keep hands healthy.
We've rounded up the best hand creams to buy in 2020 below.
1. Best all rounder hand cream: L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream
- Shea Butter Hand Cream, £21.50 from L'Occitane – buy here
French brand L'Occitane's shea butter hand cream is made with 20 per cent shea butter for a rich and moisturising feel on the skin.
The multi-award winning product also contains almond, honey and coconut butter for extra hydration, with jasmine and ylang ylang providing the delightful scent.
It's so popular and beloved in fact, that one is sold every three seconds somewhere around the world.
'I am a nurse that has to wash hands consistently as part of my job and to further insult use alcohol hand gels which further strips my skin. I find my skin cracks and it becomes irritable.
'I bought this cream and use it religiously, my skin has softened and is deeply nourished. It is worth every penny', writes a fan.
2. Best hand cream for protecting your hands: The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector
- Hemp Hand Protector, £12 from The Body Shop – buy here
With a range of nourishing hand creams from just £5 for 30ml, The Body Shop is a favourite for anyone needing a new hand cream.
Their bestseller is the Hemp Hand Protector, which is designed to help ultra-dry skin weather the elements.
The vegetarian cream is made with Community Trade hemp seed oil from France, and can hydrate hands for up to 24 hours.
Reviewers insist it's 'the best hand cream you will ever buy', a 'miracle cream', 'excellent value for money' and 'it has actually repaired my hands in just over a few days'.
3. Best organic hand cream: D'ALCHÉMY Spectacular Hand Therapy
D'ALCHÉMY Spectacular Hand Therapy, £29.14 from Love Lula – buy here
This lovely hand cream is designed for use on mature skin and contains organic ingredients like sandalwood, mandarin and grapefruit oils, as well as Damask rose and witch hazel hydrosols, which moisturise and leave a protective film on the hands.
It's also designed to help skin lacking in elasticity by reducing the appearance of age spots and regenerating the skin's topmost layer.
4. Best budget hand cream: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
- Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, £3.99 from Boots – buy here
Neutrogena is a favourite when it comes to nourishing hand creams, and this unscented version contains glycerin to nourish all skin types.
Not only is it a winner – according to both men and women – when it comes to hydrating hands and leaving them feeling smoother, this value-for-money product is super concentrated, and will last up to a couple hundred applications.
5. Best hand cream for sensitive skin: Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm
- Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm, £21 from Space NK – buy here
Described as a 'Holy Grail hand cream', Aesop's hand balm contains mandarin rind, rosemary leaf and cedar atlas, soothing botanical ingredients that are gentle enough to be used on sunburns, dermatitis and children's skin.
Fans also love the smell, best described by one word: 'divine'.
6. Best hand cream gift: The English Soap Company Kew Bluebell & Jasmine Hand Cream
- Kew Bluebell & Jasmine Hand Cream, £10.50 from Amazon – buy here
Hand cream isn't just great for hydrating and soothing – it's perfect when you need a gift for someone, be it a mum or grandma, teacher or friend.
The English Soap Company's Royal Botanic Garden collection contains shea butter to suit all skin types, and each hand cream features a stunningly packaged design using images from Kew Garden's archives. The scents are also inspired by the flowers at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and each cream in made in the English countryside.
7. Best hand cream for dark spots: Caudalie Vinoperfect Correcting Hand Cream
- Caudalie Vinoperfect Correcting Hand Cream, £15 from Space NK – buy here
Diminish the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots with this hand cream from Caudalie, which uses its patented Viniferine complex to even out skin tone as well as avocado, olive and grapeseed oils and shea butter to moisturise.
Apply it to the nails and it will strengthen them too.
Reviewers like that it's hydrating, long-lasting, value for money, smells delicious – and the fact it helps spots fade.
How many times a day should you use hand cream?
There's no set rule about how often you can – or should – use hand cream.
Most hand creams require a small dollop rubbed between the hands, and you can apply it once or twice a day – or more often.
Some people like to apply hand cream every time they wash their hands, especially if they suffer from dry skin.
What's the difference between hand cream and hand lotion?
Generally speaking, hand creams are thicker than hand lotions, but both types of products can be used to moisturise the skin.
Hand creams have less liquid and a higher oil content, so they're ideal for use overnight as well as for those whose hands need protection and extra hydration.
Since they're lighter and easy to spread, hand lotions are a good alternative to hand creams in the summer months.
Enjoyed our roundup of the best hand creams? Why not check out our selection of the best moisturisers of 2020, too?
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