The 12 Best Hand Creams for Dry, Cracked Skin

If you’re like us, the constant hand washing and use of hand sanitizer due to coronavirus has left you dealing with extremely dry skin. Luckily hand lotion hasn’t flown off the shelves (yet) and will provide a much-needed moisture boost to prevent painful cracking. But what exactly makes a good hand cream? It depends on who you’re asking. Some people prefer a thick salve that coats their skin in buttery goodness, while others want something that doesn’t feel like, well, anything at all. No matter your preference, there are two best practices to maximize your hand hydration game:

How to Heal Dry, Chapped Hands

  1. Wash your hands using lukewarm water—never hot H2O, which can strip the skin of necessary oils.
  2. Always apply your hand cream of choice immediately after washing your hands, ideally when your skin is still slightly damp to lock in the most moisture.

Ok, now that we’ve got that sorted, here are the best hand creams for dry hands, according to our team of very discerning (ahem, picky) editors.

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best lotion for dry hands weleda skin food

1. Weleda Skin Food

Best Overall Hand Cream

“I’ve used this cream for years (which is apparently something I share in common with Julia Roberts). Loaded with essential fatty acids and vitamin E, it feels downright decadent when you rub it into your skin. The key is to use less than you think you need (because it is very rich) and massage it in until it’s fully absorbed—at which point, all that’s left behind is a subtle sheen and sumptuously soft hands. I’ve gone through more tubes of this stuff than I can count and have even started using it as a subtle highlighter whenever I need to refresh my makeup in the afternoon.”

best lotion for dry hands mario badescu fruit vitamin a hand cream
Mario Badescu

2. Mario Badescu Fruit & Vitamin A Hand Cream

Best Anti-Aging Hand Cream

“I’m a big fan of this cream from Mario Badescu because it’s hydrating (but not too heavy), helps with anti-aging, and has a light fruity scent that I find so appealing. I also love applying it right before bed to let all that goodness soak in while I sleep.”

best lotion for dry hands cetaphil moisturizing lotion

3. Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

Best Sensitive Skin Hand Cream

“I am absolutely addicted to Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion. Though it’s not specifically a hand cream, it’s what I use all winter. (During the summer, I use it to take care of my Crypt Keeper-looking dry legs). I keep a mini bottle in my car, one in my tote, and now that I think of it, I keep one in my purse, too, because when I notice that my hands are dry, I can’t do anything else until I take care of them. It’s light enough to sink right in while still getting the job done, which is important because I can’t wait 100 years for a hand cream to absorb. Every night before bed I apply this and some OPI cuticle oil (aka my hand winterproofing tool kit).”

best lotion for dry hands gold bond ultimate intensive healing hand cream

4. Gold Bond Ultimate Intensive Healing Hand Cream

Best Budget-Friendly Hand Cream

“I swear by Gold Bond’s intensive healing hand cream. It’s ultra-nourishing and glides on silky smooth. And unlike most hydrating creams that are for ‘dry, problem skin,’ this one doesn’t smell medicinal—or like your grandma. (No offense, nan.) Instead, it has a lovely, sweet scent that’s not overpowering, which I absolutely love. I found it one morning when my hands were feeling particularly dry (that’s what I get for biking to work in New York in the fall!) but also when my newborn had spat up on my dress RIGHT before I had to leave to work. I washed it off, but I was still looking for something that would soothe my hands and would also cover up the scent of spit up. (I know, parenthood is so gross sometimes). I saw this on my colleague’s desk and it did both, so I am officially a convert.”

best lotion for dry hands aesop resurrection aromatique hand balm

5. Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm

Best Scented Hand Cream

“This is hands-down my favorite cream—mostly because it smells so damn good. After rubbing it into your skin, you’re left with a faint citrusy scent that lingers for hours. It also does wonders for moisturizing dry hands without leaving behind any greasy residue. (And this has become one of my go-to gifts, since I’ve learned that pretty much everyone loves receiving a lil’ something from Aesop.)”

“I am a recent fan of the Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm. 50 percent for the citrusy, woodsy scent and 50 percent for the fast-absorbing moisturizing quality. A little goes a long way, which is good because I like 0 percent of the price...”

best hand lotion jane iredale

6. Jane Iredale Handdrink Hand Cream Spf 15

Best Natural Hand Cream

“Jane Iredale makes some of my favorite natural beauty products, and this hand cream is no exception. Made with super nourishing ingredients like lemongrass oil and white and green tea extracts, it hydrates hands and offers broad spectrum (i.e., reef-safe) sun protection.”

best hand lotion eucerin

7. Eucerin Daily Hydration Broad Spectrum Spf 30 Hand Cream

Best Non-Greasy Hand Cream

“My biggest pet peeve about hand lotions: they can be extremely greasy. Not this one. It’s dermatologist recommended for its gentle, fragrance- and paraben-free formula that’s super lightweight and never oily, so you can apply it whenever you please (which is every two hours for optimal sun protection, BTW).”

best hand cream algenist

8. Algenist Genius Liquid Collagen Hand Cream

Best Brightening Hand Cream

“This targeted cream is packed with hard-working ingredients that would make your nighttime skincare routine jealous. It uses active vegan collagen, vitamins E and C and Alguronic Acid to strengthen and condition skin, improve bounce and maintain a youthful, bright and even skin tone. Plus, the sleek, lightweight tube makes it easy to throw in my purse or carry-on.”

best hand cream go to super handy
Go-To Skincare

9. Go-to Skincare Super Handy Hand Cream

Best Fast-Absorbing Hand Cream

“This Australian brand’s hand cream has quickly become a favorite of mine for it’s natural, cruelty-free formula, lightweight texture and the fact that it almost immediately sinks in to my skin, so there’s no waiting for it to absorb when I’m in a rush. Oh, and the packaging looks pretty cute on my skincare shelf! It also happens to be PureWow's 2019 Indie Beauty Awards winner for Best Hand Cream, too.”

best hand cream okeefes

10. O'keeffe's Working Hands Hand Cream

Best Hand Cream for Cracked Skin

“Rough, cracked skin has nothing on this heavy-duty formula. Although it looks slightly industrial in a bright green tub (and yes, you can find it at Home Depot), once you smooth it onto your hands, the lightweight, airy texture melts into a creamy, barely-there feel. The best part though is how quickly it works to heal painful patches. I’ll apply it before bed and within a few days the cracks on my hands are visibly smoother and no longer hurt. What makes it so effective is it’s formulated to not only draw in moisture to the skin, but also to create a barrier that protects against further water loss.”

best hand cream grown alchemist

11. Grown Alchemist Intensive Hand Cream

The Best Hyaluronic Acid Hand Cream

“Parched fingers will drink up this highly-moisturizing hand cream that’s infused with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E to improve skin’s hydration, as well as botanical extracts that deliver a healthy dose of vitamins and antioxidants to protect against free radicals. I keep it at my desk and apply it throughout the day since the non-greasy formula won’t get product all over my keyboard. Plus, the Persian rose and sweet orange peel scent is practically made for spring.”

Buy It ($27)

best hand cream supergoop handscreen

12. Supergoop! Handscreen Spf 40

Best Hand Cream with SPF

“I’ve been a fan of Supergoop’s best-selling hand cream for years due to its UV-protection, soothing sea buckthorn fruit and hydrating meadowfoam sea oil, but now I love it even more thanks to its new reef-safe formula and pump-top packaging. I mean, who else hates having to screw on a cap with lotion-y hands?”

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...