Hand Creams, Lotions and Treatments in Winter Rotation

January 14, 2015

This post has been several months in the works and with the winter weather I thought it the perfect time to share my favorite hand creams to battle dry skin. I’ve had my favorites in hand creams that I’ve tried, loved and been very loyal to which include L’Occitane, Tatcha and Caudalie. A few close friends have sworn by their personal favorites from different lines and insisted that I give them a test drive. Based on their recommendations I compiled a list of what to check out at stores near me and put several others to the test. Today I have a roundup of what I’ve tested, liked and my thoughts. Shown above from left to right:

Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream ($15 for 2.5 fl oz)

This one is purse friendly, absorbs quickly, lightweight texture, soft sweet grape scent. I’m really particular with scented hand treatments this one has a nice smell. If you’re in need of quick and instant hydration I highly recommend this one. Moisturized feel lingers for a few minutes but the skin absorbs it fast and the hands are left feeling nicely hydrated and silky for hours.

Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve ($15 for 2.5 fl oz, $22 for 5 fl oz)

I never tried this until last month even though so many have raved about it. It is an intense treatment and I’ve found offers the most hydration out of all the ones I tested. There is a soft eucalyptus almost minty scent to it straight out of the tube, but the scent disappears almost instantly and leaves a very slight hint of fragrance. If you’re sensitive to fragrance this is a good pick. It absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a greasy feel. I bought the smaller size which is purse-friendly.

Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Intensive Smoothing Hand Creme ($60 for 3.4 fl oz)

I got this as a gift with purchase over a year ago and it has lasted a long time (still going strong). I remember when I researched this after receiving it thinking the price tag was extremely high for a hand treatment. I put it to the test and have been thoroughly impressed with the way it smooths the look of the hands instantly and improves texture over time. It is on the thick side but doesn’t leave any greasy residue on the hands because it also absorbs nicely. I wish it came in a smaller size option.

Formula X Hydrate Hand Crème with Kpangnan Butter ($16 for 3.4 fl oz)

Is a new hand cream from the Formula X line at Sephora. It smells absolutely delicious without being overpowering. It has a mix of shea butter with almond scent. It is very emollient and you can feel instant relief after applying. It is on the rich side so you can feel the moisture linger for about 15 to 20 minutes before it absorbs entirely. That being said it doesn’t feel heavy even though the formula is rich. I do wish the scent lasted a bit longer, it fades after 15 minutes or so, but the formula is good. It comes in a medium sized tube (also wish it came in a smaller option).

Eve Lom Hand Cream with SPF 10 ($35 for 1.6 fl oz)

This has been on my radar for months and I finally put it to the test in December. It’s the most lightweight hand cream I’ve tried with an airy texture and it absorbs into the skin instantly. There is no detectable scent so if you’re super sensitive to fragrance this is an excellent choice. It offers instant relief for dryness and lasts a long time. Although it is moisturizing, I found it on the lighter side compared to other treatments.

Malin + Goetz Vitamin B5 Hand Treatment ($20 for 1.7 oz)

Is a rich hand treatment that’s oil-free and made with a very soft almond-like scent. It claims to be quick absorbing which I agree with, but it has a super emollient texture which makes it feel a bit greasy even after 10 minutes. I found it a bit too heavy for my hands for day but do like it for night. That being said I did try this multiple times in stores before purchasing to give it more extensive testing. When my hands were super dry, testing this at the store gave my hands instant relief. The initial scent is really nice but after the dry down the scent disappears completely. 

Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream ($38 for 60 ml / 2 fl oz)

This has been a long-time favorite. It comes in a travel size option which is nice to test it at a cheaper price point. If you have super dry or itchy hands, this is my ultimate pick for relief, hydration and also has the best lightweight scent. It has a blue tint but it disappears and absorbs into the skin (and doesn’t stain). I usually prefer hand creams that are priced $20 and under, but this one is so so good, I’m willing to overlook the price.

Diptyque Eau Rose Hand Cream ($28 for 1.7 oz)

This was released last year with the limited-edition Rosa Mundi collection. The Eau Rose Hand Cream is still available and is the sweetest rose I’ve tried. I think rose fragrances can be hard to do right, Diptyque’s Eau Rose has bergamot, blackcurrant, musk, cedar and honey mixed in making it more complex and less floral. The packaging is to die for.

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream ($12 to $28, 1 oz to 5.2 oz)

This was the first hand cream I used when I was in high school and in my college days. I love the small travel size tubes these come in and also love every single one of the different scents and formulas. The Shea Butter formula is the classic one with the thickest and richest texture. I can’t count the times I’ve purchased this or tubes I’ve used up. L’Occitane is on my list every year to purchase as stocking stuffers. I’ll purchase tubes throughout the year as mini gifts, combine a mini hand cream and small box of chocolates and it makes a nice affordable treat for any occasion.

L’Occitane Scented Hand Treatments, assorted

L’Occitane’s scented hand creams are among the few that my sensitive nose can tolerate. They are subtle enough for me to wear without feeling self-conscious but strong enough that you can still smell them. I adore the sets L’Occitane offers, the holiday ArlΓ©sienne Velvet Hand Cream (.35 oz mini from the holiday L’Occibox shown, but available for purchase in the 1 oz size) is rose, sweet violet and saffron mix which is a pretty feminine scent (my husband approves of it on me). If you missed out on the holiday L’Occibox Elle x L’Occitane illustrated hand creams, the good news is that there is a cute 4-piece tin called the Irresistible Hand Collection which has the full sized 1 oz tubes. 

As you can tell, I’m a bit of a hand cream fanatic. Taking good care of my hands is a must, especially since I tend to wash them frequently and they are prone to dryness. In terms of picking my favorites, my criteria includes: has to absorb quickly, medium or lightweight fragrance, must be purse-friendly, cute packaging, and prefer something $20 and under. My recommendations to you will depend on what your skin is like, fragrance tolerance and also what your personal needs are. My quick take:

My personal top three picks for best formula for hydration:
Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream
L’Occitane Shea Butter
Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Best fragrance (for sensitive noses):
Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream
L’Occitane any, my favs are ArlΓ©sienne, Amande and Cherry Blossom
Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream
Fragrance free (or almost no fragrance):
Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Eve Lom Hand Cream

Most rich and moisturizing:
Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Malin + Goetz
Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv

What are your favorite hand creams? I’ve been looking for a good liquid hand soaps, if you have any favorites that are gentle on the hands I’m all ears for your recommendations.
The Tatcha Indigo Hand Cream and L’Occitane baby hand creams were part of press samples provided for review consideration. All others purchased by me.

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  • Anonymous

    I agree with you about the Kiehl's and L'Occitane – really good. Another one I like is L'Annine hand cream in lemon (very lighted scented – hand cream is the only product this company makes). You can purchase it on Beautyhabit – otherwise it is very hard to find.

    • Thanks for the recommendation! I'll add it to my list to check out πŸ™‚ Beautyhabit is so awesome.

  • L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream is my favourite! Really good product!
    Great post! πŸ™‚

    Nikoleta, xoxo.


  • You should try out the Crabtree & Evelyn ones! They're super moisturizing and smells amazing!

    • Hi Caroline, I used to use Crabtree and Evelyn a long long time ago! I'll have to check them out again.

  • Kari

    I love both Caudalie and L'Occitane hand creams, but my all time favorite is Clarins Hand and Nail Cream. I find it really moisturizing and manages to keep my cuticles in check.

    • Hi Kari, thanks for recommending the clarins! I'm always working on my cuticles so I'll have to check it out soon.

  • I love the L'Occitane hand creams. My favorite is the rose one. I haven't tried out Kiehl's yet.
    :] // β–² itsCarmen.com β–²

  • These handcreams are awesome!

    Francesca http://www.everydaycoffee.it/

  • Like you I am a hand cream fanatic πŸ™‚ Love all of your choices. my top favorites right now are Tatcha, Royal Apothic and Aerin. The Aerin does a great job and the smell is devine!!!!

    • Hi Karin, Aerin is such a good rose! I forgot to add it to my list since it's a hand/body combo. I agree it smells lovely πŸ™‚

  • I love Caudalie and use it when ever I remember to pick up a new tube. I also really like Jurlique!

    • I've heard mixed things about the Jurlique scent and my Sephora doesn't carry it so I couldn't smell it in person. Which Jurlique do you like?

  • I totally agree with you about being particular about the scents of hand lotions. It's either no scent or a light, friendly scent. http://americanmadeguidetolife.blogspot.com/

    • Hi Amy – which ones do you like with little to no scent?

  • Khiel's has been my go-to for a while, although I also like the hand cream by Avene.

    • I can't believe it took me so long to check out the Kiehls!

  • The Kiehl's has been my favourite for five years. I ask for the big tube every Christmas.

    • I feel like I've been living under a rock for missing it all these years.

  • I am a big fan of the L'Occitane one as well! I like their rose scent one.

    • Yay another L'Occitane fan! They have really good rose ones.

  • Provence Sante's hand cream has to be number one on my list! I purchased it from my favorite nail bar in order to re-live the experience whenever I need a spa-ish break in the day. For hand soap I'm absolutely mad for Aesop's Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash; it gets my hands squeaky clean without sucking every last bit of natural oils left in my skin

    • Hi Nicole, thank you for recommending the Aesop hand wash. I will definitely check it out the next time I'm in LA πŸ™‚

  • Huge fan of Caudalie and L'Occitane hand creams too. Nuxe hand cream is also another favorite of mine. I also use and adore the Nuxe lip balm. The best! As for liquid hand soap, Verbena from L'Occitane, French lavender from EO and orange blossom honey from Trader Joe's are amazing.

    • Oooh, Nuxe! It always escapes my list to check out because it's hard for me to find in person. Thanks for the Trader Joes recs, I love that store. I'll have to check out the hand care next time.

  • Lots of great options here! I'm currently loving Weleda Skin Food for hand care.

    Erin | Erin and Katherine Talk Beauty

  • Thanks for such a comprehensive overview. I live in a bitterly cold region and can't survive without good hand creams, so I loved reading your favorites! I have a large tube of Tatcha, but unfortunately don't find it moisturizing enough for my hands (I'm older than you and, as I said, live in a cold, dry area). Two hand creams stand out for me. Jurlique's Rose Hand Cream is really nice, if you haven't tried it: it's quite moisturizing but absorbs quickly, and smells fabulous. The other one I love is a recent find: Farmhouse Fresh Fluffy Bunny hand cream. It's also so moisturizing and creamy, yet absorbs quickly enough. It smells delicious: they claim it's a mixture of mint, lavender and cream…and I'd say that's about right, but the scent is light and, well, fluffy, not nearly as strong as it might sound. I also like l'Occitane hand creams and the one from Aerin Beauty (tho they're not quite as moisturizing as the Jurlique and Farmhouse Fresh). When I need ultimate hydration, I do like the Weleda Skin Food mentioned by Erin and Katherine above. However, it stays a bit too greasy on my hands for everyday use. I like to be able to get right back to work without getting oils on my keyboard and so mainly turn to that one at night.

    • Thanks for your recommendations. I will have to check out the Jurlique although I can't find it in person near me, it keeps getting raves.

  • Great recommendations! I am always in need of a good hand cream this time of year, feeling like my hands are constantly dry and chapped. I definitely want to try out that Khiels hand salve. Have you tried the Aveda hand serum? I haven't tried it yet, but have heard great things!

    xoxo Nicole


    • Hi Nicole, I haven't tried the Aveda – I found the line too heavy in fragrance so I stopped using them a while ago although the formulas were always so good. I'll have to check them out again!

  • I am now curious about the Malin + Goetz hand cream. My personal favourites are Elemis (the best one), Clarins and Aromatherapy Associates.

  • Cheryl

    My favorites is Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer (I buy the large pump bottle and both my husband and I use it).

  • I really like the L'Occitane hand creams. They actually work on my dry hands in the winter. I think I want to try the Sephora one next. The formula sounds pretty moisturizing

    Follow me to Fancieland!

  • The Caudalie and Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream are my favorites. I don't mind the light scent of either one and I think the Norwegian formula also comes in fragrance free.

  • I really like the Kiehl's as well, and I like the Tatcha one for non-winter weather. My current favorites are Goldfaden Hands to Heart and Aesop Reverence! I'd love to know what you find out about good hand soaps too.

  • I was pleasantly surprised by Josie Maran's Whipped Argan Oil Intensive Hand Cream in Sweet Citrus. It is lightly scented and moisturizes nicely. I'm a big fan of Kiehl's and L'Occitane and am crazy about Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk.

    As far as hand soaps, I recommend Savon de Marseille Liquid Sops. They have an olive oil base that is super moisturizing and come lightly scented and un-scented. I like the Lavender and the Mediterranean Sea scents. I'm also a fan of Aesop's Resurrection Aromatique hand wash.