The best hand creams

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As the weather starts to take a turn for the chilly and the wind begins to pick up, it becomes especially important to take extra care of our poor, long-suffering skin. But even while we apply barrier creams, don our woolly socks and pull our bobble hats down to our eyebrows, it’s easy to forget about the needs of hard-working hands. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best hand creams, and more importantly, imparted some wisdom on how to find the best hand cream for your particular needs — so go on, read on and treat your tips to the hydration they deserve.

But a hand cream isn’t just for Christmas (though they do make excellent stocking fillers) — some skin types need a helping hand to stay soft all year ‘round, and eczema and psoriasis-prone or chronically dry skin especially will benefit from a soothing cream that keeps hands hydrated all day long. Look for a thick, luscious cream that’ll sink in properly and last through the day or night, even after hand-washing.

Meanwhile, as the skincare world’s only proven defence against ageing, SPF is a very important factor to look for in hand-cream for mature skin. If you’re after something that will minimise sun damage, age spots and fine lines while also leaving hands soft and supple, look no further than a hand cream with SPF.

Remember, too, that the skin on the back of our hands is among the thinnest and most delicate on our bodies, gets a lot of exposure to the elements, and works incredibly hard, so approach your hand cream the way you would anything else in your skincare kit, and be sure to check the listed skin type or types for which each product is suitable.

1. Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream

Tried, tested, and loved all over, this classic hand cream is an all-round winner

Best for: Best overall | Skin Type: All | Size: 100ml | Price: £21.00

Great all-rounder
Time-tested product
On the pricier side

A great-performing all-rounder from a trusted brand, the Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream works to comfort dry hands and, as an added bonus, strengthen nails and condition cuticles. It protects hands from the elements, minimising signs of ageing and keeping delicate skin fortified against damage, with a thin but long-lasting layer of moisturisation that feels light on the hands. 

2. Aromacure Eczema Cream

The eczema-friendly cream offering tender loving care for sensitive hands

Best for: Eczema | Skin Type: Sensitive | Size: 50g | RRP: £14.99

Suitable for sensitive skin
Natural alternative to cortisone creams
Strong scent

For eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and other conditions that can leave skin feeling itchy and sore, this Aromacure cream soothes superbly with a formulation packed full of naturally-sourced ingredients. The active ingredient is cardiospermum, a natural alternative to prescription cortisone creams, and it’s full of skin-kind organic argan and hemp oils for gentle but effective hydration. For a gentle alternative to prescription creams, give this a go.

3. Burt’s Bees Banana Hand Cream

An a-peelingly scented, thick cream for soothing dry skin

Best for: Great-smelling | Skin Type: Dry | Size: 57ml | RRP: £10.99

Great smell
99.9% natural
Leaves some residue

A thick, luxurious cream for dry hands, this sweet Burt’s Bees offering gives instant soothing relief to winter skin. The delicious scent is reminiscent of banana foam sweets — a nostalgic hit sure to put a smile on the face of any Pick ‘n’ Mix connoisseur — and once the luscious formulation penetrates the skin, it stays there. This cream is ideal for providing long-lasting hydration throughout the day or night.

4. Estée Lauder New Dimension Smooth + Tone Crème Glove

A renewing hand cream for brighter, more even-toned skin

Best for: Smoothing | Skin Type: All | Size: 75ml | RRP: £30.00

 Long-lasting moisture 
 Brighter, more even-toned skin 
 Expensive 

The plumping, firming, and smoothing actions of this premium hand cream make it a real treat for mature skin. The hydrating ‘glove’ it forms on the skin locks in moisture for hours, even through several washes, and minimises the need to re-apply — especially good news at this price point. The professional-sounding procollagen complex also improves the look and feel of hands, evening out skin tone and blurring fine lines for a youthful finish. 

5. Clinique Deep Comfort Hand & Cuticle Cream

Deeply comforting for parched skin and cracked cuticles

Best for: Restorative properties | Skin Type: Extra dry | Size: 75ml | RRP:

 Gentle care for dry skin 
 Improves nail and cuticle condition 
 Pricey for some 

This luxuriously thick cream feels especially nourishing on dry skin and is a real treat to apply, but despite its super-moisturising capabilities, it sinks in impressively well and never leaves a greasy residue, great for on the go. A little goes a long way, too. For an extra touch of decadence, apply before bed and don some moisturising mitts to let it really sink in, lovely for cuticles in need of some TLC. 

6. Eve Lom Hand Cream SPF 10

Superior SPF protection for sun worshippers

Best for: Sun protection | Skin Type: All | Size: 50ml | RRP: £22.00

 Protects against sun damage 
 Exfoliates and moisturises 
 Not a generous size for the price

This Eve Lom number is a great anti-ageing hand cream, by virtue of its included SPF, which guards against environmental damage and sun exposure on some of our most delicate skin. Salicylic acid, a common active ingredient in acne-fighting skincare, gently exfoliates and resurfaces for hands that look healthy, youthful, and brightened.

7. Caudalie Hand Cream

Light and lovely, and bursting with antioxidants for natural hydration

Best for: Lightweight hydration | Skin Type: All | Size: 75ml | RRP: £12.00

 Lightly moisturising
 Lovely scent 
Not the most hydrating for super-dry skin

This antioxidant-rich cream boasts an abundance of nourishing avocado, shea butter, and the grape polyphenols for which vineyard owners and Caudalie founders Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas are famous. It absorbs easily, leaving no greasy residue, and reviewers have praised its lovely fresh scent and light texture. An excellent hand cream for people who think they don't like hand cream, but not the most deeply hydrating: dry-skinned lovelies might want to try Clinique or Burt's Bees instead.