If we’re going to wash our hands all day long, shouldn’t we make our time at the sink more enjoyable and less of a chore? Luckily, companies have stepped up and introduced liquid soaps that turn hand-washing into a pampering experience (yep, you heard that right) with formulations that feel silky going on and scents that transport you to the Mediterranean.
Even better, if used properly, almost all hand soaps are effective at killing microorganisms, shared Dr. Alexis Young, M.D., an Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. “A soap does not have to be labeled ‘antibacterial’ or have harsh, drying ingredients to work.”
According to CDC guidelines, you should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, with studies showing the longer you wash, the greater the reduction of bacterial counts on the skin. Young also had a few additional tips to maximize the cleansing experience.
“Scrub thoroughly on both sides, between the finger and under the nails, and find a scent and consistency you love, so you’ll be more compliant. Be sure to remove any rings so soap doesn’t get trapped, which could lead to skin redness, itching and cracking. And if you have super sensitive skin, avoid soaps with fragrance.”
I tested dozens of hand soaps to find the best ones that'll leave your skin feeling soft and supple throughout the cold winter months. Here are my go-to picks to upgrade your hand-washing game.
Best liquid hand soaps we tried
Finely granulated pumice stones and Epsom salt gently cleanse and exfoliate dry skin while shea butter and aloe vera soften and moisturize in this affordable find from Dr. Teal's. Its aromatherapeutic lavender essential oil also gives off a calming aroma, a plus after a stressful day.
Plant-based cleansers like lemon oil wash away dirt without drying, while glycerin — a humectant that draws in moisture — keeps hands supple.
This classic brand delivers when it comes to keeping your hands cleanly. Stearic and palmitic fatty acids protect your skin’s barrier while moisture-drawing hydroxyethyl urea hydrates, keeping skin soft and healthy looking all winter long.
Coconut oil and sea salt combine with mint, eucalyptus, peppermint and spearmint to make hand washing an energizing experience.
Filled with super moisturizers like olive oil, aloe and vitamin E, this fragrance-free liquid hand soap from Kiss My Face cleans without drying the skin.
This hypoallergenic and vegan foaming Dial soap hydrates hands with moisture-drawing glycerin while killing 99.99 percent of bacteria.
The fruity aroma in this sulfate-free liquid soap turns hand washing into an invigorating experience, while aloe vera, sunflower seed and wheat germ oil quickly condition your skin.
Plant-based and vitamin-rich ingredients like aloe keep skin supple wash after wash, while notes of coconut and citrus create a beachy scent to counterbalance the winter wonderland outside.
Fill the reusable bottle with water, drop in a pod (available in five alluring scents) and enjoy the foamy suds. Packed with plant-based ingredients and essential oils to keep your hands fresh and clean, one bag of pods creates four bottles of soap.
Coconut oil, aloe vera and sustainably-sourced essential oils keep hands feeling supple no matter how many times you go to the tap, while sandalwood and cedar give off a rustic scent.
This liquid soap is loaded with a trifecta of moisturizing oils — olive, castor and argan —along with exfoliating sea salt and lactic acid to leave you with super soft hands. Bergamot, chamomile, lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, patchouli and honey flower make up the incredible scent.
Glycerin, shea butter and sweet almond protein work to hydrate the skin on your hands, while fruity watermelon and pear leave them with a soft, citrus scent.
Infused with moisturizing hemp seed oil and an ocean breeze scent, this antibacterial hand soap is formulated to kill up to 99.9 percent of germs.
One pump of this foaming citrus-scented hand wash from Saje keeps skin clean and moisturized thanks to the 100 percent natural, plant-derived ingredients like coconut, sunflower and castor oils.
Rich in antioxidants and moisture retaining plant-based hyaluronic acid, this rinse-free cleanser feels like a serum going on and kills 99.9 percent of germs using 70 percent organic alcohol.
Featuring the brand's signature Côte d’Azur citrus and jasmine scent, Oribe's gel wash contains hydrating ingredients like grape seed, sweet almond and starflower oils, along with glycerin, vitamin E and panthenol to draw moisture in.
Fresh pine, sage, lavender and clove provide an outdoor sensorial experience at the sink, while moisturizing aloe helps keep your skin feeling soft and supple.
Zesty lime coupled with fresh basil and sweet mandarin create an aromatic energy that will keep you heading to the sink.
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