Hand Cream Showdown

Find out which top hand hydrators for dry skin our testers found desk drawer-worthy

We spend hundreds on youth-enhancing face lotions -- but when's the last time your hands got some love? "Hands show aging more than the face," says Los Angeles-based dermatologist Dr. Howard Murad. Good point. So we had 10 testers review hand creams for two weeks. Which ones offered the best hydration -- and which were just greasy? Find out in the ratings.

By Sarah Carrillo

Sally Hansen Flawless Hands Skin Brightening Creme , $8.69 "This is a delectable combination of buttery moisture and soothing vitamins that keep your hands feeling quenched and smooth. This cream has so much staying power that it can last an entire day without having to reapply. My hands appear brighter and radiant after just a week of use, and I love that it offers SPF 20 protection. The only downside is a greasy residue, most noticeably left on objects touched immediately after application. I resorted to using my sweater as a doorknob-turning device." -- Dana L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream , $25 "This cream was rich but not slippery at all, and it soaked in quickly. I rubbed extra cream onto my cuticles, and it helped instantly improve the appearance of dryness around my nails. I also applied a little on my lips when I left home without lip balm -- it worked well as a substitute. I reapplied the cream every time I washed my hands, which was about five times a day. Oh and I love the way it smells -- fresh and soft." -- Susin Trillium Organics Organic Shea Butter , $9.99 "I have mixed emotions about this cream. Its bottle is purse-friendly, but when you apply it, it doesn't fully absorb -- I left fingerprints on leather and glass as a result. And opening doors was really difficult. After shaking someone's hand, I left behind a strong citrus smell. I did find myself applying it less often than other hand creams like Bliss Body Butter or Philosophy's Time on Your Hands, so that's a good thing. And it seemed to keep my hands moist longer after regular use." -- Kerry Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve , $19.50 "I found that this minty, earthy-scented lotion worked best when applied before bed. I woke up with soft hands and fewer irritations. When worn during the day, it passed the hand shake test -- it didn't leave my fiance's hands greasy, and he liked the smooth feel. I had no problem gripping and turning doorknobs, but the lotion did feel a bit tacky on my palms, which I didn't like. I work around a lot of grease and chemicals so I wash my hands frequently with pumice soap and had to reapply the lotion after every wash to say hydrated." -- Melissa Avon Skin So Soft Age-Defying+ Hand Cream , $4.00 "This is the best hand cream I have ever used. At first I didn't love the smell -- too flowery and fragrant, but it grew on me. It is the only cream I've ever used that a) made a noticeable difference in my hands that lasted longer than five seconds, b) allowed me to actually turn a doorknob directly after use and c) I wanted to use all the time. I've tried creams from Kiehl's, Ahava and Neutrogena and this tops them all." -- Hilary Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream , $3.69 "I first used a quarter-sized amount of this cream and my hands were greasy for hours. But the second time I used a dime-sized amount and they weren't greasy at all. The cream didn't leave white streaks on my clothes when I touched them either, which is great. The smallest amount of cream went a long way and lasted most of the day -- even after washing my hands I didn't feel the need to reapply. I also started using it on my elbows and feet, and I bought another bottle for my office because I like it so much." -- Brandi Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Hand Therapy Cream , $14 "I applied this hand cream several times to my palms and fingers and rubbed vigorously. After a few seconds a slimy residue appeared, but surprisingly I had no problem opening doors. I tested the hand cream on two of my co-workers and my boyfriend. Everyone agreed, the hand cream felt like Crisco. While blow-drying my hair, I smelled a foul stench -- it was the after-scent of the cream. I liked the packaging though; it was easy to carry around. Overall, I'm not a fan. I would choose Johnson & Johnson over it in the future." -- Mysti Roc Retinol Correxion Hand Repair , $12.99 "This product extremely improved my brown spots -- it made them two shades lighter after a week. The cream absorbs immediately and left my hands feeling just a touch greasy. However, it did not stay on very well after washing my hands. I felt like I had to reapply after each wash. I liked the basically unscented fragrance though, and the bottle was very convenient to use on the go." -- Jean Aveeno Intense Relief Hand Cream , $6.79 "I'm constantly applying lotion and lip balm to battle winter-y dryness. This Aveeno cream doesn't have a detectable fragrance, which is good. And it's smooth, creamy and definitely keeps your hands feeling soft and moisturized. It appears to stay on through hand washing, but it kind of creeped people out when shaking hands -- a couple guys said my hands felt sticky and clammy. Still, I would recommend this and I'm definitely continuing use." -- Michelle Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Hand Cream , $5.29 "This cream did a fantastic job of moisturizing. It left my hands soft and supple without a greasy after-feel. With repeated use my hands looked smoother and younger, probably from the alpha hydroxy acid. It's a bit heavy and takes a few minutes to completely absorb, but after it soaked in I could easily grip and turn doorknobs. I washed my hands quite often with very warm water, and although I did need to reapply lotion to retain the moisturized feel, if I forgot to re-slather, my hands still felt relatively soft." -- Sunanda The Last Word Top 3 best performing hand creams: Avon Skin So Soft Renew & Refresh Age-Defying+ Hand Cream L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream Top 3 worst performing hand creams: Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Hand Therapy Cream Sally Hansen Flawless Hands Skin Brightening Creme SPF 20 Trillium Organics Organic Shea Butter Luxe vs. Less Nail Polish "Oh-My-God-What-Is-That?" Skin Emergencies Who Won The Battle Against Dry Hair? Subject Subject Subject Message Message Message http://www.google.com /content/package/c_hand_cream/

Products Mentioned in This Story

Neutrogena Hand Cream

Average Member Rating: 8.7

Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve

Average Member Rating: 8.5

Aveeno Intense Relief Hand Cream

Average Member Rating: 8.7

L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

Average Member Rating: 9.1

RoC Retinol Correxion Hand Repair

Average Member Rating: 6.4

Trillium Organics Shea Butter - 1.5 oz

Average Member Rating: 8.8

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older comments

The product that I really like is the nitrogen hand cream. It goes on really thick but melts into your skin quickly. In work in the medical field so I constantly have to wash my hands. With this hand cream my hands stay soft. The size of the tube is perfect. The one downsize is that the product is not widely sold in my area so I stock up when I find it.

by tanyanicole Monday, June 10, 2013 at 11:38PM Report as inappropriate

very helpful

by brianna121791 Monday, May 13, 2013 at 11:24AM Report as inappropriate

I definitely agree that Neutrogena Norwegian Hand Formula is one of the best. It makes your skin so soft and my husband will use it too because it does not smell like a flowery mess.

by EFitz70 Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 03:18PM Report as inappropriate

L'Occitane and Neutrogena Norwegian Hand Formula are wonderful. A FANTASTIC find for a total end to dry hands? O'Keeffe's "Working Hands," available online for $7.99. It even worked to heal cuts and has no fragrance whatsoever--the chief ingredient is glycerin.

by GigiSD Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 10:30PM Report as inappropriate

I've been using Silk Elements Shea Butter with Olive Oil for a month and love it! A little goes a long way and it's not greasy. Unfortunately, you can only buy it at Sally Beauty, in a store or online. It sells for $3 and change for a 3 ounce tube. I keep one near all the sinks in my house and carry one in my handbag. I think it's as good as the more expensive top rated brands. Obviously, I can get many tubes for what it would cost to buy one them. For the money, it's worth a try.

by ronist Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 05:38AM Report as inappropriate

I want a good one that's scent free

by EricaF123 Friday, February 8, 2013 at 08:49AM Report as inappropriate

The Neutrogena one is great! Strong enough to use on elbows and heels too.

by Shringar Friday, February 8, 2013 at 08:08AM Report as inappropriate

The l'occitane hand cream is amazing. I am a fan of the lavender scent. However, 100% pure also has an amazing lavender hand cream and it moisturizes without the greasy residue.

by Sari Friday, January 4, 2013 at 08:23AM Report as inappropriate

I really need a good hand cream

by LittleBunny Friday, January 4, 2013 at 07:19AM Report as inappropriate

i love the l'occitane hand cream! it smells exactly like lotion should smell.

by schien Monday, November 5, 2012 at 08:37AM Report as inappropriate

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