You’ve probably never washed your hands in your life more than you have over the last few months. And that’s actually a good thing, since hand washing is one of the key ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As a result, you have to constantly restock your stash, so it’s a good idea to invest in the best hand soap you can, for the sake of your health and your hands.
We’re sure you know the drill by now, but just in case, the CDC recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds (hum the “Happy Birthday” song to make sure you get the timing right) under clean, running water with soap. Make sure to lather up between your fingers, under your nails, around your thumbs and get the backs of your hands, too. Yes, hand sanitizer works in a pinch, but when you have the option, a good old fashioned wash with soap and water wins every time.
What’s the Difference Between Hand Soap and Hand Wash?
You may have heard the terms hand soap and hand wash used interchangeably, and that’s because they are pretty much the same thing. If there is a difference, it’s largely a difference of branding and perception.
The products we use every day in our bathroom and kitchen are usually marketed as hand soap. You probably have an affordable hand soap from Dial or Method on your counter right now.
On the other hand, a number of designers also produce luxury soaps using more expensive ingredients. These products are usually called hand wash (or hand and body wash). Because they contain premium ingredients such as orange blossom, jasmine, coconut oil, rosemary and essential oils, they tend to be more expensive. For sensitive or overly dry skin — or if you want to stock your guest bathroom with fancy hand washes — these luxury products can be a great choice.
We’ve included our favorite soaps and hand washes below, so keep reading to find the right product for your home.
The Best Hand Soap & Wash for Your Skin
All this extra handwashing may be taking a toll on your mitts, leaving you with dry, itching skin. That’s where using one of the best hand soaps comes in. To stay safe sans drying out your skin, look for a hand soap with hydrating ingredients like glycerin or shea butter, a humectant that keeps water in the skin, as well as natural ingredients like aloe vera, vitamin E or olive oil. As a nice bonus for your senses, essential oils can deliver a great fragrance.
Whether you’re looking for a new everyday soap that won’t dry out your skin or a luxe hand wash for guest bathrooms, there are a ton of great options for sale online. Shop the best hand soaps at every price point below to keep your paws happy and healthy, even during a pandemic.
1. Le Labo Hand Soap
This California-crafted hand soap boasts a beautiful Mount Koya-inspired hinoki scent. One pump is capable of transporting you to the very hinoki tree-filled forests surrounding the mountain the inspiration comes from. The plant-based formula gives this soap a high-quality, thick texture, and the bottle includes a handy pump for easy distribution. Ingredients include sea buckthorn, rosemary leaf and sugar cane to give you a cleansing, soothing soap that’s full of antioxidants.
2. Method Sea Minerals Hand Soap
BEST EVERYDAY SOAP
If you’re looking for a simple, no-frills option, then this is the best hand soap for everyday use at home. Method’s formula goes on smooth, lathers well and rinses off easily. The light fragrance isn’t overpowering but rather is just enough to leave your skin clean and refreshed. Method also sells refills if you run out or want to use your own pump bottle.
3. MALIN+GOETZ Cannabis Hand Wash
Leave your guests’ hands hydrated, purified and beautifully scented with this MALIN+GOETZ Hand & Body Wash. This soap combines amino acid technology with a spicy cannabis fragrance to deliver a naturally foaming gel that releases it’s aromatic appeal as you clean. It’s also free from parabens, phthalates and silicone and can be added to your bath for a delightfully scented and foaming bath time experience.
4. MyKirei by KAO Yuzu Flower Foam Hand Wash
BEST NEW PRODUCT
Going back to all that hand soap we’ve been using, that also means emptying plenty of plastic bottles. When it comes to the best eco hand soap, nothing beats MyKirei by KAO. Just launched this spring, the brand is all about their groundbreaking sustainable packaging. The innovative air bottle is refillable, uses just half the usual amount of plastic and is 100% recyclable. Each refill has enough soap to wash your hands up to 250 times. The formula is just as impressive, tapping into the traditional Japanese ingredient yuzu, which is packed with Vitamin C to brighten and hydrate, as well as rice water with vitamins to soften and smooth skin. The airy, clean citrus scent of yuzu fruit delivers an energy boost, plus the formula is pH balanced.
5. Antica Farmacista Cask Hand Wash
BEST FOR MEN
Supplied in a pump-top vessel that oozes class from the outset, the Antica Farmacista hand wash will win your guests over from first sight. While the best hand soaps usually choose botanicals, essential oils and floral fragrances for their products, this product features more masculine ingredients. Instead of smelling like a bouquet, this hand wash features notes of tobacco, leather and cognac. Rather than stripping away your skin’s natural oil, this hand wash uses natural ingredients to keep your skin healthy, clean and smelling fresh.
6. Molton Brown Fine Liquid Hand Wash in Coastal Cypress & Sea Fennel
Word on the street is Britain’s royal family is partial to Molton Brown, so it’ll certainly add a regal touch to your sink. When a seaside escape isn’t in the travel forecast this summer (which is the case for most of us with coronavirus putting a damper on getaways), this soap will provide a mini escape with its Coastal Cypress & Sea Fennel fragrance, including top notes of fig leaves, cardamom and bergamot; heart notes of marine notes, jasmine and violet leaf; and base notes of salted cypress, cedarwood and musks. Incredibly refreshing, it lathers into a foam to cleanse hands and leave them smelling like an ocean breeze.
7. Compagnie de Provence Black Tea Liquid Marseille Soap
BEST TEA-INFUSED SOAP
Produced following an age-old method using a cauldron and high-quality oils, this French-made liquid soap can be used on your hands and body for a cleansing, skin-friendly treatment. Inside the soap, you’ll find a range of naturally-sourced ingredients, including coconut oil, black tea and blackberry. These elements come together to provide a naturally hydrating soap that releases hints of black tea and blackberry as it’s used. It’s also presented in a modern, lacquered glass-pump vessel to add a touch of class to any bathroom arrangement.
8. Tom’s of Maine Prebiotic Moisturizing Liquid Hand Soap
BEST PREBIOTIC HAND SOAP
All that hand washing we’ve been doing can disrupt the skin’s microbiome, natural balance and barrier, which is where this prebiotic formula comes in. The all-natural soap boosts the growth of good bacteria and the skin’s ability to naturally retain moisture. The peppermint scent will add some pep to your step. True to Tom’s of Maine ethos, it’s free of parabens, artificial fragrances, preservatives and foaming agents, plus it’s never tested on animals
9. Yes To Grapefruit Basil Liquid Hand Soap
BEST NATURAL INGREDIENTS
The natural goodness of Yes To never ceases to amaze and this hand soap is no exception. Made with 98 percent natural ingredients, it’s free of all the bad stuff (like petroleum, SLS, artificial colors and parabens) and will leave your hands smelling and feeling great. The grapefruit and fresh basil scent lingers on hands, leaving your skin refreshed and reinvigorated.
10. Dove Beauty Cream Caring Hand Wash
BEST FOR VERY DRY HANDS
Dove has spent decades building a reputation for being a brand that will carefully nurture your skin without breaking the bank and their Caring Hand Wash is the perfect example of this. Super gentle, it’s designed for regular use without harming hands. The formula contains a 1/4 moisturizing cream to hydrate hands every time you suds up, leaving them soft and smooth, making this one of the best hand soaps on a budget.
11. Jo Malone London Lime Basil & Mandarin Hand Wash
BEST FOR GUEST BATHROOMS
If you’ve never enjoyed the mix of lime, basil and mandarin before, this Jo Malone Hand Wash is the perfect way to give it a try. The fresh citrus and fruit aromas that come from the formula can’t help but put you and your guests in a happy and relaxed mood. Meanwhile, the soap works to clean your skin and leaves traces of the delicious scent on the skin’s surface for hours after each wash. In addition, this hand wash is presented in a simple yet elegant bottle with a press top for easy distribution.
12. Diptyque Softening Hand Wash
BEST FRENCH SOAP
A simple way to impress your guests is to send them home with soft, clean and delightful-smelling hands, and that’s exactly what this Diptyque Hand Wash will do. The French label soap features a whole host of delicious-smelling citrus notes. These include orange flower blossom, bitter orange notes, juniper berry and floral petit grain. With a shea butter base, this luxury hand wash will leave you and your guests’ olfactory sense entertained. In addition to cleaning your skin, these ingredients help return your skin to its natural softness and provide a feeling of being spa-treated. Customers who have enjoyed this hand wash remark how the beautiful scent is perfect for an uplifting moment during a hectic day.
13. Dial Liquid Hand Soap in Spring Water
This OG classic still gets the job done! The fact that the antibacterial hand soap kills 99% of germs will ease your COVID-19 fears. Its Spring Water scent is delightfully fresh and clean. Green bonus: Dial makes refills, so you can reuse your original bottle time and again to cut down on plastic.
14. Diptyque Exfoliating Hand Wash
Seeing a lot of dead skin on your hands? Reach for this hand soap that gently exfoliates with crushed olive stones, leaving hands feeling cleansed and refreshed. As always, the French fragrance company features a delectable scent with green, floral and woody notes. The beautiful bottle is too luxurious for a single use, and luckily refills are sold so it can be a mainstay in your bathroom for a long time to come.
15. C.O. Bigelow Lemon Hand Wash – No. 1142
MADE IN THE USA
This Bigelow Chemists hand soap is more affordable than our other picks for the best hand wash, but you wouldn’t know that after using it. This luxe product boasts skin-friendly lemon extracts and contains plenty of natural hydrators to nourish and moisturize skin. The lemon extract packs a ton of Vitamin C into this formula as well. It works up into a rich later for a satisfying hand washing experience. The brand’s best-selling hand soap is made right in the United States.
16. Baylis & Harding Hand Wash Soap Lemon Grass and Ginger
BEST VEGAN HAND SOAP
UK brand Baylis & Harding is finally bringing their vegan, plant-based formulas stateside, including their Lemon Grass and Ginger Hand Soap. The wash is as good for your hands as it is for the planet, with its top-notch organic extracts and essential oils that make up a 98% naturally derived formula that’s vegan, 95% biodegradable and has a 100% post-consumer recycled bottle and packaging. Its addicting fragrances is courtesy of a blend of more than 10 essential oils.
17. Gelo Hand Soap Starter Kit in Sea Mist, Mineral & Freesia
MOST ECO-FRIENDLY HAND SOAP
What makes Gelo one of the best hand soaps is the fact that it’s easy on your wallet and the planet! Its ingenious pod refill system will save approximately one million single-use plastic bottles from ending up in landfills by the end of 2020, making the brand sustainable every step of the way. The Gelo Hand Soap Starter Kit includes a reusable bottle that’s made to be used for at least eight years, as well as a batch of pods that make four bottles of their Foaming Hand Soap. There are plenty of scents to choose from, but we’re partial to the refreshing Sea Mist, Mineral & Freesia fragrance.