10 Hand Creams That Do More Than Just Smell Nice

Get the right velvety hand cream that's scented like tropical fruit, hot cocoa at a ski chalet, or a day at the beach and you've got yourself an instant vacation every time you massage it into your palms. But sometimes — okay, make that a lot of times — a flowery moment of zen, no matter how nice, isn't enough to rescue skin from a dry, cracked, and straight-up painful state.

For that, you've got to pull out bigger guns: hand creams designed to soothe, nurture, and repair the most weathered of skin without leaving them slimy, gross, or unable to twist a doorknob. Whether your hands have become dry and tight from incessant washing during flu season or are cracking at the knuckles thanks to a hellscape of negative temperatures, we found 10 solid options that will inject moisture back into one of our most overworked body parts.


Even better? Some of these major skin repairers actually smell pretty nice, too. Check out our picks for moderately to extremely dry hands, ahead.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

Rituals The Ritual Of Ayurveda Soothing Hand Balm

This balm is packed with sweet almond oil — which helps regulate the moisture balance of your skin — and leaves it silky smooth, but not too sticky. What's more, it's got a light rose scent that won't leave you feeling like you've just dunked your hands in perfume.

Rituals The Ritual of Ayurveda Soothing Hand Balm$12.50 Buy

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Hand Gel Cream

For those who hate the feeling of a thick balm on their hands and fingers, this gel formulation —the newest addition to Neutrogena's innovative HydroBoost line — is a godsend. Though our hands felt a little damp after smoothing it on, that sensation quickly dissipated, leaving quenched skin and fingers that didn't slide across our keyboards as we typed.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Hand Gel Cream$5.19 Buy

Skinfix Eczema Hand Repair Cream

We tried this lotion on hands that were both slightly dry and extremely dry: it sank into skin of both conditions and didn't carry a medicinal stink. No wonder it's a favorite of Dr. Jessica Wu, M.D., a dermatologist and lifetime eczema sufferer.
Skinfix Eczema Hand Repair Cream$25.35 Buy

Vaseline Clinical Care Dark Spot Rescue Hand Cream

This cream is made to prevent the inevitable loss of elasticity in our hands over time. We can't speak to that yet, but what we did notice immediately: The formula, which is thinner than others we tried, worked in nicely without leaving a slippery film.
Vaseline Clinical Care Dark Spot Rescue Hand Cream$3.49 Buy

Go-To Super Handy

Leave it to a former beauty editor (and Go-To Skincare founder) to create a hand cream that both smells like a warm, Tahitian night and works into the skin quickly without tackiness.
Go-To Super Handy$16.00 Buy

DermaTopix Intensive Hand Cream

Don't let the lackluster packaging and plain scent fool you: This may be one of the greatest hand creams we tried. It managed to pull the swiftest disappearing act while still hydrating both dry and extremely dry hands, with zero slick left behind.
DermaTopix DermaTopix Intensive Hand Cream$17.50 Buy

Edible Beauty Precious Sea Hand Saviour

We were immediately taken with the design of this chic black tube — which looks far more expensive than it is — and the bursting ginger-lemon scent of the lotion inside. (It's so strong that that a passerby blurted out, "What smells so good?") But creature comforts aside, this cream did the trick of softening very dry hands without turning them into a grease-fest.
Edible Beauty Precious Sea Hand Saviour$12.96 Buy

Aveeno Unscented Aveeno Skin Relief Hand Cream

This fragrance-free hand cream taps colloidal oatmeal to soothe red, angry, inflamed skin. But what really impressed us was how quickly our hands drank the stuff up: we were able to pick at finger food immediately after smoothing it on and not taste lotion along with our snacks.
Aveeno Unscented Aveeno Skin Relief Hand Cream$5.49 Buy

Lano Rose Hand Cream Intense

Good thing this cream comes in a supersized tube: We can't get enough of its grease-free moisture, which works easily into our skin and leaves a lovely faint rose smell. It doesn't send our fingers fumbling when opening lipstick caps and, even though it looks expensive, the hydrator rings in under $10.
Lano Lano Rose Hand Cream Intense$14.95 Buy

Avène Cicalfate Hand Restorative Hand Cream

This hand cream isn't the cheapest in the bunch, and proved a little too rich for mild dryness. But for super-parched hands, it quickly became the leader of the pack. It not only soothed our cracked knuckles, but it also packed major staying power — something that cut down on our need to re-apply throughout the day.
aveneusa Cicalfate Hand Restorative Hand Cream$25.00 Buy
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