Sanitising our hands has become a big part of life since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve become so accustomed to dousing ourselves in alcohol gels after taking a trip to the supermarket, popping out for a coffee and walk, or getting on public transport, that it’s hard to remember a time when this wasn’t the norm. But which is the best hand sanitiser to invest in?
Every brand you can think of has put its own spin on hand sanitiser, be it the delightfully affordable or the super-luxe at the other end of the scale.
While before Covid-19 just a smattering of brands offered them, now you can pick one up almost everywhere you look. Brands like Dove, The Body Shop, and La Roche Posay offer some great penny-saving buys, while higher-end options include formulas from the likes of Aromatherapy Associates, Molton Brown, and Chantecaille.
We tested a variety of hand sanitisers to come up with this edit of the very best ones, which was based on a number of factors including texture, smell, bottle size, price, application, and alcohol percentage.
Speaking of alcohol percentage, it’s important to note that when looking for a hand sanitiser, it is recommended that you should try and stick to formulas with at least 60 per cent alcohol (while 70 per cent is better).
Also be sure to use enough product to cover both hands all over and rub it in effectively while giving it time to dry as this will afford you the best protection. From nourishing creams to cooling gels, here’s our selection of the 12 best hand sanitisers to shop right now.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Dove shea butter and warm vanilla nourishing hand sanitiser
A real winner in our eyes, this lovely formula makes sanitising just that little bit more luxurious, which is surprising considering its affordable price point. Dove’s offering has a velvety texture that’s reminiscent of a nourishing lotion rather than a stripping sanitiser and features a warming, comforting scent that will make you feel much more relaxed. It’s also super cheap and its petite, flat bottle size means it’s easy to slip into your back pocket.
Buy now £1.80, Wilko.com
The Inkey List 70 per cent alcohol hand treatment
The Inkey List is known for its simple, straight-to-the-point formulations and its hand sanitiser is no different. With 70 per cent alcohol, it’s unscented, non-sticky and comes with a handy pump for easy application; in short, you really can’t go wrong with it. It’s a good size and is small enough to fit in most handbags for on-the-go use, but it might be a squeeze if you tend to carry a very small bag or prefer to stick to pockets.
Buy now £5.99, Feelunique.com
Chantecaille rose geranium and basil hand sanitiser
There are so many things we instantly adored about this offering, from its light, refreshing scent to its attractive bottle, easy spray applicator, and non-sticky, watery formula. However, it’s not a very cost-effective buy given that for each application, you need a good three or four sprays to cover both hands. With that in mind, it may be more of a treat than a regular re-purchase.
Buy now £14.00, Lookfantastic.com
Molton Brown rhubarb and rose hand sanitiser gel
Molton Brown’s rhubarb and rose is one of its most beloved scents and the newest addition to the range is this bubblegum pink sanitiser. The smell is completely divine and highly addictive, making it perhaps the most appealing of the bunch for fragrance fans. It also boasts a lovely light gel texture which is non-sticky and smooth. Perhaps its only downside is that it’s again one of those in-between sizes that means it may not be ideal if you carry a smaller bag. The sanitiser does however have a good price point for a higher-end option.
Buy now £10.00, Moltonbrown.co.uk
The Body Shop mango hand cleanse gel
This delightful-smelling formula will transport you to the tropical holiday you’ve been left craving after months of lockdown. It’s fruity, fun to use, and its texture is a winner too. A non-sticky gel, it sinks in quickly and doesn’t leave any residue. Plus, its small size lends itself to on-the-go sanitising no matter how dinky your bag is. Finally, it also has a high alcohol level of 73 per cent.
Buy now £2.50, Thebodyshop.com
Aesop geranium leaf rinse-free hand wash
There is nothing more covetable than an Aesop hand wash and the sanitisers are every bit as chic. Pulling one of these out of your bag while on your daily walk with a friend will certainly impress, but we love ours so much we’re not sure we’d want to share. Not only does it smell amazing, it has a light and refreshing texture, and a small enough bottle to take out anywhere with you. If you love the product as much as we do, you can always pick it up in a much bigger size with a pump for indoor use or to decant into smaller, on-the-go receptacles.
Buy now £7.00, Aesop.com
Susanne Kaufmann skin-friendly antibacterial hand gel
If you’re fussy when it comes to texture, you may find it best to step away from the gels and toward a water-based spray, of which Susanne Kaufmann’s is certainly a winning formula. It has a totally non-sticky, lightweight texture that blends into the skin easily, along with a lovely pleasant herbal, lavender scent. Its spray applicator also takes all the faff out of actually putting the product on, giving it extra points.
Buy now £16.00, Susannekaufmann.com
Kloris soothing no-rinse CBD hand sanitiser
Another perfect buy for keeping inside or decanting into smaller on-the-go bottles, Kloris’s buy centres around one of the beauty world’s most trending ingredients of late: CBD. This means that as well as cleansing hands safely (with 60 per cent alcohol), it also nourishes and calms. Those who are tired of having constantly dry, over-washed hands will love this and be proud to display the cool glass bottle and pump in their homes. As for the scent, it’s just like a cup of earl grey tea.
Buy now £30.00, Kloriscbd.com
La Roche-Posay hydroalcoholic purifying hand gel
As is the case with most of La Roche Posay’s offerings, its hand sanitiser is ideal for those with super dry or sensitive skin, including conditions like eczema. It’s designed to be hydrating enough not to dry out hands, meaning it has a good slip to it and doesn’t leave an unpleasant tight feeling afterwards. Perhaps the only issue is the size of the tube; it’s not small enough really for on-the-go use, instead being more of an in-between size.
Buy now £2.95, Feelunique.com
HAAN hand sanitiser
The award for most innovative hand sanitiser has to go to HAAN, whose flat pocket-friendly sprays make application cool, easy and even a little fun. Extremely handy for travel, you can even pick up a lanyard to carry your chosen scented sanitiser with you around your neck. Speaking of scents, the brand offers many, with its new cocktail-inspired fragrance being our favourite. The formula is a water-based spray, which while super pleasant to use and quick to dry, does take a fair bit of spraying to cover both hands. This minor downside is undeniably balanced out however by its many positive attributes, including HAAN’s dedication to funding water projects in developing communities across the globe through its sales. A purchase you can feel good about.
Buy now £5.95, Beyondliving.co.uk
Aromatherapy Associates no rinse hand cleanser
Aromatherapy Associates is a brand known for its devotion to self-care and its hand sanitiser is unsurprisingly an extension of that ethos. It uses a pure essential oil blend of tea tree, eucalyptus and pine to clear the senses, which is something you don’t always expect when sanitising your hands. The product — which uses 70 per cent alcohol — effectively cleans and the gel texture is non-sticky and quick to dry. We also love the pump feature, which makes application a total dream.
Buy now £10.20, Feelunique.com
Buller & Rice hand sanitiser
If you’re looking for a bigger sanitiser to keep by your front door, this is a great buy. Its large glass bottle encourages re-use afterwards and its pump applicator means it’s easy to apply. Not only is it convenient, it looks good, meaning it’s a great choice for the house-proud among us. And at only £10 for such a large amount, this is the best investment buy of the bunch. Perhaps its only downside is its smell, which is a bit love-it or hate-it.
Buy now £10.00, Bullerandrice.com
The verdict: Hand sanitisers
For its velvety texture, comforting smell and unbeatable price, Dove’s shea butter and warm vanilla nourishing hand sanitiser has to be our favourite. However, honourable mentions must go to a fellow affordable buy – The Body Shop’s mango hand cleanse gel – for its divine smell, as well as two more luxurious buys by Susanne Kaufmann and Aesop, for their divine scents, chic bottles, and smooth-as-they-come textures. Pick up any of these four and you’ll be satisfied.
For more skin care saviours read our round up of the 11 best CBD and hemp skincare products to have on your radar, from serums to balms