Best moisturising hand washes suitable for sensitive skin

Abha Shah
·10-min read

Years from now, historians will look back at 2020 and remember it as the year of the pandemic, protests and… handwashing.

Yes, the once-simple act of washing your hands has become one of many, many surprising headlines of the year.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the moon’s Sea of Tranquility (in which case, lucky you), you’ll know that in the ongoing battle against Covid, it's never been more pressing to keep our paws clean. But all that soap, water and lather can leave the skin on your hands sore and red raw.

That’s why you should pick a hand wash with hydrating properties. Packed with nourishing ingredients like Shea butter, hyaluronic acid and Aloe Vera, they’ll not only keep your hands cleansed and crack-free, but moisturised and supple too.

From gently scented liquid soaps to rub in as you count seconds at the sink, to refillable designs to cut back your plastic consumption, it’s time to give your skin a helping hand.

See our favourites below

Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash, 500ml

Gentle and nourishing, Aesop’s products have a cult following and with good reason. The Aussie brand is famed for expertly caring for skin without drying it out.

Case in point? Their Resurrection Aromatique hand wash, which contains a mix of healing and hydrating mandarin, rosemary and lavender oils to leave hands clean, fragrant and healthy. The invigorating, herby-woody scent is a delight too. Extra points for the bumper 500ml size and gender-neutral packaging which makes it a great gift option as well as a blow-out treat for yourself.

At just shy of £30, it’s not a bargain buy but a little goes a long way: the large size should see you through many washes. Display it in your guest bathroom to treat visitors or hide it in your bathroom to keep it all to yourself. Refills available.

£27 | Aesop

Baylis & Harding Sweet Mandarin & Grapefruit Hand Wash and Lotion Set

Proving that you don’t always have to make a big splash for luxurious hand wash, Baylis & Harding’s Sweet Mandarin & Grapefruit hand wash offers a silky lather and lightly scented finish. Meanwhile vitamin A, B and C work to nourish and protect your skin.

We really can’t praise the scent enough, sweet yet fresh all at once. Make it last longer by applying the matching lotion after every wash - at the moment you can get both for just £5 on Amazon, a whopping 50 per cent saving on the regular price *adds straight to basket*.

£5 | Amazon *On sale from £10

Palmolive Hygiene Plus

Palmolive has launched a selection of antibacterial liquid soap hand washes, known as Hygiene Plus. The trio of soaps, which come with Aloe Vera, Eucalyptus or an extra strong - yet gentle - one for the kitchen promises to remove 99.9 per cent of bacteria.


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Neal’s Yard Remedies Geranium & Orange Hand Wash

Transport yourself to a sunny meadow while washing your hands with this citrus scented hand wash from Neal’s Yard. The organic hand wash not only smells amazing, but the non-drying formula works wonders on your skin too, leaving hands thoroughly clean and refreshed. The brand also runs a scheme where you can bring clean bottles for a refill at a small discount in participating stores.

The Bee Lovely hand wash (also £12.50) is another great option for people who prefer slightly sweeter scents: it’s made from Fairtrade organic honey from Mexico and features orange and mandarin oils for a hydrating and beautifully scented wash. What’s more they’ll donate to causes supporting bees from the sales of this wash.

£12.50 | Neal’s Yard

Carex Moisture Plus Antibacterial Hand Wash 250ml

Ideal for busy households, Carex’s hand wash cleans your hands of bugs and allergens while also wrapping them in a cloak of moisture. The improved formula is ideal even for sensitive hands, giving you more incentive (if you need it) to keep up your washing routine.

£1 | Superdrug

Dove Purely Pampering Shea Butter Beauty Cream hand wash

Find instant relief for dry and sore hands in Dove’s hand wash, filled to the brim with nourishing Shea butter. There’s a warm vanilla scent which adds to the rich, pampering feeling of the hand wash. If your hands are feeling particularly rough due to constant washing, wash with this then slather on cream before bed to wake up with youthful-looking hands.

Currently marked down at Superdrug.

£1.13 | Superdrug *On sale from £2.29

Molton Brown Orange & Bergamot Liquid Hand Wash, 300ml

Enriched with the scent of Sevillian orange, mandarin and neroli, this zingy citrus hand wash makes cleaning hands a total pleasure. It offers a rich foamy lather with just a couple of drops, so it will last for ages. If you love the scent as much as we do, you’ll love the fact that there are matching hand creams and other body products available, allowing you to deepen the scent by layering.

£20 | John Lewis

Gloved Active-Hydrate Hand Wash

Made with Virginian cedarwood oil, this luxury oil offers a restorative treat for thirsty and tired hands. It’s also got hyaluronic acid in it, a wonder ingredient that can hold 1,000 times its weight in water. What does this mean for your skin? Better hydration instantly and a feeling of deep moisturisation afterwards. This is a great one for keeping in the kitchen, helping neutralise odours like garlic and onions. Refills available.

£20 | Gloved

Rituals of Sakura Hand Wash

As Covid makes hand washing a more frequent ritual, it’s important to take care of the skin on our hands to keep them feeling and looking good. This hand wash from Rituals is inspired by Japan, and is enriched with rice milk and cherry blossom to both hydrate and protect. The soap-free formulation also comes in a refill option, helping you do your bit for the environment.

£9.90 | Rituals

Von Norten Lavender & Bergamot Hand Wash

Proudly made in England, Van Norten’s hand cleanser offers a bouquet of bergamot and lavender-scented nourishment to soothe and clean hands. There’s Sweet Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Vitamin E, Aloe Vera and Honey - so much TLC you’ll want to give it a round of applause. Eco-friendly and paraben and sulphate-free.

£18 | Von Norten

UpCircle Green Mint and Lemongrass Hand Wash, 270ml

Delightfully fresh, this citrus-scented hand wash deserves a place by your sink for many reasons.

One, the alcohol-free formula leaves hands feeling cleansed, fresh and subtly fragranced. Two, it’s completely natural, vegan and cruelty-free, packaged in a glass bottle which means you can refill it endlessly and save plastic from the landfill. But best of all, £1 from the sale of every bottle goes to Refuge, the domestic abuse charity. Plus if you’re a first time buyer, you can score 10 per cent off your first order too! What’s not to love?

Refills available on the site.

£9.99 | UpCircle

Tisserand Rose and Geranium hand wash 195ml

Made with pure essential oils, Tisserand’s lovely hand wash gives hands a thorough clean without leaving them feeling sore and dry. A few drops of the paraben-free soap is all you need to work up a lather and release the heavenly scent of rose and geranium.

£5.96 | Holland & Barrett *On sale from £7.95

Diptyque Softening Hand Wash

Fancy splashing out on an indulgent treat? It doesn’t get much more bouji than Diptyque’s luxurious hand wash. Filled with ingredients designed to soften and condition skin, the liquid soap contains Provençal true lavender as well as notes of rosemary, amber and a gentle fragrance of ylang ylang. Your hands will feel like they’re on a spa mini-break with every use.

Best of all you can refill the beautifully embossed glass dispenser with a matching Comforting Hand Wash Refill, 350ml.

£45 | Diptyque

REN Skincare Atlantic Kelp And Magnesium Energising Hand Wash

Harnessing the power and cleansing properties of the sea, REN’s vegan Atlantic Kelp range uses microalga extract to protect epidermis from stress as well as lowering the release of cortisol, which leaves skin feeling more refreshed. Bag the hand lotion too, and wave goodbye to dry skin.

£11 | REN Skincare

Acqua di Parma Colonia Hand Wash, 300ml

If a vacation is off the cards this year, you can still feel transported to the fragrant vistas of Colonia with this luxury and soap from Italian brand Acqua di Parma. The rich formula is enriched with deeply nourishing ingredients: think conditioning panthenol, plus protective Aloe extract.

It’s scented with Acqua’s classic Colonia scent but it’s not overpowering. All that will be left behind is beautifully cleansed hands with a faint fragrance.

There’s also a Mediterraneo Arancia di Capri version (£35) if you’re more partial to that scent.

£29.99 | Amazon

Sanctuary Spa hand wash 250ml

As you might imagine from a brand borne from a spa, this hand wash is superbly indulgent, covering hands in a rich lather with a light mango scent. The aloe vera helps keeps skin supple and clean.

£5.50 | Boots

Simple Moisturising Handwash 250ml

Simple is a brand known for caring for skin with its gentle formulas. The rich formula imparts a noticeably soft caress of moisture to hands, making it a winner for all the family. It’s currently on price lock at Sainsbury’s too, which means you can keep your mitts clean for less.

£1 | Sainsbury’s

Faith in Nature Aloe Vera and Tea Tree

This 400ml bottle is perfect for kitchens and bathrooms of busy households. The formula is made with active organic Aloe Vera and Tea Tree, offering hands a deeply cleansing and antibacterial wash.

Like all the products from Faith in Nature, it’s vegan and cruelty-free. While we like the fresh scent of this bottle, the Dragon Fruit Hand Wash (also £4.19) offers a more exotic experience.

£4.19 | Holland & Barrett

Moisturising Hand and Body Wash

Double up with a hydrating two-in-one hand and body wash

L’Occitane Ultra Rich Hand & Body Wash, 300ml

Famed for its moisturising properties, Shea is a great ingredient to look out for in skincare. There’s spades of it in L’Occitane’s Ultra Rich cleansing soap, which you can use on your body as well as your hands.

Just like all of the brand’s products, it’s made in France and comes in 300ml and 500ml with a refill pouch also available for topping up once you’ve finished your original purchase.

£20 | L’Occitane

Malin + Goetz Bergamot Hand + Body Wash

Stop your skin from drying out with a cleansing gel like Malin + Goetz’s. It lathers up to a pleasingly rich foam with just a few drops, washing skin clean without stripping the natural oils. The dreamy bergamot scent is pure holiday vibes (if only for the 20 seconds you’re at the sink), making the price tag completely worth it. Contains amino acid-based cleansing agents and hydrating glycerin.

£20 | Space NK

Aveda Cherry Almond hand and body wash

Keeping wrists, palms and fingers nourished with a blend of cherry blossom and sweet almond oil, Aveda’s liquid soap is perfect for the entire household. It doesn’t hurt that the light scent smells divine either. Comes in a generous 250ml bottle.

£20 | Aveda

Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Body & Hand Wash, 250ml

A refreshing, clean scent, Jo Malone's Wood Sage & Sea Salt Body & Hand Wash offers an ocean-fresh clean. The delicately scented cleanser also leaves skin conditioned and feeling soft, which you can heighten by slathering on a hand cream in the same scent.

£34 | John Lewis


With many of us saving cash on the commute and eating at home, you may have a little more to splash out on hand wash. If you're looking for luxury, Aesop's Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash gets the thumbs up from us. That said, you can't beat the value, scent and skin-soothing properties of Baylis & Harding Sweet Mandarin & Grapefruit Hand Wash and Lotion Set. At just a fiver, it's a hands down bargain.

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