Hand Soaps
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

If you think about how frequently you wash your hands in an average day, you may realize that your soap could use an upgrade. And the best hand soaps should ideally accomplish two things in one handy (pun intended) product: Of course, they should cleanse your hands and remove dirt and germs, but it’s always a bonus if they leave your hands a little happier than they found them, either with pleasant fragrances or moisturizing ingredients.

If you’re just looking for a hand soap that’ll wash away bacteria, you might think one with “antibacterial” somewhere on its label is the right product for you. However, as SELF has previously reported, antibacterial soaps aren’t any more effective than regular ones. Beyond that, certain ingredients found in antibacterial hand soaps, including triclosan, may actually promote antibiotic resistance. So finding a soap that will sufficiently clean your hands is much easier than you might think—because just about any old soap will get the job done.

With that in mind, you can base your search on your personal preferences—maybe you want a moisturizing hand soap with hydrating ingredients (say, if your skin tends to get cracked and dry during the colder months). Perhaps you want one from a cruelty-free brand or one that’s scented with essential oils. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a cleanser out there that will fit your needs like a glove. Here we’ve selected some of the very best hand soaps available right now, from top-sellers at major retailers like Target and Amazon to boutique products that will look great on your bathroom counter. After all, we cannot exist on hand sanitizer alone.

Dove Aloe & Eucalyptus Nourishing Foaming Hand Wash

With star ingredients like aloe vera and eucalyptus, you can think of Dove’s hand wash smells like a spa treatment—and, thanks to its rich, foamy texture, it feels like one, too.

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Sugar Soap

For sweet smelling hands that feel clean but not parched, reach for Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Sugar Soap, which is versatile enough to use as body wash and even on your hair if you so desire. And if you need something to read in the bathroom, the wordy bottle has you covered.

Dial Soothing White Tea Foaming Antibacterial Hand Wash

If you can’t resist the siren call of an antibacterial soap, opt for one that takes it easy on dry hands, like Dial’s Soothing White Tea foaming hand soap. Reviewers especially liked the fresh yet mild fragrance.

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Olay Cleansing & Revitalizing Hand Wash

This moisturizing hand soap from Olay keeps hands happy and healthy with a nourishing, cleansing formula that smells fantastic. “My hands no longer hurt after washing,” one happy reviewer wrote. “Unlike most moisturizing soaps, this one cleans completely off so you don’t have a greasy feel afterwards.”

Mrs. Meyer’s Basil Scent Liquid Hand Soap

Free of controversial ingredients like phthalates and parabens, the hand washes from Mrs. Meyer’s contain plant-based scents and moisturizers like olive oil, aloe vera, and essential oils derived from delightfully fragrant botanicals.

Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash

From its aesthetically pleasing dispenser to its gentle, low-foam consistency, this Aesop soap will be the star of your sink.

Vanicream Liquid Cleanser

If you grab hand cream immediately after washing your hands, you’ll probably benefit from using Vanicream’s hypoallergenic Liquid Cleanser, which is made with the humectant glycerin, a highly moisturizing ingredient that works wonders for dry, sensitive skin.

Megababe Squeaky Clean Unscented Antibacterial Hand Wash

Synthetic-fragrance-free, lightweight, and hydrating, Megababe’s foaming soap rinses away cleanly and won’t strip your hands of moisture.

Softsoap Moisturizing Liquid Hand Soap

Softsoap’s tried-and-true moisturizing hand soap has nearly 37,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, winning praise for its subtle milk and honey scent, satisfying suds, and silky, smooth feel on hands.

Byredo Vetyver Hand Wash

Luxe brand Byredo makes high-end soaps with long-lasting scents. This option is particularly alluring, with woody, floral notes.

Method Gel Hand Soap

This refreshing gel cleanser from Method is cruelty-free, non-drying, and, with its marine-themed fragrance, pleasantly reminiscent of the beach (which should help us get through these grey transitional months from winter to spring).

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Soap

Another moisturizing option for those who never leave the house without hand lotion, O’Keeffe’s Working Hands hand soap is made to prevent dryness and keep your hands feeling hydrated and soft, no matter how many times you wash them throughout the day.

Seventh Generation Hand Soap

Seventh Generation keeps things simple with this crisp, citrus-scented soap containing naturally derived fragrances and ultra-gentle cleansers. If you have sensitive or dry skin but still cannot part with fragrances, give this soap a try.

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Everyone Lavender Coconut Hand Soap

This lavender-scented, dye-free soap from Everyone is a top pick for your kitchen sink, main bathroom, or anywhere that sees a lot of hand-washing traffic. As one reviewer put it, “The scent is mild and the soap washes well, providing good moisture for hands being washed frequently.”

Ouai Hand Wash

Better known for its luxurious hair-care products, Ouai makes an equally indulgent hand soap. Not only does it clean and moisturize hands, it also exfoliates them with conditioning jojoba beads, resulting in incredibly soft hands.

J.R. Watkins Lemon Liquid Hand Soap

Even if you’re cleaning up after dirty chores or cooking projects that demand heavy use of your hands, J.R. Watkins’s soap is up to the task. “The scent is very lemony, the soap is thick, and lathers up well,” one Target reviewer wrote.


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