the ultimate guide to natural hand creams

ultimate guide to hand creams

No matter how big of an oil addict you are, a stellar hand cream is a critical component of your green beauty arsenal.

During cold winter months, especially, a thick, slippery hand cream keeps your skin in top shape, delivering moisture deep into your pores and keeping it locked in for hours.

I’ve been on the great hand cream hunt for months now, and as I launch the newest post in my “ultimate guide” series, it’s awesome to note that there are, so far, zero hand creams that are on my “did not like” list.

So, for now, enjoy more than 10 mini-reviews of some beautiful hand creams. Surely you’ll find something you absolutely must try!

(Like my ultimate guides? Find more guides and products you may love! Or, visit my faves page for a list of my top picks across multiple categories.)

ultimate guide to hand creams

*Indicate PR sample
**Indicates sample with purchase

Natural Hand Creams I Liked and Will Repurchase

100% Pure French Lavender Hand Buttercream
$8 for 2 ounces ($4/ounce)

I’ve had very little experience with products from 100% Pure, but pretty much everything I’ve tried has made a good impression on me. The French Lavender Hand Buttercream, though, made a GREAT impression on me.

After receiving it in my monthly Petit Vour box, I was extremely taken by its clean lavender scent and slippery texture that dried to a silken finish. With a liquid base of aloe leaf juice and rose hydrosol mixed with heavy-hitting cocoa, shea and avocado butters and further cut with coconut, rosehip, pomegranate and vitamin E oils, 100% Pure Lavender Hand Buttercream keeps your hands crack- and flake-free, period.

*Nova Scotia Fisherman Seabuckthorn & Shea Hand & Body Cream
$11.95 CAD for 3.4 ounces ($3.51 CAD/ounce)

I don’t know if it’s because it’s geared toward dudes (dudes can’t stand greasy hands) or what, but this hand cream from Nova Scotia Fisherman is absolutely fantastic.

Though it’s not exclusively marketed as a hand cream — works just fine on the body too! — Nova Scotia Fisherman’s Hand & Body Cream is exceptional at keeping hands beautifully soft without a touch of oiliness.

It blends into the skin quickly and leaves you able to get back to scrolling Instagram with little-to-no greaseprints.

**Osmia Organics Linden Rose Hand Cream
$24 for 1.7 ounces ($14.12/ounce)

In my eyes, Osmia Organics can do no wrong. And founder Sarah Villafranco really hit it out of the park with her Linden Rose Hand Cream.

I tried a small sample of this hand cream with one of my big orders (I adore Osmia’s Spot Treatment, body oils, body soaps and black clay facial soap … see how I say OO can do no wrong?), and after using it just twice I was hooked. It’s one of the more expensive picks in my favorites / repurchase list here, but for good reason. Osmia Organics uses only the best of the best organic ingredients, as evidenced below.

Aloe leaf juice, shea butter, sweet almond oil, sunflower oil and grapeseed oil give this natural hand cream its wonderful base while extracts of organic and wild-harvested essentials oil of rose otto and linden blossom CO2 scent this concoction with a soft rose and honey smell that’s subtle and calming.

Primavera Hand & Nail Cream in Ginger Lime
$18 for 1.7 ounces ($10.59/ounce)

A favorite hand cream of mine since 2012, Primavera’s Hand & Nail Cream in Ginger Lime is lightly scented, extremely fast-drying and the perfect size for your bag, desktop and carry-on beauty booty.

It takes advantage of the featherlight, moisturizing properties of jojoba, sweet almond, avocado and macadamia oils and adds a punch of hydration with shea butter.

I’ve gone through about five tubes of this and am sad that my local spa no longer carries the line.

*The Soap & Paper Factory Shea Butter Hand Cream in Jasmine
$18 for 2.3 ounces ($7.83/ounce)

Soap & Paper Factory is one of those old-school clean beauty brands that’s been in my go-to arsenal since I started this journey to better beauty products back in 2007. While I haven’t talked about S&PF much on the blog, I couldn’t not mention its Shea Butter Hand Cream in Jasmine because, um, I’m kimberlyloc and you KNOW how much I adore jasmine.

With its whimsical, colorful packaging and short ingredients list, Soap & Paper Factory Shea Butter Hand Cream in Jasmine easily earns a spot on the repurchase list.

As with most of the hand creams on this list, it combines aloe leaf juice, coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa butter for an incredibly moisturizing base, but it also adds beautiful beeswax, borage oil and meadowfoam oil to keep it light and whipped while adding additional hydration.

*Vineyard Hill Naturals Natural Hand Cream in Milk & Honey
$6.99 for 2 ounces ($3.50/ounce)

At $3.50 an ounce, Vineyard Hill Naturals Natural Hand Cream in Milk & Honey is a steal! The soft, comforting scent of milk and honey is only slightly sweet and is something of a lullaby to your hands and nose before bed.

Sunflower oil, aloe leaf juice, shea butter and sweet almond combine with milk proteins and honey to deliver a hand cream with the perfect consistency and fast drying time. The 2-ounce squeeze bottle is the perfect size for your bag, and again, at $6.99 and easily available online or at Walgreens, it’s a no-brainer hand cream for the price and nice ingredients list.

*The Wonder Seed Hemp Hand Cream in Spring Lavender
$12.95 for 2.4 ounces ($5.40/ounce)

Probably the most interesting ingredients list of the bunch, The Wonder Seed Hemp Hand Cream in Spring Lavender is an insta-favorite for me thanks to the ultra-hydrating powers of hemp seed oil, which I’ve sung the praises of so many times before on the blog.

Hemp seed is just one of those underrated oils that I wish more brands would use because it’s exceptionally rich in essential omega fatty acids and protective proteins.

The Wonder Seed has based its entire company around this miraculous oil, and I cannot be more grateful for the random occasion that introduced me to this brand. A quick look at the first few ingredients in this natural hand cream show just how committed The Wonder Seed is to hemp seed oil: it’s ingredient No. 2 in this product, followed by hydrating heavyhitters grapeseed oil, aloe vera, jojoba oil, coconut oil, squalene and borage oil.

This hand cream feels a bit runnier when you squeeze it out, but is so spreadable, silky and fast-drying. You will want to hold my hand after I apply this, promise.

Natural Hand Creams I Liked But Will Not Repurchase

*Andalou Naturals Hand Cream in Lavender Shea
$8.95 for 3.4 ounces ($2.63/ounce)

Made with shea, cocoa and mango butters as well as sunflower, sweet almond, tamanu and evening primrose oils, Andalou Naturals’ Hand Cream in Lavender Shea (reviewed here) is a thick and creamy hand cream that feels lovely and works well.

So then why is it in my “will not repurchase” list?! I’d repurchase it if I were in a pinch, as Andalou Naturals is easily accessible via Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and other great health food stores, but it wouldn’t be my top pick hand cream compared to the ones listed in my repurchase list above.

There’s something to be said for stellar ingredients, strong sustainability values and affordable pricing, so that’s why this natural hand cream goes in this section.

*Beauty Without Cruelty Hand & Body Lotion in Sweet Lavender
$12.95 for 16 ounces ($0.81/ounce)

Made with organic sunflower oil, aloe vera leaf juice, jojoba oil, shea butter and flax seed oil, Beauty Without Cruelty’s Hand & Body Lotion in Sweet Lavender is a fine choice for an all-over hand and body treat, but like the Jason cream mentioned below, it’s not exactly travel-friendly and is designed as more of a body lotion than a hand cream. Size matters!

But when it comes to the product itself, it feels wonderful on the skin and contains an impressive number of organic ingredients, especially at just 81 cents per ounce. It’s just not one of those that I would seek out and order special online compared to the ones I listed above that I love, but this is definitely a great choice if you’re interested in exploring the various options out there (and another one that’s also available at Walgreens!).

*Beesentials Relaxing Lavender Hand & Body Cream with Bergamot
$12.99 for 6 ounces ($2.16/ounce)

With a gorgeous formulation and even more admirable company ethos, Beesential’s Relaxing Lavender Hand & Body Cream with Bergamot is a thicker hand and body cream made with nourishing cupuacu butter, shea butter, squalene, olive oil, honey, propolis, beeswax and silk protein. Impressive, right? I enjoy using this hand cream before bed, but usually like it on my feet even more.

It’s not an absolute favorite of mine because I like my hand creams a bit thinner and silkier. I find that this hand cream take a bit more time to work in to ensure it disappears into the skin, but I admit it would be an excellent cream for severely chapped skin.

Another thing to note is that the scent profile of Beesentials’ hand creams (I’ve tried this one, the Cucumber & Green Tea and the Original Honey Unscented) leaves you wanting more. It’s extremely faint, but allows the smell of beeswax and propolis so come through. If you’re a fan of those scents, this might be for you!

*Jane Iredale HandDrink Hand Cream SPF 15
$29 for 2.03 ounces ($14.29/ounce)

As a bona fide Jane Iredale addict, it pains me to put the HandDrink Hand Cream SPF 15 in the “like but won’t repurchase” category, but it just comes down to economics for me. It’s really hard for me to justify spending $29 for a hand cream that doesn’t smell particularly great (it doesn’t really have a scent at all, TBH) but does boast SPF, which is extremely difficult to find in a hand cream.

We all know that sun protection is important for our skin — and many of us are cognizant of the fact that our hands tend to be the body part that gives away our age — thus the interest in a moisturizing + protecting hand cream to maintain a youthful appearance.

As we approach warmer weather and I begin researching great green SPF options, this one may come up again because there’s only ever been one other SPF-laden hand cream I’ve tried (and has, sadly, been discontinued), so it might just be that this is what it costs to get a clean, everyday hand cream with SPF in it. We shall see…

*Jason Smoothing Coconut Hand & Body Lotion
$9.30 for 8 ounces ($1.16/ounce)

If Jason made this Smoothing Coconut Hand & Body Lotion in a smaller size that helped it feel more like a toss-in-my-bag hand cream it would be a repurchase for me, but the 8-ounce packaging lends it more to the body lotion category.

With that said, I’d likely put this on the repurchase list for body lotions, but it’s very seldom that I use them (I’m a body oil girl, as you all know) so better to critique it here. The coconut scent is out of this world, and the use of coconut oil, castor seed oil and shea butter give it a great thickness and slip that isn’t too chunky and isn’t too runny.

I do wish the ingredients list packed some more beautiful oils and butters in it, but at $1.16 per ounce, you can see that Jason is striving for affordable naturals here, and that’s to be commended.

*Nature’s Gate Herbal Blend Hand Cream in Orchid
$6.99 for 3 ounces ($2.33/ounce)

The only reason Nature’s Gate Herbal Blend Hand Cream in Orchid is on the “like but won’t repurchase” list is for the scent alone. Orchid just isn’t my thing, I guess. It doesn’t smell bad, per se, but it just doesn’t have any personality at all.

I would repurchase Nature’s Gate Herbal Blend Hand Cream based on its formulation, ingredients and price, but would opt for the safer Rose option or venture into the Cherry Blossom territory to get the scent experience I’m looking to enjoy when I apply hand cream throughout the day.

So, back to the ingredients. Organic safflower oil, organic shea butter and organic sunflower oil team up with sweet almond oil and dimethicone for a creamy, slippery hand cream that feels soft and dries quickly. As pointed out, yes, this hand cream containers dimethicone (the ingredient that gives cosmetics their slip), but that doesn’t bother me in a hand cream (I limit it a bit in my facial cosmetics).

*Odylique by Essential Care Lemon Butter Hand Smoothie
$25 for 2 ounces ($12.50/ounce)

A lovely light lemon scent greets you as you smother Odylique by Essential Care Lemon Butter Hand Smoothie into your hands, and this has been my daily use hand cream for quite some time post-testing phase.

There’s only a few reasons why it doesn’t make it into the repurchase list for me: 1) It’s expensive for a hand cream that I don’t absolutely adore; and 2) It’s a bit too runny for me. It would be great to thicken it up just a pinch so that it has the same slip and slide but dries quicker. I find myself having to dab off excess with every use, even when I’m extremely light-handed in my application.

Coconut, avocado and sunflower oils give Odylique by Essential Care Lemon Butter Hand Smoothie its slip while cocoa butter offers a bit of texture. I’d love to see an additional butter or wax in here (mango? beeswax?) to thicken it up a bit more and then re-evaluate. Despite these critiques, I’ll finish my tube and enjoy the silky hands it leaves me after I dab off the extra layer.

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