Fun fact: Whether you use a bar or liquid soap, handwashing can prevent one in three diarrhea-related sicknesses and one in five respiratory infections, such as the cold or flu, according to the CDC. So if you needed more convincing to turn on your faucet and wash those hands of yours, there you have it.
We’ve all become CDC-level experts in the fine art of handwashing amidst these pandemic times. And if you’re anything like us, this past year has also brought some pretty cracked, dry hands from over-washing them. That’s why it’s time to rethink your handwashing M.O. and swap that whatever’s-under-the-counter gunk for a germ-fighting hand soap that also smells good and prevents your hands from drying out.
What to Consider
When choosing a hand soap, there are more factors at play than you might realize. Obviously, an everyday soap should be affordable and not irritate your skin. If you prefer scented hand soap, it should smell pretty darn tantalizing and not dry out your hands. But if you’re in the market for a gift or guestroom hand soap, you might want to opt for something that’s a little more upmarket with decorative packaging.
If you have sensitive skin, you’re going to want to look for fragrance-free options or hand soap that’s catered towards the easily irritated set. And for those who prefer to wash up with as-natural-as-possible soap, be sure to scan the label to see if the soap is formulated with organic ingredients.
How We Evaluated
Not all hand soaps are created equal. That’s why we scanned through ingredient lists to avoid icky additives and parabens, smelled our way through more hand soaps than a personal care aisle at the drug store contains, and washed our hands with dozens of hand soaps until we settled on the absolute best. We also took notes on our skin after we lathered to make sure the soaps we’re keeping our hands moisturized and happy.
Eco-friendly packaging, too, matters. So as we considered countless hand soaps, we also kept our eyes on brands that used sustainable packaging and avoided single-use plastic.
Below, we’ve rounded up the best hand soaps, from beautiful bottles ideal for a hostess gift to budget buys that are great for everyday washing. And since you’re not always by a faucet when you need to disinfect your hands, you should stock up on some hand sanitizer, too!