Hand cream

Last updated October 2017

For many people, dry skin is a problem, not least in the autumn and winter when the air is colder. Cracked hands become a part of everyday life and even your nails can become brittle. One way for both men and women to prevent dry hands is to regularly moisturise them. But of course you can use hand cream all year round. There are even hand creams that contain sun protection, which are extra useful in the summer. Many also contain substances that counteract skin ageing, and may be intended for wrinkled hands, for example. You can find special products in the pharmacy for extremely dry hands or for those with eczema.

How to use hand cream

When you choose hand cream, you should note whether it contains water or alcohol, and if so how much, as these are generally substances that dry out the skin. Otherwise, you should think about whether the hand cream is intended for a special purpose, if it should have a sun protection factor or a scent suitable for use by men. To provide extra moisture, it’s useful if the cream contains nourishing substances such as aloe vera. Other properties that can be decisive when you are buying hand cream are whether it smells good and whether and how much it feels sticky after application.

So that you don’t end up with too much cream, we recommend that you apply a small amount of hand cream on the back of one hand and then rub it in over both hands. It’s better to use a little bit at a time and add more if that wasn’t enough. Too much hand cream means that your hands can easily become sticky when the skin becomes saturated and can’t absorb any more. For example, if your knuckles are particularly dry you can add more cream to this area afterwards.

Tips for counteracting dry hands

Hand cream is fantastic, but there are more things you can do to make your hands soft and smooth. In winter, water and cold temperatures are often the problem. So it’s important to wear gloves when you’re outdoors and to avoid getting your hands wet as far as possible. It’s a good idea to wear rubber gloves when you’re washing dishes or cleaning. You can also have hand cream as a natural part of your hand washing process, which is easy to achieve by keeping a pump of cream on the sink. Just like your face, you can exfoliate your hands and give them a mask on a regular basis. If you don’t want to buy products for this, there are home-made versions that you can make with ingredients you will already have in your store cupboard. You can make a hand scrub by mixing honey and coconut oil or olive oil and sugar. You can also make a hand mask with coconut oil.

Products tested

How the test was made

We carry out our tests ourselves and test all products as they are intended to be used in reality. The hand creams in these tests have been tested by normal people in their everyday lives. The tests took place over a long period and the creams have therefore been used under a range of different conditions. They have been evaluated both during normal application, under stressful conditions where testers couldn’t wait long for the cream to be absorbed, and in conditions involving water. The parameters below have formed the basis of the final score.

Drying time: How quickly is the cream absorbed? Is it properly absorbed into the skin or does it stay sticky? After the cream has been absorbed, how does it behave on contact with water?

Moisturising ability: Does the cream moisturise the skin without feeling too greasy? Does it make the skin smooth?

Scent & packaging: Is the scent strong or does it also suit more sensitive users? Is the scent suitable for both men and women? Is the container easy to carry with you and store?

The evaluation is based on the total overall experience of the hand cream. This has then been evaluated against the product price to produce a final score.

Neutrogena Nourishing Hand Cream

Economical cream that’s a saviour for dry hands

Degree of moisturising: High Formula: Cream Format: Plastic tube Drying time: Quick Quantity: 50 ml
Badge Best HAND CREAM 2017.png

Here’s the saviour for dry hands. Neutrogena Nourishing Hand Cream has an incredible ability to moisturise and calm dry, irritated hands.. In the winter, this is a helpful companion, and the small size of the tube means you can easily pop it into your bag. After rubbing it in, your skin becomes smooth and soft. The cream is very economical, and as long as you don’t put too much on it’s not sticky. The consistency is rather stiff. This means that the best method for applying the cream is to put a dab on each hand and then rub it into one hand at a time.

The tube has a screw cap. This is obviously rather fiddly, and makes it more difficult to apply the cream somewhere like an underground train or bus. The faint, neutral scent means that it suits both men and women. Neutrogena Nourishing Hand Cream has a very low price, which together with all of these positive characteristics quite clearly makes it a fantastic choice of hand cream.

+Economical, really moisturising, non-sticky, cheap
Stiff consistency, screw top
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5 of 5

Clarins Hand & Nail Treatment

Non-sticky and economical cream that gives incredibly soft results

Degree of moisturising: Average Formula: Cream Format: Plastic tube Drying time: Short Quantity: 100 ml
BEST PREMIUM CHOICE 2017

Clarins Hand & Nail Treatment is absorbed by the skin incredibly quickly and gives soft hands without leaving a film of grease. After use, it feels like your skin is naturally this soft. The cream is economical and it’s easy to apply the right amount, which means that it lasts a long time. The skin on your hands becomes smooth and the creamy consistency is easy to spread evenly. The mature scent may first strike you as strong, but it subsides and becomes fainter after you have finished rubbing the cream into your hands.

Clarins have given their tube the same classic design as all the brand’s products. It simply looks exclusive. Unfortunately, the tube has a screw top and is quite large, which means it’s not very practical to take with you on the go. This type of packaging is most suitable for keeping in the bathroom cabinet or standing on your desk. But this disadvantage can be seen as marginal, because the other positive characteristics are more important. Because of the fantastic results achieved with this hand cream, Clarins Hand & Nail Treatment takes a well-deserved top position.

+Non-sticky, neutral scent, economical, very soft results
Large tube, screw top
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5 of 5

Yves Rocher Ultra Nourishing Hand Cream

Light consistency that’s quickly absorbed by the skin in no time

Price class: SEK 59 Degree of moisturising: Average Formula: Cream Format: Plastic tube Drying time: Short Quantity: 75 ml

Ultra Nourishing Hand Cream from Yves Rocher has a very pleasant, sweet scent when applied. The scent is summery and means that even on rainy days you can picture yourself back in the sunshine under a beach umbrella. The cream has a light consistency which is easy to apply evenly. It’s very quickly absorbed by the skin and gives you soft, non-sticky hands in an instant.

The moisturising ability is relatively good for those with normal skin, and Ultra Nourishing Hand Cream is suitable for most occasions. However, for the driest hands a greasier cream may be needed. The tube is relatively small and the cream is easy to get out, which means that you can use it on the go. Yves Rocher Ultra Nourishing Hand Cream is a good, mild cream that in combination with the low price makes it a good value for money all round option.

+Quick drying time, light consistency, good scent
Not greasy enough for those with dry skin
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4.5 of 5

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Hand Treatment

Pleasant consistency that’s quickly absorbed by the skin and gives soft hands.

Degree of moisturising: Average Formula: Gel/cream Format: Plastic tube Drying time: Short Quantity: 75 ml

This product looks at first glance like a cream, but according to Elizabeth Arden it’s a combination of cream and a gel. And that becomes apparent when you use it. It’s absorbed by the skin as easily as a gel while leaving the hands as moisturised as if you had used a cream. And it really does moisturise, entirely without stickiness. Eight Hour Cream Hand Treatment makes the hands soft and keeps the skin feeling elastic. Although you can rapidly carry out dry activities after using it, your hands can be a little oily on contact with water.

As the scent is not too sweet, this product is suitable for both men and women. The scent can initially seem too strong, but it subsides after a while. However, for sensitive users the strength of the initial scent can be too much. The tube is small and neat to carry with you, and has the classic Elizabeth Arden appearance. The cream is rather expensive, but it is economical and the moisturising ability means that Eight Hour Cream Hand Treatment is very good value for money.

+Gives soft hands, quick drying time, pleasant consistency
Strong scent, oiliness on water contact in the short term
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4 of 5

The Body Shop Hand Cream

Light formula that still provides good moisturisation

Price class: Medium Degree of moisturising: Average Formula: Cream Format: Metal tube Drying time: Short Quantity: 100 ml or 50 ml

The Body Shop's classic Hand Cream combines a light formula with good moisturisation. The thin consistency of the cream means that it can be easily spread over the skin and that it also dries quickly. It doesn't form a film and you can quickly get back to whatever you were doing, although you may need to wait a little longer before getting your hands wet. It's not the greasiest product on the market, but it makes the skin nicely smooth and is great for combating normal winter dryness in your hands.

The cream is available in a number of different scents, but unfortunately most of these are very strong, which can be unpleasant for a sensitive user. The packaging has a screw top, which makes it tricky to use on the go as you really don't want to lose the top if you're moisturising your hands while you wait for the bus. The cream is available in both large and small format tubes and the small one is perfect for keeping in your handbag. The Body Shop Hand Cream is a good hand cream for normally dry hands.

+Light formula, good moisturisation, very quick drying time, different sizes of tube
Strong scents, screw top
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4 of 5

Biotherm Biomains Hand & Nail Treatment

Very economical with a faint scent and gives soft hands.

Degree of moisturising: Average Formula: Cream Format: Plastic tube Drying time: Average Quantity: 100 ml

You only need a small pea-sized amount of this cream for both hands, which makes it very economical and means that the tube lasts a long time. Biomains Hand & Nail Treatment is quite oily. The cream moisturises well, but still dries quite quickly. These are perfect characteristics for a cream to have with you on the run if you quickly want to carry on with your tasks after moisturising your hands. However, if the cream isn’t carefully rubbed in, it can continue to feel rather sticky at the roots of the fingers. 

The relatively large tube has an attractive design and is obviously a Biotherm product. The size means that the cream isn’t so useful for carrying in your bag. But this is balanced by the fresh but faint scent that means you can even use the cream in the office or in other environments where you need to think of other people's sensitivities. Because the scent is so neutral, the cream is also suitable for both genders. The price is high, but given the positive characteristics of Biotherm Biomains Hand & Nail Treatment, it’s worth it.

+Moisturising, faint scent, very economical
Slightly sticky, large tube
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3.5 of 5

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

Extremely moisturising and very economical, with only a faint scent

Degree of moisturising: High Formula: Cream Format: Metal tube Drying time: Long Quantity: 50 ml

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream is an extremely moisturising hand cream – a real saviour for hands dried out by winter weather. Only a very small amount, slightly larger than a pea, is enough to moisturise both hands. The consistency is thick and creamy, but the cream is still easy to spread evenly over both hands. Because the hand cream is so greasy, it takes quite a long time for it to be absorbed. If the hands aren’t completely dry, it’s also more difficult for the skin to absorb all the moisture, which can produce a sticky feeling.

The stylishly designed tube comes in an exclusive box and the packaging gives an impression of luxury. As the tube is relatively large, it’s most suitable for keeping at home in the bathroom cabinet. The scent is very faint and is therefore also suitable for sensitive users. L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream is an extremely nourishing cream for hands needing an extra moisture boost.

+Extremely moisturising, faint scent, economical
Long drying time, relatively expensive, large tube
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3.5 of 5

Nivea Repair & Care

Has a neutral scent and comes in a handy format

Degree of moisturising: Low Formula: Cream Format: Plastic tub Drying time: Long Quantity: 75 ml

Nivea’s container for Repair & Care is unlike the majority of others as the cream comes in a flat tub with rounded edges. This is a useful format as it means that it fits into even narrow bags and on all of the shelves in the bathroom cabinet. Unfortunately the contents aren’t so good. When you apply the cream, it feels like there’s still a film of grease on your skin. It takes a long time for the cream to sink in and even quite a while after using it your hands still feel sticky. Nor is it particularly moisturising compared to its competitors. For normal skin it works as intended even with a small amount, which means that the cream lasts for a long time. However, dry hands are often too tough a challenge, meaning that more cream has to be applied – and then Repair & Care is no longer particularly economical.

The hand cream has practically no scent at all, which means that it can be used even with other people around you. The scent is also sufficiently neutral for use regardless of gender or if you also want to be able to use other perfumes. Despite the fact that the price of Repair & Care is so low, we expected more of a hand cream from such a well established manufacturer as Nivea.

+Neat packaging, neutral scent
Sticky, low moisturising ability
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2 of 5

Depend O2 Moisturizing Gel

Light gel that’s absorbed in no time and has a nice scent

Degree of moisturising: Average Formula: Gel Format: Plastic tube Drying time: Quick Quantity: 75 ml
Depend 02 Moisturizing Gel

Depend has a whole series of products for nails and hand care in general. The brand's O2 Moisturizing Gel has a nice, cool scent that quickly subsides when you rub the gel into your hands. The consistency is very light, which means that the gel is absorbed by the skin in no time and allows you to get on with your day without sticky hands. In other words, opening a jar shortly after use is no problem.

Despite the light consistency, Depend's O2 Moisturizing Gel moisturises well and results in smoother hands. However, if your hands are very dry the gel can feel a little bit too thin, which means that you can easily apply too much. The gel is actually economical, but if you use more than is required by mistake it can mean that the gel runs out quicker than it should have. Overall, Depend’s O2 Moisturizing Gel is a light, effective hand cream which is perfect if you don’t want to sit and wait to be able to get on with the rest of your day.

+Quick drying time, mild scent, pleasant consistency
Easy to apply too much

Löwengrip Care & Color – Get a Grip

Economical cream that comes in a small format tube and has a pleasant scent

Degree of moisturising: Average Formula: Cream Format: Plastic tube Drying time: Long Quantity: 50 ml
Lowengrip Care Color Get a grip

You get a sweet but not overpowering scent when you rub Löwengrip Care & Color – Get a Grip into your hands. The scent lasts for several hours, but after the cream has been absorbed it’s so mild that it isn’t a problem. You only need a small amount, about the size of a pea, for both hands, if you have normally dry skin. The tube is small and neat, making the cream perfect for carrying in your handbag.

The skin is softer once the cream has been rubbed in, but unfortunately you first get an oily film on your hands. The result is sticky, and the drying time is long. Even if several hours have passed, your hands are still oily when you wash them. It simply feels like the cream just never quite gets absorbed into the skin. Even though the price is relatively low, we would have liked more from Get a Grip.

+Nice scent, economical, neat format
Slightly sticky, long drying time