An effective hand cream is a must for soft, smooth, hydrated skin, especially when you're dealing with dry winter air, or you're frequently washing your hands. To help you sort through the endless formulas on the market, the scientists in the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab have put dozens of the most popular hand creams through our rigorous tests over the years, narrowing the list down to the very best hand creams you can buy this season to heal and moisturize your dry, cracked skin.

How we choose the best hand creams

In the GH Beauty Lab's most recent test of hand creams, scientists evaluated 17 hand creams for their ability to hydrate skin, first using the Corneometer, a device that measures skin moisture levels. They calculated a moisture reading of bare skin, then dispensed a controlled amount of each product onto testers' forearms and measured hydration content a second time. Six hours later, testers returned to the Lab for another measurement to determine which creams actually improved moisturization. GH Beauty Lab scientists then recruited 77 women to evaluate the label-masked hand creams and report back on how the product felt, absorbed and smelled. Combining Lab results and consumer feedback, the experts crunched the numbers and found which products were cream of the crop for moisturization, texture, application and scent. In total, the GH Beauty Lab tallied 2,853 data points to find the best-performing hand creams on the market.

To curate this guide, we added newly evaluated GH Beauty Lab expert picks to our list of previously vetted and tested hand creams that have proven to be worth the money. Here, the all-time best hand creams and lotions to moisturize dry skin, according to GH Beauty Lab testing — including drugstore and luxury buys, as well as formulas designed to target eczema, wrinkles and more.

Best Overall Hand Cream

Eucerin Advanced Repair Hand Cream

Advanced Repair Hand Cream
$13.11 (27% off)

The best hand cream for dry skin in GH Beauty Lab testing, Lab testers gave Eucerin high marks for its ability to keep hands moisturized for up to six hours, and its combo of ingredients — glycerin, urea, and sunflower seed oil — helped increase skin moisturization by an impressive 51%. Not only was it the most hydrating formula, but it's also cost effective. Another standout feature of the star Eucerin formula is that it contains alpha hydroxy acids, which increase cell turnover for younger-looking hands. Lab testers loved that it is purse-size and spreads easily. "I liked that it absorbed into skin almost immediately," one noted. And the compliments didn't stop there, with others saying it "felt silky," "made my hands smooth," and even helped moisturize cuticles.

Best Value Hand Cream

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hand Gel Cream

Hydro Boost Gel Hand Cream

Of all the hand creams in the GH Beauty Lab's test, this bargain-priced Neutrogena hand healer is the only one with a gel-like formula. It improved hydration by a whopping 40% and consumers compared the smell to a fresh load of laundry. Hyaluronic acid helps add and lock in moisture, contributing to its impressive hydration scores in our Lab test. Though different than most hand creams on the market, our testers were impressed by its powerful results. Because it's not heavy, it might not be the best fit for those with severely dry, chapped hands.

Best Luxury Hand Cream

Philosophy Hands of Hope Nurturing Hand & Nail Cream

Hands of Hope Nurturing Hand & Nail Cream Sparkling Grapefruit

GH Beauty Lab consumer testers liked this luxurious Philosophy hand cream's citrus scent and said it absorbed quickly without leaving a tacky feeling. Users reported it softened their hands and Lab measurements showed that it was mildly moisturizing, delivering a 15% improvement. Plus, the small size can fit in almost any bag, so it's perfect for on-the-go application. "Each time I applied the cream, my hands felt super soft, smelled great and left no traces of extra product," one tester raved. If you, like some of the Lab's testers, prefer a different scent, there are five other options available: green tea and avocado, coconut and guava, Hawaiian hibiscus, fig and pomegranate and berry and sage.

Best Hand Cream for Dry Skin

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

This thick, glycerin-rich Neutrogena cream has achieved cult hand-healing status for a reason: In past GH Beauty Lab testing, it was a top-scoring formulation, increasing skin's hydration levels by 19.5%. "The best hand cream I've ever used," one consumer tester raved." More positive user feedback: "You don't have to use a lot to make your hands feel conditioned," and "Even after washing my hands, they were still moisturized."

Best Hand Cream for Aging Hands

Mario Badescu Rose Hand Cream with Vitamin E

Mario Badescu
Rose Hand Cream with Vitamin E
Mario Badescu

For bonus anti-aging effects on hand wrinkles, turn to this Mario Badescu hand cream. "It makes my hands soft and smooth, and it smells nice," says GH Beauty Lab senior chemist Sabina Wizemann. "It's rich in humectants, emollients, and occlusives to keep skin moisturized, nourished, and pleasant to touch." But the benefits don't stop there: The formula "also has retinyl palmitate to improve skin tone and boost collagen that comes in handy for aging hands," she explains. "I find it best used at night as it is a touch sticky, and the rose scent is relaxing to cozy up before sleep."

Best Hand Cream for Eczema

Aveeno Intense Relief Hand Cream

Skin Relief Intense Moisture Hand Cream

Aveeno's hand cream, which contains soothing oatmeal and moisturizing glycerin, was rated as many testers' favorite in GH Beauty Lab evaluations. They said it made hands look the smoothest, and it scored high for how quickly it absorbed into the skin. Not only did testers love this fragrance-free product, but it also improved skin moisturization by a notable 31%. Its thick formula provides a great barrier against outdoor elements without feeling oily. "I loved how it spread easily and didn't feel greasy after," said one tester. "My hands felt smooth and moisturized, but with no residue."

Best Hand Cream for Wrinkles

Reserveage Hydrating Hand & Foot Cream

Hydrating Hand & Foot Cream
ReserveAge Nutrition

Combat crepey skin texture on hands, including wrinkles, with Reserveage's formula, recommended by GH Beauty Lab Director Birnur Aral, Ph.D. “This rich-textured cream soaks right into skin and makes hands immediately feel silky-smooth," she says. "Thanks to the encapsulated copper peptides in its formula, it is designed to also work over time and help build collagen in skin." The icing on the cake? "It has a lovely scent which smells like a cross between cucumber and coconut," Aral notes.

Best Hand Cream for Winter

Dove Dry Skin Relief Replenishing Hand Cream

Dermaseries Dry Skin Relief Hand Cream
$6.99 (50% off)

Testers in GH Beauty Lab evaluations couldn't get enough of how soft the Dove cream made their skin feel. They rated the formula with glycerin and fatty acids best for improving the look of chapped or cracked hands, which are common in winter. With a 32% moisturization improvement after six hours, it's no surprise. As one Lab tester said, it makes your hands feel "baby soft and non-greasy after application." One even had her husband try it, and she said it seriously improved the look of his dry, "rough" hands.

Best Overnight Hand Cream

Seed Phytonutrients Hand Salve

Seed Phytonutrients
Hand Salve
Seed Phytonutrients

Aral's go-to nighttime hand treatment, the extra-rich Seed Phytonutrients ointment is based on shea butter and a plethora of botanical oils, from safflower and castor to coconut, camelina, and jojoba. "It is thick and balm-like, but absorbs well and is great for heavy-duty repair overnight," says Aral. "My husband gets chapped fingertips as soon as the weather gets cold and he started using this as well," Aral says. "He loves how soothing it is, as it doesn’t sting or burn, and that it helps repair chapped hands."

Best Natural Hand Cream

Natura Brasil Ekos Ucuuba Restorative Hand Cream

Natura Brasil
Ucuuba Restorative Hand Cream
Natura Brasil

If you're interested in an eco-friendly, sustainable hand cream, Natura Brasil's formula is Aral's choice. "This cream’s hero ingredient is the ucuuba butter obtained from the Amazon, and Natura is dedicated using ingredients that are responsibly and fairly sourced, like the Brazil nut, murumuru, andiroba, and the ucuuba butters used in their formulations," she explains. "I like this rich butter for immediate skin softening benefits and making hands feel coated with a protective film that does not feel greasy." It also comes in an aluminum tube, which lends itself for recycling, she notes. Pro tip: A little goes a long way, so squeeze a tiny bit from the tube at a time, Aral advises.

Best Mini Hand Cream

Fresh Hesperides Grapefruit Moisturizing Hand Cream

Hesperides Grapefruit Moisturizing Hand Cream

This indulgent Fresh hand cream, a beauty editor favorite, is small enough to tote on the go. "It’s super hydrating but not greasy and has the perfect uplifting scent," says GH beauty editor Dori Price. "I keep one in my handbag and one on my night table to remind me to apply before bed."

Best Scented Hand Cream

Bliss Lemon & Sage Hand Cream

Lemon & Sage Hand Cream

GH Beauty Lab consumer testers smelled a winner with this cream from Bliss, a brand that started in spas. Most found the fresh-but-not-overpowering lemon scent pleasant and even energizing. "Loved the citrus scent," one noted. "Feels like an aromatherapy cream. Invigorating for sure!" In our Beauty Lab's hydration test, it improved moisturization by 20%, but was a star among users: "I liked that it absorbed quickly into the skin and the scent," one shared. "I do not like anything scented, but this was pleasing and did not linger too long."

Best Healing Hand Cream

Mary Kay Satin Hands Nourishing Shea Cream

Mary Kay
Satin Hands Nourishing Shea Cream
Mary Kay

Many testers said this rich Mary Kay formula helped make chapped hands appear smooth. The thickness many of our testers experienced is probably from the high percentage of shea butter in the formula, says GH Beauty Lab chemist Danusia Wnek. Texture aside, online users continue to gush about how much it's helped the feeling and hydration of their hands. "I used it before bedtime and in the morning [my hands were] still soft and silky," one consumer shared. Note that this is a heavy-duty formula — some testers said the consistency left their hands feeling tacky post-application.

Best 2-in-1 Hand Cream + Sanitizer

Vaseline Clinical Care Hand Sanitizer Lotion

Clinical Care Hand Sanitizer Lotion

What if you could sanitize and soften hands at the same time? Enter this GH Beauty Award-winning, groundbreaking Vaseline hand lotion, which kills germs sans alcohol while hydrating with vitamin E and glycerin. The formulation delivers antibacterial effects without burning or stinging and relieves dryness, Lab analysis found. “It’s not heavy or tacky, and my hands feel both moisturized and clean, which is a rare feat,” Wizemann reports.

Best Hand Cream for Working Hands

L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

Shea Butter Hand Cream

L'Occitane's iconic, decadent hand cream made with a high percentage of shea butter is a GH beauty team go-to and GH Sustainable Innovation Award winner. "This will always be my favorite hand cream — I love how rich the texture is and how deeply it moisturizes," GH's former beauty assistant says. "I have really dry skin and used to struggle with my knuckles cracking in the winter and when I worked as a server, and this is one cream that changed everything for me." Bonus: The aluminum tube is also fully recyclable.

Best Non-Greasy Hand Cream

Soap & Glory Call of Fruity Hand Food Hand Cream

Call of Fruity Hand Food Hand Cream
Soap & Glory

In GH Beauty Lab testing, users noted softer, more hydrated skin "immediately" with this Soap & Glory hand cream. Credit goes to a plethora of fast-absorbing moisturizing ingredients, including glycerin, grape seed oil, shea butter, and coconut oil. In Lab tests, it earned the third highest score for moisturization, upping it 34%. "I used the hand cream after washing my hands and it always made them feel softer and smoother," one tester said. "I cannot stand when a hand cream is too tacky or greasy and this product was neither." While there was an overwhelmingly positive response to texture, the sweet scent was polarizing.

Best Value Natural Hand Cream

Burt's Bees Almond & Milk Hand Cream

Burt's Bees
Almond & Milk Hand Cream
Burt's Bees
$8.56 (32% off)

Packed with botanical ingredients like sweet almond oil and aloe, this balm-like hand cream from Burt's Bees intensively softens parched skin. "I've used and loved this for more than a decade," GH's beauty director says. "The formula is so thick and feels deeply nourishing, and the creamy almond scent is delicious."

Best Hand Cream Gloves

Earth Therapeutics Aloe Moisture Gloves

Earth Therapeutics
Aloe Moisture Gloves
Earth Therapeutics

Slip on these innovative Earth Therapeutics gloves coated with hand moisturizing ingredients for an intensive treatment. "These gloves are infused with aloe vera and are light and comfortable while you sleep," Wizemann says. "They help dry, over-washed hands stripped from natural oils to bounce back and feel healthy."

Best Brightening Hand Cream

Caudalie Vinoperfect Brightening Hand Cream

Vinoperfect Brightening Hand Cream

One of Good Housekeeping beauty director April Franzino's all-time favorite hand creams, this botanical-based Caudalie formula does more than soften: It works like a tone-evening treatment for your hands, brightening and smoothing skin. The rich cream is packed with natural plant oils like grapeseed, sunflower, avocado, and olive to nourish, protect, and plump crepey skin, plus a vitamin C derivative to help brighten and even skin tone over time. "I love the unique fresh, slightly herbal scent," she says. Plus, it comes in a TSA-friendly tube that stashes in your purse and works for plane travel.

Best Vegan Hand Cream

Love Beauty and Planet Shea Butter & Sandalwood Hand Cream

Love Beauty and Planet
Shea Butter & Sandalwood Hand Cream
Love Beauty and Planet

This bargain-priced vegan hand cream formula from Love Beauty and Planet is based on silkening shea butter and glycerin. "I love the warm, faintly sweet scent of this hand cream and that it's small enough to tuck in my purse," GH's beauty director reports.

Best Hand Serum

Olive & June Hand Serum

Olive & June
Hand Serum
Olive & June

Like a face serum but for your hands, this Olive & June hand serum smooths skin with grape seed and avocado oils yet absorbs fast. "It's really moisturizing for how lightweight it is," one tester noted. "The formula sinks in almost instantly, but leaves my hands super soft."

Best Aromatherapy Hand Cream

LAFCO Chamomile Lavender Hand Cream

Chamomile Lavender Hand Cream

Bring the spa home with this LAFCO hand cream made from cotton seed, olive, and jojoba oils, which is infused with relaxing lavender and chamomile essential oils. "I keep this along with its matching liquid soap at my sink, and the scent is so calming, every hand wash is a treat," GH's beauty director says. "And the large size lasts a long time."

Best Travel Hand Cream

Molton Brown Orange & Bergamot Hand Cream

Molton Brown
Orange & Bergamot Hand Cream
Molton Brown

At 1.4 ounces, Molton Brown's luxe hand cream is TSA-friendly and perfect for travel. Plus, the decadent formula smells like a vacation, too, thanks to a sophisticated citrus-floral aroma with Spanish orange oil, GH's beauty director notes.

Best Vanilla-Scented Hand Cream

Laura Mercier Crème Brûlée Hand Cream

Laura Mercier
Crème Brûlée Hand Cream
Laura Mercier

Cozy up to this warm caramel, vanilla and musk-scented Laura Mercier hand cream in the chilly months. "This decadent cream enrobes hands like a luxurious cashmere blanket," GH's beauty director says. "It's the ultimate indulgence!"