The best hand creams to soothe and protect your paws

You can trust these classic hand salves.

hands holding flower
Prepare for softness.Matthew Henry via Unsplash

Your hands do—and weather—so much. During the dead of winter, your mitts can crack and hurt, but some sources of phalange anguish happen year-round, like dishwashing with harsh detergents and frequent temperature variation. And it's not just the short-term pain and ugliness of cracked and flaking hands; the skin on your hands also show signs of damage and aging in the long run. The back of your palms has fewer sebaceous glands than the palm, which makes it especially vulnerable to drying, while the thicker skin of your palms require more intense moisture boosting ingredients to soak in. That's all to say: hand-care is far from frivolous. Look to these hand-moisturizers and creams for a fix.

O'Keeffe's Working Hands Hand Cream
An intensive, reliable healer for hard-working hands.Amazon

Heal cracked, damaged hands (or prevent yours from getting that way) with this long-standing favorite. O’Keeffe’s Working Hands may not come in pretty packaging, but the concentrated, thick cream creates a protective barrier to preserve moisture within your hands. It boosts moisture levels with key ingredients like water for thirsty skin cells, glycerin to draw in moisture, and paraffin to create a protective barrier. A little goes a long way with this rich cream—use it before bed, and wake up to better-hydrated hands, ready to face another day.

Burt's Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream
Nourishing with natural ingredients.Amazon

What you won’t find in Burt’s Bees Ultimate Hand Cream: phthalates, parabens, petrolatum, or sodium lauryl sulfate, products that can irritate sensitive skin. What you will find: 98.9 percent natural ingredients, including baobab oil (with Vitamins A, D, E and F, and rich omega fatty acids), watermelon seed oil (with Linoleic acid that protects and hydrates skin), pumpkin oil (nourishing vitamins, zinc, and antioxidants), and green tea extract (rich in antioxidants). The cream hydrates and gently exfoliates at the same time. The hand cream is rich but non-greasy, and is dermatologist approved and hypoallergenic.

Eucerin Advanced Repair Hand Cream
Science-backed cream to soften and moisturize.Amazon

Eucerin’s Advanced Repair Hand Cream will leave your hands feeling smoother after just one use. That’s because it’s formulated with Ceramide, lipids that naturally occur in your skin and makes up half of the skin’s composition. Buffered alpha hydroxy to gently exfoliate, and shea butter to add moisture. Eucerin is dermatologist recommended, and fragrance-free.

L'Occitane 20 Percent Shea Butter Hand Cream
A decadent choice.Amazon

Sooth your hands after a day of gardening with this shea-butter-infused, luxurious hand cream from French beauty company L’Occitane. One-fifth of this hand cream is organic shea butter, which functions as an effective emollient (a product that seals in moisture). The cream absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave an oily feel—use it throughout the day to protect and soften hands. Bonus: the large size of the cream will last for ages.