Hand wash & hand care: my cruelty-free best buys

Sarah with beauty products

It may be Autumn but already some temperature drops means that winter is well on its way. So this means it’s time for my bi-annual skincare overhaul. I don’t just pack away my summer wardrobe at this time of the year. I also take the opportunity to assess my skincare regime. What works well when the weather is hot won’t necessarily be the best option during colder months. Autumn – traditionally a time of transition and preparation – provides the ideal opportunity for some season-appropriate tweaks.

Common colder weather skin concerns include dryness, dullness, redness and dehydration. Given how much hand-washing I do (in an effort not to catch COVID or any other virus), I’m keen to find hand washes and hand creams that won’t exacerbate these issues. So, I’ve tested a selection of hand wash products, with the aim of keeping my skin both clean and comfortable. Read on to discover my favourite formulas:

Green People for sensitive skin

Irritation-free hand wash

If your skin is prone to sensitivity, like mine, you’ll need a hand wash that minimises irritation and relieves the key symptoms. Green People’s Scent-Free Hand Wash (£14 for 300ml) does precisely that.

This vegan, cruelty-free, ultra-gentle formula is pH-balanced for sensitive skin. Where possible I try to shop and eat organically, so I really like that fact it’s made with 82.7% organic ingredients, too. What it doesn’t include is equally important. This hand wash is free from fragrance, soap and SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) – a common surfactant that can dry and irritate skin.

Green People hand wash
Vegan, cruelty-free and kind to sensitive skin, this hand wash left my skin clean and soft, with no drying or stinging

The formula left my hands feeling soft and moisturised, with no redness or stinging. The key ingredients are coconut and soothing Aloe Vera. On contact with water this hand wash produces a mild foam, thanks to a blend of plant-derived foaming agents. It also rinses really well, to leave a clean, fresh feeling.

Scent-free hand cream

Unsurprisingly this hand wash works really well in partnership with Green People’s Scent-Free Everyday Hand Cream (£15 for 300ml). Also vegan and ultra-gentle, this formula leaves hands soft, nourished and protected against dryness. It’s suitable for use on sensitive skin of all ages.

Green People Founder & CEO Charlotte Vøhtz comments: “Some people are particularly sensitive to certain ingredients, such as artificial fragrances and SLS, which are often found in hand wash, soap and hand cream. Reactions to these ingredients can cause dry, sore hands which are then vulnerable to further damage.

“Made without soap or SLS, [our hand wash] is ideal for ultra-sensitive skin because it is pH-balanced and fragrance-free. It also contains beautiful organic ingredients that soothe, hydrate and protect sensitive hands.”

Green People hand washes and hand cream
Naturally abundant in Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, this hydrating hand cream is ideal for everyday use

ishga organic seaweed skincare

Award-winning hand sanitiser

Awarded ‘Best Hand Sanitiser’ in the prestigious Marie Claire Skincare Awards 2021, I was very keen to try ishga’s new hand wash. Its high (78%) ethanol content makes it an excellent choice if destroying viruses and bacteria are your main priority. Happily, the organic seaweed featured in this formula works to nourish and repair over-washed and sanitised hands. So you get the best of both worlds.

Other key ingredients include glycerine to keep skin hydrated, calming ishga spring water, plus various anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant essential oils. Importantly, ishga hand sanitiser is vegan, cruelty-free, and sustainable too.

ishga hand sanitiser
Scottish brand ishga harnesses the power of antioxidant-packed Hebridean seaweed within its product portfolio. The high alcohol content of this sanitiser makes it highly effective against harmful micro-organisms

I absolutely adored the scent of this hand wash, which left my skin feeling clean, soft and smooth. It’s available in two sizes, a long-lasting 150ml (£17) and a more portable 30ml version (£8.50).

New hydrating hand cream

ishga hand cream
This organic hand cream not only has a wonderful scent but it nourishes your hands and protects your skin from environmental damage

Certified organic by the Soil Association, this organic Hydrating Hand Cream (£31 for 100ml) instantly gets to work, helping to heal and nourish your hands. However, it comes with an added benefit which protects your skin from environmental damage too. This cream glides evenly over your hands for a spa-style pamper with a beautiful scent, which helps to mesmerise the soul. With an uplifting blend of nurturing, skin nourishing essential oils, the formula combines ishga’s potent seaweed extract with a clever combo of skin-hydrating ingredients, including argan oil.

ishga trainer Lucy Mingo is rightly proud of the fact these formulas combine high levels of protection with luxury skincare properties. “Hands are the first to show signs of ageing and are normally ignored the most,” she notes. “A great handshake makes a great first impression. The one thing worse than a poor handshake is a dry and peeling hand. With this in mind it’s so important to remember to keep hands hydrated and looked after.”

Britain in a bottle with Noble Isle

I was already a big fan of this brilliant British brand that uses ingredients sourced from small local producers. So I had high hopes for Noble Isle’s new vegan and cruelty-free Greenhouse Collection, which includes a hand wash and hand lotion.

Natural hand wash

Noble Isle hand wash
New for autumn 2022, Noble Isle’s Greenhouse Hand Wash is a natural, non-drying cleansing formulation with an amazing refreshing aroma

The Greenhouse Hand Wash (£20 for 250ml) is a luxury non-drying cleansing formulation that incorporates natural antibacterial properties. It smells absolutely divine: lots of green, refreshing notes including tomato leaf, cucumber and mint. The key ingredients have been handpicked from the walled kitchen garden and glasshouses at Gravetye Manor in Sussex, which inspired the collection’s name.

Lotion luxury

Noble Isle hand lotion
I liked how easily this new Greenhouse Hand Lotion was absorbed, leaving my skin soft and smooth with no sticky residue

I’ve been using this hand wash in partnership with the brand’s Greenhouse Hand Lotion (£22 for 250ml). This hydrating formula is light and quickly absorbed, but left my hands feeling soft, silky and smooth.

SEAMS beauty

While carrying out my hand wash research, I also discovered the Seams brand. Karen Gerrard created this, after her hands became chapped, sore and dry following a Millinery course at The London College of Fashion.

Seams hand cream
Seams Couturiers Hand Cream has such an interesting and innovative back story – it works brilliantly, too!

I really recommend the Couturiers Hand Cream (£16 for 75ml), a non-greasy formula that locks in moisture and protects the delicate skin barrier. The brand’s Cuticle, Hand & Nail Oil (£24.99 for 28ml) is another great find if your extremities really suffer during the winter. This innovative formula is packed full of natural actives that nourish, condition and repair. You can use it alone or under the Hand Cream – the choice is yours! Love a multitasking beauty product? It’s ideal for dry heels, knees and elbows too!

Seams cuticle hand and nail oil
If your hands and nails are very dry and/or damaged, I’d really recommend Seams’ Cuticle, Hand & Nail Oil. It’s light but seriously nourishing

Messiah & Eve hand wash

If you like your hand wash to look as good as it performs, I think you’ll enjoy Messiah & Eve’s liberation (£17 for 300ml). Founded by Sarah Sklavenitis, the brand aims to offer “incredible, effective and affordable” body products that deliver on aesthetics, as well as efficacy.

Formulated with Vitamin E and glycerine – both known for their powerful moisturising properties – this hand wash lathers beautifully and delivers long-lasting hydration. The rich fragrance is ideal for autumn. I love the oh-so-stylish pump dispenser, too.

Messiah & Eve hand wash
Messiah & Eve’s liberation hand wash features an effective formula, a fantastic fragrance, and sleek, chic packaging. It’s a yes from me!

Angela Langford rest & regenerate

Angela Langford’s Clean Sweep is one of my favourite make-up removers, and ideal for anyone with dry, damaged, dull or flaky skin. While it isn’t a specialist hand product per se, the brand’s rest & regenerate repairing and nourishing night balm (£39 for 30ml) works brilliantly on hands, as well as the face.

The formula features a potent mix of antioxidants, vitamins and omegas to soften, nourish, condition and protect. It really helped to banish some stubborn dry patches I’d been suffering with. This balm is pricier than traditional hand creams, but a little goes a long way, so this pot should last for ages.

Angela Langford night balm
Night balms aren’t just for your face. This antioxidant formula is designed to deliver intense hydration and repair, wherever it’s needed most. Massage it into dry hands before bed-time to enjoy soft, smooth skin when you wake up

Olverum purifies the soul

Purifying hand wash

Olverum has lots of lovely body products in its portfolio, so I was excited to try its new Purifying Hand Wash (£22.50 for 250ml). Vegan and cruelty-free, the formula is also free from non-essential additives, including preservatives, fragrances, colourants, sulphates and parabens.

Olverum purifying hand wash
Purifying Hand Wash, the latest addition to Olverum’s product portfolio, will soothe dry, dehydrated and compromised skin

This hand wash specifically treats dry, dehydrated and unsettled skin – so often the result of continual handwashing and environmental/lifestyle aggressors. It cleanses thoroughly without disturbing the skin barrier function, to leave hands clean and comfortable. I loved how this hand wash produced a dense, luxurious lather. I found the botanical scent subtle and soothing.

Soothing hand lotion

Although this may feel light during application, don’t let this fool you as Olverum’s Soothing Hand Lotion, (£25 for 250ml), is anything but. It absorbs super-quick and this lotion feels rich and luxurious, leaving you with a protective veil of nourishment. This hand lotion draws moisture deeper into the skin, leaving hands feeling super-soft and supple with an innovative formulation of richly fortifying and restorative botanical ingredients.

Olverum soothing hand lotion
Crafted with 99.55% natural origin ingredients, Olverum’s Soothing Hand Lotion will make the perfect addition to your beauty rituals

AD:- These products have been gifted for me to produce this blog and choose my favourites.

Keen to stay bronzed for a little while longer? Click here for my review of the best cruelty-free self-tans.