Hand Sanitizer Upgraded: 13 Beyond-Basic Blends We Love
Something for everyone, starting at just $3.50.
Published Oct 14, 2020 1:00 AM
If you’re leaving the house right now, chances are you’re leaving with a bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket—it’s become an essential of our new normal. And while your basic drugstore variety will get the job done (the CDC recommends using one with at least 60 percent alcohol), we’re firm believers that even the most utilitarian items in our lives should be thoughtfully considered.
Luckily, brands big and small were quick to introduce their take on alcohol-based hand rubs when demand peaked earlier this year, and the result is a huge range of options that go above and beyond standard issue. These newcomers tout, among other things, complex luxury fragrance blends that could double as a perfume, organic essential oils with mood-boosting effects, and refillable glass bottles.
Naturally, we decided to do a deep dive to find the best of the best. Here, our 13 favorites.
More than just a hand sanitizer, this 80 percent alcohol spray is infused with an intoxicating wood and eucalyptus scent that stays around long after it has dried, meaning it can do double duty as a personal fragrance. Not to mention its ability to transport you to Big Sur—just close your eyes and breathe deeply.
Simple and straightforward, this unscented sanitizing spray is made with 70 percent alcohol and a blend of glycerin and fractionated coconut oil to create a germ killer that keeps hands hydrated. Each 1-ounce bottle contains more than 375 sprays.
Los Poblanos is a magical spot in New Mexico that’s part working farm, part restaurant, and part hotel. The organic lavender grown on the farm is used to make all sorts of goodies, including this excellent hand sanitizer that is especially nice right now thanks to lavender’s calm-inducing qualities. It’s another one that deserves a few deep breaths after application.
Clearly written on the bottle, this multipurpose wonder is “not just for hands.” It’s also an aftershave and under-arm refresher, and it can help treat blemishes. Its addictive herbal scent, which is somehow invigorating and relaxing at the same time, is created using five essential oils, as well as chamomile and calendula extract.
Not only is this scent-free gel mixture a good option for the whole family—the brand’s focus is on clean, baby-friendly skin care—it’s also a great value at just $3.50 for the 2-ounce travel size. Which is especially nice if you have to lather it on tiny hands regularly.
This gel formula dries superfast, and its grapefruit scent quickly mellows, making it enjoyable to put on, but you’re not left thinking about it (precisely what we want from a hand sanitizer). An excellent choice for those looking to reduce their single-use plastics, it comes in a refillable aluminum bottle with a reusable pump top.
We suggest getting one of each scent: Bergamot & Chamomile and Lemongrass & Jasmine. The former has sweet notes that are subtly floral, and the latter smells like a trip to a luxe spa in Bali. They both linger on the skin and will have you hoping for a reason to use them again—which won’t be an issue thanks to the hydrating coconut oil that’s included in these blends.
The unscented version of this refreshingly uncomplicated organic spray has just two ingredients: coconut alcohol and witch hazel. It feels superclean, dries quickly, and comes in a glass bottle.
This 80 percent alcohol fine-mist spray, at first, feels lavender-forward, but it quickly settles into a sweeter, toned-down fragrance that’s more reminiscent of lavender candy—thanks to the addition of eucalyptus leaf essential oils. Glycerin is included in the mix to keep hands moisturized.
Try this one if you could use a midday pick-me-up. Its organic peppermint essential oil feels almost energy boosting, then settles into a more mellow version of itself. But one of its best qualities: It lacks the strong alcohol scent that nearly all other hand sanitizers seem to have when you first apply them.
No dry hands with this unscented alcohol-based hand rub. Its gel formula is made with plant-based alcohol (70 percent), plus aloe vera and glycerin—which gives you a double dose of moisture.
Silk proteins are the special hydrating ingredients in this hand sanitizer. Combined with alcohol, it makes for an effective germ killer that’s a good option for those with sensitive skin. Bonus: This set comes with a hand therapy cream to keep skin extra-soft—an especially nice addition for dry winter months.
A nonsticky, fragrant option—with notes of apricot, pink peony, and vanilla—that will make you forget that you’re actually applying it to kill germs and prevent the spread of pathogens.
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