The 8 Best Natural Hand Sanitizers That Work But Don't Dry Out Your Skin
Now that we're all running around with hand sanitizer in our bags and littering our home and workspaces, we know that these formulas can come at a cost. Yes, they keep our hands and bodies protected from viruses—most notably COVID-19—but they also strip our skin of natural oils, disrupt our microbiome, and can trigger inflammatory skin conditions. Read: They make our hands feel very dry and irritated.
So, here, we're left at a tough crossroads: Hand sanitizers (when formulated at the CDC's recommended guidelines) do protect us from the virus; however, is there a way to make sure we're not making our hands feel tight and dry in the process?
Well, that comes down to a few key points: First, use hand soap and warm water when available. Second, always follow your hand sanitizer or hand-wash with a nourishing hand cream. Finally, find a go-to hand sanitizer that's buffered with hydrating actives so as not to totally dry out your skin in the process.
And on that last point, we did the work for you—we've had tons of practice with hand sanitizer these past few months, after all. Here are the best, most effective hand sanitizers (at recommended CDC formulations) that come with plenty of natural hydrators and soothers to help your skin in the process.
Maapilim Hand Sanitizer
For those who love a little fragrance—to offset the potent sanitizer smell—Maapilim's blend of bergamot, jasmine, and cedarwood is equal parts woodsy, bright, and floral. This makes for a delightful blend that will feel more like a luxe perfume than anything else.
Hand Sanitizer, Maapilim ($10)
The Honest Co. Hand Sanitizer Spray
Need easy, on-the-go options in bulk for the family? Here's a pack that comes in a set of two, six, or 12—and in a variety of scents, if citrus isn't your thing (other options include scents that smell like a breezy ocean breeze or a lavender bouquet). The spritz also contains naturally derived glycerin and aloe.
Hand Sanitizer Spray in Grapefruit Grove, The Honest Co. ($6.95)
By Humankind Hand Sanitizer
This pocket-size trio comes with hyaluronic acid, as its good-for-skin ingredient. HA, as a reminder, is an excellent humectant able to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water (it does need to be sealed in, however, so do be mindful to apply a hand cream post-sanitizing). We also love the aluminum bottles, reducing single-use plastic waste.
Hand Sanitizer, By Humankind ($18)
Pipette Jumbo Hand Sanitizer
Perfect to keep around the house, this extra-large pump will keep households of all sizes well-stocked. (Plus, it's safe for kids' delicate skin.) With sugar-cane-derived squalane, this fragrance-free moisturizing hand-sanitizing gel effectively protects hands so they stay soft and sanitized without drying skin.
Jumbo Hand Sanitizer, Pipette ($19.99)
Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Nomad Hand Sanitizer
For those who need a bright shot of citrus to energize their day, this lemongrass-scented hand sanitizer is bright and crisp. Then it comes with mushroom-derived Chitosan, which acts as the titular nondrying agent to keep your skin smooth and soft.
Nomad Hand Sanitizer in Lemongrass, Rocky Mountain Soap Co. ($14.95)
Dr. Bronner's Organic Lavender Hand Sanitizing Spray
A very simple blend of certified fair trade organic ingredients make this a cult classic. The lavender inspires a calming, soothing scent that offers a moment of pause throughout the day. And the size is perfect to take with you all day.
Organic Lavender Hand Sanitizing Spray, Dr. Bronner's ($27.97)
Grove Co. Hydrating Hand Sanitizer
We love this option for its pretty oil-heavy base of coconut, jojoba, and sunflower seed oils. Then add in the aloe vera, and you've got yourself one hydrated formula. You can choose from the blood orange or lavender scents, which are made from essential oils and plant-derived ingredients.
Hydrating Hand Sanitizer, Grove Co. ($3.95)
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.