What to Buy

11 Best Hand Creams Because Dirty Dishes Mean Dry Hands

From our kitchen sinks to yours.

February 24, 2022
Photo by Rocky Luten

When I recently asked my teammates what hand creams they keep in the kitchen, I’m not joking when I say they had thoughts. As home cooks who are constantly roasting and toasting, slicing and dicing, our hands take a major beating every time we wash them—which is about every five minutes. Throw in cold weather temps and a pandemic, and you’ve got a recipe for dry, cracked, itchy skin.

That’s why we keep only the thickest, most moisturizing hand creams, lotions, and salves by our sink right next to the soap. These little helpers are the only reason our poor hands would ever forgive us for putting them through the wringer—there’s no excuse not to use them after we dry off.

Ahead, 11 of our favorite hand lotions we keep by our kitchen sinks (and our bathroom sinks, and our purses because they’re just that good).

Photo by Everyday Oil

1. Everyday Oil: Mainstay, $14+

“This is my go-to for hands, I use this everywhere all day long. I have bottles of it in my kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and my tote bag. It does the job, and it smells amazing—people are always asking me what scent I’m wearing. I sometimes mix it in with my moisturizer if my skin is extra dry, but generally, Everyday Oil gets the job done for my overworked hands from cooking and washing dishes.”Dan Pelosi, Food52 Resident

Photo by Lauren's All Purpose

2. Lauren's All-Purpose Salve, $54

“I love products that are multi-use and light on fragrance, and Lauren’s All Purpose salve really makes winter less crackly. You can use it all over your hands and body, it was actually created as a salve for kitchen accidents like burns and cuts. The packaging is sustainable too, and makes for great spice or kids’ craft storage (to hold a rock collection or paint brush water). There are only a few organic ingredients, and it's female-founded.”—Karen Levi, senior director of office ops and legal affairs

“I am obsessed with Lauren's All-Purpose, which I use on my hands, my lips, and any skin abrasion.”Amanda Hesser, co-founder and CEO

Photo by CeraVe

3. CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion, $13.99 $11.74

“I swear by CeraVe. It’s super moisturizing but doesn't leave a greasy residue, and great for sensitive skin (me) or people who do a lot of dishes (also me).”Emma Laperruque, food editor

Photo by Public Goods

4. Public Goods, $5

“During an average cooking sesh, I probably wash my hands about 52 times. Not just every time my hands feel fish-y, or after I dip my fingers in the salt, or accidentally touch the chili seeds (again), but also because I constantly clean up as I go. Thank goodness then for my Public Goods cream that keeps my hands from turning into sandpaper. I love it not only because it’s vegan, and sulfate- and paraben-free, but also because it isn’t thick and absorbs quickly. Which is great because if it didn’t, it’d get washed off… about 30 seconds later.”—Arati Menon, Home52 editorial lead

Photo by Soft Services

5. Soft Services Carea Cream, $40

“This is super nourishing and fragrance free, so it’s great for my sensitive skin. At this point, I’ve repurchased it several times already.”—Rilka Noel, brand marketing manager

Photo by Nordstrom

6. Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, $16+

“I strongly dislike thick, greasy moisturizers, but my hands are never not desperate for hydration. This soothing hand salve from Kiehl's is a happy medium, and I've been buying big tubes since my baker days! It does a stellar job of providing me with ample and soothing moisture minus the gloop or fake floral scents which I find can hinder my efficiency in the kitchen.”—Justine Lee, contributor

“I second this salve. It feels thick at first, but emulsifies into a thinner consistency and absorbs really quickly—which is great since I’m constantly washing my hands and moving around in the kitchen. My hands feel like velvet afterward with no residue.”Jada Wong, market editor

Photo by Further

7. Further Glycerin Hand Lotion, $17

“The smell is very clean, I'm not one for flowery scents. It’s also a sustainable brand which is a major plus for me.”—Rachel Brubeck, purchasing manager at Schoolhouse

Photo by L'Occitane

8. L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream, $30

"I totally get the hype around L'Occitane’s hand lotion—it feels way more luxurious than I deserve. The original shea butter blend is ridiculously rich, but absorbs into my skin so easily, leaving no greasy residue behind. I love all of the scents, but the almond one takes the cake for me. During Black Friday, L’Occitane will usually have a sale on the mini sizes, so I'll mix and match a few of my favorite scents to get me through harsh New England winters. I keep one in my bag, by my bedside, next to the bathroom sink, and will invariably find one stuck between my couch cushions."Kelly Vaughan, staff writer

Photo by Amazon

9. Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Body Cream, $18.50

“I have a tube of Weleda in my kitchen and bathroom. The classic Skin Food is super versatile, so if I ‘accidentally’ use too much on my hands, I’ll pat the rest on my face for extra hydration.”Jada Wong, market editor

“I also really like Weleda’s products—Skin Food is particularly great.”—Sarah Yaffa, Senior Data Analyst

Photo by Nordstrom

10. Kiehl's Creme de Corps Body Moisturizer, $14+

“It’s fragrance-free and so, so moisturizing. My skin gets cracked and dry because I have eczema, so I always have a few of the mini bottles around my apartment and in my purses.”—Serina Patel, Marketing Coordinator

Photo by Bath & Body Works

11. Bath and Body Works Shea Butter Hand Cream, $7.50

“I have a tube of this by the kitchen sink, a tube of the Fresh Getaway scent in the bathroom, and a pump bottle of the Eucalyptus Spearmint body lotion by my desk. I like the Shea Butter version in the kitchen because it’s lightly-scented and doesn’t cloud the kitchen in fragrance. Everything from Bath & Body Works is really affordable, and there are regular sales, so I like stocking up on moisturizers and creams since I go through them so quickly.”Jada Wong, market editor

What's your fave hand lotion to keep by the sink? Let us know below!

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

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Jada Wong

Written by: Jada Wong

Jada is the market editor at Food52 with a decade of experience writing and editing for online publications such as Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, and Insider.

1 Comment

kimmiebeck February 26, 2022
I would argue that Clean Dishes Mean Dry Hands.