The 15 Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps of 2022 to Prevent the Spread of Germs

The Avalon Organics Glycerin Hand Soap is an all-natural formula with hydrating ingredients

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Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps
Amazon

Hand washing plays a major role in staying healthy. We should all wash our hands for at least 20 seconds not only after using the bathroom, but also after eating, handling pet food, or tending to a cut or wound, among other instances. And when you're washing that often, a hydrating hand soap is a must to keep your hands from becoming uncomfortably cracked and dry—especially during cold, winter months.

The best moisturizing hand soaps have ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and rich plant oils like jojoba seed, avocado seed, or rosehip oils, says Audrey Kunin, MD, celebrity dermatologist and founder of Dermadoctor. Glycerin, ceramides, shea butter, coconut oil, and aloe vera are also great. Camille Howard, MD, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in medical dermatology, says natural, organic formulas are ideal, because they "fight germs without stripping skin of natural oils."

And as urgent as the label "antibacterial" might feel, Dr. Howard says antibacterial soaps are no more effective than using any other soap and water. (And the CDC backs her up on this.) Plus, when they're used excessively, they can eliminate crucial healthy bacteria and remove natural oils, causing irritation, she adds. Formulas containing sulfates and parabens should also be avoided, and those with eczema or sensitive skin should stay away from fragrances and dyes.

Hydrating hand soaps vary in price, and you can pay up to double digits for one bottle, depending on what you're looking for. But our top pick, Avalon Organics Glycerin Soap, boasts a reasonable price point at under $10, an organic formula, and contains glycerin to lock in moisture. We spoke with dermatologists and reviewed hand soaps by type, consistency, key ingredients, and scent.

Here are the best moisturizing hand soaps on the market.

Our Recommendations

Best Overall: Avalon Organics Glycerin Hand Soap

Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps
Amazon

Why We Like It: This soap is a natural formula that smells good, is affordable, and contains hydrating glycerin.

It's Worth Noting: This soap contains natural fragrance in the form of essential oils that may be irritating to those with sensitive skin.

Macrene Alexiades. MD, dermatologist and founder of Macrene Actives, recommends Avalon Organics for its organic, plant-based formula packed with simple, moisturizing ingredients. Glycerin, a humectant, attracts moisture from the air and delivers it to the skin, and vitamin E moisturizes and softens, sealing in the hydration the glycerin brings. Natural essential oils leave a lingering, revitalizing scent in either lemon, rosemary, or lavender—which is great for those who can tolerate fragrance, but not so much for the eczema-prone who can't.

At under $10, the price is reasonable for an all-natural soap that's manufactured in the U.S. The lather isn't too sudsy, but just enough, and the dark green bottle makes for a stylish presentation on the bathroom or kitchen sink.

Price at time of publication: $7

Product Details:

  • Type: Liquid
  • Key ingredients: Glycerin, vitamin E, essential oils
  • Scent: Lemon, rosemary, or lavender

Best for Eczema: Vanicream Liquid Cleanser

Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps
Amazon

Why We Like It: This mild soap is free of fragrance, dyes, sulfates, and parabens, making it hydrating and safe for use on the hands, face, and body, says Dr. Kunin.

It's Worth Noting: The formula doesn't have a great lather and won't fully mask strong smells like onion or garlic post-cooking.

Unlike harsh soaps that can strip away the protective acid mantle from skin, Dr. Kunin says Vanicream Liquid Cleanser helps maintain the moisture your hands already have with a gentle formula that's free of fragrance, dyes, sulfates, and parabens. Its key ingredient is glycerin, which traps moisture from the air and gives it back to the skin.

Minimal ingredients make it relatively risk-averse for the entire family to use, and an affordable price point will make it easy to repurchase when you run out. Using this soap alone followed by a hand cream is enough to help effectively reduce active eczema flare-ups over time.

Price at time of publication: $9

Product details:

  • Type: Liquid
  • Key ingredient: Glycerin
  • Scent: Fragrance-free

Best for Extremely Dry Skin: CeraVe Hydrating Cream to Foam Cleanser

Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps
Amazon

Why We Like It: The formula contains ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and amino acids to cleanse and hydrate the skin at the same time.

It's Worth Noting: It's often used as a face cleanser, so using it to wash your hands might feel strange at first.

This wash is marketed as a face cleanser, but Dr. Kunin recommends it if you have extremely dry hands. Why? Because it contains moisturizing ingredients that many traditional hand soaps don't. Those include hyaluronic acid, a humectant that, like glycerin, pulls moisture from the air, but it can hold a thousand times its weight in water for extra hydrating abilities, per Harvard Health Publishing. Ceramides, which are naturally found in the skin, help maintain the skin's natural protective barrier, and amino acids support the skin's natural moisturizing function.

It's also free of fragrances and parabens and is pH-balanced, meaning it has a pH identical to skin's natural level and therefore is less likely to cause irritation. And with this pick, you get 19 ounces of product and won't have to sacrifice a good lather—the cream formula turns into a soft foam that will make your hands feel clean (but not stripped) upon rinsing.

Price at time of publication: $19

Product details:

  • Type: Cream to foam
  • Key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, ceramides, amino acids
  • Scent: Fragrance-free

Best for Sensitive Skin: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps
Amazon

Why We Like It: You get 16 ounces of gentle, hydrating cleanser for under $20, which will last a while.

It's Worth Noting: The bottle isn't the most aesthetically pleasing.

Keeping sensitive skin happy is all about improving its resilience by maintaining its protective moisture barrier. Dr. Kunin recommends this gentle cleanser for just that. When you wash your hands, moisture evaporates along with excess water droplets as they dry. To minimize that process, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, and hydrating glycerin restore what the sink takes away.

Like our picks for eczema and dry skin, this is also marketed as a face wash, but it's worth the switch to know you're getting a product that's fragrance-, paraben-, and sulfate-free that won't cause unwanted irritation or flare-ups. This formula is also great if your lifestyle requires a lot of hand washing—think, restaurant service or a stay at home parent on diaper duty—because the repeat washes won't dry you out. And while the bottle isn't the most eye catching, you could easily decant it into something more aesthetically pleasing.

Price at time of publication: $14

Product Details:

  • Type: Cream
  • Key ingredients: Glycerin, vitamin B3, vitamin B5
  • Scent: Fragrance-free

Best Budget: SoftSoap Milk & Honey Liquid Hand Soap

Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps
Amazon

Why We Like It: This is a classic, tried-and-true formula that you can stock up on for $0.16 per fluid ounce.

It's Worth Noting: This soap doesn't contain as many hydrating ingredients as others on this list.

Dr. Kunin recommends this budget pick. It contains milk proteins and honey extracts to lock in moisture and soften the skin. The texture is thicker than most hand soaps thanks to sodium chloride. The lather is ideal, and at a little over a dollar for each bottle in this pack of six, the price is hard to beat. Plus, the milk and honey scent is warm and comforting, perfect for the fall and winter seasons. It's also pH balanced and, for a scented soap, is relatively gentle on sensitive skin.

We wish it had a few more hydrating or moisturizing ingredients (such as hyaluronic acid or shea butter), but if you're looking for a basic hand soap that's, overall, a bit more hydrating than most, this fits the bill.

Price at time of publication: $12 (for pack of 6)

Product Details:

  • Type: Liquid
  • Key ingredients: Milk proteins, honey extracts, sodium chloride
  • Scent: Milk and honey

Best Bar: Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Bar Soap

Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps
Amazon

Why We Like It: Three ingredients keep the formula simple and fuss-free.

It's Worth Noting: The bars are 8 ounces each, making them bulkier than most bar soaps.

Vegetable oils like olive oil are great for softening the skin and trapping in moisture, says Dr. Alexiades. That's why she recommends this pure olive oil bar soap, which contains only three ingredients: olive oil, sea salt, and water. The simple, fragrance-free formula not only makes it moisturizing, but also safe for use on sensitive skin and those with soap allergies.

The bar is 100 percent biodegradable and plastic-free, making it an eco-conscious pick, as well. After all, plastic bottles and pumps can be wasteful over time. This pack of six will last a good while, too, especially given that the bars, made in Greece, are 8 ounces each.

Price at time of publication: $28

Product Details:

  • Type: Bar
  • Key ingredients: Olive oil
  • Scent: Fragrance-free (but may smell like olive oil)

Best Foaming: Ulta Beauty Collection Eucalyptus Mint Foaming Hand Wash

Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps
Ulta

Why We Like It: This affordable soap is a mess-free foam that smells fresh and is sulfate- and paraben-free.

It's Worth Noting: It contains fragrance and foams into a lather, so it may not be ideal if you have sensitive skin.

Dr. Howard enjoys this foaming hand soap for its natural, fresh scent and hydrating ingredients: aloe leaf juice and glycerin. If you've used regular liquid hand soap before, you know the frustration of pumping it out only for it to dribble down the bottle and into the sink, which is not only messy, but wasteful. That's less likely to happen with a foaming wash in a bottle like this one, which dispenses a uniform dollop of microfine bubbles with every push, making adding water and scrubbing down a quick, easy, and clean process.

This formula's eucalyptus mint scent has an invigorating, clean undertone that really makes you feel like your digits are sparkling. Aloe leaf juice also has calming properties that may soothe minor dryness, though the eucalyptus fragrance is potentially irritating for those with sensitive skin.

Price at time of publication: $7

Product Details:

  • Type: Foam
  • Key ingredients: Glycerin, Aloe leaf juice
  • Scent: Eucalyptus mint

Best Scent: The Handmade Soap Co. Lemongrass & Cedarwood Hand Wash

Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps
Ulta

Why We Like It: This soap has a unique, sophisticated scent powered by natural essential oils.

It's Worth Noting: At $20 for 10 ounces, it's a bit of a splurge.

A pick from Dr. Howard, this soap's sophisticated scent profile will have you excited to return to the sink for your next lather. An upgraded spin on a generic fresh lemon scent, it contains cedarwood essential oils that offer a luxurious warmth and layered, unexpected aroma that lingers on the skin.

The formula and packaging are handmade in Ireland, and the soap itself contains mostly natural ingredients (mostly flower and plant oils), with added glycerin to boost its hydration performance. The packaging is made from 100 percent recycled materials and the formula is sulfate- and paraben-free. At $20, it's a bit of a splurge, but we think it's worth it.

Price at time of publication: $20

Product Details:

  • Type: Liquid
  • Key ingredients: Glycerin, essential oils
  • Scent: Lemon, cedarwood

Best Exfoliating: Ouai Hand Wash

Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps
Sephora

What We Like: The biodegradable exfoliating beads are better for the environment and the minimalist bottle design will look nice next to your bathroom or kitchen sink.

It's Worth Noting: This is the most expensive recommendation on our list and the inclusion of fragrance could be irritating if you have sensitive skin.

If you deal with rough patches or calluses and could use a bit of gentle exfoliation, Dr. Howard recommends this high-end wash, which contains jojoba esters, natural granules that will buff away dead skin without polluting the environment once rinsed down the drain. Castor oil in this formula also contributes to a thick, creamy lather that seals in moisture, and avocado, rosehip, and jojoba oils soothe and replenish skin.

While it's sulfate- and paraben-free, it does contain a fragrance called Dean Street—a rich floral blend of citrus, rose, magnolia, and linden blossom. It's not cheap, at $32 for 16 ounces, but if you want to make hand washing a bit more luxurious, this one will do just that.

Price at time of publication: $32

Product Details:

  • Type: Liquid
  • Key ingredients: Glycerin, jojoba esters, castor oil
  • Scent: Floral

Best Anti-Bacterial: Dove Care and Protect Anti-bacterial Hand Wash

Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps
Amazon

What We Like: This soap is antibacterial, but contains moisturizers to keep the hands from drying out.

It's Worth Noting: It contains fragrance and not as many rich moisturizers as other picks on this list.

Although hand soaps don't technically have to be antibacterial to effectively get rid of germs, if you feel passionate about getting one, this formula will do the job without drying out your hands. It contains a moisturizing blend of glycerin and sunflower seed oil, and doesn't rely on triclosan, a harmful antibacterial, to kill germs. "Triclosan is considered highly toxic to aquatic life when it gets into our waterways, but also has been shown to negatively affect human health, including harming the thyroid and potential to cause cancer," explains Dr. Alexiades.

It's a steal for under $4, and you get 13 ounces of product. To get the full antibacterial effect, make sure to lather (which is easy thanks to this creamy formula) and wash hands for at least 20 seconds before rinsing.

Price at time of publication: $4

Product Details:

  • Type: Liquid
  • Key ingredients: Glycerin, sunflower seed oil
  • Scent: Fresh, lightly floral

Best for Kids: Kandoo Bright Foam Moisturizing Hand Soap

Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps
Amazon

What We Like: This soap encourages kids to be independent and thorough hand washers with colored foam.

It's Worth Noting: The purple foam might stain countertops if not rinsed properly down the sink.

Getting kids to focus and thoroughly wash their hands can be difficult, which is why a soap like this one is great—it makes the task double as a creative activity. Purple foam helps them clearly see what areas they've covered, ensuring every nook and cranny gets cleaned. The formula is also moisturizing, thanks to vitamin E and natural fruit extracts that keep their thin, fragile skin smooth and comfortable.

The easy-to-pump bottle with a sturdy base will make kiddos feel empowered to do all the steps themselves, and the price isn't too bad, at just $7 for 8 ounces. The only drawback here is it might stain your countertops depending on how porous they are, so it shouldn't be left to linger in the sink for too long.

Price at time of publication: $7

Product Details:

  • Type: Foam
  • Key ingredients: Vitamin E, fruit extracts
  • Scent: Berry

Best Luxury: Milk + Honey Blood Orange, Ginger, Lemon Grass Hand Soap No. 35

Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps
Amazon

What We Like: This soap is free of parabens, artificial fragrances, and dyes, plus the bottle will look nice in your bathroom or kitchen.

It's Worth Noting: At $2.00 per ounce, it's definitely a splurge.

You can't get much more luxurious than soap created by a spa. Dr. Howard loves this formula from Milk + Honey, which was formulated by estheticians and contains organic blood orange peel oil, organic ginger oil, and organic lemongrass oil that deliver nourishment to the hands and leave behind a spa-like scent that doubles as aromatherapy. The lather is thanks to organic castile soap, which suds-es without stripping, and vegetable glycerin takes care of hydration.

This fancy soap is free of sulfates and harsh detergents, and is also available in a lavender scent. At $24, there are definitely more expensive soaps, but it's just luxe enough.

Price at time of publication: $24

Product Details:

  • Type: Liquid
  • Key ingredients: Glycerin, organic castile soap, organic essential oils
  • Scent: Blood Orange, ginger, lemon grass

Best Prebiotic: Tom's of Maine Prebiotic Moisturizing Hand Wash

Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps
Amazon

What We Like: This prebiotic soap helps the skin microbiome maintain a good balance of healthy bacteria.

It's Worth Noting: It contains fragrance and is a tad expensive compared to other basic hand soaps.

Just like your gut, your hands need some good bacteria, and prebiotic soaps help maintain that balance. In this formula, the natural, agave-derived prebiotic inulin helps promote the growth of good bacteria while restoring moisture to your hands with glycerin and sunflower seed oil. The prebiotics also help maintain a healthy skin pH balance.

This soap is sulfate- and paraben-free, and is available in a lavender scent (listed above), apple, orange, rose, and peppermint. The natural ingredients make it great for most sensitive skin types, though it does contain fragrance. The price tag on this one is pretty middle-ground, but worth it considering there isn't a surplus of prebiotic hand soaps on the market.

Price at time of publication: $13

Product Details:

  • Type: Liquid
  • Key ingredients: Inulin, glycerin, sunflower seed oil
  • Scent: Lavender

Best Natural: Dr. Bronner's Organic Sugar Soap

Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps
Amazon

What We Like: This soap is an organic formula that's safe for use on hands, body, face, and hair.

It's Worth Noting: It contains fair trade palm kernel oil, grown by farmers in Ecuador with harvesting techniques that won't damage local habitats.

Dr. Alexiades recommends Dr. Bronner's because it's an all organic formula. Fair trade, organic sugar combined with organic shikakai powder gently cleanse and exfoliate the skin, and a blend of organic oils—including coconut, olive, and hemp—keep the skin nourished, hydrated, and smooth. The inclusion of palm kernel oil might make some hesitate to pick it up, considering palm oil harvesting has been known to harm the environment, but Dr. Bronner's makes ethical practices a priority.

For instance, the sugar soap is packaged in 100 percent post-consumer recycled bottles, and its multi-use nature eliminates the need to waste money and packaging on other products. It's available in four scents: lemongrass lime, peppermint, tea tree, and fragrance-free for those with sensitive skin.

Price at time of publication: $14

Product Details:

  • Type: Liquid
  • Key ingredients: organic sugar, shikakai powder, organic plant oils
  • Scent: Lemongrass lime, peppermint, tea tree, fragrance-free

Best Sustainable: Gelo Hand Soap With Refill Pods

Best Moisturizing Hand Soaps
Walmart

What We Like: You can stop wasting plastic bottles every month or so in favor of 100 percent biodegradable Gelo refill pods, which contain natural ingredients.

It's Worth Noting: The start-up pack, which contains a bottle with a pump and 80 ounces worth of refill pods, is pricier than some other options at first, but worth it in the long run.

Dr. Kunin recommends Gelo hand soap for its gentle, natural ingredients, but its sustainability is just as appealing. Not only will you never have to handle a clunky refill bottle again (only to accidentally overfill your dispenser and have a mess to clean), but you can rest assured knowing you won't be wasting packaging by repurchasing more product every few months. The super concentrated Gelo soap tabs are completely biodegradable and contain no added fillers. Just add water, and they dissolve.

Then, the formula becomes a plant-based foaming soap that contains essential oils for moisture. The clean, dye-free cleanser also boasts nourishing shea and oat to soften the skin and soothe irritation.

Price at time of publication: $13

Product Details:

  • Type: Foam
  • Key ingredients: Shea, oat, essential oils
  • Scent: Fresh scent (with three other options available)

How We Selected

We interviewed three dermatologists, who recommended the best ingredients to look for in moisturizing hand soaps. The experts also gave us their own product recommendations. We researched dozens more hand soaps from the top brands and retailers to create our full list.

What to Know About Moisturizing Hand Soap

It Does Not Have to Be Antibacterial

The CDC and dermatologists both confirm that any soap, when used thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds) and rinsed with water, disinfects just as well as soaps labeled as antibacterial. In fact, antibacterial soaps can do more harm than good, stripping the skin of healthy bacteria and moisture.

Look for Moisturizing Ingredients

The key to finding a hand soap that keeps your hands soft and smooth instead of drying them out is to look for moisturizing and hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and nourishing plant oils like jojoba, coconut, sunflower seed, and avocado. Shea butter, aloe, and ceramides also provide a thirst-quenching boost.

How Much to Expect to Pay for Moisturizing Hand Soap

You can pay as much or (almost) as little as you want for hand soap—it depends on just how moisturizing a formula you want, and how much you're willing to splurge. Our picks range from around $3 to $24.

Your Questions, Answered

Which type of soap is best for your hands?

A good, moisturizing hand soap is free of sulfates and parabens, and if you have sensitive skin, also has no fragrance or dyes. It should instead contain moisturizing plant oils and humectants like glycerin, aloe, and hyaluronic acid to keep the skin's moisture barrier intact.

What types of hand soaps do most dermatologists recommend?

Dermatologists recommend hand soaps that are gentle, mild, and fragrance-free, meaning they don't strip the hands of moisture or healthy bacteria. They should also contain added, skin-loving ingredients like glycerin, plant oils, and hyaluronic acid. Fragrance is optional depending on your skin's sensitivities.

Does moisturizing hand soap kill germs?

Moisturizing hand soaps work just as well to kill germs as any other hand soap on the market. According to the CDC, any soap (even those that aren't antibacterial) is effective as long as it's lathered and scrubbed on for at least 20 seconds prior to rinsing.

Who We Are

Kayla Blanton is a freelance writer with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a specialization in public health and women, gender, and sexuality studies. She's covered health, nutrition, lifestyle, and beauty at various outlets for five years.

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