If you've ever washed your hands at a fancy hotel or restaurant, then you know how a great hand soap can turn a mundane task into a pleasurable experience. The best ones are not only pretty to look at, but also smell amazing and leave your hands oh-so-soft.
And why shouldn't it be the same way at home? After all, we're meant to be washing our hands at least five times per day, for a minimum of 20 seconds per session. Factor in COVID-19, and it should be happening even more often right now.
That's why I've put together this guide, with budget, mid-priced and luxury buys.
Scroll on for the best hand soaps that you'll actually enjoy using—and displaying!
The Best Hand Soaps of 2021
Aesop Hand Wash
Aesop Hand Wash needs no introduction—its amber glass bottles with minimalistic labels have become a status symbol the world over. Resurrection Aromatique is a citrusy gel formula, while Reverence Aromatique is smokier, and exfoliates using pumice.
REN Hand Wash
REN Hand Wash is made with clean and gentle ingredients, just like the brand's body wash (which I also swear by!). Choose from Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium for energizing aromatherapy or Citrus Limonium for a lemony scent. Both are sulfate-free and housed in recyclable plastic.
Leif Hand Wash
Leif Hand Wash cleanses with coconut-based surfactants (not sulfates) that are gentle enough for frequent hand-washing. Lillypilly contains antibacterial eucalyptus and tea tree oils, and Buddha Wood has earthy sandalwood and orange.
Soapply for Credo Hand Wash
Soapply for Credo Hand Wash is based on a 300-year-old recipe, updated with the highest-quality organic coconut, olive and jojoba oils. It's fragrance-free, suitable for sensitive skin, and comes in glass packaging. Plus, a $1 donation from every purchase goes toward hygiene initiatives in Ethiopia.
Grown Alchemist Hand Wash
Grown Alchemist Hand Wash is a plant-based, sulfate-free liquid in a gender-neutral brown glass bottle. It comes in two scents: Sweet Orange, Cedarwood & Sage is fruity and earthy, and Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang, Natrium-PCA is fruity and spicy.
C.O. Bigelow Hand Wash
C.O. Bigelow Hand Wash gives you a moisturizing cleanse and traditional apothecary-inspired packaging. (Established in 1838, the brand is the oldest pharmacy in America!) There are four scents in this collection: Aqua Mellis (aquatic and fruity), Musk, Bergamot and West Village Rose.
Compagnie de Provence Liquid Marseille Soap
Compagnie de Provence Liquid Marseille Soap is a modern version of the traditional French Marseille soap, and made with a minimum 95 percent natural ingredients. There are more than a dozen scents, including Fresh Verbena and White Tea, all in glass bottles with graphic lettering.
NUORI Enriched Hand Wash
NUORI Enriched Hand Wash hydrates while it cleanses, using 100 percent natural ingredients. Just like the rest of the line, it's crafted in small batches every 10 to 12 weeks to ensure maximum freshness and potency.
Sachajuan Shiny Citrus Hand Wash
Sachajuan Shiny Citrus Hand Wash adds a little Scandinavian flair to your countertop. Best known for haircare, the brand uses the same know-how here to create a hydrating, non-stripping wash. It's scented with citrus and jasmine.
Captain Blankenship Sea Mineral Liquid Soap
Captain Blankenship Sea Mineral Liquid Soap is a clean version of classic castile soap, made with olive and coconut oils, aloe vera and essential oils. Lemongrass & Mint is refreshing, while Grapefruit & Palmarosa is uplifting, and both can be used not just on the hands but the face and body as well.
Malin+Goetz Hand + Body Wash
Malin+Goetz Hand + Body Wash is a foaming gel formula laced with hydrating glycerin and amino acids. The scents are distinctive—think Eucalyptus, Cannabis and Rum—and the plastic bottle is recyclable.
Dr. Bronner’s 4-in-1 Organic Sugar Soap
Dr. Bronner's 4-in-1 Organic Sugar Soap is a more skin-friendly version of the brand's popular castile soap. You get the same creamy lather, plus coconut, olive and hemp oils to moisturize, and no sulfates. Choose from Lavender, Peppermint, Lemongrass Lime or Tea Tree.
Oribe Côte d’Azure Revitalizing Hand Wash
Oribe Côte d'Azure Revitalizing Hand Wash upgrades your hand-washing ritual with luxe gold packaging and the same citrus and jasmine scent found in the brand's haircare products. It also happens to be one of the most hydrating options, producing a rich lather.
L’Occitane Lavender Cleansing Hand Wash
L'Occitane Lavender Cleansing Hand Wash is pH-balanced and non-drying, producing a gentle foam as it cleanses. Your hands are left soft and lightly scented with real lavender from Provence.
The Handmade Soap Co. Hand Wash
The Handmade Soap Co. Hand Wash hails from Ireland, where it is handmade from mostly natural ingredients and packaged in recycled plastic. Each bottle is adorned with a girly label and infused with one of three essential oil blends: Grapefruit & May Chang, Lemongrass & Cedarwood or Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme & Mint.
NEST Liquid Soap
NEST Liquid Soap is guaranteed to impress your guests with its modern glass packaging and intriguing array of scents. There are 10 in the line to try, with Bamboo and Grapefruit among the most popular.
NOTO The Wash
NOTO The Wash is an all-in-one option for your hands, face, hair and body. The aloe-based formula includes antibacterial coriander, bergamot and cedarwood essential oils, as well as black pepper to boost circulation. Despite being sulfate-free, it produces a mild foam.
Byredo Hand Wash
Byredo Hand Wash is the ultimate hand soap splurge—and will look ridiculously chic at your bathroom sink. Inside the Scandi-inspired packaging is a light yet nourishing formula that leaves your hands delicately scented with Suede, Rose, Vetyver or Tulipmania.
Kiehl’s Liquid Hand Soap
Kiehl's Liquid Hand Soap is a cult favourite that removes dirt and oil with non-drying, coconut-based surfactants. People love it for the classic scents—"Coriander" and "Grapefruit"—and the instantly recognizable, apothecary-style packaging (which is recyclable).
Dr Roebuck’s Straya Soothing Hand + Body Wash
Dr Roebuck's Straya Soothing Hand + Body Wash is a sulfate-free liquid soap that soothes hands with aloe vera and green tea extract while it cleanses. The ingredients are among the cleanest around, and the packaging is completely recyclable.
Jo Malone Body & Hand Wash
Goutal Hand Wash
Goutal Hand Wash is a rich, creamy cleansing formula that envelops your hands in luxe French fragrance. Du Jardin has notes of fresh flowers, red fruits and blackcurrant, while D'Orient is a reminiscent of warm wind and sand dunes. To reduce plastic waste, refills are sold separately.
Kalastyle Swedish Dream Hand Soap
Kalastyle Swedish Dream Hand Soap brings a beachy scent and aesthetic to your bathroom year-round. There's Sea Salt (with an anchor) and Seaweed (with a seahorse); both are sulfate-free, with no harsh chemicals, and very affordably priced.
Abhati Suisse One Hand Washes the Other Hand Wash
Abhati Suisse One Hand Washes the Other Hand Wash is all-natural, sulfate-free and sustainably produced in Switzerland. The coconut-based surfactants, along with moringa oil and Swiss edelweiss, ensure that it won't dry out your skin.
Detox Mode Impossible Soap
Detox Mode Impossible Soap is from The Detox Market's new in-house skincare line. Naturally, it's made with all-clean ingredients, and lifts your mood with an aromatherapeutic blend of essential oils.
Shop Editor’s Picks
Do you have a favourite hand soap?
Have you tried any of these?