When you think of hand sanitizers, we're willing to bet your mind immediately jumps to something that's either clinical (found in a doctor's office) or sickly-sweet (found dangling off your middle school backpack). The clear gels are often drying, sticky, and smell like rubbing alcohol — but they're also a no-brainer during cold and flu season, which, FYI, is now… and overlapping with the COVID-19 epidemic.
While washing your hands with soap and water is always the preferred method of cleansing (the Center for Disease Control and Prevention even calls it the "do-it-yourself" vaccine because of how drastically it protects against illness), we don't always have access to a sink. That's where hand sanitizer swoops in to save the day — and thankfully there are a crop of innovative new formulas that kill germs without sacrificing the texture and feel of your hands. In the past few weeks, we've tried our fair share of alcohol-based hand sanitizers to find the ones that not only smell great but disinfect effectively — and even moisturize, to boot. Curious? Check 'em out, ahead.
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Grove Collaborative Hydrating Hand Sanitizer
This eco-friendly formula is made with coconut oil to keep hands feeling happy, while essential oils offer a citrusy, all-natural scent.
Grove Collaborative Hydrating Hand Sanitizer – Travel, $, available at Grove Collaborative
Megababe Squeaky Clean Hand Sanitizer
From the makers of the viral Rosy Pits deodorant, Megababe's new hand sanitizer is made with sweet almond and marula oils to leave skin soft and hydrated while being tough on germs.
megababe Squeaky Clean Hand Sanitizer, $, available at Ulta Beauty
This 95% natural hand sanitizer purifies hands without drying them out — thanks to glycerin, vitamin E, chamomile, and aloe vera in the formula.
Renouve Anti-Aging Everyday Defense Hand-Sanitizer, $, available at Net-A-Porter
Dr. Bronner's Organic Hand Sanitizer
From the makers of your favorite gentle face soap comes a hand sanitizer spray that you can throw in your purse for less than five bucks. It smells like lavender and dries quickly, which makes it great for on-the-go spritzing.
Dr. Bronner's Organic Hand Sanitizer – Lavender (2 Fluid Ounces), $, available at The Vitamin Shoppe
Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash
Not only is this fresh-smelling hand sanitizer effective, but it's also beautiful. Who wouldn't want to whip it out of their purse during a long ride on the subway?
Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash, $, available at Nordstrom
This spray's refreshing herbal scent had us from the get-go. One spritz of the product's witch-hazel-and-organic oil-infused formula covers both your hands without leaving them sticky or dry.
Neal's Yard Organic Defense Hand Spray, $10.50, available at NYR Organic. (Ed. Note: This product is currently sold out. We have reached out to Neal's Yard to inquire when the product will be back in stock and will update the story when we hear back.)
Welly First Aid Hand Sanitizer Replenishment Pack
These single-use packs contain the perfect amount of sanitizer so that you can share the gift of clean hands, not germs.
Welly First Aid Hand Sanitizer Replenishment Pack – 12ct, $, available at Target
Honest Beauty Hand Sanitizer Gel – Grapefruit Grove
Honest's aloe- and calendula-infused hand sanitizer leaves hands feeling moisturized, and the eight-ounce bottle is perfect for keeping at the office or kitchen.
Honest Beauty Hand Sanitizer Gel – Grapefruit Grove, $, available at The Honest Company
Touchland Power Mist
A powerful formula packed with aloe vera and essential oils is housed in this chic spray cube that can be attached to your keys or backpack. Killing germs has never looked this good.
Touchland Pink Shield 🍭, $, available at touchland
Hello Bello Hand Sanitizer
Also ready to toss in your gym bag or purse: this Hello Bello bottle, which has avocado, cucumber and calendula extract to keep your hands soft while you sanitize.
Hello Bello Hello Bello Hand Sanitizer Spray, $, available at Walmart
Packed with organic ethanol to disinfect and jojoba oil to moisturize, this gel doesn't feel the least bit drying on the skin. Bonus: the orange and lemon peel oils in the formula make for an incredibly invigorating scent.
EO Lemon Natural Hand Sanitizer, $, available at EO
Quite possibly the most versatile hand sanitizer we've ever tried, you can use it as a spot treatment, aftershave, or even as a quick underarm refresher. In a pinch, we've used this on a budding pimple and can attest to its zit-zapping abilities.
Jao Hand Refresher, $, available at Birchbox
If you're still partial to sweet-smelling hand sanitizers, go for this one from Barr-Co. It smells like cookies, but doesn't feel sticky like many sanitizers do. Plus, it's the perfect size to stuff in a purse or makeup bag.
Barr-Co Original Scent Hand Sanitizer, $, available at Khall Designs
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