The Most Luxurious Hand Creams to Combat Winter Dryness

Seven makeup and skincare professionals who work with the likes of Angelina Jolie, Jessica Chastain, and Gisele Bündchen share their favorites.

Photographed by Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin for W magazine, October 2014

Whether it was a long night or a tough month, your concealer, mascara, and favorite foundation will do wonders in covering up what your face has gone through, physically and emotionally. One area of your skin that will never lie, however, is your hands. They are undoubtedly one of the most telling areas—revealing secrets about your lifestyle and age you might not want to be public knowledge. (A percentage of the population even spends a small fortune lasering and injecting their hands to keep them youthful-looking.)

Winter on the horizon calls for some healing hand care—you might have spent this summer using hand creams with sunscreen or dabbled some SPF into our favorite treatments, but colder seasons call for an entirely different formulation for our precious palms. Try thicker, more luxurious creams; and if you’re wise, you’re still adding a bit of sunscreen to your winter creams and partaking in a hand mask every now and then. The key, however, is consistent hydration. Keep a tube of high-quality hand cream with you and apply it constantly. Here’s a comprehensive list highlighting our favorite healing hand creams on the market to protect your hands from a combination of hand-washing, sanitizer, and frigid temperatures.

High-Grade, Holistic Ingredients That Restore the Skin

For those who feel the appearance of the hands is just as important as the face, this is a fast-acting hand cream that does not fool around—you feel it working instantly. Using sustainably grown avocado oil pressed directly from the founder’s own Malibu ranch, the formulation boasts a combination of niacinamide (to brighten) and Bakuchiol (all-natural retinol to exfoliate). Retrouvé’s fast-absorbing hand cream is a favorite for prominent makeup artist Matin Maulawizada (whose client list includes Angelina Jolie and Jessica Chastain). “Retrouvé Dermal Defense Hand Cream is a saving grace for my hands as well as those of my clients,” he says. “I’ve been shooting films during Covid, and this cream has made my clients’ hands look and feel camera ready, even with constant washings and hand sanitizer use. The texture is very relevant because in shoots we cannot use textures that read too shiny or too flat. I love that this cream gives a velvety finish that makes the hands look and feel beautiful on and off camera.”

Deep Healing for Chapped Hands

A thoroughly healing blend of soothing white peony extract, rich shea butter, and vitamin E are fused into Augustinus Bader’s cult favorite hand cream to protect and hydrate hands that are constantly being washed and sanitized. Renowned London facialist Nichola Joss, a favorite of Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Keira Knightley and Gisele Bünchden, is a fan of Bader’s 360 approach to treatment. “I love the Augustinus Bader hand cream,” she says. “It’s deeply nourishing and moisturizing. It leaves my hands feeling very soft, supple, and hydrated. Also, it supports smoothness and elasticity. It provides protection against environmental stressors, and uses TFC8—which supports cellular renewal and guides key ingredients to the cells. The cream also works hard to help reduce scarring and visible aging signs.”

Anti-Aging and Environmental Stressor Protection

This hand cream not only sets out to soften your hands, but also delivers effective ingredients such as punicic acid (Omega 5), turmeric extract, niacinamide, and hydrolyzed collagen to protect skin from environmental damage and aging. L.A.-based makeup artist Jillian Dempsey—who’s responsible for creating some of the most indelible makeup looks for Kirsten Stewart and Jennifer Lawrence—has been a longtime fan of this hand treatment. “As a makeup artist, I use my hands a lot, so it’s super important that I keep them fresh and hydrated,” she says. “I use Natura Bissé’s Diamond Extreme hand cream religiously. It gives my hands the perfect amount of moisture without being too sticky, all while putting in the work and giving them the antiaging benefits they need with fast-acting ingredients. It really does give my hands a luxurious and youthful glow. I love pairing this product with their Diamond body cream…it feels like heaven.”

Skin-Plumping, Healing, and Evens Out Skin Tone

Combining daisy flower extract to reduce age spots and mangosteen and quince extract to help plump hands, this cream is one of the most concentrated formulations to help revive dull, dry palms. Lisa Aharon, the celebrity makeup artist behind the red carpet looks of Rachel Brosnahan and Florence Welch, is a fan of Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Super Antiaging Hand Cream—particularly since her vocation requires round-the-clock hand sanitizing and washing. “As a makeup artist, I sanitize and wash my hands constantly,” she says. “If I don’t moisturize regularly, my hands quickly look dry and frankly, sad. This makes me super serious about my hand cream, as I need something that thoroughly delivers. However, I don’t like feeling any residue on my hands while I’m working. Dr. Sturm’s hand cream is amazing for quick absorption, maximum hydration, and as a bonus, it contains antiaging benefits.”

Restorative Hand and Cuticle Care

This decadent hand treatment uses remedial plant power to provide nourishing care for both hands and nails. Sisley’s Restorative Hand Cream uses a biosacharide solution with plant-based sugar to help retain moisture and protect skin from environmental stressors. Chestnut extract is also used in the formulation as a healing ingredient to alleviate dry, chapped hands. This skin cure-all is a go-to for veteran celebrity aesthetician and Faceworks Inc. founder, Joomee Song, who regularly relies on this cream for optimal hydration during colder climates. “I would recommend this especially at night,” she says. “It is made with powerful ingredients that support skin barrier function and is a cream that I always return to and can count on, especially at the colder times of year.”

For Sensitive Hands and Eczema Relief

Tatcha’s cult favorite hand cream is comprised of Japanese Indigo, a botanical ingredient highly prized for its ability to soothe irritation and support skin’s natural healing abilities, especially for eczema-prone skin. Preferred and used often by respected makeup artist Daniel Martin (who works with Priyanka Chopra, Elisabeth Moss, and Michelle Yeoh). “As someone who suffers from seasonal eczema, this hand cream not only controls the itch, but it also softens my hands and fingertips when applying makeup,” he says.

Lightly Scented Hand Creams With No Residue That Provide Healing Properties

This moisturizing hand cream comes in an array of unimposing, gorgeous scents that leave hands soft without any filmy residue. New York-based makeup artist Vincent Oquendo relies on this product to keep his hands feeling and looking good. “The Byredo hand cream is my absolute favorite, along with their hand wash,” he says. “It doesn’t leave a slimy residue on my hands. It moisturizes and is pleasant to use before I work with clients, because they all love the smell of my hands when I’m working on their makeup.”