Health & Beauty

The Best Hand Creams for Dry and Chapped Hands

The start of winter means light more candles, cuddling on the couch, wool blankets, and knitted sweaters. If you’re anything like me, it also means extremely dry skin. The dryness of the air is compounded by the whipping Scandinavian winds.

My hands suffer worst of all, with painful dry patches that sometimes result in cracked or bleeding skin. That’s when it’s time to bust out the big guns: Kiehl’s, Neutrogena, and the host of other tried-and-true hand creams that, if applied regularly, will ensure that your hands stay smooth and that any problematic patches are addressed quickly.

Some are tubes, some are pump bottles; we find that the pump bottles work best at home while the tubes are great for your bag and desk drawer.

These are the hand creams that will keep your hands soft and moisturised throughout the winter:

List Marker: Number 1Byredo Blanche Hand Cream

Is there anything more luxurious-looking than Byredo hand cream? We love the minimalist design, the subtle but quirky scents, and of course the effect of the cream itself. This is a great cream to keep in your bag and use after hand washing or throughout the day to keep dryness away. It’s scented with crisp accords of Bergamot, Lily of the Valley and Pear, which mellows over time to reveal a base of soft Musks, Amber and Velvet Plum.

Byredo Blanche Hand Cream

€30 | $35 | DKK 260



List Marker: Number 2Skandinavisk ØY Hand Cream

Skaninavisk is all about creating scents that capture the Scandinavian landscape. “ØY” is Norwegian for “Island” and the scent is both light and slightly earthy. This isn’t a tropical island scent – it’s more about the mossy rocks and the green notes of the terrain. The cream itself is mid-way between thick and light, offering solid moisture and protection from the elements. The pastel blue metal tube is a bonus!

Skandinavisk ØY Hand Cream

€20 | $24 | DKK 150



List Marker: Number 3ARKET Geranium Hand Lotion

A staple of most Scandinavian bathrooms. The ARKET hand lotions come in a variety of one-ingredient scents that are inspired by the Swedish flora, like vetiver, a grass plant with clean and bright citrus notes. The lotions are rich in natural oils, fantastic for locking in moisture to dry hands, and the formula is lightweight enough to be used after every wash.

ARKET Geranium Hand Lotion

€9 | DKK 75



Embryolisse Hand Cream

A French girl pharmacy favorite, this is the kind of cult item you can expect to see on an influencer’s #shelfie that doesn’t break the bank. It’s deeply nourishing, packed full of vitamins and minerals, dries quickly, and even sorts out cuticles. Quel soulagement!

Embryolisse Hand Cream (Soin Nutritive Douceur De Mains)

€22 | $23 | DKK 115



Glossier Hand Cream

Everyone’s favorite millennial-pink brand has finally launched a hand cream, and not a moment too soon! The brand donated 10,000 to the most important hands of all – those of healthcare workers on the frontline of covid-19 in the US whose dry, tired hands need a pick me up the most. Fast-absorbing, nutrient-rich moisturizers (like Meadowfoam Seed Oil and Coconut Fruit Extract) nourish without a greasy feel.

Glossier Hand Cream

€18 | $18 | 140 DKK



Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

A classic hand cream that simply does the job. It’s affordable, it’s available in original scent or unscented, and it keeps your hands supple no matter the weather. We also find it useful for cuticles, and other places that get extra dry like elbows and knees.

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

€5 | $6 | 50 DKK



L:A Bruket Hand Cream in Bergamot/Patchouli

Swedish skincare company L:A Bruket makes all-natural, organic, and cruelty-free products that work hard. This hand cream has a base of shea butter and coconut oil, plus essential oils for a light fragrance. It is also slightly astringent, so it’s ideal for skin that is cracked from dryness.

L:A Bruket Hand Cream in Bergamot/Patchouli

€20 | $26 | 150 DKK



Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve

One of the most popular hand creams around, and with good reason. This stuff is heavy duty – the word “salve” indicates the thickness of the cream – and really works. Avocado and sesame oil both offer high levels of moisture. There’s minimal fragrance and the cream absorbs quickly. Because it’s so thick, this is a good cream to put on right before bed and let it sink in overnight.

Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve

€22 | $23 | DKK 150


MediK8 Hand and Nail Cream

Utilziing hyaluronic acid to retain moisture and SPF25, this high-quality hand and nail cream will keep your hands instantly moisturized as well as protect them against future damage. Sunscreen is something we often forget in our hand care, but it’s as vital as facial sunscreen, as our hands are almost always exposed to the sun.

MediK8 Hand and Nail Cream

€25 | $29 | 184 DKK


Meraki Hand Lotion in Pure

Meraki is a Danish brand launched by interiors company House Doctor. Their beautifully-packaged goods are made with organic ingredients and don’t use perfumes for their light scents. This hand lotion isn’t too thick or greasy, and it absorbs into the skin quickly. They do have a hand cream that comes in a tube, but we love their pump lotion: perfect for the sink, bedside, or desk!

Meraki Hand Lotion in Pure

€18 | $20 | 130 DKK


Rudloph Care Acai Hand Cream

This lightweight formula dissolves almost immediately and has a subtle scent. The Danish brand is an expect at producing easy-to-use and high-quality body care that is also 100% organic and cruelty-free. The Acai hand cream includes shea butter, wheat protein, sweet almond oil, and acai oil. Aloe Vera helps heal any rough or broken patches of skin, so it’s a good product for both preventative and protective use.

Rudloph Care Acai Hand Cream

€33 | $38 | DKK 245



Burt’s Bees Almond and Milk Hand Cream

This hand cream is an old favorite and it never fails. With its gentle, comforting smell, the cream is a treat to smooth into your hands. The glass jar makes it feel a little extra special. A small bit goes a long way; this cream is thick and very effective. The price is great for the amount you get!

Burt’s Bees Almond and Milk Hand Cream

€12 | $13 | DKK


Supergoop! Forever Young Hand Cream

This hand cream, which includes sea buckthorn (are you sure you’re not Danish, Supergoop?), also has broad spectrum SPF40 coverage. This is a good basic hand cream that also protects from the sun: big win!

Supergoop! Forever Young Hand Cream

€11 | $12 | DKK 100



Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm

Aesop’s blend of highly effective and moisturizing botanicals, paired with their minimalist, monochrome packaging, has made it a go-to for the aesthetically-motivated among us. Luckily, it also works. Their quick-absorbing formula leaves hands soft and protected, and the herbal scent is noticeable but not overpowering.

Their price points are a bit high, but you do get a lot for your money – this pump bottle gives you 500 ml worth of product and you only need a half pump per usage. As a treat, we recommend the hand soap and lotion for your bathroom. For travel, try their smaller metal tube of the same cream.

Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm

€80 | $97 | DKK 560

Want more products with minimalist packaging? Check out our series: Minimalist Packaging We Love.


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Rebecca Thandi Norman

Rebecca Thandi Norman is a co-founder and Editor-in-Chief at Scandinavia Standard.