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The 10 Best Hand Soap and Lotion Sets to Keep You Clean and Moisturized

These luxurious options turn a necessary protection into a momentary pleasure.

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The Best Hand Soap and Lotion Sets to Use in 2023 Byredo

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Sometimes, a hand soap is so overly drying that it’s practically necessary to have a hand lotion ready for immediate recovery. That should never be the case. Yes, washing your hands will reduce the moisture in your hands—especially if you have hard water or wash with hot water—but the soap should never be the reason your hands feel dry after a wash. Still, you should have a hand lotion at the ready anyway, even if you have a nourishing hand soap, if only as a reinforcement measure. (Plus, you never know when you’ll need an extra dose of moisture; you’ll certainly want to lather one on before bed each night, and likely after each shower.)

For both types of products, prioritize ingredients that proactively boost hydration and reinforce the skin’s barrier functions. “Like hyaluronic acid and ceramides [respectively], as well as nourishing ingredients like plant oils or shea butter,” says NYC-based board-certified dermatologist Elizabeth Hale, M.D. As for what to avoid, Hale has this to add: “Try to avoid antibacterial hand soaps, as they can be harsh on the skin, are no safer than regular soap and water, and can actually be detrimental to your health by killing off the beneficial bacteria on your skin.” 

To this note, Hale says that synthetic formulas can be a good alternative for people with sensitivities—specifically synthetic detergent bar soaps, also known as syndet bars. “When looking for a syndet formula, avoid those with artificial colorants or added fragrance, since they can be irritating to some,” she adds. You’ll probably see this on the ingredients label as “fragrance” or “parfum”, whereas naturally scented formulas are derived from essential oils like peppermint, lavender, citrus and so forth. Not everyone will have a reaction to artificial fragrance, but people with general sensitivities should be especially vigilant.

If bar soap is your preference here, then Dr. Hale has a storage tip to help prolong its life—and it will also help prolong any shower/body soaps you use, too. “Keep it out of the ‘splash zone’ [on the sink or in the shower] and make sure it drains and completely dries in between uses.” For this, find a soap dish that offers proper drainage and ventilation beneath the bar, so that the soap never rests in a pool of water. A properly ventilated bathroom will also help ensure expedient drying of the soap bar.

Read on for our picks for the best hand soaps—both bar soaps and liquid pumps—along with the best hand lotions that round out a perfect pairing.

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