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Finding the best hand soap probably doesn’t cross your mind until you’re left staring at an empty bottle when you need it the most. It’s a not-so-friendly reminder to stop neglecting the important stuff in life—like stocking up on the suds that will leave your hands clean, silky smooth, and ready to touch a whole lot of stuff.
Sometimes you just want the stripped down basics, the $10 bottle that was good enough for your childhood and still continues to do the job. But some occasions require a little more pizzazz. You know: the type of liquid in a bottle that will transport you halfway across the world, for no better reason than you really deserve a little break.
Here are our top picks, from the high-end stuff you’ve probably seen at hot restaurants and on interior-design blogs to the simple, available-everywhere soaps that you can still usually pick up from the shelves of your local grocery store. Happy washing!
Best Hand Soaps, at a Glance
The Status Symbol Pick
When you think of high-end soap, you probably think of this one. Aesop has got the game locked down thanks to their Instagram-friendly design and chic, minimal stores, and you’ve probably seen bottles of this stuff at trendy cafés and the bathroom of that restaurant that everyone won’t stop talking about. It’s ubiquitous, it turns out, for a reason: The fragrance is woody with a touch of citrus (vetiver root and bergamot rind), and very fine pieces of pumice add a great, gentle exfoliation. It foams up just enough, washes off without any residue, and leaves your hands scrubbed, smooth, soft, and subtly fragrant, like you just left a spa.
The Green(ery) Pick
All of Malin+Goetz’s cannabis-scented products share a warm, spicy fragrance that inches toward a kind of dank earthiness without actually smelling like a dorm room—more like a cozy, grown-up cabin in the woods with a barely perceptible haze from last night’s smoke still lingering. The cannabis hand wash, obviously, is no exception, and its smooth and lightly foaming texture opens up into that same rich fragrance that’s noticeable but not overwhelming. It left our hands feeling soft and residue-free. Bonus: Having a bottle on your bathroom counter feels a bit fun and irreverent, like you’re the kind of guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously (whether or not that’s actually true).
The Luxury Pick
Get transported to the Italian coast with a few pumps of Acqua di Parma’s hand soap in its signature “Colonia” scent. Blending together notes of bergamot, lavender, sandalwood, and patchouli, the intoxicating fragrance is as luxurious as they come. While frequent hand washing can lead to unsightly dry hands, this bougie soap is packed with moisturizing panthenol so you can wash away and get your olfactory senses buzzing in the process.
The Grocery Store Pick
Most cheap supermarket soaps tend to dry out your hands and/or don’t smell all that nice and/or are just plain ugly, with bottles that look like they belong more in a kid’s bathroom than a grown man’s. Thankfully, Mrs. Meyer’s is different. The fragrances, especially the lemon verbena scent, are refreshing and pleasant rather than cloying potpourri. The consistency and foaming power is good. The packaging is simple and adult. All without costing more than a few bucks.
The Indie Pick
Organic, plant-based and ocean-safe this botanical hand wash is holistic self-care at its finest. Many hand soaps aren’t worth having an extended conversation aboutm but Sangre de Fruta’s version is fused with super moisturizing cacao seed butter and purifying rosemary extract making it a real treat for your skin (and sink thanks to the sleek packaging).