Just as face masks have become this year’s unlikely fashion accessory, so hand sanitiser is the new handbag staple that you can’t leave home without.
Until this year, hand sanitisers were largely functional products that came in utilitarian packaging and spooky colours. Reeking of toxic chemicals, they stripped the moisture from skin, leaving hands red and sore.
Happily, many leading beauty brands have responded to the pandemic by developing sanitising gels and sprays that meet the NHS recommended threshold of 60 per cent alcohol content — while delivering a tiny dollop of luxury.
Though they don’t quite have the cachet of a premium hand cream, the following products deliver a sensory boost, while some include innovative skincare ingredients, to make the mundane a miniature treat.
Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash 50ml (£7.00)
A welcome excuse to indulge in the cult Australian brand’s products, this gentle, hydrating gel is scented with mandarin, rosemary and cedar and comes in a robust, travel-safe miniature bottle. A larger pump dispenser (£33 for 500ml) looks sleek in the bathroom.
This Works Stress Check Clean Hands 60ml (£4.00)
A potent 70 per cent alcohol content is counter-balanced with moisturising hyaluronic acid. Loaded with This Works signature Stress Check scent (lavender, neroli and camomile), it’s just the thing to inhale when someone’s shoved in front of you in the queue for Waitrose. At £4 for 60ml, it’s also the least spenny of the brands featured here.
Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Defence Hand Spray 50ml (£6.50)
This weightless spray means no stickiness or slippery residue. The blend of lemongrass, witch hazel and niaouli smells so divine, it’s been given as a wedding favour by Covid brides.
Aromatherapy Associates No Rinse Hand Cleaner 100ml (£12.00)
Infused with a pure essential oil blend of eucalyptus, tea tree and pine, this head-clearing olfactory treat also packs a Covid-crunching alcohol content of 70 per cent.
Margaret Dabbs Hydrating Hand Sanitiser 30ml (£12.50)
‘Beware — will induce hand sanitiser envy!’ is the claim made by Margaret Dabbs. Hempseed oil and white-water lily mean this gel is super-hydrating, even with 62 per cent alcohol. It’s currently £20 for two bottles on the company’s website.
Susanne Kaufmann Purif-I Soothing and Sanitising Hand Spray 75ml (£16.00)
Suitable for skin prone to dryness, this handbag pick-me-up contains silk proteins and arnica to moisturise skin; the 62 per cent alcohol content is derived from vegetables. It absorbs instantly, leaving no trace. www.susannekaufmann.com
Purdy & Figg Original Citrus Hand Sanitiser 50ml (£5.99)
Developed by NHS nurse Purdy Rubin and horticulturist Charlotte Figg, this quick-drying spray contains over 70 per cent pharmaceutical grade alcohol. Each of the 300 doses in this little bottle delivers a mood-boosting burst of sweet orange, pink grapefruit and niaouli. It’s also available in floral and ‘Wild Woody’ vetiver versions; a set of all three is £16.99. www.purdyandfigg.com
Cowshed Restore Hand Gel/ Refresh Hand Spray 250ml (£18)
Developed and tested in line with WHO guidelines, this lavender and grapefruit-scented sanitiser — available in both a gel and a spray — is used in all the Soho House and Cowshed spas.
Byredo Vetyver Hand Sanitiser 30ml (£25)
The ultimate in hand sanitising luxury, this jasmine and violet-scented lotion from the Swedish luxury house smells divine and contains moisturising sweet almond oil. With an alcohol concentration of just 30 per cent though, it’s perhaps best used after hand washing, rather than on its own.