Let me start by saying that I'm not above using an affordable, drugstore hand soap. In fact, that's what I've used for the majority of my life. It was only recently that I started dabbling in high-end handwashes, and the rumors are true: The right one can instantly elevate your bathroom and make you feel like you're staying at a luxury hotel. In fact, after a few months of only using luxurious, scented formulas, I don't know if I can go back. There's just something about seeing the chic bottle next to the sink, breathing in a soft, perfumy scent, and feeling a silky lather between your fingers… I mean, it's the little things, right?
After a lot of research and weeks of testing, I'm confident that I've found the most luxe, sensorial hand soaps on the market. And because I'm a beauty editor who refuses to gatekeep my favorite products, I'm sharing them with you. Ahead, see the 10 high-end handwashes I keep on rotation next to my bathroom sink.
Best Overall: Aesop Resurrection Hand Wash
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Beauty editors everywhere love this classic handwash. I'm transported to a luxury hotel every time I use it. That's partly due to the botanical scent of rosemary, lavender, mandarin rind, and cedar. The main reason, though, is that many luxury hotels actually stock their bathrooms with this exact handwash. So, yeah, enough said. (The matching hand cream is just as good.)
Pro: Gentle cleansing agents and spa-like scent.
Customer review: "I have no idea why Aesop hand soap is so good, it just is. The consistency, smell....everything is just perfect. You'd normally never find me spending this much on hand soap but it's the only kind I'll now buy. What can I say, it sparks joy." — Dermstore customer
To me, there's no better scent for a handwash than Suede by Byredo. Notes of bergamot, lily of the valley, crisp amber, pear, and velvety plum make it smell fresh yet warm, which is the sweet spot for a sophisticated handwash. Then there's the formula and the packaging. Regarding the former, it lathers up into a silky foam that doesn't strip my skin. Regarding the latter, the hefty, minimalist bottle looks so chic sitting on my vanity.
Pro: Luxe scent, silky lather, and chic packaging.
Customer review: "This hand wash goes beautifully with the hand lotion. It’s a gorgeous fresh scent but not overbearing and doesn’t leave my skin feeling dry or feeling tight like other hand washes. It also hasn’t affected my sensitive skin. An added bonus is that the packaging looks beautiful!" — Nordstrom customer
This handwash was one of the first high-end ones I tried, and I'm pretty sure it's the reason I veered away from my old drugstore varieties. It's actually a hand and bodywash, but I only used it for my hands because it's pricey at $80 a bottle. I could have opted for the brand's iconic Baccarat Rouge scent, but I wanted something different, so I went with 724—a delicate floral scent with notes of sandalwood, bergamot, crystalline white flower, and musk. Each time I use it, my hands are clean, soft, and delicately scented.
Pro: Delicate floral scent, lightweight foaming lather, and functions as both a hand and bodywash.
Maybe it's the overall aesthetic or maybe it's the botanical-rich formula, but this one reminds me a lot of the Aesop handwash, which is probably why I love it so much. The scent is relaxing yet uplifting, and the formula never fails to cleanse my skin without stripping moisture. That's always appreciated, though, especially in the colder months.
Pro: Gentle cleansing agents and spa-like scent.
Customer review: "I love this fragrance—earthy and beautiful also stays for a long time. The aesthetic of the bottle is really pretty for decor purposes. My sister is a designer and has these in each of her bathrooms so I knew it was a 10/10. Happy hand washing!" — Amazon customer
If you know me, you know I love Jo Malone fragrances. Well, two to be specific: Wood Sage & Sea Salt ($80) and English Pear & Freesia ($80). The latter is perfect as a handwash since it's light, fresh, and slightly floral. While this can be used as both a handwash and a bodywash, I keep it at my sink. To me, it's too pricey to use as a bodywash, but I would if I could!
Pro: Iconic scent and functions as both a hand and bodywash.
Con: The scent doesn't last as long as others.
Customer review: "I'm obsessed with Jo Malone and this is one of my favorites. I think it's well worth the money and it lasts so long. Perfect for a gift or just a treat to yourself." — Jo Malone customer
This handwash has the ultimate softening formula thanks to ingredients such as jojoba esters, which provide gentle exfoliation; castor oil, which provides a moisturizing lather; and a combination of rose hip, avocado, and jojoba oils, which makes the skin feel silky smooth. It's scented with the brand's iconic Dean Street fragrance, which is fresh and floral and reminds me of a spring day.
Pro: Smoothing and softening formula, gentle exfoliation, and good price per fluid ounce.
Customer review: "Not only does this soap, smell like heaven, it really makes you feel super clean. I’ve tried a million hand soaps in my day; this one is by far the best." — Sephora customer
If a handwash is inspired by the scent of Moroccan mint tea, I'm going to like it. This one combines notes of eucalyptus oil, spearmint, black tea, cedarwood, and papyrus. It basically smells like relaxation in a bottle. What's more is that it has argan oil, Australian hibiscus flower, and coconut-derived surfactants to care for overworked skin on the hands. Personally, I'm also a big fan of the aesthetic of the chunky, squared-off bottles.
Pro: Unique, complex scent and skin-benefiting ingredients.
Customer review: "What a find. These products are outstanding! Not only does their design turn your home bathroom into a spa-like space, but the quality of the contents is beyond my expectations. The scent is beautiful and the rich liquid cleanses my hands without drying. Even those 'natural' high-end products I have sworn by in the past left some residue. These do not." — Homecourt customer
This new formula from Youth to the People smells like fresh forest air, and it's something I'm planning on using throughout fall and winter as a result. As for the formula, it contains active ingredients like sodium PCA, plant-based surfactants, and a combination of kale, green tea, and spinach extracts. In other words, it's chock-full of hydration and antioxidants.
Pros: Fresh scent and antioxidant-rich formula.
Cons: Scent could be too strong for some people.
Customer review: "This instantly gave my bathroom such an upgrade! I have it out in my guest bathroom and I love the way it looks - it's a large glass bottle which just feels very luxurious. The scent is incredible too. It's very fresh and uplifting and I love the woody cedar balanced with the green freshness. 10/10 would recommend!" — Sephora customer
An "ode to the entire fig tree," this scent features notes of fig leaves, fig tree sap, fig tree wood, and black pepper. It happens to be one of my favorite scents from Diptyque. I find it to be perfectly woody and aromatic. Now that I know I can get it in a handwash, I'm stocking up.
Pro: Classic scent and functions as both a hand and bodywash.
Con: The gel texture might feel heavy to some people.
Customer review: "The Diptyque Philosykos Hand and Body Gel smells divine, with an aromatic green woody scent. The hand and body gel is gentle on my dry skin without leaving it feeling stripped and lathers beautifully, leaving the skin feeling fresh, hydrated, and soft. I will continue to repurchase, and I would highly recommend it." — Nordstrom customer
Another handwash you'll see at a number of luxury hotels, this Malin + Goetz formula has a eucalyptus scent that is refreshing and uplifting. Since it can be used as a bodywash too, and it's comparatively affordable, I don't feel bad adding it to my cart.
Pro: Comparatively affordable price and functions as both a hand and bodywash.
Customer review: "The Malin Goetz Eucalyptus Hand and Body Wash smells divine, with a refreshing scent. The hand and body wash is gentle on my dry skin without leaving it feeling stripped and lathers beautifully, leaving the skin feeling fresh, hydrated, and soft. I will continue to repurchase, and I would highly recommend." — Nordstrom customer
Shop More Hand-Care Products
Here's the hand cream I mentioned earlier. It has the same incredible scent as the brand's handwash, and it never fails to smooth and soften my hands and cuticles with its emollient-rich formula.
I like to keep hand sanitizer in my car and in my bag. This one doesn't dry out my hands, and its vanilla blossom scent is lovely.
I know this product is included on a list of luxury hand-care products, but sometimes, it's not about the price. The rich, aloe-spiked cream moisturizes my hands so well that I won't go without it, especially in the winter.
I also always keep a cuticle oil in my bag because I hate when mine are dry, rough, and, well, visible. This one hydrates with a no-mess, foam applicator.
This fragrance, Missing Person, is one of my all-time favorites—like, ever. I keep this hand cream in my bag at all times as a result. The warm, subtle scent is divine, and the formula makes my hands feel so soft.
This article was originally published on Who What Wear.
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Kaitlyn McLintock is an Associate Beauty Editor at Who What Wear. Although she covers a wide range of topics across a variety of categories, she specializes in celebrity interviews and skincare and wellness content. Having lived in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, she recently relocated back to her home state of Michigan where she works remotely. Prior to Who What Wear, she freelanced for a variety of industry-leading digital publications, including InStyle, The Zoe Report, Bustle, Hello Giggles, and Coveteur. Before that, she held a long-term internship and subsequent contributor position at Byrdie. When she's not writing, researching, or testing the latest and greatest beauty products, she's working her way through an ever-growing book collection, swimming in the Great Lakes, or spending time with family.
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