Two years ago, I was a hand sanitizer skeptic. Exactly one global pandemic later, I’m deep into research about the best hand sanitizer. I’ve become a devout germ killer (and mask wearer), understanding that desperate times call for desperate measures. And I’ve been pleased to see so many brands stepping up to produce the stuff.
I have a hunch that, long after Covid-19 goes away, we’ll all keep a stock of sanitizer in our bags and drawers. I would imagine more and more luxury brands are going to get in on the action. But while the world waits for a Dior Sauvage hand sanitizer—er, I mean, a COVID vaccine—here some of the best hand sanitizer picks from the luxe brands that are producing them. Some of these sanis are new additions to the space, while others have been producing these great-smelling alternatives to the skin-parching Purell for years.
D.S. & Durga Big Sur After Rain
D.S. & Durga hand sanitizer
D.S. & Durga’s sani sprays a mist of its Big Sur After the Rain scent, which evokes the fresh crispness of Highway 1 after a drenching. (Think eucalyptus, wet wood, and magnolias.) There’s also a BSAR candle, hand soap, and car scent, if you feel like matching up your entire life.
Arquiste Orange Blossom & Iris
Arquiste hand sanitizer
Like any of Arquiste’s scents, this hand sanitizer has an olfactory story behind it: it claims to transport you to 18th-century springtime Florence, as the citrus trees blossom in the Boboli Gardens—Italy apparently smelled amazing 300 years ago. Oh, and it murders all the germs on your hands.
Tan-Luxe Hand Sanitizer With Hyaluronic Acid
Tan-Luxe hand sanitizer
Who would have thunk that one of the best hand sanitizers would come from the self-tanning sector? Tan-Luxe’s sani is dispensed with an ingenious little pipette, and the stuff is pumped full of hyaluronic acid, which in turn pumps your hand full of moisture (and helps retain it).
Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash
Aesop hand sanitizer
Aesop’s hand sanitizer is the portable companion to its consumer-favorite Resurrection hand soap. It’s got the same crisp, woody notes (mandarin rind and cedar), thanks to the addition of those same skin-nourishing oils. We last plugged this one back when the CDC was saying the coronavirus was “not an immediate danger”—take me back.
Sandoval hand sanitizer
Sandoval is another one of the indie scent makers that stepped up and started making nourishing, scented hand sanitizers. Theirs is juiced up with aloe vera, as well as hydrating and cleansing oils like palo santo, jojoba, lavender, and frankincense. Those same oils combine for a soothing scent that settles into the skin and senses.
Byredo Rinse Free Hand Wash
Byredo rinse-free wash
Byredo has long produced this scented sanitizer in a range of scents (crisp, floral, musky, and aldehydic). It smells fantastic, but it is important to note that it doesn’t have a CDC-approved alcohol concentration. This one is a 35%, which means you can use it as an extra assurance against germs, but it’s not a full-on antimicrobial agent. Still, with water as its primary ingredient and sweet almond oil ranking third behind the alcohol, this one certainly won’t dry out your skin.
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