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We’ve all spent the past few years obsessively scrubbing and washing our hands, so it’s no surprise that hand soaps have become the latest status symbol filling up lists of products celebrities can’t live without and home decor must-haves. It’s hard to believe that lathering up with a simple SoftSoap drugstore cleanser could ever become pasé.
High-end hand wash has become the latest talk-about item, with the Strategist reporting one NYC restaurant installing soap holders because patrons keep walking away with bottles of Aesop wash, and think-pieces considering whether it’s worth it to splurge on $40 hand wash to impress guests in your home (WSJ called soaps the new “prestige candle“).
Established brands are now offering some of the best hand soaps in hipper packaging than what you’d find at your local grocery story, and brands are dropped soaps like fashion capsules designed specifically to catch your eye (think interesting shapes and and perfume-quality scents). That doesn’t mean they’re skimping on quality — quite the opposite actually.
Many of these soaps are still packed with essential oils, natural plant materials, and moisturizers that sooth and hydrate your skin, so you’ll get the most aah-worthy experience possible. Even though bar soaps are typically seen as containing fewer chemicals, these liquid hands soaps are stepping up their game with less preservatives and more environmentally-friendly packaging.
So we’ve rounded up our top picks, from the luxury hand soaps you’d probably see in trendy hotel bathrooms, to the minimalist picks you’ll want for everyday use. Either way, make sure you’re still following the CDC and lathering up for at least 20 seconds!
1. Le Labo Hand Soap
The New York-based fragrance company Le Labo (most known for their cult-favorite scent Santal 33 worn by Justin Bieber) recently released its first line of body products, and there’s no better soap that feels as wonderfully luxurious as it is accessible than their Hinoki hand soap. Inspired by the hinoki trees surrounding Buddhist temples in Japan, their plant-based formula is made with sea buckthorn and rosemary leaf to soothe your skin, and sugar cane as a cleanser. Not only will you see this soap everywhere from SoulCycle spots to hotel bathrooms, it’s also less expensive than their main competitor, Aesop.
2. Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash
Aesop liquid cleanser can’t be overlooked when it comes to being the creme de la creme of hand washes, from its minimalist, Instagram-ready bottle, to its status symbol as a mainstay in chic, metropolitan café and restaurant bathrooms. We think it’s absolutely worth the hype, with its citrus-forward, earthy scent of orange, rosemary, and cedar smelling like a more elevated take on traditional “woodsy” soap fragrances (mostly for men). The cleansing gel is gentle too, and leaves behind a spa-level, splurge-worthy clean.
3. Diptyque Philosykos Bar Soap
With a subtle and elegant scent, this Eau des Sens bar from Diptyque feels more like a classy cologne than soap. But the French brand are experts when it comes to crafting these balanced fragrances, best known for their high-end scented candles. Their “Philosykos” bar moisturizes better than most for all different kinds of skin types, thanks to their chemical-free mixture of almond oil and glycerin for soft hydration and a gentle feel. The scent of orange blossom and the fresh citrus also unfolds nicely to make you feel like you’re in the middle of an orange grove.
4. Blueland Foaming Hand Soap
The Shark Tank-darling Blueland is on a mission to reduce single-use plastic, and you won’t find a better-smelling wash that’ll also make you feel a little better about the planet than their tablet foaming hand soap. Simply fill the reusable bottle with water and drop in a tablet to get 9 oz of powerful antibacterial soap to wash away dirt and grime. Blueland says an average home will only need one Forever Bottle and 25 hand soap tablets per year, which can make a huge impact. The three foaming scents of agave, lemon and eucalyptus also smell fresh and vibrant.
5. La Compagnie de Provence Black Tea Liquid Soap
From the first glance at the striking graphic design on the lacquered glass bottle, you know that La Compagnie de Provence’s liquid soap is anything but average. With ingredients like vitamin E and shea butter, it’s thick and moisturizing enough to use as shower gel, and you’ll want to when you smell it. The gentle fragrance is a unique mixture of black tea and blackberry, and stands out from the other French-based soaps that rely on citrus-y or herb-y essential oils.
6. Public Goods Hands Soap
This hand soap might be sparse with its design, but that doesn’t matter when you’ve got a refreshing scent and a solidly-hydrating product — all for a good price. Public Goods is a no-nonsense brand that leaves out all the stuff you don’t need (parabens, synthetic fragrances) and gives you all the stuff you want (germ-killing power). It’s hard on dirt, but gentle on your skin, with a delicate scent of fresh grapefruit and juicy mandarin that you can use everyday without feeling like you’re breaking the bank with every drop. Bonus: like most things on the Public Goods site, you can buy additional soap refills, too.