6 Vegan & Cruelty-Free Hand Creams You Can Feel Good About Buying

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Like most things in life, shopping for cruelty-free skin care products can feel unnecessarily complicated. That's because within the United States, terms like "cruelty-free" and "not tested on animals" have no official legal definition, and then there's the whole vegan versus cruelty-free matter, as well. To make things simple, you'll find six of the best cruelty-free hand creams on the market rounded up ahead. Since cruelty-free labelling on cosmetics isn't legally regulated in the U.S., these products have all been certified by third-party organizations to ensure that they're truly cruelty-free.

The most well-known, and reliable organizations that certify brands as cruelty-free are Leaping Bunny and PETA. But if a brand/product has been certified by NATRUE, a European organization, rest assured that it's cruelty-free as well. Not only do the NATRUE label requirements strictly prohibit animal testing, but animal testing for cosmetic purposes has been explicitly banned in the EU.

Another thing to keep in mind is that cruelty-free and vegan are not the same thing. So if you're committed to only buying vegan personal care products, note that cruelty-free doesn't necessarily mean vegan, though lots of cruelty-free products, including all six hand creams on this list, are vegan as well.

Don't worry about getting hung up on the complexities, though, because the research has already been done for you: Scroll on to shop six of the best hand creams out there right now, all of which have been certified as cruelty-free by trusted organizations.

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.

The Drugstore Favorite

Got dry skin and cracked cuticles? Then pick up this popular Yes To hand cream. It uses coconut oil and shea butter to heal and soften dried-out hands and cuticles, as well as vitamins A, C, and E to keep them protected in the long term. It also has a light, coconut scent courtesy of added fragrance — something to keep in mind if you have skin sensitivities.

*Editor's note: While the formula appears to be vegan, it's unclear whether the glycerin is derived from animals or plants, or manufactured synthetically.

The One For Your Home

This big, 12-ounce, pump-top bottle from Avalon Organics is ideal for keeping on your bathroom counter or nightstand. Key ingredients include aloe, coconut and avocado oils, and shea butter — some of the most nourishing botanicals out there. This hand cream has been certified to the NSF/ANSI 305 Standard, which is basically as close to an organic certification as a non food-grade product can get in America.

Like the Yes To lotion above, it has a coconut-y scent, but this one is all natural — you'll find no synthetic fragrance in here.

The Sweet One

Love sweet-scented lotions and creams? Like dessert in a tube, Cake Beauty's Heavy Cream hand balm is a rich hand cream that smells and feels like vanilla buttercream frosting. It's, quite literally, a treat for your hands — and despite its thick consistency, it absorbs surprisingly quickly.

  • Cruelty-free certification: PETA
  • Vegan: Yes
The Citrusy One

If vanilla and coconut scents aren't for you, pick up this Andalou Naturals Clementine Hand Cream. The invigorating, citrusy fragrance comes courtesy of clementine extract and orange peel oil, while ingredients like aloe, shea butter, sweet almond oil, and sea buckthorn work to heal, soften, and protect your hands. Profits from this purchase go towards supporting nonprofit initiatives that are centered on women and girls' empowerment, in case you need another incentive to buy this all-natural hand cream.

The Lavender One

You may already be a fan of Mrs. Meyer's household cleaning products, in which case you'll know about the brand's commitment to using natural, skin-safe ingredients and eco-conscious packaging designs. The Clean Day Moisturizing Hand Balm has a relaxing lavender fragrance, so it's perfect for those who prefer herbal, garden-inspired scents. Consider picking up the rest of Mrs. Meyer's lavender line to complete the set.

*Editor's note: the same disclaimer about glycerin mentioned in regards to the Yes To product applies here.

The Almond One

Weleda's almond hand cream is ideal for people with dry, sensitive skin, thanks to its gentle, NATRUE-certified formula and barely noticeable scent. The consistency is just right — neither too thin nor too rich — so it'll help heal cracks and soften your skin without leaving behind a greasy residue.

  • Cruelty-free certification: NATRUE
  • Vegan: Yes
The Unscented One

Hand creams are typically scented, but if you prefer a fragrance-free option, go with this hand and body lotion from Desert Essence. Ideal for people with very sensitive skin, this super gentle lotion is made with olive leaf, sea kelp, green tea, jojoba oil, and shea butter to keep skin nourished and soft. The 8-ounce bottle is pretty generously sized for the price, too.