The Best Hand Masks

Your hardest-working body part deserves some TLC, too.

Written by Marissa DeSantis
Elite Daily/Amazon
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There comes a point in the depths of winter where no amount of hand cream can save you from dry, cracked skin — especially if you use hand sanitizer or frequently wash your hands throughout the day. When your hand cream just isn’t cutting it, you can turn to a hand mask instead. The best hand masks contain a mix of ingredients that draw in moisture, seal that moisture in, and leave your hands feeling immediately smoother (these ingredients can be identified as humectants, occlusives, and emollients). In addition to improving the softness of your hands, these masks are also great for conditioning brittle nails and rough cuticles. Often, you can choose from masks with scents that range from sweet and summery to herbal and spa-inspired. But if you have sensitive skin or your hands have reached a level so dry that your skin has started to crack or bleed, you'll want to opt for a hand mask treatment that’s fragrance-free.

When shopping for a hand mask, here are the most effective ingredients to look out for:

  • Humectants: Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Urea
  • Occlusives: Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Lanolin, Beeswax
  • Emollients: Ceramides, Vitamin E, Shea Butter, Oils

Similar to the sheet masks you know and love, hand masks are available in individually packaged sachets, and typically, they’re worn like a pair of gloves. Every hand mask will come with its own set of instructions, but generally, you'll want to start by washing and drying your hands completely before applying your gloves. Once you've got your gloves on, let them sit for 15 to 20 minutes before peeling them off and massaging any residual product into your skin. You can also leave your gloves on overnight if you're in need of a really intense treatment, though you may want to wear a pair of cotton gloves on top for a more snug and comfortable fit.

Shop The Best Hand Masks

In a hurry? Here are the best hand masks:

  1. Best Soothing Oat Mask: Aveeno Repairing CICA Hand Mask (1 Pair)
  2. Best Coconut-Infused Hand Mask: Epielle Intensive Repairing Gloves (6 Pairs)
  3. Best Peach-Scented Mask: Tony Moly I'm A Lovely Peach Hand Mask (5 Pairs)
  4. Best Peptide-Rich Hand Mask: Karuna Hydrating+ Hand Mask (4 Pairs)
  5. Best Multi-Use Hand Mask Set: Weleda Skin Food Hand Mask Experience (1 Pair)

1. A $5 Mask Made With Soothing Oat

For sensitive or irritated skin that needs some extra soothing, Aveeno’s Repairing CICA Hand Mask contains colloidal oatmeal, a moisturizing ingredient that has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Not only does this help to smooth out dry, flaky skin, but it also serves as a protective barrier to keep out irritants, which can be particularly good for those with skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. Even better for sensitive skin, the hand masks are entirely free from fragrance (both synthetic and derived from essential oils, which can be irritating to some).

Key Ingredients: Glycerin, Petrolatum, Oat Kernel Oil, Oat Kernel Extract, Shea Butter Synthetic Fragrance-Free: Yes Cruelty-Free: No

Relevant Review: "Seriously the best masks for your hands. It only takes 15 minutes, and it can stop my eczema in its tracks. I absolutely love these, and these have been a lifesaver during the pandemic. I wash my hands super often, and sometimes get eczema on my knuckles. These are amazing, and can get my skin back on track with one use."

2. A 6-Pack Of Coconut-Infused Hand Masks

The Epielle Intensive Repairing Gloves come with a sticker attached at the wrist to keep them snugly in place on your hands. Inside, they’re infused with a nourishing blend of shea butter, coconut oil, argan oil, and hyaluronic acid. Essential oils give the gloves a scent without any added perfume, while urea offers some gentle exfoliating benefits. This set of six gloves ensures you're fully stocked, and, as a bonus, the brand is vegan and cruelty-free.

Key Ingredients: Glycerin, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Hyaluronic Acid, Centella Asiatica Extract, Urea Synthetic Fragrance-Free: Yes Cruelty-Free: Yes

Relevant Review: "My hands will dry and crack in the winter to the point of bleeding some days. I got these hoping they would be a nice treatment for my hands to get them through the harsh Upstate, NY winter...and it worked! These are very effective, relaxing to wear and your hands are so soft, moisturized and smooth when done."

3. 5 Pairs Of Peach-Scented Masks

For a sweet-scented hand mask that will banish dry skin and (temporarily) have you channeling warmer weather, there's this set of five hand masks from K-beauty brand Tony Moly. The I'm A Lovely Peach Hand Masks use peach fruit extract for their signature scent, but they're also formulated with antioxidant-rich pomegranate and sweet cherry fruit extracts. In addition to containing moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and shea butter, the hand masks are formulated with skin-soothers like licorice root extract, ginger root extract, and allantoin.

Key Ingredients: Glycerin, Peach Fruit Extract, Pomegranate Fruit Extract, Sweet Cherry Fruit Extract, Shea Butter, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Allantoin Synthetic Fragrance-Free: No Cruelty-Free: Yes

Relevant Review: "OMG. I couldn't believe how much softer and how it healed the cracks in my hands and it lasted for a couple weeks!! It was a gift and I immediately order more."

4. 4 Pairs Of Peptide-Rich Hand Masks

In Karuna’s Hydrating+ Hand Mask, ingredients like glycerin, shea butter, and jojoba seed oil provide your hands with plenty of moisture after a 20-minute treatment. But it's the skin-firming and hydrating peptides in this formula that make this treatment standout. These hand masks also come with an adjustable sticker tab to keep them in place, and have a pleasant, but barely noticeable scent.

Key Ingredients: Glycerin, Shea Butter, Jojoba Seed Oil, Peptides, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera Leaf Juice Synthetic Fragrance-Free: No Cruelty-Free: No

Relevant Review: "This mask is divine! My hands suffer during Minnesota Winters...-30 degrees...ouch! [...] Crepey skin, redness... I'm sure you get the picture. This stuff plumped them back up and calmed the redness. [...] Highly recommended!"

5. A Multi-Use Hand Mask Set

This multi-tasking set works a bit differently from the other hand masks on this list. Instead of giving you a set of pre-packaged masks, the Weleda Skin Food Hand Mask Experience comes with a pair of reusable cotton gloves and the brand's best-selling Skin Food Ultra-Rich Cream. You can apply the cream to your hands and cuticles before putting on the gloves and letting the treatment work its magic overnight, and you can also use the cream as a face mask or moisturizer for any dry patches of skin on your body.

Key Ingredients: Sunflower Seed Oil, Lanolin, Sweet Almond Oil, Glycerin, Calendula Flower Extract Synthetic Fragrance-Free: No Cruelty-Free: Yes

Relevant Review: "My knuckles get so dry and painful in the winter. This is the only cream that I have found to keep my hands comfortable through the winter. When I haven't been diligent in putting it on every night and my hands get bad, I put the Skin Food on thick and wear cotton gloves over it for the night. Amazing! I am so thankful for the relief Weleda Skin Food brings to my hands!"

About The Author:

Marissa DeSantis has worked as a beauty writer and editor for nearly 10 years. Her pieces can be found across print and digital publications like Bustle, Evening Standard, Teen Vogue, and InStyle.