Home Lifestyle 5 Of The Best Intensive Hand Creams Under £10

5 Of The Best Intensive Hand Creams Under £10

by InvisiblyMe
A light pink background with a woman's hand slightly outstretched so the index finger is pointed upwards as cream pours from above and runs down her hand. The post title is overlaid.

For most of us, the current coronavirus situation has turned regular hand washing into what feels like continual hand lathering supplemented with other wipes and gel sanitisers out of the home. Regular cleansing can really take a toll on skin and you may have already noticed, as I have, the damage to your hands with dryness, soreness, cracks and splits in the skin.

Here are 5 hand creams that I’ve bought and used myself that I would recommend on a budget to look after your paws.

Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Hand Cream

Best For : A treat for hands, pleasant day to day use.

This has a thick but soft consistency that makes it ideal for smoothing over your hands, with just a small blob needed. It has a distinct scent that’s relatively reminiscent of cocoa, but don’t expect your hands to smell of chocolate. The scent is very pleasant and not too overpowering, lingering a little without being off-putting.

The cream sinks in well without leaving any stickiness or greasiness, and hands instantly feel quite soft and hydrated. Probably not intense enough for thoroughly damaged hands but excellent for day to day use.

Their cocoa butter range can be used on hands, elbows, knees and other areas to soften the skin, available in different sizes and formats. There are also products specifically for men, for feet, and a cocoa lip balm that I love.

(1/3 off the Palmer’s range at Boots at time of writing, making the hand cream only £1.39).

Palmers Cocoa Butter Range @ Amazon UK / Palmers @ Amazon US / Palmers @ Boots / Palmers @ Superdrug

O’Keeffes Working Hands

Best for : Hard working and intense repair and nourishment for very dry, cracked & damaged skin

This is a popular choice in the hand-care department and my top pick for damaged hands that need something more intensive and hard working than day to day creams. I’m using the Working Hands tub with a screw-on lid but this also comes as a squeezy tube.

I’ve resisted trying it until recently due to the price; this is the most expensive cream on the list at around £8.50. However, price does not equate to value for money and this is where the cream has surpassed expectations as it’s actually worked incredibly effectively. Given the state of my hands with dryness, soreness, splitting and bleeding, I knew I needed something more hard core and I’m pleased to say this seems to live up to the hype.

If you’ve not used it before, you’ll notice how different the formulation is compared to typical hand creams. It’s harder in consistency and you can’t dip in to it. Rather, you’re more firmly pressing in to lift away the desired amount of cream. Given the firmness, it’s easier to apply on specific problem areas, working in the cream to really moisturise where your hands need it the most. From there, you can add a little more and rub your hands together to fully cover your paws.

It feels greasier at first but don’t be put off by this, it does gradually sink in a little more. I find it best used before bed for this reason and because I don’t want to be needing to wash my hands again too quickly afterwards. There’s no discernible scent and you get a lot in a tub to make it good value money as a little can go a long way.

The result is quite impressive with smoothing dry skin and importantly helping to repair the cracks and splits over a few days where other creams may fail. From my experience of various creams, this has been the best for actually repairing damage quickly. It’s something you need to keep up with routinely when you’re continually washing your hands or using gels and wipes that are drying out your skin.

The gift set at around £15 is brilliant value if you want the other products compared to buying them individually as this comes with a 96g tub of Working Hands Cream, a tub of foot cream & a lip balm.

O’Keefes Working Hands Range @ Amazon UK / O’Keefes @ Amazon US / O’Keefes @ Boots / O’Keefes @ Superdrug

Soap & Glory Hand Food

Best For : Fruity nourishment, mini 50ml ideal for travel.

Soap & Glory is a very popular range and their Hand Food gets great reviews, including from me. With a blend of ‘shea butter, macadamia oil and marshmallow’, this this is very moisturising and nourishing cream that leaves hands soft and smooth after use. I find it to be mid-way in terms of intense repair, being better than your average day to day cream but probably not powerful enough for the most damaged of hands.

A little goes a long way and the formula isn’t greasy, with the cream absorbing quite quickly and leaving a lovely light, fruity scent.

It comes in different sizes and I find the £3 mini at 50ml to be perfect for keeping in my bedside drawer or taking out in my bag. These are usually part of the 3for2 offer and they’re often included in the S&G tins and gift sets, too.

S&G Hand Food @ Amazon UK / S&G @ Amazon US / S&G @ Boots

Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

Best For : More intensive relief but can feel a little greasy.

Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula comes in different formats, sizes and product types, from the original hand cream and an unscented version, to a ‘visibly renew’ cream for restoring suppleness and preventing age spots, and a Deep Moisture Fast Absorbing Comfort Balm

The original concentrated scented cream typically comes in a 75ml tube, which they advise is enough for up to 300 applications. 

It’s ‘developed with dermatologists’ and aims to provide more intensive relief than other day to day creams while being more in the budget section in terms of price. This is usually around £4-5, but can often be found on offer (ie. £2.50 on Amazon at the time of writing). 

This is glycerin-rich for instant relief and I did find it to be very moisturising. It’s quite good at repairing chapped hands, with a consistency that’s more oily and translucent that most other creams I’ve tried. While it absorbed quite well and left hands soft, I did find it a tad on the greasy side. 

Norwegian Formula @ Amazon UK / Norwegian @ Amazon US / Norwegian @ Boots / Norwegian @ Superdrug

Garnier Hand Repair Intensive Restoring Hand Cream

Best For : Very pleasant use, minimal scent, instant relief, budget buy.

Garnier’s Skin Naturals range include this Intensive Restoring Hand Cream for extra dry skin. It contains maple sap extract and glycerin to soothe, nourish, hydrate and moisturise.

Garnier claims: “Rough areas feel smoothed and the skin is protected from feeling dry. Skin feels supple and soft for up to 24 hours.”

This is a newer purchase for me and I’m really pleased with it. It’s ideal in consistency to smooth over hands, with a feint scent and it absorbs well. Hands do feel instantly relieved, especially if skin is dry and tight.

This is a budget buy at around £4 for a large 100ml tube, often found on offer (£2 on Amazon at time of writing).

Garnier Hand Repair 100ml @ Amazon UK / Garnier @ Amazon US / Garnier @ Boots / Garnier @ Superdrug

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Have you used any of these, or are there any hard working hand creams you would recommend?

Caz  ♥

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Janet Gogerty April 29, 2020 - 4:56 pm

I have hand cream stationed all round the house – Neutrogena and Garnier are two of my regular buys.

InvisiblyMe May 2, 2020 - 3:21 pm

Sounds like a good idea, Janet, a regular reminder to use it when it’s everywhere you look is probably what I need! Glad to hear you’re a Neutrogena & Garnier fan too, really like both of these for day to day use. xx

Sandee April 29, 2020 - 4:03 pm

So needed right now. I’ve washed my hands so much my hands are like sandpaper. Oh well.

Have a fabulous day, Caz. Big hug. ♥

InvisiblyMe May 2, 2020 - 3:10 pm

Same here. Moisturiser is your friend, Sandee! The problem is finding a good time to do it other than bed time because within half an hour you end up washing it back off again ???? xx

Darnell April 29, 2020 - 4:06 pm

They all help, depending on how much moisturizing is needed on the skin. I’m familiar with Palmers cocoa butter hand cream. It works well for general daily use and leaves your hands moist and has a pleasant scent. These are good recommendations. Thank you Caz.

InvisiblyMe May 2, 2020 - 3:12 pm

Totally agree, they all do the job and it just depends on the circumstances and what your hands need. Good to hear you’re also a Palmers cocoa fan. Thanks for the comment, Darnell. I hope the weekend is a good one for you ????

Masha Ellman April 29, 2020 - 4:54 pm

What a great review Caz, I’m washing my hands so much I think I’m wearing my skin off LOL. I’m liking your description of the Palmers Coco butter, probably for me, good for just intermittandly to change off a bit, I tend to have dry skin and you say it’s not greasy which I like. I’ve been using Kiehl’s, it’s a bit more expensive, but works good for me. I always like to change and try new ones and also the scent is important for me. Thanks again for a great review, stay well <3

InvisiblyMe May 2, 2020 - 3:15 pm

Aww your poor paws! I really like the Palmers cocoa, and I do quite like going between different ones every now and again, as you say to change things up as necessary. I’ve ever used Kiehl’s, but I’m guessing that would be over the £10/$15? I do wonder how some of the extra expensive creams compare to the budget-friendly brands. Really glad you liked the post, thanks Masha! xx

Rachael Emma Tomlinson April 29, 2020 - 4:55 pm

Great post-Caz, as a former NHS worker who used to carry out cleaning inspections therefore constantly had my hands in soap and water I can 100% vouch for soap and glory hand food it is still my go-to today if they get really bad though I used to also use the okeefes – hope you are keeping safe lovely lady xx

InvisiblyMe May 2, 2020 - 3:17 pm

I can imagine that continual cleaning would have taken a toll! The S&G stuff is brilliant, I love it too. Do you like their other products? They do a great heel cream and shower scrub and it’s even better when there’s an offer on or 3-for-2 deal. O’Keeffe’s is the hard-core one for me at the moment too, pretty amazing stuff. Thanks for the comment, Rachael! I hope you have a restful weekend at home  ♥ xx

Holly April 29, 2020 - 5:54 pm

Brilliant post, Caz! I love your suggestions. My husband was the one who made me aware of O’Keefes Working Hands. I was surprised at how well it really does heal damage. He has been in the HVAC industry for decades and his hands take a beating. His fingers would split as a result by the nail bed and caused severe pain. This was the one thing that got rid of his splits. I was impressed to say the least! As an alternative, I started mixing 100% argan oil with 100% fractionated coconut oil and rubbing that into his hands (and mine). For me that works better but it’s best done at nighttime before bed! Otherwise you are a little slippery for awhile. 😉

Palmer’s is another nice brand, I agree. On a budget, it’s hard to find better options. I’m not familiar with the others you mentioned but I am curious about Soap & Glory Hand Food. Sounds delicious!

Love your suggestions. Between frequent hand washing and playing in the dirt out in the plants, these ol’ hands get bone dry! I suspect quite a few people will follow your recommendations and they should!

Always sending my very best to you. I pray you are well today my friend. ????

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 11:48 am

I’m glad you & hubby have found the O’Keeffes stuff so good, too. I was a little sceptical at first despite all the glowing reviews online but I’ve been pretty amazed with it! While other creams can be lovely to use and all these ones in this post leave hands soft and smooth, nothing can really repair the damage like Working Hands does. It’s far more hard core when it comes to repairing skin. The cracks and splits by the nail bed sound very sore. Your alternative solution is an interesting one. Argan oil seems to have grown in popularity the last two years or so but I never would have thought of mixing that with coconut oil. Before bed is the only time I can use the more slippery types of cream too. Do you have any cotton gloves? You can get loose, thin cotton socks and gloves so after moisturising you pop them on and it helps retain the moisture, intensifying the effect. Thank you for another fantastic comment. I hope both of you can keep your paws nourished regularly. Stay safe & I hope you’re having a restful weekend xx

Liz April 29, 2020 - 6:30 pm

I am still loving O’Keefes since I blogged about it, after taking the plunge to try some for my hands that past creams did not help. So I totally recommend too.

If when applying you find your hands sticky, then you are putting too much on. This cream doesn’t leave any stickiness or greasiness. Only a small amount on fingertip covers both hands.

Now my hands are back to normal, I find I use less of this cream than previous hand creams I used to use. So for me, this hand cream doesn’t work out as expensive as I thought it would. But had it been, I wouldn’t have stopped using it, not for how my hands have improved. ????

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 11:51 am

Yours was the reason I gave it a go, Liz. I’d bought an O’Keeffe’s gift set for my mum. Both of us rate it very highly too. I do use only a minimal amount but I still find it a little greasy. Maybe greasy isn’t the right word because it’s not like other creams I’ve stopped using for being too greasy. I think my skin just takes a while to absorb it fully. The difference it makes is pretty incredible. I’d agree on the value for money side of things too. With continual hand washing, because you can’t stop the thing that’s initially causing the damage, it’s good to keep on top of it and keep hands regularly nourished. Thanks for the comment, Liz. I hope you’re having a peaceful weekend at home with some good DVDs xx

Jenny April 29, 2020 - 6:34 pm

I love the smell of the Palmer’s one (I must try the lip balm!) and my go-to is usually the Norwegian formula one. O’Keefes sound like it is worth a try too 🙂 xx

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 11:55 am

Another Palmer’s fan – it’s fab, isn’t it? The lip balm is really nice, a little creamy and a gorgeous scent that’s not off-putting. It’s £4 on Amazon but I got mine a few months ago for £2 in Boots. It’s out of stock online but Superdrug have it –


How’re you keeping, Jen? I really hope you’re managing as well as possible. Have a safe, restful weekend at home lovely xx

Tamara April 29, 2020 - 7:09 pm

Caz, Darling…. I have used Neutrogena, and I like it! Good pick. ✅

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 11:56 am

It’s a good one, isn’t it? Good to hear it gets a thumbs up from you too! xx

Terri, Reclaiming HOPE April 29, 2020 - 8:42 pm

Some great suggestions Caz! I picked up some of the O’Keefe’s for my Pop last winter because his hands and fingers get so dry they crack in the winter time. He started using it, and it helped his hands tremendously. I’ve used the Palmer’s Cocoa butter and it works great too. I hope you’re staying safe and as well as possible sweet friend. I’ve gotten behind – AGAIN – so I’m trying to catch up with everyone now. Sending hugs your way!

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 11:59 am

Don’t overdo things, Terri. I’m forever behind and with my health getting worse lately it’s a never ending battle to catch up. Ease off if you need to, don’t push it. You matter far more than blogs (though I do hugely appreciate you reading and commenting, and reading your own posts!). It’s great your pop found it so helpful too. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by just how good it is at repairing damage. I still like other hand creams for day to day use for soothing and smoothing, but nothing can repair damage quite like O’Keeffe’s. Take good care of yourself lovely, stay safe  ♥ xx

carol hannah April 29, 2020 - 11:20 pm

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter for me always. But if out of it, will use the Neutrogena. But, I have to admit, I am very lazy with lotions and potions. I buy them all then forget to use the daily lol. Caz x

Svet April 30, 2020 - 12:25 am

Great ideas Caz! I constantly have dry hands especially now with frequent hand washing and sanitizing.

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 12:00 pm

Do you use anything at the moment? All the washing and sanitizing, and probably using different products than we may be used to, really can take a toll. It gets quite painful. Take care of your paws, Svet  ♥ xx

Kirsty April 30, 2020 - 8:30 am

I’ve tried the hand food and really enjoyed the results. I’m using the Laidbare sunflower handcream at the moment – it’s going for £4.49 on Amazon at the moment so fits on the under £10 list! Take care and look after those hands 🙂

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 12:01 pm

Oooo great suggestion, Kirsty! I’ve not used any Laidbare stuff ever, but a ‘sunflower’ hand cream sounds really sweet. And a mid-range price, too. Thanks for recommending, will check it out. Hope it helps your paws  ♥ xx

watchingthedaisies April 30, 2020 - 9:40 am

A very helpful post Caz. I have not used any of these, but I am using Lacura Miracle Cream from Aldi. It is quite greasy, but I put it on late evening.

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 12:05 pm

I’ve never used any of their Lacura range, but some Aldi products do get rated quite highly. Shame it’s a bit on the greasy side but hopefully it helps keep your hands soft and smooth. Evening application is what I aim for with most hand creams now, especially because otherwise with all the frequent hand washing we’d just be washing it back off again within half an hour! xx

Karen Figgitt April 30, 2020 - 10:52 am

I highly recommend Superdrug’s Own Hand & Nail cream called “Strengthening Hand & Nail Cream”. It’s very well priced at £1.99 for 100ml. I have been using it for ages and as well as mositerising hands it also strengthens nails too.

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 12:06 pm

You know, I’m pretty sure I used that a few years ago! I remember getting it because I wanted something for my nails and I saw the two-in-one. I’m glad it’s still being made and sold, and that it’s helping your paws! xx

Eliza April 30, 2020 - 4:55 pm

I’ve always liked neutrogena. Best bought somewhere like home bargains where it’s cheaper still.

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 2:08 pm

I think Neutrogena do a lot of great products, and I do love bargains! Savers often have things a little cheaper too, or Boots/Superdrug when on offer.xx

Alice April 30, 2020 - 7:28 pm

I’ve never been one to use hand cream but it is essential right now. I also recommend the Garnier shea butter one – it smells amazing!!!! I’ve ordered a pack of 3 on Amazon but waiting for them to come back in stock xx

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 2:09 pm

Ooo I love shea butter! I’ll make a note of that one. I tried a Garnier Blends one recently but didn’t include that here as it seemed super greasy, which was such a shame. Hope they come back in stock for you soon. Take care of those paws! xx

Carolyn Page May 1, 2020 - 6:12 am

I have to agree with you, Caz, regarding the Norwegian Formula ‘Neutrogena’ hand cream (I use the unscented one). I don’t often have the need for cream, except for the past few weeks with all the extra hand washing. And with winter coming for us Aussies I’ll probably get my money’s worth!
And speaking of worth. It’s relatively inexpensive and it lasts for such a long time too. I bought three tubes when it was on special some months back. I am still on the first tube, and there’s lots left in it.
So, rub it on, Caz, and get those hands feeling better… Kisses and Hugs 🙂

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 2:12 pm

Norwegian Formula does get a lot of good reviews. It’s mid-way intensive in my opinion, so better than a lot for repairing damage but not quite as hard core as O’Keeffe’s. I’ve never had quite the level of damage as I have now and I’m sure a lot of people are starting to find that with continual hand washing and use of harsh sanitising gels etc that they may not have used before. I love these sort of products where a little goes a long way, much better value for money. Thank you for the lovely comment – look after your paws too and I hope the week ahead treats you kindly  ♥ xx

mark Bierman May 1, 2020 - 12:20 pm

I have found O’Keefe’s to work quite well, but the others sound good as well. Thanks for sharing.

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 2:12 pm

It’s good to see another O’Keeffe’s fan, it really is pretty awesome stuff. Thanks for the comment, Mark. I hope you’re keeping safe & well ????

Kymber Hawke May 2, 2020 - 3:56 pm

Hi, Caz! I seriously was just looking at hand creams yesterday, trying to decide which one to buy. Thanks so much for this timely review!

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 3:12 pm

I get stuck with things like this when there’s a lot of choice and they all seem to make some miraculous claims! All of these are ones I’ve used and would recommend, each in their own way I guess depending on what you’re looking for and what sort of scents you prefer, too. I hope you can find something you like and take good care of those paws! Glad you liked the post, thank you lovely xx

Michele Anderson May 3, 2020 - 12:21 am

Those all sound wonderful Caz. I will have to try them because I really suffer with dry hands. Thank you 🙂

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 3:57 pm

They’re all great for different uses and different personal preferences, like to the scent. I like trying new ones but recently my hands have been so damaged, I’ve never had them this bad before, and the O’Keeffe’s has been brilliant. I hope you find something to help soothe yours, look after those paws! Glad you liked the post. Thanks, Michelle xx

The Oceanside Animals May 3, 2020 - 4:36 am

Chaplin: “I’d like to try the one that has ‘food’ in the name.”
Charlee: “You can’t actually eat it, Chaplin.”
Chaplin: “How do you know? Have you tried it?”

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 4:00 pm

Food on the brain, Chaplin! The disclaimer “not for consumption” should be extended to say “not for human or hungry kittykat consumption”. I’ll have to write to the brand asap! ???? xx

Katy May 3, 2020 - 10:35 am

Thank You for this reminder and these suggestions, Caz. Yup. They’re looking pretty bad these days!!! ????

InvisiblyMe May 3, 2020 - 4:02 pm

Aww I’m sorry your skin is taking a hit from all the washing and sanitising too. I hope you can up the hand moisturising each day, Katy, look after those paws! xx

Kate May 3, 2020 - 6:41 pm

I was familiar with the ones from Neutrogena and Garnier.
These are really good hand creams and moisturize the skin, keeping it healthy and soft.

Thanks for the post! 🙂

InvisiblyMe May 4, 2020 - 4:44 pm

Glad you liked these ones too, they’re really good for the price! Thanks for the comment, Kate – Stay safe & have a good week ahead ????

Despite Pain May 3, 2020 - 6:55 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. I’m not even going out, but I am washing my hands more than normal as well as cleaning worktops and door handles with bleach much more often. The hand cream I have just now is good, but feels so greasy. Good for at night, but not so good for during the day.

InvisiblyMe May 4, 2020 - 4:47 pm

All the washing and cleaning adds up and can really take a toll on our hands. I’m noticing this a lot more lately too. What hand cream are you using at the moment? I’ve found some to be too greasy too (there’s one Garnier Blends one that I’ve not included in this list for just that reason). As you say, those types are good before bed but otherwise rather impractical. I hope it can help nourish your hands though. Do you have any cotton gloves? They can work quite well for maximising absorption and stop you feeling like you’re smearing the greasiness everywhere in bed. xx

Michelle May 5, 2020 - 1:14 pm

Definitely a good topic for the times, Caz! Even my husband is lotioning up constantly with glove wearing and handwashing. I never thought I’d see the day!

InvisiblyMe May 6, 2020 - 3:18 pm

Oh yes, the guys need to look after their paws too, even if they don’t like the thought of moisturising! ???? xx

Susie Ray May 6, 2020 - 6:58 am

My hands have been so dry from all the hand washing so I really needed this list!! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂 I hope you are going okay at the moment <3 lots of love

InvisiblyMe May 6, 2020 - 3:21 pm

Thank you for the comment, Susie! Oh yes, look after those paws. I hope you can find a nice cream that you like that works well. All the cleaning can really take a toll on skin. Stay safe & I hope the week is treating you kindly so far xx

growingupfra May 13, 2020 - 8:25 am

I’m a big fan of the Norwegian Formula, even though it is totally true that it feels greasy! It works, though…

InvisiblyMe May 13, 2020 - 3:07 pm

It’s not just me that found it a little greasy then! It’s still very effective, just best used at night or when you know you don’t need to be doing anything for a little while with your hands. Thanks for the comment! x


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