6 Hand Lotions to Apply Before a Mani (or Whenever Your Hands Need a Boost!)

April 27, 2021
Marisa Petrarca
By: Marisa Petrarca | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
hand holding Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve

At-home manicures are no easy feat. There’s a good chance you’ve experienced a nail polish fail at one point or another. The whole process (i.e. shaping your nails, pushing back your cuticles and painting) leaves a lot of room for error. A simple way to prep prior to getting down to business is to take care of your hands on a daily basis. 

“Every time you wash your hands during the day, you should be applying a lotion to your hands, in addition to whenever they feel dry or dehydrated,” says celebrity manicurist Skyy Hadley. “This may sound like a lot of product application each day, but it will enhance your skin’s elasticity and moisture levels, while protecting against chapping and cracking.” During your actual at-home mani, you should apply lotion after your nails are done being filed, your cuticles have been cut and cuticle softener has been applied.

According to Hadley, ingredients to look for in your hand lotion include vitamin C, shea butter, essential oils and glycerin for moisturizing benefits. But with so many hand creams on the market, it can be hard to differentiate the average from the life-changing. We’ve taken out the guesswork with some picks for every budget below.

Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, $24

If your hands are feeling majorly dry, this cult-fave, non-greasy hand salve contains ingredients — like avocado oil, sesame seed oil, and eucalyptus oil — to soothe, moisturize and condition your skin. It’s labeled “maximum strength” for a reason: it’s going to get the job done for even the most severely dry, roughed-up hands.

Lancôme Absolue Premium BX Hand Cream, $52

Though this one’s on the expensive side, it has five-star reviews across the board. The treatment is beloved for its anti-aging ingredients, moisturizing benefits and SPF protection because yes, your hands need to be kept safe from harmful rays, too!

Lancôme Absolue Premium BX Hand

La Roche Posay Cicaplast Hand Cream, $18

Survive every season — from cold, dry winters to hot, sticky summers — with this shea butter-infused formula that locks in moisture for 48 hours without feeling greasy.


Necessaire The Hand Cream, $20

Treat your hands to this ultra-creamy pick while taking care of the environment — it has a vegan formula and recyclable packaging.

Lano Hands Rose Hand Cream, $14.95

It’s one thing for a product to be Insta-worthy, but it’s even better when the results are as good as the packaging. Touted as “the hand cream for hand cream experts” this pick is formulated with soothing Moroccan rose oil and a triple lanolin complex that deeply moisturizes hands as well as nails. Apply by warming the balm between your hands and then massage it into nail beds, cuticles and skin.

Lano Hands Rose Hand Cream

Byredo Rose Hand Cream, $71

Chances are you’ve seen this one in an Instagram flat lay. This splurge-worthy option combines one of the brand’s signature scents with strong hydrating and softening qualities.

byredo rose hand cream
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

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