Our hands reveal our age much more readily than our complexions, because they lack the daily dose of serums, oils, moisturisers and masks that we use on our face. But you can close the gap with regular use of a good quality hand cream – preferably one with anti-ageing benefits.

Try and use it several times a day – leave a tube or bottle by the sink so you always apply after washing up or hand washing, and keep one in your desk drawer or handbag.

If you don’t like the feeling of a rich cream, opt for a lotion – these tend to be lighter in consistency. And if you prefer not to use one during the day at all, then apply a good, rich cream at bedtime and wear beauty gloves, so skin gets a huge boost of nourishment overnight.

We tested a range of lotions, creams, and balms to find our favourites that not only hydrate thirsty winter skin, but can also reduce the appearance of fine lines, age spots and help combat eczema.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism at The Independent.

Clarins hand and nail treatment cream, 100ml: £23, Clarins

Launched in 1979, this has been a best-selling product for over 40 years and a tube is sold every 30 seconds worldwide. Put to the test, it exceeded our expectations. Clarins’ offering is notably one of the richest and most nourishing creams we tried, it also absorbs almost instantly and leaves no greasy residue. There are very few creams that can deliver on nourishment and absorption so effectively – this one can even keep mild eczema at bay. The moisturising base of sesame oil and shea butter is boosted by Japanese mulberry extract to work on minimising age spots, while myrrh extract is used to strengthen the nails.

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Neom Organics nourish breathe & energise hand balm, 50ml: £15, John Lewis & Partners

Cold, grey weather and long nights at this time of year can make it feel like you’re walking through treacle. So use your hand cream as a therapeutic pick-me-up by choosing this uplifting, energising booster packed with nature’s finest invigorators – grapefruit, lemon and rosemary. There are three other balms to choose from if you’re already fully loaded with energy: happiness boosting “breath and smile,'' relaxing “breath and calm” and a restful one for bedtime: “breathe and sleep”.

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Aveda hand relief moisturising cream, 125ml: £21, Aveda

Anyone with sensitive skin or allergies will know Aveda skincare is as gentle as it comes. This cream is free from all the nasties, including formaldehyde, lanolin and synthetic fragrances. And instead it’s packed with natural seed oils and plant hydrators that nourish the skin, sunflower oil for conditioning, aniroba oil to seal in softness, calming liquorice and soothing coneflower and aloe. It has a wonderfully thick rich texture but still manages to absorb quickly. 

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Aromacure eczema cream, 50g: £17.99, Aromacure

If your skin is of a sensitive disposition, or if you have broken, cracked or eczema-prone skin, this cream should be your absolute must-buy. Having struggled with eczema on and off for years and tried every medication, cream, steroid, alternative therapy and diet, this is the one product that relieves our tester’s unbearable itching and scratching that can wake her at night. Buy it now, it will change your life.

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This Works perfect hands intense moisture, 75ml: £18, This Works

This award-winning, vegan certified cream is one of the least greasy, yet most hydrating creams we tested. So if you don’t like a rich creamy feeling on your skin, you’ll love this as it dries almost instantly. The blend of powerful botanicals including rose, mimosa and musk mallow work on age spots, larch extract tightens more mature looser skin, while hyaluronic acid locks in moisture.

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Alpha H liquid gold rose hand cream, 100ml: £25, Cult Beauty

If ageing hands is your bugbear, opt for this rose-scented cream. It features a gently exfoliating 10 per cent glycolic acid which works to remove dead skin cells and reveal rejuvenated, younger looking-skin. We found after two weeks of use, the skin on the back of the hands did indeed look firmer, smoother and more even. Packed with nourishing ingredients such as aloe vera, vitamin E, chamomile, avocado oil and shea butter, this cream delivers real results. And surprisingly quickly too.

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Nivea intensive hand cream, 100ml: £1.99, Boots

Handbag friendly in shape and size and an absolute steal at under a fiver, this cream delivers the familiar floral Nivea scent and good long lasting nourishment. We found hands felt soft all day and into the next thanks to a formula packed with almond oil. For anyone on a budget, or if you like several tubes around the house, car or office drawer, Nivea is a must-have.

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Sarah Chapman skinesis overnight hand and nail treatment hand elixir, 15ml: £39, Sarah Chapman

It’s a small bottle for a fairly hefty price tag, however, this delivered incredible results. Like other Sarah Chapman products, it is an oil, so is best kept for night use, and it doesn’t feel moisturising like a heavyweight cream or balm. But with just a couple of week’s use, we noticed a real improvement in skin texture. You’ll wake up with soft, nourished, rehydrated hands, but over time it also seemed to reduce the appearance of age spots and skin felt plumper. If you spend out on skincare and you’re finding your hands are starting to reveal your age, this is more than worth the investment. The blend of skin-plumping, collagen-boosting ingredients and omega-rich skin conditioning oils deliver immediate and long lasting results.

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Dr. Hauschka hydrating hand cream, 50ml: £13.25, Dr. Hauschka

Ultra light, fast drying with no greasy residue, this hard working hand cream is perfect for sensitive skin that needs an effective but gentle option. Dr Hauschka ticks all the boxes if you’re looking to be environmentally conscious – the sustainable brand is chemical and cruelty-free and uses organic, natural ingredients. Using biodynamic farming methods – which essentially means putting more into the soil than is taken out – for more than 50 years, Dr Hauschka has been carefully looking after the planet, long before it was fashionable.

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ESPA bergamot and jasmine hand lotion, 250ml: £19, ESPA

If a great scent is non-negotiable in your choice of hand lotion, then this is one of the very best. The fresh zesty zing of bergamot blended with a heady floral punch of jasmine delivers one of the most beautifully scented products we tested. If you like your hand cream next to the sink, rather than a tube in a drawer or handbag, this large bottle is a great value option.

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The verdict: Hand creams

Our winner is a cult classic from Clarins, which has been nourishing skin, strengthening nails and minimising age spots for the last 40 years. For skin susceptible to eczema, Aromacure is a must-buy, for vegan and environmentally friendly options This Works and Dr Hauschka are hard to beat.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.