Now that hand sanitizer is a part of our every day lives, don’t you think we should put a little more thought into how we shop for it? At the beginning of the pandemic, I just grabbed whatever hand sanitizer I saw on a store shelf without much thought for the quality of product inside the bottle. But after 6 months of rubbing sanitizer between my fingers, I definitely notice a difference between brands and my conclusion is that all hand sanitizers are not equal.
There are some that are 99.99% effective and loaded with alcohol. There are some with more hydrating ingredients. And there are some that smell like an over-poured cocktail! I know we all have different need as well as sensitivities to skin and smell, but I figured I’d share my own hand sanitizer test to help you out.
- Does it have alcohol? How much?
- Does it tingle or sting your skin?
- What does it smell like? Fragrant or like an over-poured drink?
- Is there anything moisturizing in the ingredients?
- Is it sticky or smooth? Does it leave a film on your hands or immediately absorb onto your skin?
- Is it thick or thin? Does it have a consistency closer to water or a gel?
- Can I get it in a large size for my home and a smaller size for my purse?
I picked up a bunch of hand sanitizers from stores like Target, Walmart, my local grocery store and a convenience shop in order to do a little side-by-side comparison.
The Ty-D Gel Hand Sanitizer was exactly what its label says: a gel. I’m not really a fan of gels because they leave behind a film on my skin which makes me feel like I have to wash them. This brand had a medium alcohol smell but nothing too offensive. It has 69% ethyl alcohol.
Assured Hand Sanitizer really wants you to compare it to Purell Hand Sanitizer, which has a lot of consumer clout (and usually the 1st to sell out) but on some bottles doesn’t even mention it’s ethyl alcohol content. At first I thought this was kind of weird but then I realized it was alcohol-FREE and this is a big NO-NO during COVID-19. Without alcohol you’re not successfully killing the germs we’re trying to protect ourselves from. If it says it has an active ingredient of Benzalkonium Chloride, set it back down and looking for something else with ethyl alchohol as the main ingredient.
Assured, at 70% alcohol, also has Vitamin E and Aloe in it--2 things I appreciate. There's a citrus orange fragrance to it, which works for me, but the negative side of this brand is how sticky it is. Unfortunately this can be a problem with many hand sanitizers. I also find the sprays to be on the sticky side.
Next up, Xtra Care Hand Sanitizer. I felt like I was pouring a margarita into my hands. It’s very pungent! I did like the fluid, watery consistency of it though.
And then there's Born Basic Hand Sanitizer, clearly my favorite. The reason I photographed it next to a huge thriving Aloe plant in my home is because it has Aloe Vera in it to give your hands moisture. I was drawn to this bottle from the get-go because I like the clearly laid out label (which doesn’t make it an eyesore when displayed in your home) and all information you need to know is easy to read. This hand sanitizer has an ethyl alcohol level of 62%. The question is: Is this effective enough?
I did a little digging on this, and the answer is YES. To be effective against killing germs, hand sanitizers need to have a strength of at least 60% alcohol. There are definitely brands that exceed 60% but those are the ones that can painfully dry out your hands, especially during winter. So just be careful and always check out the label.
The other features of Born Basic that make it my favorite of all the brands I tested and anything else I’ve tried before is that is literally disappears into your skin, has a really nice and calming scent that’s floral yet subtle, and makes it seem more expensive. It’s super light and silky. There’s no sting or tingle. Your hands actually feel clean instead of drenched in chemicals, which is honestly how my hands felt with a few of the previously mentioned brands. The floral scent stays on your hands too.
There are no gimmicks or crazy claims. This is why Born Basic takes the win. Shop for it here: https://www.bornbasicproducts.com in 3 different sizes. It's also available at Target. The 33 oz is only $5.99. It’s so affordable!
And just a tip, in case you're a dog owner like me, make sure to wait for the hand sanitizer to dry before petting your dog or giving him/her a treat. Or maybe even wash your hands before preparing your dog's food. This is just to be on the safe side since your pet won't like the smell or the taste if they lick your hands after you apply it. And definitely keep all bottles out of reach from your pets.
I’m not an expert in Hand Sanitizers but what I do know is how my skin and senses react to them. I’m hoping this will help you be a little more discerning when you shop for sanitizing products. It really does make all the difference in these pandemic-recovery times. As we start to socialize more, invite guests back into our homes, and get physically closer to one another, it’s nice to be able to offer a pump of a high quality hand sanitizer. Do your own “test” and choose wisely!