The best natural hand sanitisers for use during the coronavirus outbreak

I’d like to have a chat to you about hand sanitisers in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

I’m going to skip talking about what the coronavirus is – I’m guessing you all know by now – but I will link you to the symptoms of coronavirus via the NHS.

Today I wanted to speak about antibacterial hand gel. Of course, there has been a huge rise in people buying this type of hand gel given the levels of concern around the coronavirus worldwide.

Before now, though, there have been tonnes of articles about how the ingredients in hand sanitisers are pretty terrible for you. I wanted to talk about these concerns and give you some recommendations for hand gels that won’t cause a chemical overload.

Byredo Hand Sanitiser - Caroline Allen

Are hand sanitisers bad for you?

It’s not so much the products themselves but instead, some of the chemical formulas of the products.

Two years ago the FDA in America cracked down on the use of these chemicals. They banned 19 ingredients, with the ingredient triclosan being scrutinised heavily.

Tricoslan is linked to a whole host of nasty problems; asthma and allergies in children, abnormal hormone function, weakened immune system and uncontrolled cell growth to name a few.

The FDA went as far as suggesting that people should bin their hand sanitisers because they aren’t as effective as washing your hands and the chemicals in them are really not good.

In fact, hand gels don’t even work that well on dirty hands. The alcohol content has to be over 60% to even make a dent on cleaning them. They also can’t penetrate grime because there’s no friction (like there is with soap).

Should I stop using them?

Many of the arguments against hand sanitisers have been deemed “unfounded”. The NHS, for example, said that there was no need to worry about using antibacterial hand wash when pregnant.

The best thing to do in this situation is to wash your hands (for 20 seconds at a time, according to the government) whenever there is a sink and soap available.

If there isn’t, hand sanitiser is better than nothing.

Not all hand sanitisers are made equal, though. I’ve put together a list of my top suggestions. These don’t include parabens, synthetic ingredients, dodgy compounds or ammonia. I’d recommend these as your best bet if you’re feeling like you need to carry around a hand sanitiser.

Neal’s Yard Organic Defence Hand Spray

This organic blend has a mix of organic niaouli, lemongrass and witch hazel. It’s an all-natural formulation that doesn’t leave your hands sticky or dry out your skin.


Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash

If water isn’t available, this hand wash will leave your hands feeling fresh with the added bonus of Aesop’s excellent woody, herbaceous scent. I recommend the 50mL because the 500mL can only really be used at home.


Byredo Rose Rinse-Free Hand Wash

Sure, this is a bit more expensive but it will last you forever. You only need one drop at a time and the smell is amazing. 

There’s no alcohol-like smell to this hand wash. It smells like pink pepper (it kind of reminds me of a rich Molton Brown smell). This comes in loads of different scents, too.


Margaret Dabbs Hand Sanitiser

This a non-stripping hand sanitiser is gently scented (much like the Byredo equivalent) and doesn’t smell like anti-bacterial hand sanitiser. If that makes sense.

It’s light and comes in a neat 200mL bottle. Again, it’s more pricey but the size makes it worth it. You could always decant it into smaller bottles for travel.


These are my four top picks. They keep going in and out of stock at the moment and I’m guessing that’s because everybody is trying to get their hands on some sanitiser.

I don’t think there’s any replacement for a good hand wash and most situations do allow for it, but there’s no harm in having a back up.

If you’ve got any other good recommendations, please put them below and I will add them in.

If you’d like some more wellness tips to get you through March, click here.


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