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Our top pick? The L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

With the new year on the horizon, the harsh bite of the winter winds is nigh. Unfortunately, that means it's that season again where our hands start to become uncomfortably dry after even just the briefest of expeditions outdoors, and in some cases: severely damaged and cracked.

Take it from us—the purveyors of Nordic & French skincare—that even in the most blisteringly cold regions of northern Europe, French pharmacy products are *the* go-to's to keep hands looking and feeling comfortable & moisturized. Why? Because the Nords know that the best French hand creams are enriched with ingredients of inimitably supreme quality, from nourishing Provençal botanicals to the most soothing eau thermale.

Deciding which one is best for you depends largely on your budget, preference, and severity of your skin concern. Our top 8 picks narrow down the best French hand cream based on each of these factors. Enjoy!

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Shea Butter Hand Cream by L'Occitane, the best French hand cream.

#1 — Shea Butter Hand Cream by L'Occitane

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

The best French hand cream.

What makes it special? For over 15 years, the Shea Butter Hand Cream has been the most iconic l'Occitane product. In fact, one is sold somewhere around the world every 3 seconds. This nourishing and softening hand cream with 20% concentrated shea butter is a true saviour when it comes to dry hands. Trusted by thousands, it will keep your hands supple and hydrated, even in winter. ​

The cream itself is absorbed rapidly, leaving the hands soft and smooth without feeling oily. This shea butter hand cream is also infused with jasmine and ylang-ylang to ensure hands are left smelling heavenly after use.

Which skin types? All skin types, especially dry.

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Cicaplast Hand Cream by La Roche Posay, the best soothing French hand cream.

#2 — Cicaplast Hand Cream by La Roche Posay

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

The best soothing French hand cream.

What makes it special? This absolute gem of a hand cream provides instant relief for dry, damaged hands thanks to its innovative formula combining glycerine, niacinamide, thermal spring water, and shea butter. The result is an invisible glove-like layer to leave hands feeling soft, smooth and hydrated. The cream is resistant to washing, immediately soothes dry hands and provides 48 hours of blissful hydration.

Which skin types? Primarily for dry, damaged skin types.

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Nourishing and Protective Hand and Nail Cream by Caudalie, a nourishing, antioxidant French hand cream.

#3 — Nourishing and Protective Hand and Nail Cream by Caudalie

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A nourishing, antioxidant French hand cream.

What makes it special? Rich in Vinolevure, antioxidant grape seed polyphenols, shea butter and avocado, this luxurious cream repairs, nourishes and protects hands, whilst also strengthening nails! Its light yet creamy texture melts instantly into the skin for long-lasting comfort without leaving a greasy film. It is delicately perfumed with a sweet citrus fragrance that combines notes of Seville orange, orange blossom water and orange wood. Simply divine!

Which skin types? Oily, combination, dry, normal.

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Ambre Vanille Hand Cream by Laura Mercier, the best (affordable) luxury French hand cream.

#4 — Ambre Vanille Hand Cream by Laura Mercier

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

The best (affordable) luxury French hand cream.

What makes it special? Give tired hands a treat with the soft and soothing Laura Mercier Ambre Vanille Hand Cream, a bath and body product that provides lasting protection and can also be used to help bring immediate relief. Weather-worn, chapped or bruised hands will welcome the comforting touch of this luxurious preparation. Grape seed and macadamia nut oils help to deliver deep hydration, whilst shea butter works to reduce irritation and restore the skin’s moisture barrier, locking hydration in the hands to provide ongoing comfort.

Which skin types? Every skin type!

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Cicalfate Restorative Hand Cream by Avene, the best French pharmacy hand cream.

#5 — Cicalfate Restorative Hand Cream by Avene

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

The best French pharmacy hand cream.

What makes it special? When the dryness becomes unbearable, it's time to bring out the big guns. And by big guns, I mean a staple French pharmacy option. Almost classifiable as medicinal, the restorative, soothing, protecting Avene Cicalfate Hand Cream helps to promote a healthy skin environment for optimal recovery, soothing, softening and calming delicate skin. It slips a few rankings in our eyes due to its price point, but if that's not a major factor for you, this is definitely the best healing hand cream for bad cases of damaged/cracked skin.

Which skin types? All skin types, especially sensitive.

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Restorative Hand Cream by Sisley, the best luxury French hand cream (worth the splurge).

#6 — Restorative Hand Cream by Sisley

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

The best luxury French hand cream (worth the splurge).

What makes it special? If you're looking to splurge a bit more to attain the ultimate hand care experience, look no further than Sisley's luxurious Restorative Hand Cream. It is an intensely moisturising and nourishing cream, as well as a skincare treatment for more beautiful and resistant nails. Its complete formula acts on all fronts to moisturise, nourish, restore and protect. Its surprising texture is light yet rich when applied, for immediate comfort, providing a powdery finish that doesn’t stick or leave an oily film.

Which skin types? Normal to dry skin.

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Absolue Hand Premium by Lancome, the best anti-ageing French hand cream.

#7 — Absolue Hand Premium by Lancome

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

The best anti-ageing French hand cream.

What makes it special? Time can take a toll on your hands, so pamper them with a little bit of love and this ultra-luxurious hand cream that lessens the look of age spots, while providing replenishing moisture and SPF 15 protection. A formula rich with Soy and Sea Algae helps reinforce elasticity and firmness, while Wild Yam intensely hydrates. Instantly, hands feel softer, suppler and relieved of uncomfortable dryness with a more even-toned, luminous look of youth.

Which skin types? All skin types.

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Mango Coriander Energizing Hand Cream by Yves Rocher, an energising, fragrant French hand cream.

#8 — Mango Coriander Energizing Hand Cream by Yves Rocher

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Our rating: ★★★★

Price: $$$$

An energising, fragrant French hand cream.

What makes it special? Coming from the masters of botanical skincare, this quickly absorbing and deliciously smelling hand cream perfectly moisturises your hands and gives them the nourishment they need. Our only qualm with it is its size meaning it won't last as long as you would expect it to. Pair with your choice of the Best French Soap for best results!

Which skin types? All skin types.

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