There are many sanitizers flooding the market. To find one that is effective, safe and well-designed, be an informed consumer. Brian Sansoni, senior vice president of communication at the American Cleaning Institute, cautions shoppers to carefully check the labels of sanitizers and to follow recommendations from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“If soap and water are not readily available,” the CDC says, “use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol” to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. “Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.” The FDA maintains a do-not-use list of those products that do not meet its safety standards, so check the list before buying.
Sansoni also cautions consumers to be careful with sanitizer that could be appealing to children. Children under 6 should be supervised while using sanitizers. “Colorful packaging could be mistaken for something else,” he says.
Here are five stocking-worthy sanitizers that pass effectiveness guidelines and that offer a few more features while tackling the serious job of cleaning germs off your hands. And don’t forget to leave one out for Santa.
Touchland. Andrea Lisbona, who is from Barcelona, came up with the idea of Touchland Power Mist hand sanitizer in 2010, when her lifestyle had her spending hours on public transportation and airplanes. “Most of the time, you don’t have access to water or soap,” Lisbona says. She commiserated with friends and colleagues about the harsh effect sanitizer was having on their hands and spent eight years coming up with an alternative. When the pandemic hit, Touchland, with its sleek packaging and candy-colored formulas, already had a strong Instagram presence.
“I wanted to reinvent the experience so it would be a ritual people actually look forward to,” Lisbona says. Her fast-absorbing formula has no sticky residue. The hydrating mist is dispensed from a container that looks like an iPhone. It fits easily into a pocket or small purse. The scents include vanilla/cinnamon and lavender. Watermelon, which comes in a white case with pink sanitizer, is the most popular. “It’s motivating to see that people take this product everywhere,” she says. “They feel it’s an accessory, a part of their daily outfit.”
The Touchland Power Mist dispenser comes in seven scents or comes fragrance-free; $12 for 1.3 ounces; 67 percent alcohol. Website: touchland.com.
Nest. Laura Slatkin, founder of Nest New York, known for its luxury scented candles and home fragrances, was never a fan of hand sanitizers, and she disliked the smell of the mass-market brands. She had always wanted to create her own. At the beginning of the pandemic, her company started working with chemists to produce one that would kill germs, be friendly to the skin and smell good.
“Going forward, hand sanitizer is part of our lifestyle,” she says. “I didn’t want it to dry out your hands, and I didn’t want something with a sticky consistency.” Nest’s first sanitizer, grapefruit, is just being launched; the scent is a “blend of pink pomelo grapefruit and watery green notes with lily of the valley and coriander blossom.” Slatkin says grapefruit works for both men and women; it’s packaged in a yellow frosted bottle. And if you have a caddy that holds bottles of Nest liquid soap and lotion in your powder room, you may be swapping out the lotion for sanitizer. Next on the company’s agenda is producing sanitizers in some of Nest’s other scents.
Nest grapefruit hand sanitizing gel; 10 ounces for $20 and 2.4 ounces for $10; 75 percent alcohol. Available in December. Website: nestnewyork.com.
Glamshell by Love Dirty. The sleek, glossy dispenser for Love Dirty’s Glamshell hand sanitizer looks like a fancy black makeup compact. The brand calls it a germ-killing “skin caring hand sanitizer.” When working as a creative director, Jason Daniels, the founder of Love Dirty, had long watched hair and makeup stylists pulling bottles of Purell out of their bags at photo shoots. They looked so industrial compared with the other items they carried. “Something you use every day should be representative of you. It sends a message to people,” Daniels says. “Hand sanitizer was not a sexy market. My background in branding and design led me to make it a bit more sexy.”
Daniels’s plan was to make a product that was kinder to the skin and more beautiful to look at. He upgraded the formula with moisturizers and humectants to nourish hands. The dispensers are reloadable and recyclable. “It’s the ultimate care gift, something you would not buy yourself,” he says. Well, maybe you would.
Glamshell; 0.94 ounces for $12.50; gold holiday Glamshell with pink microfiber pouch for $24; three-pack of 0.94-ounce refills for $16.50; 64 percent alcohol. Website: lovedirty.com.
Olika. Olika means “differently” in Swedish. The company created its misting hand sanitizer with hydrating properties in five essential-oil scents, such as mint citrus and cucumber basil. (It’s also available fragrance-free.) It’s packaged in a birdlike container that fits pleasantly in your hand and looks like a fashion accessory.
“We tried to make it easier and more pleasant for customers to use hand sanitizer, and to make it less objectionable and icky,” says chief executive Alastair Dorward. The company also offers refill options, he says, to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics.
The petite Olika birds add a note of whimsy; the portable clip-on version is meant for key chains or dog leashes. They have been popular in dentists’ offices, where employees keep them clipped on lanyards, and in middle and high schools, where they dangle from kids’ backpacks. “We all have pandemic compliance fatigue,” Dorward says. “If you make using hand sanitizer a bit more fun, and a spray rather than a gunky gel, it will be used more.”
Olika hydrating hand sanitizer spray: one ounce for $5.99; Olika hydrating hand sanitizer clip-on: 0.6 ounces for $4.99; three-ounce refill for $7.99; 65 percent alcohol. Website: olikalife.com.
Oh.So. Hand sanitizers can leave hands dry and cracked. Oh.So created a formula that contains all-natural essential oils and vegetable glycerin to help bedraggled cuticles. They keep sustainability in mind when sourcing ingredients, says Jenna Peebles, Oh.So’s director of operations, including alcohol from the United States.
The small, easy-to-carry bottles are made in two scents: one that smells like fresh orange peel and one like a cocktail. The mojito blend includes the essential oils of grapefruit, lime, orange and spearmint. The company recommends spritzing three to four pumps and then rubbing your hands together well. “The smell is uplifting,” Peebles says.
Oh.So sweet orange or mojito two-ounce spray for $6; 65 percent alcohol. Website: shopohso.com.
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