Nine of the best floral hand washes

Cleanse thoroughly and add an aromatic boost with gentle, blooming hand soaps

Perfumers rely on a palette of citrusy, floral and musky notes to create blends that smell clean and fresh
Perfumers rely on a palette of citrusy, floral and musky notes to create blends that smell clean and fresh | Image: Courtesy of Byredo, @officialbyredo

Orange blossom, lavender or black pepper? Such scents can add a sensory boost to the increasingly frequent act of hand washing. A good hand wash should, of course, cleanse thoroughly, and its fragrance should strike a fine balance: a pronounced aroma straight out of the bottle and a veil of fresh scent on skin.

Jo Malone Orange Blossom Body and Hand Wash, £32 for 250ml
Jo Malone Orange Blossom Body and Hand Wash, £32 for 250ml
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Perfumers have their own secrets for creating blends that smell “clean and fresh”; they rely on a palette of citrusy, floral and musky notes. Orange blossom and lavender are the classic choices. Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom Body & Hand Wash, for instance, foams well and genuinely smells of blooming orange groves. Senteurs d’Orient’s Fleurs d’Oasis Nourishing Hand Wash layers orange blossom with cypress and red thyme for extra zest. With both, the aroma of white petals lingers on hands without being overpowering. 

Senteurs d’Orient Fleurs d’Oasis Nourishing Hand Wash, $34 for 300ml
Senteurs d’Orient Fleurs d’Oasis Nourishing Hand Wash, $34 for 300ml
Byredo Rose Hand Wash, £38 for 450ml
Byredo Rose Hand Wash, £38 for 450ml

For rose-scented fingers, it’s a choice between Byredo’s Rose Hand Wash and L’Objet’s Rose Noire Hand & Body Soap from the house’s Apothecaire collection. Byredo accents its roses with patchouli and musk for a baroque effect; L’Objet steeps roses in black tea and spices them up with white pepper. From British brand La Eva, the Roseum Wash smells enticingly like a handful of rose buds, but is in fact a medley of rose geranium and bitter orange leaves.  

L’Objet Rose Noire Hand and Body Soap, £45 for 500ml
L’Objet Rose Noire Hand and Body Soap, £45 for 500ml
La Eva Roseum Hand Wash and Lotion, £18 for 200ml
La Eva Roseum Hand Wash and Lotion, £18 for 200ml

A drop of lavender essence mixed into laundry water gives a sun-dried impression to linens; L’Occitane’s Lavender Cleansing Hand Wash and Diptyque’s Softening Hand Wash both have a similar uplifting effect. Rosemary is another herb that has long been used in soaps for its refreshing and anti-bacterial properties. The Bergamot + Rosemary Hand Wash (£24 for 250ml) from Honest Skincare smells heady and bright, while its sunflower- and coconut-oil-enriched formula nourishes the skin. The Birmingham-based botanical company produces a punchy blend of black pepper and lemongrass too.  

L’Occitane Lavender Cleansing Hand Wash, £16.50 for 300ml
L’Occitane Lavender Cleansing Hand Wash, £16.50 for 300ml
Diptyque Softening Hand Wash, £45 for 350ml
Diptyque Softening Hand Wash, £45 for 350ml

Molton Brown’s hand washes also explore less traditional scent combinations, such as Rhubarb & Rose and Lime & Patchouli – and the liquid is tinted accordingly. My favourite, however, is the amber-coloured Black Pepper. It’s effervescent and crisp; a delight for all senses.

Honest Skincare Bergamot + Rosemary Hand Wash, £24 for 250ml
Honest Skincare Bergamot + Rosemary Hand Wash, £24 for 250ml
Molton Brown Rhubarb & Rose hand wash, £20 for 300ml
Molton Brown Rhubarb & Rose hand wash, £20 for 300ml

Victoria Frolova has been writing her perfume blog boisdejasmin.com since 2005. Her explorations of fragrance touch upon all elements that make this subject rich and complex: science, art, literature, history and culture. Frolova is a recipient of three Fragrance Foundation FiFi Awards for Editorial Excellence and, since receiving professional perfumery training, has been working as a fragrance consultant and researcher.

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