If you didn’t count hand sanitiser as a handbag essential (I certainly didn’t when I wrote Beauty Essentials: What’s in my Handbag) you probably do by now. Although the WHO’s recommendation to protect against infection is to wash hands with water and soap, hand sanitiser has nevertheless been selling out everywhere as the second-best option if water isn’t available. Touch the banister in the communal hallway – use sanitiser. Open the front door – use sanitiser. Pick up the post – sanitiser. Touch the shopping trolley – sanitiser. And these habits, once adopted, are likely to stay with us for a while to come. The first time I visited Hong Kong 12 years ago, the city had already experienced SARS and bird flu, mask wearing was the norm if you had a cold, and my Hong Kongese friend taught me how to use public loos: once you’ve washed your hands, dry them, take a paper towel and use it to push the exit door open, drop the towel in the bin nearby. I’d forgotten that lesson but I’ll be bringing it back and turning it into a habit. As for hand sanitiser, indie brands have been able to react quickly to the demand and have added it to their range. I’ve rounded up a selection from some of my favourite British natural beauty brands. All of the below adhere to the recommendation from Public Health England and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to feature at least 60% alcohol for the product to do its job: help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.
You’ll know by now that I’m a massive Pai fan. Sensitive skin products from this certified organic, cruelty-free and vegan skincare brand are so gentle and nurturing, I’ve only ever had good things to say about it. And having met founder Sarah Brown for my #beautyinsider Q&A series, it’s also a brand with caring values and high integrity. It’s no surprise that their hand sanitiser reflects that. Named after the company’s location and highlighting its community spirit, the Acton Spirit Hand Sanitizing Gel was launched in just 4 weeks (it typically takes 12 to 18 months to launch a new product!) – hence the basic packaging as Pai is over-labelling existing tubes for speed. Pai aims to donate 50,000 units over the next few months and has already given away the first batch to charities. In order to help them achieve this goal, this 65% alcohol sanitizing gel operates on a Buy One Gift One model: for every product purchased, one is donated to an NHS frontline worker, care home, homeless charity or beauty bank. Pai also offers 50% off all its products to all NHS workers. 75ml RRP £9.00
Another brand I regularly feature in my skincare routine is Fushi, especially its cold pressed facial oils. It was through interviewing founder Ria Pattni that I understood the importance of oils in skincare. The brand has launched its first hand spray made with 65% alcohol and 40% organic ingredients. Containing rosemary, thyme and sage, it offers anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antibacterial benefits. As with Pai’s gel, for every Fushi sanitising spray purchased one is donated to one of two local charities: The Ealing Council which helps care for their more vulnerable residents and The Shelter Project Hounslow which helps care for the homeless. NHS workers also get a discount of 35% on all Fushi products. 50ml RRP £9.00
Yet another of my favourite skincare brands, Evolve delivers natural and organic skincare products that work. Having also met and interviewed the brand founder Laura Rudoe, I find her passion for natural and sustainable living inspiring. This sanitising hand spray is currently formulated with 60% alcohol, but look out for their upgrade to 70% available in the next few days. It also contains organic bergamot essential oil for its anti-bacterial properties and organic glycerin for hydration. Due to the nature of the alcohol used this product cannot, unlike most other products in the range, be labelled natural. The priority was to launch the sanitiser as quickly as possible to ensure it gets – literally – into the right hands as quickly as possible. The spray mechanism means you use less than with a gel, so Evolve estimates this handbag-friendly size will give you up to 60 uses. As with Pai and Fushi sanitisers, one is donated to an NHS charity for every unit purchased. 30ml RRP £5.00
I’m running a bit of a theme with this brand. I reviewed Botanicals’ certified organic, vegan and cruelty-free Nourishing Hand Wash and Hand Cream not long ago, so this is the perfect alternative when soap and water aren’t available. This 100% natural sanitising spray is also certified organic by The Soil Association and contains 60% organic alcohol (derived from sugar beet). The spray dries quickly on hands without stinging and with no stickiness, leaving a lovely aromatic scent thanks to anti-bacterial lavender essential oil and anti-fungal tea tree essential oil. Botanicals also recommends using the spray on feet and as a natural deodorant. 50ml RRP £5.95
I feel like Neal’s Yard Remedies has always featured in my bathroom cabinet in some form or other, whether as a hand wash, essential oil or anything from their Frankincense range. It’s one of those brands that delivers effective natural treatments and has such a strong reputation I would trust their expertise. They have a range of hand sanitisers however as you can imagine due to the coronavirus quite a few are currently out of stock. This all-natural vegan hand rub however is available. Fragranced with a purifying blend of niaouli, lemongrass and witch hazel, and containing the highest alcohol content in this line up at 70%, the hand rub kills 99.9% of bacteria so is the perfect handbag-friendly option to keep germs at bay if water and soap are not immediately to hand. 40ml RRP £5.75
This certified organic, vegan and cruelty-free skincare brand featured quite early on in one of my blog posts. It was also the first brand to support me with gifted product and helped me discover how gentle and nourishing their products are. Interviewing founder Dr Pauline Hili helped me understand the powerful benefits of natural ingredients and how to harness them through science. Thanks to her PhD in the antimicrobial properties of essential oil she and her team formulated a hand sanitiser spray featuring 65% alcohol, antibacterial lemon essential oil and soothing ho leaf. This product can also be used sprayed onto a lint-free cloth to clean your phone, door handles and other hard surfaces. 100ml RRP £9.50
Note: I would usually trial products before writing about them, however on this occasion I wanted to highlight this high-in-demand product available from some of my favourite natural brands.