2020 has seen huge behavioural shifts in so many areas: fear of physical human contact, an accelerated move towards a fully virtual life from the workplace to shopping and ‘socialising’, and of course the compulsive sanitising of homes, public areas and hands to name but a few. The outlook may be bleak for individuals, but a few winners have emerged out of this pandemic, namely supermarkets, pharmaceutical companies and health and hygiene companies. With COVID-19 re-emphasising the need for good hygiene, hand sanitizers have been big players in this new world (source: NS Medical Devices). It’s no surprise that, along with the bunker-style buying for loo roll, the demand for hand sanitizers witnessed a meteoric rise at the beginning of 2020. Sales in the UK rose by 255% in February which saw the likes of Boots rationing sanitizers. According to Grand View Research ‘the extent to which it is easy to use as well as portable and convenient has made the product popular among consumers’. The once humble health product has however had a bit of a revamp, elevating it from a basic hygiene product to a hybrid formula with skincare as well as bacteria-killing benefits. And it’s in small independent brands that I’ve seen the best launches, some of which I share here.

Elxr Natural Hand Sanitiser

Founded by Amelia and Isabella, both self-professed skincare fanatics, Elxr’s first product to launch is a sure fire hit for 2020: a hand sanitiser. But as well as being cruelty-free, vegan, natural and antibacterial – the high 70% alcohol content comes from grain alcohol – it is also moisturising thanks to borage oil and soothing thanks to aloe vera. As an eczema sufferer – I have the delightful tendency of developing the drying skin condition between my fingers and on my eyelids of all places – a soothing and hydrating sanitiser is a vast improvement from the harsh chemical-laden version I used to apply when working in a nursing home. The gel texture is easily squeezed out of the soft touch handbag-size bottle and is quickly absorbed without leaving any sticky residue. Organic bergamot and neroli essential oils give the gel a pleasantly light and fresh scent, nothing too overpowering. And the brownie points don’t stop at the formula itself: the bottle is 100% recyclable (also containing some recycled material) and 10% of profits are donated to tree planting. I’m hoping that the next Elxr – pronounced Elixir I guess? – launch is a large refill size. The top of the bottle comes off so it’s easily refillable and reusable ad infinitum. The only downside is the whopping £16 price point which is pretty steep compared to all the natural ones I reviewed in my Where To Buy Hand Sanitiser From post which were well under a tenner. 50ml RRP £16.00

Spirit of Travel Hand Cleansing Gel

On the opposite end of the cost spectrum this cleansing gel from hotel toiletry specialists is an absolute bargain at £1.25. With the hospitality industry having taken a nose-dive, this company has refocused its efforts on consumer-friendly products such as this pocket-size gel which I’ve already reviewed in my Hotel-Inspired Toiletries post. Public Health England recommends at least 60% alcohol content for the product to successfully help avoid spreading germs. This one contains 70% but surprisingly smells a lot more pleasant than many of the antibacterial gels I’ve used. 35ml RRP £1.25

Purdy & Figg hand sanitiser spray  

Another niche British brand set up by two women, NHS nurse Purdy Rubin and horticulturalist Charlotte Figg, it was set up with the idea of ‘reducing the number of toxic chemicals we use on our skin and plastic waste around our homes’. They created hand sanitisers with 70% pharmaceutical grade alcohol and essential oils presented in a refillable blue glass bottle. You know how once you’re introduced to a new brand it then seems to crop up everywhere you look? When the brand contacted me I had never heard of it, then the week after receiving the beautifully presented collection of hand sanitisers in three different fragrances, I spot Purdy & Figg listed in This Morning’s ‘best hand sanitisers’ shortlist. The first thing that hits me when I open the box of trios is the overwhelming alcohol scent. Is singeing the inside of my nostrils a good indication of its antibacterial efficacy? The front of the label states that the spray kills 99.99% of bacteria and I don’t doubt that for a second. When I spray the sanitiser onto my hands I still get hit with an intense alcohol scent, but as soon as it dies down (which is very quickly) it reveals truly beautiful scents, from delicate dusty floral notes in Charlotte’s Floral to smoky notes in Wild Woody and zesty orange peel notes in Original Citrus. Scents that are worthy of a fragrance house. 50ml RRP £5.99 or 3x50ml RRP £16.99

Neal’s Yard Remedies Natural Defence Hand Rub

Also listed in This Morning’s best hand sanitisers list, this hand rub made it in my Where To Buy Hand Sanitiser From post. This all-natural vegan hand rub is fragranced with a purifying blend of niaouli, lemongrass and witch hazel, and contains the WHO-recommended 70% alcohol content. Featuring a plastic bottle to avoid breakages in your handbag, a 200ml refill bottle is also available to ensure this potable spray gets reused. 40ml RRP £5.75

What hand sanitiser have you been reaching for this year? Please leave a comment below to let me know.

Features gifted products.


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