I’ve never thought as much about hand sanitizer in my life as I’ve thought about it over the past five months. Sure, I typically had a half-used bottle of the stuff floating around in my tote bag, for moments when I want to clean my hands after touching an ATM or eating something messy on the go. Who ever thought hand sanitizer would become a hot commodity in Spring 2020?1
As I’m slowly inching towards my return to mass transit and the workplace (part-time, at least), I’m taking inventory of my hand sanitizer stash. I’m not making any medical claims about these products, but I’ll feel a little safer if I can keep my hands as clean as possible when interacting with other members of the public. And, as a perfume-lover, I’m going to make the experience as pleasant as possible for myself.
I don’t think I’ve ever ordered from Orris Perfumery before, but this Los Angeles boutique started offering its own all-natural “Sanitizing Perfumes” in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic and I purchased one right away. The Comfort scent (shown below left) is a casual-chic blend of bergamot, neroli and rose that I’d definitely wear in perfume form too. Five other essential-oil blends are also available, all containing fractionated coconut oil and castor oil to counteract any drying effect. Packaged in a glass spray bottle. ($20 for 60 ml at Orris Perfumery)
Kelly + Jones is another small business, but one that’s been on my radar for a long time. This New York State-based indie perfumer is offering “hand spritz” in three scents based on the brand’s Blends perfume oils. I chose Floral (shown top left), with notes of orange blossom, geranium, violet and rose. It’s a very feminine, perfume-y bouquet that makes me smile. The two other blends are Citrus and Earth. (I sent a bottle of the vetiver-centered Earth version to a friend, who really liked it.) Packaged in a glass spray bottle. ($15 for 60 ml at Kelly + Jones)
I’m a longtime fan of the slightly cult-product Kalastyle Sea Salt line (shown just above, right), so I had to try this matching hand sanitizer as soon as it was available. It has the same summery, upbeat scent as the Sea Salt soap and hand cream, with notes of neroli, lemon, fresh air, and driftwood. Packaged in a plastic spray bottle. ($8 for 60 ml at Kalastyle or C. O. Bigelow)
Here’s one of the most stylish options around: Arquiste Orange Blossom & Iris Hand Sanitizer (shown top right). It was inspired by the flowerbeds and potted citrus trees of the eighteenth-century Boboli garden outside Florence. The orange blossom is most noticeable, but it has additional notes of lemon leaves, bitter orange, clary sage, lavender, blackcurrant bud, angelica root and ambrette seed. If you love Arquiste’s Fleur de Louis, you’ll like this hand sanitizer too. And if you just want to feel really fancy while giving your hands a quick touch-up, this one can’t be beat. Packaged in a bottle made of recycled “beach collected” plastic. ($20 for 70 ml at Arquiste and Arielle Shoshana)
Lastly, if you just want an unscented product that won’t distract you from your perfume or other fragranced body products, I can recommend C. O. Bigelow Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer. I prefer it to anything from the drugstore. It has an easily absorbed gel formulation (with aloe vera and glycerin for hydration) and it’s packaged in a neat flip-top plastic tube. (60 ml for $6 at the C. O. Bigelow website)
Stay safe, all! (And do share your own hand sanitizer favorites in the comments.)
1. Disclaimer: I’m not recommending hand sanitizers as a sole means of preventing the spread of Covid-19. Please do follow the most current guidelines (re: social distancing, masks, travel, what-have-you) from the Center for Disease Control and other official health organizations while keeping your hands clean!