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Everything You Need to Know About Hand Sanitiser Spray


Sanitising has quickly become a conversation starter like the weather. This year, unlike most, has transformed our way of thinking - sanitising has become as important as brushing your teeth everyday. But what is the difference between hand gel and hand sanitiser spray? We created your go-to guide for all things sanitising...

What is sanitising?

Sanitising is the process of killing bacteria (what you cannot see) and this is achieved by using heat and/or chemicals. It is not an option to use either a detergent or a sanitiser – both must be used.

In short, sanitising is a step beyond the cleaning process of applying or spraying chemicals to disinfect a clean surface or hands to a safe level. In order to sanitise and kill viruses – the concentration of alcohol must be 70% and over.

How to make hand sanitiser not sticky

Generally speaking, most sanitisers are made in the form of a gel – but, why?

Often formulators follow the herd - if the first few products were gels, then that is what they will continue creating.

The logic behind the gel formula is a simple one, brands needed to create a substance that would carry alcohol when rubbed in – subsequently, they chose gel for you to smother across your hands but the chemical structure of this is a gloopy stickier substance – carrying the alcohol, to be distributed across the hands.

The challenge is people tend to be put off by the feeling of ‘stickiness’ - so much so, you risk them wiping the sanitiser off, especially for children who wipe their hands straight on their trousers!

With a gel formula, there is a theory that believes that it feels more like a hand cream or something you would apply to your hands. Interestingly, growing up in the professional beauty industry - we have always had hand sanitiser on our nail desks and trolleys. However, these were always pure liquid sprays, less so gels.

spray hand sanitiser

As a professional therapist, you use large amounts of sanitiser, very frequently and at speed before your next client arrives. This should always be your desk, nail files, all equipment, bottles and hands. The professionals always knew this was best with an atomiser spray, for quick dispersion and universally cleaning both hands and surfaces.

In the new Covid world, operating like a therapist seems a very logical efficient and safer choice. The huge bonus of spray sanitisers is there is no gel in the formula, so you instantly reduce the sticky feeling. Our experience is showing children and general ‘non sanitiser lovers’ find a spray sanitiser easier to deal with.

Why does sanitiser dry your hands out?

The skincare market has told you for years that alcohol is a drying ingredient. They were not lying - it is. This is why it is used so much in oily skincare to try and wipe excess oil off the surface of the skin (that doesn’t’ work by the way but that is something for another blog.) Alcohol applied to the skin surface causes it to become drier.

Is it possible to make sanitiser that isn’t drying on your skin?

The simple answer is no, you can’t make a sanitiser that is not drying to the skin. Remember, Proverb stands for statements of truth! If you have 60/70% plus of alcohol, this is going to cause dry skin. Alas there are improvements to the hand sanitiser spray formulation that you can do, and that’s to add other ingredients to try and reduce this impact, but you won’t stop it.

Options include: 

a) Glycerine- a humectant, that helps retain moisture. Most commonly found in cleanser, toners and moisturisers.

b) Aloe vera- as an emollient.

c) Essential oils- will help with creating a lovely skin but also help counter the drying nature. 

Even if you use the ingredients above, our professional advice would be to always use a very good hand moisturiser frequently, alongside all your sanitising. Ideally, plant butter and oil based, not paraffinium liquidum with added humectants like glycerine.

Why does sanitiser smell like vodka or tequila?

The vast majority of the sanitiser market is based on an alcohol formulation. In order to be effective, it needs to be (at minimum) 60% alcohol and can go up to 90%. Subsequently, the vast majority of the bottle is neat alcohol. This is going to smell like - you guessed it, neat strong vodka.

To cover that smell you would need to use perfumes, synthetic fragrances or essential oils. All of these factors will increase the cost of the sanitiser and as a typically low-priced product, very few producers will be willing to increase prices through additional extras.

spray hand sanitiser

The Proverb Sanitiser was created with spas and gyms in mind. Therefore, it had to function efficiently with 70% of alcohol. Equally, it was important for us that as our spray was used for creating a mist within the air, to open and close training sessions or treatments.

The subtle scented sanitiser was produced to make a gym smell like a spa and to impact the client’s olfactory system and make them feel invigorated and ready to stretch, train or focus on their goals and wellbeing. It wasn’t made for Covid and it is our need for it to smell great for its original purpose that is now making it a standout sanitiser since this has become the ‘new norm’.


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