Can You Use Shampoo as Body Wash? - Public Goods

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Can You Use Shampoo as Body Wash?

Have you ever gotten into the shower, prepared to wash your body after a long day, only to find that you’ve run out of body wash?

bottle of public goods body wash, public goods shampoo bar, white bath towel
Shop at Public Goods: Body Wash ($4.50), Shampoo Bar ($5.50)

You start eyeing that bottle of shampoo, tempted to start washing your skin with a product that’s engineered for your hair.

It produces lather like body wash, and it smells like body wash. It’s so similar that people can’t resist asking, “Can I use shampoo as a body wash?”

There are varying opinions on this topic, but in this article, we’ll establish some concrete guidelines.

Is Shampoo The Same As Body Wash?

Technically, shampoo and body wash are not the same, though they do share many similarities. There’s a reason shampoo and body wash are marketed as two different products. The body wash contains milder detergents than shampoo because your skin is more sensitive than your hair (your hair is only dead cells).

Ingredients in a low-cost shampoo will not feel good on the skin and leave your skin dry. On the contrary, the body wash has a moisturizing and hydrating effect when you wash your body.

One reason some people feel cleaner after using shampoo as a body wash is that it forms more suds. But more suds doesn’t mean more cleaning.

However, there’s no denying that shampoo and body wash have similar ingredients.

Both of them are mostly water and detergent and contain pH-regulating agents, preservatives, natural or artificial fragrances, and lather-producing agents such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES). Keep in mind, however, that both SLS and SLES are considered potentially harmful to the skin. That’s why our products are sulfate-free!

Both come in the form of gels, creams and bars. If you peel the sticker from the packaging, many people won’t be able to tell them apart.

Can You Use Shampoo as Body Wash?

When it comes to washing your skin with shampoo, you’ll find a variety of opinions on the internet. Some say that shampoo is intended to be used as a shampoo only; others actually like using shampoo as a body wash.

In general, shampoo and conditioner retain the minerals and essential oils in your hair (even using too much shampoo is not good). Thus, using shampoo as a body wash in the shower would make your skin feel slimy and sticky.

Shampoos have an acidic pH to keep the cuticles of your hair smooth, while body wash has a slightly lower pH. If you rinse your body with shampoo, it may leave your skin dry, irritated and dull.

In fact, shampoos are arguably more similar to detergents. They are also considered as a substitute for detergent and dishwashing liquids. Sometimes it becomes necessary to use a conditioner to keep the hair bouncy, shiny and smooth. Thus, body wash shouldn’t be used as a shampoo because of its potential long-term adverse effects on your skin.
Nonetheless, you don’t need to fret if you use shampoo as a body wash by mistake. And if you find yourself in a situation where you have to use shampoo as a body wash, no worries. You’ll be OK.

As a rule of thumb, always buy sulfate-free shampoos, soaps, and body wash. Afterwards, use a moisturizer on your skin if the shampoo has dried it.

What Can I Use Instead Of Body Wash?

Is shampoo the only product that can replace your body wash? Definitely not! You have a lot of other options when it comes time to wash your body, including:


a bar of soap and plant leaves

Soaps without Sodium Lauryl Sulphates are better for your skin. The best soaps are made from organic products and high-grade laboratory products. They contain essential oils and no synthetic fragrances. Soaps are convenient because of their compact size and portability.

Shower Oil

soapy hand holding a bottle of body wash, a bowl of soapy water and flowers

Shower oils can be infused with the essences of lavender, lemon, rosemary, and various other scents. Apply the oil all over your body and step into the shower. Brands formulate the oil to take on a milky texture as soon as it hits the water.

Shower oil has a therapeutic effect and provides many benefits for your skin. People wash with these oils to treat bacterial and viral infections, deep cleans, itching, etc.

Shower Gels

white shampoo bottle

The body wash has a liquid soap-like texture, while shower gels have a firm texture. Another differentiating factor of the latter is their stronger scent. If you live in a dry climate, shower gel will be a better choice. However, keep an eye on the ingredients. If possible, choose a sulphate-free product.

Body Scrub

body scrub in a glass jar

A body scrub is an exfoliant to wash with – that is, it’s designed to remove dead cells from your body. The scrub has coarse particles suspended in an oil base. The particles mechanically exfoliate dead skin from your body and promote the healthy growth of new cells. You have lots of fragrances to choose from.

Charcoal Soap

bar of charcoal soap

Activated charcoal draws out dirt, oil, and debris from your skin. Because of these added benefits, it is costlier than soap. Charcoal soap is often used by people to treat acne and oily skin. Therefore, it’s worth a try if you have acne or other skin blemishes.

Shower Foam

soapy water

Shower foams have become a trend in the past few years. With shower foam, you don’t have to wait for the lather to form, because it comes straight out of the pump.
Whether or not you like the product is up to you, but kids will surely enjoy the extra bubbles and foam that come with shower foam.


a glass of milk

Here’s your chance to be a little extravagant. It’s said that Cleopatra use to baths in a tub full of milk, and you can also enjoy a soothing milk bath and experience glowing skin as a result. However, don’t use as much milk as Cleopatra – she could do it because she was a pharaoh.

Pour about 2-4 cups of milk in a tub full of warm water, and you’ll be ready to go. Soak for 20-30 minutes, relax, and let your milk bath rejuvenate and soften your skin.

Can You Use Body Wash As Shampoo?

Now, what about doing things the other way around? Can you use body wash as shampoo? The general opinion leans toward a no. The shampoo is always preferred for reasons like:

  1. The ingredients in shampoo keep essential oils on your scalp.
  2. Shampoo can keep color-treated hair looking fresh.
  3. Shampoo paired with conditioner imparts luster and shine to your hair after a rinse.
  4. Shampoo and shampoo bars have ingredients that promote the growth of hair (want a guide on using shampoo bars?).

Using a body wash as shampoo is more perilous than using shampoo as a body wash. Body wash removes dirt and oil and can strip your hair of its natural oils, promote dandruff, and remove the shine. Afterwards, you might find your hair feeling waxy and difficult to style.

The Right Balance

Body wash and shampoo have their own uses. Using the shampoo once in a while (like a month or two) as body wash will do you no harm, but don’t make it a regular practice. If you don’t find the body wash appealing, you have ample of other products to choose from.

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