Can You Use Shampoo As Body Wash

Sometimes, it is much easier to simply wash everything with a single product.

One of the best examples is being able to wash your hair with your favorite shampoo and simply continuing towards your body as well.

But does this actually work?

Can we use shampoo as body wash?

We understand the confusion here.

There are a lot of facts that support this claim and involve using shampoo as an all-in-one washer. But there is the other side as well.

A lot of claims exist that say that this is something that we should not practice at all.

To help clear things up a bit we decided to answer this question and give a definitive answer.

We researched and discovered a lot of facts and details about using shampoo as a body wash.

To say the least, what we managed to scrape up was fairly interesting.

Our article will finally bust the myth and explain to you how beneficial it is to wash your entire body with a hair shampoo.

What Is a Shampoo

In the most common definition, shampoo is a liquid (can be in a bar form as well) used to wash your hair. It is used to remove any dirt and excessive oil from the scalp. Generally, shampoos smell good and use to treat your hair while it is also cleaning it. Some shampoos even have specific properties for hair treatments, such as shampoo designed to stop hair loss

Benefits of Using a Shampoo

People say that hair is the first thing most people notice as somebody’s features.. Or was it eyes? Whatever. Hair is important. Period. The shampoo is the first and the most crucial state to hair care. Choosing the best shampoo for your hair type and following the routine is important to have healthy hair. 

The correct shampoo not only cleans your hair but also gives it volume and shine. Some shampoos even have texture and form-giving abilities and will bless you with amazing-looking natural curls. Shampoos are usually a little more acidic, which fits your natural scalp pH; they generally help you maintain a healthy scalp. They contain vitamins, minerals and essential oils that promote natural hair growth. 

Did you know that your hair on top of your head and your beard need different products too?! Crazy right. You may say they are both hairs, but no! Your beard (obviously not for the ladies) needs different products than your hair. It’s ok to wash it with soap or shampoo, but choosing the ideal beard balm for your facial hair aftercare is important.

Also, try paying more attention to choosing a brush that softens your beard. Believe me; it will look so much better. Finally, face cream will help keep the skin soft between shaves which will complete your whole look. 

How Does a Shampoo Work

It’s simple, it gets into your scalp, removes dead skin, dirt and build-up residues that can be washed off by water. Basically, the shampoo contains a surfactant that lowers the surface tension between the eater and sebum, so when you wash it, the shampoo molecule can collect the dirt. Science is a beautiful thing. 

They also come in many properties, such as helping your hair have texture, volume, and shine and preventing frizzy hair. 

What Is a Body Wash

Body wash -unlike shampoo- has been popular way after. At the very early times, soaps were the only way of people cleaning themselves. Then slowly, hair products became a thing, soon after to be followed by body products. It’s all thanks to scientists discovering that our hair and our skin have completely different needs.

A body wash is simply a liquid that you can clean your body with. It is usually colorful and smells good. It is used to remove any dirt, residue or dead skin from your body. 

Benefits of Using a Body Wash

Benefits of Using a Body Wash

People say that your skin is your biggest organ. That is the exact reason why picking the perfect body wash is so important. Especially if you have sensitive skin or skin problems such as acne, redness, irritation or dryness, the body washes you choose essential and can help you get better and healthier skin. 

Body washes, in general, are designed to keep the natural pH of your skin balanced and give your skin enough moisture. They contain essential oils and fats as well as shooting and moisturizing agents. Specifically, some medical body washes can even contain medicine and sedatives. Even though dermatologists usually prescribe those, they can seriously help you fight long-term acne.  

How Does a Body Wash Work

Chemically speaking, the cleaning mechanisms of both shampoo and body wash are the same. They both lower the surface tension to remove the dirt from the surface. One is effective on the scalp and hair surface, while the other is more effective on the skin. 

Body washes are designed to work on your skin and with your skin. They are at the perfect pH level that will not disturb the natural flora of your skin. The essential oils, moisturizers, exfoliators, and sedatives can be found in body wash, making them effective on acne, eczema, clogged pores, irritation, and more. 

Short History About Use of Shampoo and Body Wash

Cleaning has always been of the main importance for many people. The average person spends around 50-60 € on personal care products monthly. It is actually not very shocking to see as we humans have been doing this forever. From Ancient Babylonians to Egyptians and Romans, through history, people always prioritize cleaning and self-care.

For generations, people made cleansers from various oils and fats combined with alkaline salts and ash; they took baths and used sponges and leaves to clean themselves. All of these products we have mentioned so far were solid and powder. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1860s that liquid versions of cleansers have not been marketed and only after 1914, the first commercial shampoo has marketed.

However, it would be fair to say that the distinct difference between the cleansers for hair and body wasn’t clear until recently. Shampoo was created to replace hair soaps to find a less abrasive cleaning method for the scalp. 

The biggest differences that we talk about today have started to become apparent only around 50 years ago. Recently formulations for such products have become more specified and sophisticated.  

Ingredients of Shampoo and Body Wash

Shampoos, in general, contain moisturizing agents. That is mainly to prevent surfactants from stripping off the scalp. Shampoos also are made at a pH between 4-7, which is slightly acidic. As the acidity of your hair is also somewhere between 5-7 pH, it suits your hair perfectly. 

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) are the most commonly used two surfactants. Other ingredients can be moisturizing agents, oils, fragrances and alcohol.  

Shampoo and Body Wash Similarities

Shampoo and Body Wash Similarities

Let’s admit that most of the products that are made for cleaning purposes look alike.

The most apparent similarity between shampoo and body wash is what they contain. They both contain SLES (sodium Laureth sulfate) and SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate).

They are fundamental ingredients that you can find in many cleaning products. However, recent research uncovered that the proportions of these ingredients to each other could be dangerous for your hair and skin. 

Moreover, both of the products use conditioning agents to fight the abrasiveness of the cleaning products. Conditioning is necessary since the cleaning agents can be quite harmful to such delicate skin and hair.

And lastly, both shampoos and body wash also contain colorings and fragrances. This is admittedly one of the prettiest reasons most people decide on what product they will get. 

Shampoo and Body Wash Differences

As we can spot the similarities between shampoo and body wash, their differences are the main reason why you should not use your shampoo as your body wash. 

Chemically speaking, shampoo is slightly acidic to keep your hair follicles soft. At the same time, your skin is slightly basic or neutral. So the acidity of shampoo is actually not good for your skin. The acidity of shampoo causing your skin to get irritated and become dry. Your skin might get red and itchy.

A recent study is revealed that shampoo is chemically closer to detergents! Isn’t now weird to think that you might be putting something close to detergent when you wash your body with shampoo. Lastly, shampoo is a lot soapier, as to say slippery, than body wash. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it means it will not stick to your skin well. 

Can You Use Shampoo as Body Wash

Shampoo Is “Soapy”

The shampoo is too “soapy,” or to say slippery. The consistency of the shampoo is designed to coat your hair and fix the breaks and split ends. It is not designed to clean your skin. On your skin, it will just slip away and coat your skin, clogging your pores. It will most probably cause itchiness and irritation. 

Shampoo Is Acidic

Chemically, shampoo is acidic, while your skin is slightly basic. As you may remember from your high school years, acid and base don’t go together well. This combination of an acidic product with your skin may cause serious irritation. If your skin is somewhat red after showering, it might be a sign that your skin is irritated because of your shampoo. 

Shampoo Is Likened to Detergents

The chemical composition of shampoo is a lot similar to detergent when compared with body wash. When you imagine that, if you wash your body with shampoo, it would be like washing your body with detergent! Would you ever do that? How crazy!

Alternatives to Body Wash

Alternatives to Body Wash


Soaps have been around probably way more than any of the other products. They are usually made with some oil/fat and fragrance. However, soaps that do not contain Sodium Lauryl Sulphates are so much better for your skin.

Premium bar soaps that are organic and high-quality products, especially those made from essential oils that do not contain any synthetic fragrance, are the best. Compared with body washes, they are a lot more convenient to own and last longer.  

Charcoal Soap

We already know that activated charcoal is being used to remove any dirt, residue oil and debris from the skin. People often use charcoal soaps to treat acne because the soap effectively calms down oily skin. It is, however, more expensive than regular soaps as a result of its extra benefits. 


If you have never heard of the soapberry, get ready… Soapberry is actually a real, small fruit that, when crushed, boiled, and de-seeded, the fruit itself produces an amazing and long-lasting soap-like lather. The best thing is that the berry is customizable; add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil and you can have your very own body wash. 

Body Scrub

Body scrubs are actually pretty similar to body washes except for their texture. They have a rougher texture, almost like they are mixed with sand. This actually helps you get rid of dead skin. Rough texture increases the blood flow, exfoliates the skin and promotes regrowth. They come in many different scents and colors too. 

Shower Gels

Shower gels are thicker compared to body washes; they also have an understandably stronger smell. That might be more beneficial for you to choose shower gels if you live in a dry climate. To be more gentle on your skin, prefer sulfate-free types. 

Shower Oil

Shower oils are new to the game, but they are compelling. Either pure or some mixture of most essential oils are used to make shower oils. Lavender, ginger, rose any many more can be used. You need to apply the body oil to your whole body before going into the shower.

Once the oil touches the water, it turns into a milky texture with which you can wash your entire body. Shower oils have many soothing effects and are also be used to fight bacterial and viral infections. 

Also, be aware that oils come with many usages in the shower. If you are into hair care as well, you might want to get the world’s best beard oil.


Yes, we are actually talking about how people get so luxurious in the past. We are suggesting you fill-up the entire tub with milk, though. Try getting 2-4 cups of milk and fill the rest of the tub with warm water. Get into the tub and soak in for 20-30 minutes. Milk has soothing and moisturizing effects on your skin.  


Clay has been getting pretty common in many cleaning products. Actually, natural clay has amazing cleaning abilities. On top of that, clay can help you detoxify and exfoliate your skin and bring out your skin’s inner glow. It is specifically advised to be used by people that have oily or mixed skin. 

Shower Foam

Alternatives to Body Wash - Shower Foam

Showers foams are always trendy and very handy. They come as pre-packed lathers. When you press down the pump, a big bubble of foam comes into your hands. It’s especially very convenient and fun to use for families that have children. 

Ayurvedic Bath Powder

It is actually an Indian product that is incredibly amazing at cleaning the skin and help to fight against acne, eczema and discoloration. The powder itself is actually a mixture of ground herbs. The mixture usually consists of winter cherry, blue water lily, dried lemon peel, and nutmeg. Since the ingredients are pretty hard to find, it is best to stick with commercially made products. 


Can shampoo be used to wash your face?

The skin of your face, compared to the rest of your body, is way more delicate. We have already discussed why we shouldn’t use shampoo on our skin in general as a body wash. There is no way you can use your shampoo on your face. Your skin is so delicate that you need to use special products. For example, using an oil-free moisturizer can help clear the skin. If you have skin problems in general, such as acne, you need to choose a sensitive face wash.

Is two-in-one shampoo good for the skin?

The human body is so amazing that you can easily have an oily scalp and dry skin or even patches of dry areas on your body specifically. So as you can see, it is so hard to treat all of your body the same way. There is a reason why there are separate products to treat your hair and your skin ( and even different products just for your hair). So the answer is No. 

Can you use a conditioner as a body wash?

Can You Use Conditioner as Body Wash

When we compare shampoo and conditioner, we can say that they are pretty similar to each other. So as we already discussed that shampoo shouldn’t be used as body wash, we can also say that conditioner shouldn’t be used as a body wash. Also, the main instruction with conditioners is not to use them on your scalp, then how can you use them on your entire body? Plus, with the thick texture of the conditioner, it will be a hassle to rinse off. 

Can you use shampoo as lotion?

Simple answer NO. To clarify, a lotion is something that you put on your skin and don’t wash off. Your skin can absorb the lotion and therefore gains moisture. However, with shampoo, there is no way that your skin will absorb it in a million years. The shampoo is designed to be washed off with dirt and clear the area you apply, not being absorbed and providing moisture. 

Can I use shampoo as hand washes?

Even though your hands are part of your skin, the main answer here will be no… the skin in your hands is callous. It is still not recommended (just like a detergent) to wash your hands with shampoo commonly, but it can be an easy option in the hardness of the situation. It will definitely clean your hands and smell amazing. 


Even though the working mechanisms of shampoo and body wash seem to be pretty similar, their chemical compounding makes them impossible to be used as a substitute for each other. Cleaning your body with shampoo will disturb the natural balance of your skin.

If your skin is sensitive and likely to get acne, eczema and other problem, you should definitely avoid using your shampoo to wash your body but instead be aware of the ingredients of your body wash and always stick with natural remedies. 

Michele Antunes

About the author: Michele Antunes

Michele Meesh Antunes is the lady of the Beardoholic writers team and a genius when it comes to hair and beard styles that suit any face shape. She’s been a barber for years now and, no matter your personal style, she knows exactly what beard, hairstyle and length suit you. She brings the women’s perspective on beards, beard care, haircuts and hairstyles and male grooming.

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