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Can You Use Shampoo As Body Wash?

Maybe you’ve spent the last week watering down your body wash to the very last drop. Now you’re in a pickle. Can you use shampoo as body wash? If you’re cold, naked, and frantically googling for answers right now, go ahead and use that shampoo as a body wash stand-in. 

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Can You Use Shampoo As Body Wash?

As long as it’s a short-term solution and you’re planning on picking up a new body wash at the store, take your shampoo and lather away. One or two showers with a shampoo body wash won’t hurt you.

The problem with using shampoo as a long-term body solution is the fact that it’s often more acidic than body wash. That’s a great quality for treating your hair and scalp, but the acidity will ultimately dry out your skin.

When you first use shampoo on your skin, it’ll fool you into thinking it’s moisturizing. The slimy texture feels soft, but once you get out of the shower, you’ll notice how the shampoo has stripped away your natural oils, leaving nothing to protect and nourish your skin.

You know that residue that soap leaves on your skin? It’s not always a pleasant feeling, but it does protect and moisturize your skin. Shampoo doesn’t do that for you.

By the way, you shouldn’t use body wash as shampoo either.

Can You Use Conditioner As Body Wash?

Don’t use conditioner as body wash. It’s even worse than shampoo.

Conditioners don’t have any of the cleaning agents that body wash and shampoo have. They’re made with oils, butters, and other hydrating ingredients to soften your hair and make it look shiny. They even enhance curls.

But conditioner will do absolutely nothing to wash your body. You might smell nice afterwards, but that’s about it. There’s a chance it will clog your pores and cause acne in the long run.

Is Shampoo The Same As Body Wash?

Shampoo and body wash contain lots of similar ingredients, but they aren’t the same. 

Shampoos deal with the complicated needs of your scalp. It’s one of the thickest parts of your skin, and it has more oil and sweat glands than most parts of your body. At the same time, it needs a gentle touch to keep your hair soft and shiny. 

The ingredients in shampoo end up being more acidic than body wash, perfect for your hair and scalp, but awful for the rest of your skin. Using shampoo as body wash will dry out your skin.

On the flip side, body washes will also dry out your scalp and hair if you use them as shampoo. It’s all in the pH balance, which measures the product’s acidity.

What Happens If You Use Shampoo As Body Wash?

The first thing you’ll notice is how slimy your skin feels when you use shampoo as body wash. The sensation won’t last – in a few minutes, it’ll start to dry out your skin.

The one exception is all-natural shampoos. All-natural shampoos and body washes contain similar ingredients – oftentimes, all you’re missing is the soap component. It won’t feel dry or itchy after you’ve used all-natural shampoo as body wash. You just won’t be as clean.

So, at best, you won’t fully clean your skin with shampoo, and at worst, you’ll feel dry and itchy after using shampoo as body wash.

What Are The Differences Between Shampoo And Body Wash?

  1. Shampoo is designed for hair. Body wash is designed for skin.

The biggest difference between shampoo and body wash is the fact that shampoo is made for your hair. If you use it on your skin, you’ll notice the slick residue it leaves behind, making your skin feel slimy. 

  1. Shampoo doesn’t lather as well as body wash

That soft foam and those rich bubbles make body wash oh-so appealing. Shampoo lathers too, but not as well as body wash. You’ll have to use more of it to cover your whole body, and that’s just a waste of good shampoo.

  1. Shampoo is more acidic than body wash

The scale that scientists use to measure acidity is a scale of “pH” values from 0-14. The middle, 7, is neutral (like water), every number lower is acidic, and the higher numbers are basic. Shampoo has a pH between 4 and 6, slightly acidic, for your scalp. Soap is basic, pH 5 to 10, to treat your skin.

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Body Wash?

The best all-natural soaps for men are leagues ahead of body wash. I always recommend bar soap over body wash. It lasts longer. It’s great for travel. It’s more hygienic.

But if you don’t have bar soap lying around anywhere and you need something soapy, shampoo is fine as a short-term body wash. 

You can also whip together a nice-smelling body scrub by combining a few spoonfuls of white or brown sugar with a spoonful of oil. Rather than using chemical reactions to wash away oil, dirt, and dead skin, body scrubs quite literally rub away debris, and they’re equally effective. (You’ll smell sweet afterwards too!)

If you’re thinking about making the switch, check out the best body scrubs for men.

Can Baby Shampoo Be Used As Body Wash?

Baby shampoo is gentle and greasy. It’s supposed to keep the baby’s natural oils and microorganisms intact, helping them stay healthy.

If you use baby shampoo as body wash, you won’t feel totally clean afterwards. It gives your skin a slick, soft texture – great for a pre-shave, but not enough power as a body wash. Most men are used to using heavier soaps, so baby shampoo is disappointing for a lot of guys.

Can You Wash Your Hands With Shampoo?

This is my favorite question, and the basic answer is that the cheaper the shampoo, the better it will work as a hand soap (and the worse it will be for your hair).

The surfactants and sulfites in many shampoos are good cleansers, so you can technically use most shampoo as hand soap. BUT lots of all-natural shampoos don’t use surfactants and sulfites, so you can’t use all-natural shampoos as hand soap.

You’re better off using body wash, bar soap, or even dish soap, especially during flu season. Those options will do a better job of getting all the bacteria off your skin.

Besides, if you’ve invested in a nice shampoo, why waste it on your hands? It won’t work that well, and you’ll be dumping good product down the drain.

Can You Wash Your Face With Shampoo?

Shampoo is better for your face than body wash, but it doesn’t quite reach the level of a good men’s face wash.

Face washes contain cleaning and hydrating ingredients. They’re incredibly gentle because the skin on your face is delicate. Your face is probably the second to last place on your body that you’d want to experience an allergic reaction, rash, or breakout.

That’s why I don’t recommend washing your face with shampoo. Lots of men get away with it, and their skin looks fine, but there’s always the guy who does it once and ends up red-faced in the dermatologist’s office.

Use shampoo for it’s true purpose, your hair! That’s where you’ll get the biggest benefits.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.