Showering is a daily habit of proper hygiene. It only fits that we do it every day to keep our bodies clean and skin healthy.
But let’s admit it—it can be a pretty tedious task, especially if you’re up at five in the morning, groggily dragging yourself to the bathroom for your “quick” morning bath.
On some days, it can get tempting to skip some of the steps in your shower or combine them into one to save an extra couple of minutes, especially when you’re in a rush.
That’s why many people often resort to using their shampoo to clean themselves from head to toe and just cross their fingers for an okay day.
And when they realize that their skin still smells as fresh and clean as with body wash, they do it again the following day.
There’s not much to look into here. I mean, using shampoo can’t possibly be extremely harmless, could it?
It’s just soap, after all. But is it really okay to use shampoo on your body in the long run? Let’s find out.
The difference between Shampoo and Body wash
There’s a big debate about whether or not using shampoo on your skin as a body wash is okay.
Some people are fine with it and do it regularly, while others will laugh at the mere insinuation that shampoo is beneficial to the skin.
But there’s no singular answer to the question, “Can you use shampoo on your skin?”
It’s more that you just have to be aware of what kind of shampoo you’re using so that you can ensure the integrity of your skin health without irritating your delicate complexion.
But before we get into that, let’s take a look at the basics first—what makes shampoo and body wash different.
They admittedly have a lot of things in common. They’re used to clean parts of your body that are dirty with oils, sweat, and grime from a long day.
Both shampoo and body wash usually have some type of cleansing agent, like sodium lauryl sulfate, to produce a nice and creamy lather.
This sudsy foam helps wash away all those yucky impurities stuck in your body, leaving it clean, fresh, and smelling oh-so-sweet.
Problem solved then—they essentially do the same exact thing, so they should be okay to use from head to toe, right? Well, not exactly.
To the average person without much knowledge of skincare and hair care ingredients, shampoo and body wash may look the same. But these two are designed in different ways for varying purposes.
Let’s get obvious out of the way. The shampoo is for your hair, while body wash is for your skin.
The shampoo is meant to be more potent in the detergent department because it has to scrub away all the oil in your scalp and product buildup in your hair from styling products.
Shampoos are also infused with conditioning ingredients that soften the hair, allowing it to feel silky-smooth and tangle-free.
On the flip side, body wash is formulated to be more gentle and delicate on the skin.
It shouldn’t irritate sensitive parts of your body, like your inner thighs and underarms, so it can’t be too strong or strip a lot of moisture from the skin.
Body washes also tend to be more moisturizing and hydrating since your skin should feel fresh but not dehydrated.
That said, they don’t leave the skin feeling slimy and greasy, like a shampoo filled with softening ingredients could.
Using strong, detergent-like ingredients for your hair isn’t always a bad thing, especially since your hair is just dead cells anyway—there’s nothing to irritate. But on your skin, it’s a different story.
Using harsh shampoos on your body can cause flare-ups if you have super sensitive skin.
Why many Traditional Shampoos can be Harsh on the skin?
As mentioned, your typical drugstore shampoo is laced with harsh cleansing agents that are more detergent-like than soap-like.
Before insisting that it be a substitute for your shower gel, it would make more sense to use it to wash dishes first.
Because shampoos need to strip your hair and scalp of all the icky gunk and grime from your hair products, natural sebum production, and pollution from the outside world, its formula can be very drying.
Shampoo can strip your skin of much-needed moisture to stay strong and healthy, so it’s never a good idea to use a super harsh shampoo on your skin.
This is especially so if you suffer from sensitive skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. Shampooing your skin is a one-way ticket to a flare-up city.
Many shampoos in the modern world are also enriched with silicones, a softening and conditioning hair care ingredient that isn’t commonly found in body washes.
Silicones add a protective layer to your hair cuticle, keeping it smooth and feeling silky to the touch.
But on the skin, silicone isn’t so friendly and beneficial. It’s one of those ingredients skincare experts raise their brow at since it has somewhat of a reputation for clogging your pores.
That means you could suffer from breakouts if the silicones latch on to your skin, especially in your back area.
Washing your body with a shampoo with silicones can also make your skin feel greasy and waxy afterward, which is never what you want when your goal is to feel clean and refreshed.
On another note, traditional shampoos have a more acidic pH level than body washes to help seal your hair cuticles, allowing them to be smoother.
Washing your skin with a cleanser at this pH level can leave it dry, dull, and even inflamed.
Don’t let any of these scare you, though. While shampoo and body wash wasn’t designed to do the same thing, accidentally using shampoo on your body won’t cause major irritation.
Just don’t do it regularly, and you should be fine.
Is it possible to have a Shampoo and Body wash in one?
I know; I just made shampoo sound incredibly bad for your skin. But that doesn’t mean you should hurry away in the other direction.
It’s not all bad. In fact, yes, you can use shampoo on your body if the formula is made to be gentle, without any harsh cleansing agents, and with skin-loving ingredients.
While shampoo and body wash serve different roles in your shower routine, some shampoos are more acceptable than others when it comes to using them on your body.
There are some sulfate and silicone-free shampoos that are made for showering from head to toe. That means that while they’re primarily shampoos for your hair, you can use them on your body too.
If you hit the jackpot, you could even score one that you can use on your face as well.
Dermatologist-led brands often make sulfate-free shampoos and shower gels that you can use from your scalp to all over your body.
This is a terrific option if you have a sensitive scalp and want something less irritating and harmful for your skin.
And since it isn’t formulated with harsh ingredients, you can bet it can be safe on your skin, too. It’s perfect for those lazy days when you feel like jumping in and out of the shower as fast as possible.
They can also come in the form of baby shampoos that are formulated to be extra gentle and mild enough to be used on infants’ skin.
These don’t have harsh surfactants or suffocate the skin with heavy silicones. It’s a good option if you want thoroughly clean yet hydrated skin and hair.
Natural shampoos that have moisturizing oils and botanicals like jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, or shea butter can also be fabulous on the body.
It cleanses your hair and skin properly while leaving them soft and with a healthy sheen.
The benefits of using One Cleanser for your Hair and Body
There are many benefits to using just one cleanser for your shower if you choose the right shampoo for it.
The most obvious advantage is that it’s more affordable than buying individual shampoos, soaps, facial cleansers, feminine wash, and more.
Because you won’t need to spend on all these different products, it’s a great option to consider if you’re a bit strapped on cash.
It’s also very convenient to use if you find that you’re in a rush to shower every day.
Because you’re using one product to wash from head to toe, you’ll save a lot of time scrubbing and rinsing between steps. Just lather up your all-in-one shampoo, slather your body in the suds, and rinse.
If you’re more of a practical shopper, you’ll love how using shampoo as a body wash can save more space on your bathroom shelf or counter.
It’s also an excellent way to cut down on your plastic waste and lessen your carbon footprint for the sake of the environment.
Using shampoos as a body wash is also convenient for specific types of people. For one, it’s a no-brainer for babies and young children.
Gentle shampoos that can be used on your body usually come in a tear-free formula, so it’s a breeze to bath these little rascals with it.
This technique can also be beneficial to men, who are a bit more low-maintenance than ladies when it comes to their shower routine. A good old two-in-one product is a godsend for any man.
Travelers who need to pack light might also consider switching out their numerous bottles of shower products to a gentle, high-quality shampoo that can double as their body wash.
It’s an awesome way to save space in your luggage!
Examples of Shampoos you can also use for your Body
It isn’t easy to think of a good shampoo that you can also use for the body off the top of your head.
So here are some of my top product recommendations if you’re considering switching your harsh shampoo to one that’s gentler and has the potential to substitute as a body wash:
Ladies who love a sweet, feminine scent will go ga-ga over Philosophy’s Amazing Grace Shampoo.
It’s a multi-functional product that is primarily a shampoo but can also be used to create luxurious bubbles in your bath or as a straight-up shower gel for quick showers.
It softens and conditions the hair and body, leaving it with a floral fragrance of bergamot and blossoms.
But we also have to show some love to the men in our lives. For them, I’d recommend the Dial Men 3-in-1 Body, Hair, and Face Wash in Ultimate Clean.
It has the invigorating freshwater scent to keep any man feeling clean and confident from head to toe.
This three-in-one product is formulated with Dial’s clean rinse technology, which leaves the skin supple and smooth without leaving an uncomfortable, greasy film behind.
And lastly, for the most gentle formulation of the bunch, you can check out the Aveeno Baby Gentle Wash and Shampoo.
While this tear-free formula was designed for infants and kids, it’s also a great one-and-done shower product for those with sensitive skin conditions.
Like most Aveeno products, this shampoo slash body wash contains oat extract to nourish and soothe the skin, leaving it soft to the touch.
While it’s soap-free and phthalate-free, it still creates a rich lather for a satisfying lather in the shower.
Your main takeaway from all of this should be this: if you feel like going for a one-and-done shower product for your hair and body, don’t settle for your usual harsh, sulfate, and silicone-laden shampoo.
Switch over to a gentle head-to-toe shampoo that your skin will love too.
That way, you can save a whole lot of money, time, and energy during your half-awake morning showers and exhausted baths at night.
But you won’t be sacrificing quality—you’ll still have an efficient cleanser that won’t be too greasy or stripping on your skin.
No more fussing with three or four different bottles in the shower just to freshen up! Switch over to a proper shampoo and body wash in one to see how quick and hassle-free your showers can be.