Can You Use Shampoo As Body Wash?

Can You Use Shampoo As Body Wash?

We’ve all had to make some tough decisions in the shower. Here’s the scene. You’re mid-morning routine, reaching for the body wash and guess what? It’s completely empty. You knew it was getting low. You’ve known it for days. You might have even put a little water in the bottle and shaken it up to make it last longer. But you still didn’t go out and buy a new one. Why? Some things in life will never be explained. But safe to say, you’re not alone brave soldier.

The question is, what happens when you commit to shampoo as your body cleanser for the day? What goes down on a chemical level? On an emotional level? Let’s explore it all.


As it turns out, body wash and shampoo have a lot in common in terms of main ingredients, in some cases even 80-90% similar, partly because they are both made with a major base of water. Both body wash and shampoo are high in something called “surfactants," and they’re actually an organic compound. The word surfactant comes from a blend of three words: surface-active-agent (scientists like word play too!). Surfactants are what create bubbles and suds, which as you’ve probably observed, happens when using either body wash or shampoo. The similarities end here though.



The 10-20% where body wash and shampoo differ is actually very important. Body wash’s surfactants are designed to mix with oils and then wash them away when you rinse, thus exfoliating the skin. On the other hand, your hair needs its natural oils to stay smooth and healthy, so shampoo is designed to be less intense than body wash when it comes to stripping oils away from your body.

If you shampoo your body, it might not totally cleanse your skin of all oils and dirt - shampoo is not going to get the job done. And if you’ve ever considered using body wash on your hair, now you know that’s a terrible idea. Body wash would remove most of those natural oils, leaving it dry and brittle. Not a good look or a smart move if you want to keep your hair healthy.

Because shampoo doesn’t totally cleanse your skin, it might leave you feeling a little more oily than usual. Shampoos are also lower in pH, which means higher acidity. Some higher acidity shampoos could lead to irritation on your skin.

Using shampoo as body wash might leave your skin feeling a little “off” that day, and you might also find yourself in a general malaise from getting off your usual routine.

In summary, there's 2 main factors that differentiate shampoo and body wash: formulation intensity to strip away bodily oils, and pH level to aid in the product in doing its intended job.


Using shampoo as body wash should only be done in the worst case scenario and you have no other option - since it doesn't really do the job needed, we can’t recommend it. We also aren't fans of body wash as its requires more artificial ingredients compared to bar soap. It also creates more waste as you do tend to require more body wash to get the job done, and if you're pouring it in your hand, it can spill down the drain easily.

Manmade's bar soap is free from harsh chemicals and made with 4 natural moisturizers, giving you a great shower experience that leaves you feeling clean and fresh.

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