Valeri is vexed…Body wash can cost $4 or more. Some shampoos cost .66 to .99 cents. Is there that much of a difference between the two products to justify the price? I use the shampoo for body wash.
Left Brain’s bubbly reply…
Great question Valeri and an astute observation for even considering the possibility. The truth is that shampoos and body washes are so similar that they can be used interchangeably. In fact, in the early days of body washes it was not uncommon for a company to take its shampoo formula, put it in a different bottle, change the label and call it a body wash.
Shampoo & Body Wash Similarities
Let’s look at some of the things that the two products have in common.
1. Water & detergent. Shampoos and body washes are designed to clean which means they’re mostly water and detergent. And for cleaning oil off of surfaces nothing beats surfactants. Body washes like Dove, Olay and Herbalessences all use Sodium Laureth Sulfate. This is the same surfactant that many shampoos use.
2. Fragrance & Color. No differences here. Body wash and shampoo use the same ingredients to make the product smell good and look pretty.
3. Conditioning ingredients. Since detergents can be a bit harsh, ingredients are added to improve the after-feel of hair and skin. Often body washes and shampoos use the same types of ingredients.
Shampoo & Body Wash Differences
While shampoos and body washes are quite similar there are some important differences.
1. Body wash uses less harsh detergents. Since skin is generally more sensitive than hair, body wash formulas are made with slightly less detergent and also less harsh detergents. The low cost shampoos use SLS or ALS which are excellent cleaners but can be drying to skin.
2. Different conditioning ingredients. Some of the ingredients that conditioner hair can also provide a nice feel on skin. However, many will not and this is often a key difference between shampoos & body washes.
Companies have actually picked up on the similarities. In the Old Spice High Endurance Body Wash they show a guy washing his hair and body with the same product.
Beauty Brains Bottom Line
Shampoos clean and so do body washes. In general you’ll find it beneficial to use both a body wash and a shampoo. But there is really no reason you couldn’t use a shampoo to clean your entire body. If you use a daily moisturizer, then there is no need for a separate body wash.