9 Best Body Wash Products for Women

9 Best Body Wash Products for Women

Best Natural (Vegan) Body Wash for Women Overall
#1
Puracy Natural Body Wash
  • Great subtle scent 
  • Gentle on sensitive skin 
  • Everyday family favorite 

 

Best Moisturizing Body Wash
#2
L'Occitane Cleansing & Softening Almond Shower Oil
  • Heavenly aroma 
  • Truly softens skin 
  • Perfect for dry skin  

 

Best Budget Body Wash for Women
#3
Suave Essentials Body Wash
  • Smells incredible 
  • Unbeatable price 
  • Lathers nicely  

 

Best Exfoliating Body Wash for Women
#4
St. Ives Even & Bright Body Wash (3-Pack)
  • Smells amazing 
  • Great bulk value 
  • Moisturizes dry skin 

 

After 32 hours of research evaluating 107 products, we picked Puracy Natural Body Wash as our top choice.

Maybe you’ve never given your body wash much thought before. (You probably also grab any conditioner, shampoo, and lotion and call it a day, if that’s the case.) If you’re not unhappy with your body wash, concerned about the ingredients, or experiencing any reactions – you may as well stick to what works.

Because… all soaps and body washes are designed to remove dirt and bacteria.

But, if you’ve noticed bacne developing or your skin is really dry, it could just be your body wash. In that case, you may just need a moisturizing body wash (that doesn’t strip your skin of all the oils it needs) or perhaps one that goes a little further to break down the oils.

As the folks at Everyday Health demonstrate, there’s more to choosing the best body wash for women. Indeed, you might just want to get some advice from them as you shop.

Then again, if anything works for you, you may just want to check out the best smelling or affordable body washes here. We’ve got the best of the best.


Editorial staff

Quick Look: 9 Best Body Wash Products for Women
ArtNaturals Essential Bath and Body Wash
  • Great for all skin types; highly effective at cleansing and conditioning
  • Can be used to treat acne, eczema, and other skin conditions
  • An excellent body wash at a good price
Check on Amazon
Cetaphil Restoraderm Eczema Calming Body Wash
  • An effective treatment for dry, itchy, and eczema-prone skin
  • Soothes and hydrates your skin
  • Soap-free, gentle ingredients, and skin-nourishing oils
Check on Amazon
Neutrogena Rainbath Refreshing Shower and Bath
  • Smells awesome 
  • Great price for a great product 
  • Leaves skin feeling good 

 

Check on Amazon
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash
  • Gentle on sensitive skin  
  • Nice daily moisturizer 
  • Amazing quality product 

 

Check on Amazon
Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Body Wash
  • Great fragrance 
  • Good for sensitive skins (no reactions) 
  • Terrific for acne-prone skin 

 

Check on Amazon
St. Ives Even & Bright Body Wash (3-Pack)
  • Smells amazing 
  • Great bulk value 
  • Moisturizes dry skin 

 

Check on Amazon
Suave Essentials Body Wash
  • Smells incredible 
  • Unbeatable price 
  • Lathers nicely  

 

Check on Amazon
L'Occitane Cleansing & Softening Almond Shower Oil
  • Heavenly aroma 
  • Truly softens skin 
  • Perfect for dry skin  

 

Check on Amazon
Puracy Natural Body Wash
  • Great subtle scent 
  • Gentle on sensitive skin 
  • Everyday family favorite 

 

Check on Amazon
9 Best Body Wash Products for Women

9 Best Body Wash Products for Women

Read Video Infographic Tips

After 32 hours of research evaluating 107 products, we picked Puracy Natural Body Wash as our top choice.

Maybe you’ve never given your body wash much thought before. (You probably also grab any conditioner, shampoo, and lotion and call it a day, if that’s the case.) If you’re not unhappy with your body wash, concerned about the ingredients, or experiencing any reactions – you may as well stick to what works.

Because… all soaps and body washes are designed to remove dirt and bacteria.

But, if you’ve noticed bacne developing or your skin is really dry, it could just be your body wash. In that case, you may just need a moisturizing body wash (that doesn’t strip your skin of all the oils it needs) or perhaps one that goes a little further to break down the oils.

As the folks at Everyday Health demonstrate, there’s more to choosing the best body wash for women. Indeed, you might just want to get some advice from them as you shop.

Then again, if anything works for you, you may just want to check out the best smelling or affordable body washes here. We’ve got the best of the best.


Editorial staff

Quick Look: 9 Best Body Wash Products for Women
ArtNaturals Essential Bath and Body Wash
  • Great for all skin types; highly effective at cleansing and conditioning
  • Can be used to treat acne, eczema, and other skin conditions
  • An excellent body wash at a good price
Check on Amazon
Cetaphil Restoraderm Eczema Calming Body Wash
  • An effective treatment for dry, itchy, and eczema-prone skin
  • Soothes and hydrates your skin
  • Soap-free, gentle ingredients, and skin-nourishing oils
Check on Amazon
Neutrogena Rainbath Refreshing Shower and Bath
  • Smells awesome 
  • Great price for a great product 
  • Leaves skin feeling good 

 

Check on Amazon
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash
  • Gentle on sensitive skin  
  • Nice daily moisturizer 
  • Amazing quality product 

 

Check on Amazon
Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Body Wash
  • Great fragrance 
  • Good for sensitive skins (no reactions) 
  • Terrific for acne-prone skin 

 

Check on Amazon
St. Ives Even & Bright Body Wash (3-Pack)
  • Smells amazing 
  • Great bulk value 
  • Moisturizes dry skin 

 

Check on Amazon
Suave Essentials Body Wash
  • Smells incredible 
  • Unbeatable price 
  • Lathers nicely  

 

Check on Amazon
L'Occitane Cleansing & Softening Almond Shower Oil
  • Heavenly aroma 
  • Truly softens skin 
  • Perfect for dry skin  

 

Check on Amazon
Puracy Natural Body Wash
  • Great subtle scent 
  • Gentle on sensitive skin 
  • Everyday family favorite 

 

Check on Amazon

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Best Tea Tree Oil Body Wash

75
Score 75

Why People Love it

  • Great for all skin types; highly effective at cleansing and conditioning
  • Can be used to treat acne, eczema, and other skin conditions
  • An excellent body wash at a good price

Soothes your skin, natural antiseptic properties, deodorizing, anti-fungal and anti-germ formula, safe for infants to adults, potent ingredients, suitable for all skin types, 100% natural, well-priced, and highly effective body wash.

May dry out sensitive skin, and the smell can be a bit overpowering.

Details

This tea tree oil-based body wash is made with a list of active ingredients that will soothe, hydrate, and condition your skin. The formula is potent enough to make a real difference in your skin health, but it's suitable for all but the most sensitive skin types—as well as for infants and children. The anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-septic properties of the body wash makes it highly effective at treating skin conditions and restoring a proper pH balance to your skin.

Organic or natural: Natural ingredients

Parabens: No

Sulfates: No

Added fragrance: No

Cruelty-free: Yes

Good for sensitive skins: Yes, though some people with very sensitive skin report a burning sensation.

Exfoliating: No

Texture: Watery cream

Scent: There’s a strong scent of mint (tea tree, eucalyptus, and peppermint), which some describe as "overpowering".

Package size: 12 fl. oz

Pricing: At $14 for a bottle of this size and quality, you're getting an amazing deal. The natural ingredients (including tea tree oil, peppermint, eucalyptus, jojoba, chamomile, ginger, and more) will be incredibly effective at improving your skin health—this may very well be the only cream you'll ever need.

Best Women's Body Wash for Eczema

78
Score 78

Why People Love it

  • An effective treatment for dry, itchy, and eczema-prone skin
  • Soothes and hydrates your skin
  • Soap-free, gentle ingredients, and skin-nourishing oils

Soothing formula, relieves dry and itching skin, formulated specifically for eczema, hydrating, protects from dryness, helps skin retain moisture, inexpensive, suitable for adults and infants, and can be used with other skin conditions as well. 

Some users report no difference when used for their eczema.

Details

This body wash was formulated for women suffering from eczema, atopic dermatitis, and other skin conditions. The ingredients help to restore moisture to your skin, adding a layer to protect it from dryness and itching. It's suitable for infants, children, and adults, and it's gentle enough that it can be used on sensitive skin. The wash is non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and soap-free.

Organic or natural: Some natural ingredients

Parabens: No

Sulfates: No

Added fragrance: No

Cruelty-free: Yes

Good for sensitive skins: Yes

Exfoliating: No

Texture: Cream

Scent: There’s a light creamy scent, but it’s very mild.

Package size: 10 fl. oz

Pricing: At $15, this is a pretty reasonably priced skin cream for women with eczema. Some users complained that it didn't work for them, but at that low price tag, it's worth giving it a try to see if it will help to soothe your skin.

Best Smelling Body Wash for Women

81
Score 81

Why People Love it

  • Smells awesome 
  • Great price for a great product 
  • Leaves skin feeling good 

 

This smells incredible and does an amazing job of cleaning skins – even sensitive ones. The large-size container is a bonus.

The packaging on this often leaves a little to be desired. And, it’s not exactly cheap either. 

Details

Sometimes you just want to treat yourself to a shower that transports you to another dimension. Okay, this can’t do that, but it will smell as if you’re in a tropical paradise. The aroma of fruits and herbs is simply amazing. Plus, this works into lovely, bubbly foam.

Okay, there are a few downsides, namely the added parabens and sulfates. And, that’s not to mention the price – and the sometimes shoddy packaging over at Amazon. But, we tend to forget all of that when using this body wash; it really smells that good.

Organic or natural: No

Parabens: Sadly, yes – but it’s up to you whether you want to worry about it!

Sulfates: Yes

Added fragrance: Yes

Cruelty-free: Not always, but this particular product might be.

Good for sensitive skins: Well, it doesn’t seem to irritate many skins, but it’s hardly for sensitive skins; that said it is hypoallergenic.

Exfoliating: Yes

Texture: Gel

Scent: Amazing fresh scent created using a blend of spices, fruits, and herbs.

Package size: 32 fl. oz. size

Pricing: You’ll pay around $24 for 32 ounces. That’s 75 cents or so per ounce. It’s not the cheapest, but you could do worse.

Best Fragrance-Free Body Wash

83
Score 83

Why People Love it

  • Gentle on sensitive skin  
  • Nice daily moisturizer 
  • Amazing quality product 

 

All-natural and cruelty-free, this is great for sensitive skin and it’s soap-free too. There’s a light, but pleasant fragrance, and it’s not as expensive as some other natural products. 

Some users find it doesn’t lather as well as they would like – and very few don’t feel as though it rinses completely. 

Details

Not everyone wants to smell like a grapefruit or a flower when they step out of the shower. And this is the body wash with the mildest scent out there that does an amazing job of cleaning. Okay, you’ll get a little of the oatmeal, but hardly anything to speak of.

Better still, Aveeno is formulated for sensitive skins. It’s soap-free, but full of natural oils. You won’t find parabens or sulfates on the inside and it’s a cruelty-free range (which means you may want to look at this for sensitive skins if you’re worried about this aspect). Really, we can’t talk this up enough, especially since it’s still in the affordable range.

Organic or natural: Natural ingredients

Parabens: No

Sulfates: No

Added fragrance: No

Cruelty-free: Yes

Good for sensitive skins: Yes

Exfoliating: No

Texture: Cream

Scent: There’s a light scent, a little like the oatmeal, but it’s hardly overpowering.

Package size: 18 fl. oz

Pricing: You should pay somewhere between $6-7 for this body wash which means it’s less than 40 cents per ounce. That’s really good considering the natural ingredients on the inside.

Best Body Wash for Body Acne

86
Score 86
$6
814 Bought | Save: $3 (33% OFF)

Why People Love it

  • Great fragrance 
  • Good for sensitive skins (no reactions) 
  • Terrific for acne-prone skin 

 

The salicylic acid formula works to wash away impurities; it helps to clear body acne. And, it smells fantastic too.

It doesn’t work for everyone, and there are sulfates in the mix. Plus, it’s not the cheapest. 

Details

If you’re a fan of Neutrogena products, you’re going to love this body wash from the brand. The smell alone is enough to woo just about anyone that tries it. But, the reason to turn to this body wash for women is bacne. Well, any sort of body acne. The combination of Vitamin-C and salicylic acid really help to clear and brighten skin.

We appreciate the bubbly lather as well and the fact that this is paraben-free. But, we do wish it were a little cheaper and sulfate-free. And, sadly, this is another brand that sells its products in China, so it’s not cruelty-free. Unless you have body acne, you may not be able to overlook those issues. If you do battle bacne, you’ll buy this no matter what.

Organic or natural: No

Parabens: No

Sulfates: Yes

Added fragrance: Yes

Cruelty-free: Not always (though this particular product might be)

Good for sensitive skins: It doesn’t do a bad job, though with added fragrances and sulfates, it’s difficult to say it’s designed for sensitive skins.

Exfoliating: Not really

Texture: Gel-ish

Scent: Revitalizing grapefruit scent

Package size: 8.5 fl. oz.

Pricing: If you pay the full $9 MSRP, you’re paying too much. You can get it for under $6 which puts the price per ounce at 70 cents. That’s on the higher side, but hardly one of the most expensive.

Best Exfoliating Body Wash for Women

89
Score 89

Why People Love it

  • Smells amazing 
  • Great bulk value 
  • Moisturizes dry skin 

 

We love the exfoliating pumice in this Vitamin C-rich body wash for women. It’s made from 100% natural extracts and comes at an amazing price. 

There are those that feel it just doesn’t rinse away in the shower as well as it should. And, as with a lot of body washes, there are the occasional shipping glitches. 

Details

This is one of the least expensive body washes out there – and it doesn’t have any added parabens or sulfates. In addition, it does a really good job with sensitive skins, even though there is added fragrance and has pumice in the exfoliation mix. That’s pretty darn good right there.

If you’re addicted to the St. Ives Apricot Facial Scrub, you’re going to fall in love with this body wash for women. It’s Vitamin C-rich which helps keep skins bright and healthy. And, surprisingly, it works itself into a creamy lather. But, some women wish it washed off better; there are a few (not many) that believe it leaves a film and may dry skin.

Organic or natural: 100% natural extracts (which isn’t the same as being natural)

Parabens: No

Sulfates: Yes

Added fragrance: Yes

Cruelty-free: No

Good for sensitive skins: Technically no, but it doesn’t do a bad job with sensitive skins.

Exfoliating: Yes

Texture: Gel with exfoliation beads

Scent: Subtle, sweet citrus

Package size: 13.5 fl. oz.

Pricing: As an Amazon Subscribe and Save item, this costs less than $3 normally. That means this body was is a steal of a deal at a little more than 20 cents an ounce.

Best Budget Body Wash for Women

92
Score 92
$3
773 Bought | Save: $6 (73% OFF)

Why People Love it

  • Smells incredible 
  • Unbeatable price 
  • Lathers nicely  

 

This body wash smells incredible, sells for an awesome price, is available as part of your Prime Pantry, and is paraben-free. 

There are a few users that believe the smell of this is more chemical than natural. Additionally, it’s not sulfate or cruelty-free. 

Details

Even though it is one of the best body wash for women options on the market, you probably haven’t looked beyond the price of this product. And, for many, that’s enough. It is, after all, about 15 cents per ounce when you pick it up through Amazon’s Prime Pantry.

You should expect a nice, bubbly lather when using this budget body wash from Suave. And, the cheery blossom and green tea extracts, mixed with vitamin E really get the job done. That said, it does contain sulfates (but not parabens), so if you are concerned about the effect these might have on hormones, you might want to go in another direction. There are plenty of budge options out there, this one just happens to be the best.

Organic or natural: No

Parabens: No

Sulfates: Yes. This isn’t a terrific choice for teenage girls as sulfates may affect hormones.

Added fragrance: Yes

Cruelty-free: Nope. Again, this company works in countries where animal testing is required – so even if this particular product may be animal-friendly, the brand isn’t.

Good for sensitive skins: No

Exfoliating: No

Texture: Gel like

Scent: Cherry blossom, jasmine, and black currant

Package size: You can pick up a 15 ounce bottle as part of your Prime Pantry delivery, but you can find multi-packs if you’re willing to pay more.

Pricing: You’ll pay less than $2.25 (at the moment, less than $2.10) for the 15 ounces and that means less than 15 cents per ounce.

Best Moisturizing Body Wash

94
Score 94

Why People Love it

  • Heavenly aroma 
  • Truly softens skin 
  • Perfect for dry skin  

 

This shower oil actually works into a light foam to cleanse as well as moisturize. It also works as shaving oil and there’s actually a refill which is good for the environment.

Besides the price, it doesn’t lather as much as some users might want.

Details

This shower oil is almost heavenly. It feels like luxury as you smooth it on your skin. Along with the aroma, your shower will become way more than a cleansing ritual. And, that fragrance lasts too.

The oil creates light suds, but you shouldn’t expect a whole lot of them from this almond-enriched oil. It’s also paraben and sulfate-free and it’s made from natural ingredients. We wish it were also a cruelty-free brand, but it appears you can’t have everything.

It’s also on the pricey side, but users claim it’s worth every cent. It really could be as it’s moisturizing enough that many women can skip body lotion when stepping out of the shower. C’mon, who doesn’t love the idea of that?

Organic or natural: Natural ingredients

Parabens: No

Sulfates: No

Added fragrance: Yes

Cruelty-free: No, and we’re sad about it.

Good for sensitive skins: Yes

Exfoliating: No

Texture: Oil creates a delicate foam

Scent: Fresh almond

Package size: 8.4 ounces is the standard size, but there is also a 16.9-ounce refill size which we truly appreciate.

Pricing: The MSRP is $25 for the 8.4-ounce size, but we’ve seen this body wash for $22.50. That means you’ll pay nearly $2.70 per ounce. There are much more expensive body washes out there, but this one is just oh so dreamy.

Best Natural (Vegan) Body Wash for Women Overall

97
Score 97

Why People Love it

  • Great subtle scent 
  • Gentle on sensitive skin 
  • Everyday family favorite 

 

The formula of this best body wash for women is totally vegan and good for you. It’s gel-like with a light foamy lather and a citrusy scent. 

The pumps cause some issues – especially with the way they’re packaged. You may not want to add this on to a big order with lots of little packages to be on the safe side.

Details

The citrus and sea salt mixture of this body wash leaves a light, lovely aroma, but it’s hardly overpowering. We like that as is, but we really have to give this body wash props for being as natural as natural can be. There aren’t any animal by-products, petroleum, formaldehyde, dyes, parabens, or sulfates. Whether your skin is sensitive or you just want to do right by the planet, this is the body wash for you.

Now, it is on the pricier side (though not hugely expensive), but we really appreciate the 64-ounce refill size which means you can reuse your existing bottles (even better for the environment). And a little does seem to go a long way, even if you shouldn’t expect a lot of lather. The only drawback seems to be the pump mechanism. Not bad, right?

Organic or natural: Natural and vegan

Parabens: No

Sulfates: No

Added fragrance: No

Cruelty-free: Yes

Good for sensitive skins: Yes

Exfoliating: No

Texture: Gel-like

Scent: Citrus and sea salt

Package size: 16 fl. oz – there are also refill sizes available

Pricing: The MSRP is $14 for the 16-ounce bottle, but you should find it for a little less on Amazon. That works out somewhere between 80-90 cents per ounce. It’s a little on the pricey side, but not that bad especially for all the natural ingredients on the inside.

Why not stick with bar soap?

You can, by all means, use bar soap to cleanse your body if that’s what makes you comfortable. These tips aren’t going to convince you to make the switch to body wash. We’re far more concerned with helping you make the best choices if shower gel is already your thing - or you were already planning to change your showering habits.

That said, there are some benefits to body wash that you’re not going to get from a bar of soap. For a start, you don’t need to worry as much about the storage of body washes, as the packaging is created to be moisture impermeable and it can stand just about anywhere in the shower - whether you use a shelf, a caddy, or just the ground.

Body washes are also easier to lather, and there are plenty of women that truly enjoy that sensation. Additionally, if you’re into the fragrance side of things, shower gels tend to offer more variety.

Bar soaps tend to have a higher pH level than body washes which can make them drying, but it depends on which side of the argument you are on as to how much you believe that. The levels are usually negligible which puts it right back to personal preference.

However, that cake of soap sitting a puddle of water might possibly breed bacteria, making the cleaning aspect somewhat questionable. If you can keep the soap dish drained, however, you should be fine.

As for the big question… bar soaps won’t get you any cleaner than body wash. It’s really all about how you feel about using either product.

There are two types of body wash

You may have noticed that we’ve used the words body wash and shower gel interchangeably. As far as they’re colloquially used, people will totally know what you mean when you substitute them for each other. But there are some differences, however slight they may be.

Shower gels derive their name from their slightly more gel-like consistency that they carry. Typically speaking, these products will contain water (as just about every cleansing product does), detergent (that’s the cleansing part of the formula), and surfactants of some sort (these are the lathering agents). Many also have added colors or fragrances and some form of preservative to keep it shelf-stable.

On the other hand, body washes tend to be more watery and less gel-like. Though that often has to do with the amount of water in the formula, it may also have to do with added oils that are used to moisturize skin. Some make use of petroleum jelly rather than oils. Of course, body washes also have detergents and surfactants, and may also have fragrances and dyes added to them.

While you should expect a good lather from both products, you may find that shower gels often have a stronger concentration of ingredients which may be irritating; they may also have strong scents. Body washes are usually better for people that experience more sensitive skins. That said, they’re sometimes more difficult to wash off as the moisturizing agents are meant to cling to the skin.

For the most part, it’s fair to continue to use the words interchangeably, as the ingredients and use of both are so similar that it’s actually not worth making the distinction.

How is body wash different from shampoo or facial cleansers?

It should pretty much go without saying that shampoo is made for your hair, facial cleansers are made for your face, and body washes are made for your body. Each area requires a slightly different level of cleansers and moisturizers as each has different characteristics.

Shampoo tends to have the highest concentration of detergents and surfactants of the three. These are usually followed by shower gels and body washes (in that order if you’re a purist), and then facial washes. Body washes tend to have extra proteins that your face has a difficult time absorbing.

However, you can substitute one for the other if you’re absolutely desperate (like you’re already in the shower and getting out sounds a little like torture). But, unless you’ve just worked up a crazy sweat or participated in mud wrestling, you may be better off just rinsing off with water and waiting until you have the right product on hand.

Ingredients you want in a body wash

The ingredients you want in a body wash are a fairly simple list. Indeed, the smaller the list, the better the product is… usually.

The first on the list should be water; proportionally, it’s the largest in a good product. It’s the solvent that carries all the other ingredients.

After that, you will hopefully find some sort of detergent which is the actual soap part of the mix. Coconut is one of the most popular cleansers, but there are other plant derivatives that can get the job done. Then there are emulsifiers to thicken the formula and preservatives that keep your wash stable on the shelf (meaning it doesn’t become contaminated over time).Surfactants are used to make the formula foamy. And you’ll often find some sort of fragrance, whether it’s natural or synthetic.

The list of what could go into a desirable body wash could be just about any essential oil or plant extract and that list is long. It’s actually far more useful to consider the ingredients that have caused some controversy as they are far easier to recognize.

Ingredients you don’t want in a body wash

When it comes to ingredients you don’t want in a body wash or shower gel, you should know that many of them are in many different personal hygiene products. There are many reasons for this, largely the fact that the FDA hasn’t ruled them as unsafe - or they have restricted the quantities to levels determined to be safe.

Additionally, some ingredients (such as parabens) have black spots against their name, though the research isn’t conclusive in one direction or another.

If you’re very concerned about the products and ingredients you put on your body, then steer clear of the body washes that include anything from this list. If you’re not sold on the potential harm, the FDA is currently on your side and you can make your own decisions accordingly.

Parabens - These are the most recognizable at the moment since they have been given plenty of media attention. They’re also easy to spot as they have the word paraben at the end of them. These ingredients are used as preservatives in a lot of our grooming products - and some do occur naturally. The controversy arose when researchers found parabens in cancerous tissues, however this test (which linked parabens with cancer) didn’t test non-cancerous tissues for paraben levels and subsequent research hasn’t been able to prove a conclusive link. There is also a suspected link between parabens and hormone issues, but the FDA believes it is safe, so the decision is up to you.

Sulfates - When it comes to shower gels, this may actually be the bigger issue at hand. These are surfactants and emulsifiers and also have some cleansing properties. You may see them abbreviated to SLS or SLES (short for sodium lauryl sufate and sodium laureth sulfate). But, sulfates are a major tissue irritant. The FDA regulates the amount of these ingredients in our products, but there are some studies out there that suggest that they’re more than an irritant; they break down the skin’s moisture barrier and they may damage hair follicles, causing loss in the long run. It’s important to note that, when combined with other chemicals, SLS becomes a "nitrosamine," a potent class of carcinogen.

Dioxane - This is a synthetic derivative of coconut and makes it confusing, as there are many shower gels with natural coconut derivatives. It’s believed to be toxic to your brain, kidneys, and liver and is currently listed as a “probable” carcinogen. This particular ingredient is a little more difficult to locate on the ingredient list. You should look for indications of ethoxylation, which include: "myreth," "oleth," "laureth," "ceteareth," any other "eth," "PEG," "polyethylene," "polyethylene glycol," "polyoxyethylene," or "oxynol."

Diethanolamine or DEA - When combined with nitrite preservatives, DEA creates nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA), a known carcinogen. It affects the liver, kidneys, and may affect developing fetuses. You’ll find this ingredient mostly in synthetic fragrances (which you may want to avoid in any case). While individual products will not combine DEA with nitrites, the issue develops when multiple products are used in short succession (as is likely during showering routines).

Propylene glycol - You’ll also find this ingredient in antifreeze, engine coolants, and paints which should give you cause to consider whether it should be touching your skin. You’d be right. There have been studies which suggest it causes liver and kidney abnormalities as well as causing minor to troubling skin irritations. Just look for these words on the ingredient list to see if your body wash contains this ingredient.

Triclosan - While not as big an issue as some of the other ingredients listed here, this antibacterial may be one of the reasons we’re increasingly resistant to antibiotics. If that’s a concern of yours, you’d better start looking at all the soaps in your home.

And, while they may not cause you any other issue, you may want to limit the amount of artificial dyes and fragrances in your personal care routine. While they may not cause you, personally, any irritation, they aren’t necessary and based on the continued testing all products are undergoing, may one day be deemed unsafe.

Choosing the right body wash for your skin type

Okay, not that you know what you want to avoid, it’s time to start thinking about the best product for you. As much as the aroma or the lathering may be something you desire in a body wash, it’s best to consider the type of skin you have when choosing your shower gel.

Dry skin - Creamy products are usually what you’re after as they tend to have more moisturizing ingredients, such as milk proteins or petroleum jelly in the mix. Those with shea butter will usually be a little more expensive, but they can be totally worth it. It’s worth considering the use of a wash cloth or a shower puff so you don’t apply too much product to your skin.

Sensitive skin - If you’re battling itchy, flaky, dry skin, you need to steer clear of harsh products, including those with alcohol (common in artificial fragrance) and dyes. Ideally, you want something with sunflower seed oil or added vitamin E. Also look for products with glycerin or oatmeal. And, don’t forget that hot water is also quite drying; you may need to make those showers a little shorter.

Acne-prone skin - You will need to exfoliate, which may be better accomplished with a puff or a washcloth than with beads. But, you could also consider anti-acne ingredients like salicylic or glycolic acid. If you want something that’s a little more natural, look for tea tree products which reduce inflammation and act as an astringent.

Anti-aging concerns - Most people think of facial cleansers when they hear the words anti-aging, but you can certainly help the skin cells on your body too. You’re looking for vitamin B or niacinamide, plus a fair amount of salicylic and lactic acids to keep your body’s skin looking and feeling young.

Post-workout showers - Showering more than once a day isn’t exactly recommended, and you may be saving your showers until after your workout. But, if you’re getting more than one a day, you probably should look for sodium lauroyl sarcosinate and decyl glucoside in your body wash. They’re great for washing away salts and oils without being overly drying.

What about using men’s products?

If you’re standing in a guy’s shower with only men’s products around, there’s probably a good reason for it and you should certainly use whatever soap or body wash is available. But, we wouldn’t recommend continually using shower gels designed for men. And, that’s not just because they’re typically enhanced with masculine aromas.

Men’s skin is (usually) thicker than women’s skin. Believe it or not, women have a thinner collagen layer (it’s as much as 25 percent smaller). Body washes and soaps designed for men take this into account. And, while you’ll find that many of the ingredients overlap - or are, in some cases, exactly the same, the quantities may be different. They’re likely to be a little higher on the detergent side and have a little less on the moisturizing side. Of course, there are plenty of gender neutral products - and, hey, if you find a men’s shower gel does it for your skin, you may as well use it.

How much body wash do you really need to use?

Yes, it can be quite fun to have a shower full of rich lather and bubbles - and if that’s your idea of a party, you may as well indulge in it once in awhile. But, you don’t need a lot of product to cleanse your body. If you’re using a puff or a sponge, you’ll need a quarter-sized dollop… max. Any more and you may find that your shower gel dries your skin more than it cleanses it.

If you prefer to use your hands to lather and clean, you’ll need a little more than that, but not double. A silver dollar-sized dab is more than enough. And, there’s even some schools of thought that you should mostly rinse your body with water, using cleansing agents only on dirty or sweaty areas. Whether you can handle that or not, the good news is that a single body of body wash should last you quite some time.

Do you need a poof or a washcloth?

As suggested above (and, in fact, throughout these tips), shower puffs, sponges, and wash cloths can make your shower gel work harder for you. These elements increase the lather while using less product. They’re also fantastic exfoliators, and you want that from time to time - if not every day.

But, we want to warn you about these items. If you don’t rinse them completely and allow them to dry, then they will become a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria. If you’re the only one using your shower, you hang your sponge to try, and the bathroom is well-ventilated, you shouldn’t experience too many issues. But, if your poof is sitting in a puddle of water in the family bathroom, you may want to rethink your cleansing strategy.

It’s one plus to using the old fashioned washcloth that can easily be washed and dried, though many women opt to skip the enhancer altogether. Indeed, if you sidestep the lather, you’re less likely to dry out your skin - and those that frequently battle dry skin should consider this for most of their showers.

If you use a hydrating wash, can you skip the body lotion?

No. Please don’t. You really don’t want to. You see, you put the body wash on and then you rinse it off almost straight away; it doesn’t have much of a chance to work. What it does is limit the drying aspect of your cleansing routine. That’s all that it can do. In fact, you should apply a body lotion every time you get out of the shower to maintain healthy skin and to stave off the appearance of age as long as you can.

Editor: Fashion & Grooming, Home & Office, Food & Drink

Katie’s Cleveland proud; but she’s also lived in Australia, Switzerland and now stays in South Africa. That’s a roundabout way of saying she can’t sit still; she’s always moving, always busy.

She has a BA in International Relations from Kent State University and work towards a Masters in Human Rights. She speaks French, is learning German and used to dream in Spanish. For years, Katie worked as a producer on fashion and advertising shoots before she realized her passion was the written word.

Katie’s far more interested in guy’s gear than women’s, except she has a wardrobe brimming with little black dresses. She drinks her beer out of the bottle and is raising her two boys to be better men.

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