Shower Gel Vs Body Wash

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Taking a shower isn’t only done to clean your body, it can be a relaxing experience too. That’s especially true when you love the products you use whenever you shower. 

So what products do you use for your shower? Do you tend to reach for a shower gel or a body wash?

Today, we’ll be comparing shower gel vs body wash. These two product categories may be used interchangeably by many people because of their similarities. However, they have differences. 

If you are still confused about which is which, then read on to figure out what a shower gel and a body wash are. Furthermore, we’ll help you to choose the right one to use depending on some factors.


Shower Gel Vs Body Wash: Let’s Differentiate Them

Philosophy Shower Gel

There isn’t really a rule that classifies products as shower gels or body washes. Some manufacturing companies may even interchange their use, which further muddies the water. 

Additionally, both products are liquid and are created for the main purpose of cleansing the body during the shower. An individual product may offer additional functions but they are mostly made as a cleansing agent. 

Even if they are highly similar to each other, there are still notable differences. Usually, you can tell them apart by comparing their textures, fragrance, and additional benefits. 


One of the main characteristics compared is the texture of the products. Both products are liquid and both may come in pump bottles  or flip-top bottles. 

Body washes are usually more runny or liquidy than the shower gel  counterparts.

Some describe shower gels as firmer or thicker. This may be due to the different ingredients used for gels. 


Shower Gel L'Occitane

Both the shower gels and body washes contain ingredients that give them their signature fragrance. However, often shower gels smell more potent. 

The scent lingers but in a good way. This is why people who prefer stronger scents will likely choose a shower gel over a body wash. 

The ingredients in the formula are more focused on hydration and moisturization rather than scent. 

Additional Benefits

Exfoliating Shower Gel

Another difference is the cleansing capabilities of the products. Shower gels are frequently more efficient in cleansing dirt or removing dead skin cells. There are even shower gels  that are formulated with added ingredients for more efficient exfoliation. 

However, the trade-off there is that shower gels may be more drying to the skin. 

On the other hand, body washes  are generally gentler on the skin. They contain more moisturizing ingredients that can help make the skin feel supple and soft. 

Due to their additional moisturizing properties, some people might feel that they don’t thoroughly cleanse the body.

Either way, selecting between the shower gel and body wash is a personal choice. 

There are ways to compensate like using a loofa for added exfoliation when using a body wash. Alternatively, one can also use a shower gel and apply moisturizer all over the body after the shower to counter the possible dryness. 

Shower Gel Vs Body Wash: Which Do I Pick?

As mentioned, choosing between the two is a personal choice but if you still can’t select one to use, we are here to help. There are a few factors to consider when making your choice and they are as follows: 

Your Skin Type

First and foremost, you should select a product that is compatible with your skin. Take a look at your knees, elbows, and hands. Do they tend to be problem areas during the day because of dryness?

In that case, your skin would benefit well from a OGX Radiant Glow + Argan Oil of Morocco Extra Hydrating Body Wash for Dry Skin, Moisturizing Gel Body Cleanser for Silky Soft Skin, Paraben-Free, Sulfate-Free Surfactants, 19.5 fl oz . It can help prevent the overall dryness of your skin.

Most body washes contain oils and emulsifiers that also help the skin retain moisture throughout the day.

On the other hand, if your skin tends to be oily, acne-prone, or if it needs a little help with exfoliation, then you’d best to choose a shower gel . It can help efficiently remove dead skin cells for smoother and clearer skin.

The Climate

The climate can also affect the condition of your skin. In tropical countries where the climate is humid and hot, a shower gel with cooling properties will be refreshing to the skin. 

On the other hand, if you’re in a cold, dry climate, you may want to lean toward more hydrating body washes. They will help prevent your skin from drying and looking scaley. 


The terms “shower gel” and “body wash” are generally used interchangeably, including even by manufacturers. However, there are a couple of factors that make a product more of a shower gel or a body wash. These include the consistency of the formula, fragrance, moisturizing properties, and cleansing properties.

All that said, we wouldn’t be bothered by people declaring that they are basically the same thing!

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Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).