Differences Between: Shower Gel vs Body Wash


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A quick lukewarm bath is heaven-sent after a long and busy day at work. However, a shower is only complete when the right products are used because besides bathing for hygienic reasons; we do so to feel cleaner, more rejuvenated and more beautiful. For this reason, shower gels and body washes are everyday essentials for everyone irrespective of when and why they take a steam shower.

Compared to soaps and other detergents, these products are relatively new in the market, and most people, therefore, tend to lack the right information about them.

Shower gels and body washes are liquid soaps that are primarily used to cleanse the body. Contrary to what most people think, these products are not the same and understanding their differences is paramount as you will know the one that best suits your needs. Here are the significant differences between shower gels and body washes.

Textural difference

The main visible difference between body washes and shower gels tend to lie in their texture. Although both of them come in liquid forms, shower gels are firmer, thicker and have a gel-like consistency.

On the other hand, body washes are thinner and have a texture similar to that of dishwashing liquids or liquid soaps.

See More: Best Handheld Shower Head in 2021

Different moisturizing properties

Body washes have more moisturizing and hydrating properties compared to shower gels. This is because they are rich in moisture and occlusive agents like mineral oil and petroleum.

Recent studies show that newer body wash formulas feature hydrating technology that offers a precious skin ointment called emulsified petrolatum on your skin and is meant to improve dryness during cleansing.

All these features work together to enable your body to seal moisture into your skin when you are taking a shower, and your skin will continue to be richly hydrated after the shower. For this reason, those with dry skins should go for a body wash instead of shower gel.


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Shower gels, on the other hand, have less moisturizing effects which make them appropriate for oily skin types. To add to this, shower gels are suitable for sensitive and acne-prone skins since most of them have a cooling formulation featuring sea extracts and cucumber.

While shower gels are the best to use in humid and warm climates, body washes add extra moisture to your skin in cold climates making them a shower necessity during winter.

Different fragrance concentration

Shower gels have a higher concentration of fragrant substances than body washes. This makes shower gels more appealing to the senses and the more preferred by people who love strong scents and would wish the fragrance to linger on after the rain shower. These fragrances range from refreshing lemon or citrus-like scents to dessert-like scents from cocoa butter, strawberry, and vanilla.

Besides, those who love relaxing fragrance can choose rose, lavender or chamomile scents as well. However, heavily scented shower gels are highly discouraged on dry skins since such skins need hydrating action more than fragrance. Often most shower gels have clarifying effects and are best suited to clean stubborn dirt on oily skins as well as remove excess oil from such skin types.

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Exfoliating effects present in shower gels

Shower gels often have rich exfoliating loofah formulations which body washes seem to lack. Exfoliating properties in shower gels help you scrub away dead cells from your skin leaving a supple feeling on it. As such you are likely to find shower gels which are rich in organic abrasives like fruit seeds, oatmeal, sugar or sea salt.

Choosing the best product

Body washes and shower gels serve a similar function of cleaning the body. However, the benefits they offer tend to be different, and that is why you should be picky when choosing which to use.

Deciding the right cleanser should come down to your personal preference and the best product for your skin type. If you have eczema, acne or sensitive skin, for example, you should choose mild products which have moisturizing properties and are less scented.

When you are not sure which product is best for your skin, the best idea is to try out a few formulations and see the results. You can also check the manufacturer’s guide to see if the product is meant for your skin type. Lastly, dermatologists advise that you moisturize your skin after every bath for additional skincare.

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