Can You Use Shampoo As Body Wash? (7 Body Wash Alternatives To Add To Your Bath Essentials)

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Yes, you can use shampoo as body wash, but not frequently or for the long term. When using shampoo on your skin, use only a minimal amount, avoid skin folds or sensitive areas of your skin, don’t shower it with hot water, and of course, avoid applying it on your face. Instead, you could opt for better body wash alternatives like bath soaps, shower oils, body scrubs, soapberries, baby wipes, milk, and clay baths. 

Have you tried using shampoo as a substitute for your body wash? Or ever want to check if it’s not a bad idea? 

Of course, without any doubt, I bet you would reach that shampoo bottle when you run out of body wash in the middle of your bath. 

I mean, it’s sort of an emergency, right? And shampoos are basically like body washes. They’re fragrant and lather on your skin. On top of that, both products are for cleansing purposes.

But, experts say that while it’s okay to bathe with shampoos, you shouldn’t do that in the long term because it could cause harmful effects on your skin.

5 reasons to avoid using shampoos as your body wash

Though shampoos and body washes are designed similarly, they were formulated for their own purposes. 

Body wash for your body and skin. And, of course, shampoo for your hair.  

Using shampoos to cleanse your skin may not be as effective as using your favorite body wash.

Below are reasons why you should refrain from substituting shampoos as your body wash:

1. They can harm your skin

A woman is using a body wash during her shower routine to clean her body

Your body’s skin is slightly basic, with a pH level of around 5.5. 

Shampoos usually vary with a pH level of 3.5-9. Nothing comes out good when an acidic substance meets with an alkaline environment. Using shampoos on your skin may cause irritation. 

When a shampoo’s pH is too high, your skin may become too dry, scaly, and may even peel. On the other hand, when it’s too alkaline, you may end up having acne or eczema. 

2. Cannot sufficiently remove dirt 

Shampoos are formulated with fewer surfactants to keep natural oils in your hair follicle. It helps your hair to stay smooth and healthy. 

Body washes were meant to remove extra dirt, oils, and debris from your skin. So, shampoos may not effectively remove that greasy and dirty feeling off your skin. 

3. Makes your skin soapy or slippery

Because shampoos were intended to coat and cleanse your hair and scalp, they may leave some residues on your skin. 

Most ingredients on shampoos will leave your skin feeling extra soapy or slippery no matter how often you have rinsed it with water. 

Some shampoo formulations may even put a noticeable film over your skin. It may result in clogged pores causing your skin to feel itchy and become irritated. 

4. Can irritate sensitive skin

Some ingredients on shampoos, like artificial fragrances and chemicals, can irritate the sensitive parts of your skin, like your underarms or nether regions. 

Washing with shampoos may give your skin a burning sensation or cause itching and even skin infections. 

5. Can dry your skin

A woman is itching her dry skin, which happened after she started using shampoo as a body wash.

Shampoos, specifically anti-dandruff shampoos, can unbelievably dry out your skin.

Additionally, shampoos are formulated closely like detergents, so they’re not ideal for use on sensitive skin.

Tips for using shampoos as a body wash

Using shampoo to wash your body once or maybe twice may not likely cause harm. 

The following tips could be helpful later when you suddenly run out of body wash in the middle of your bath:

  1. First, use as little amount of shampoo as possible.
  2. Do not use shampoo on your private parts or other sensitive areas of your body. Only wash these areas with water.
  3. Avoid hot baths or lower your water’s temperature when bathing with shampoo. A steamy shower may exacerbate the drying effect of the shampoo on your skin.
  4. Do not use shampoo on your face. It could lead to severe reactions that can be really hard to treat. Water is your best option in washing your face this time.

Other uses of shampoo

If you have those extra bottles of shampoos in your cabinet and you have no idea how to use it all other than for your hair (too bad, you can’t always use shampoo as your body wash), then below are some other uses for shampoo in your home:

  1. You can use shampoo to lubricate stuff like a stuck zipper or squeaky hinges.
  2. Buff your shoes or revitalize those leather pockets or jackets in your cabinets.
  3. Suitable for hand-washing laundry and can be effective in removing stains.
  4. Use it occasionally as your shaving cream if you’ve run out of one.
  5. It can be used for a quick touch-up or cleansing of your tub, shower, and/or sink.
  6. Use it to refill your kid’s bubble wands!
  7. Mix it with baking soda to make a paste to clean your car’s chrome.
  8. Use it to fill your liquid hand soap bottle.
  9. Removes carpet stains or spills.
  10. Cleanse and removes grease from your kitchen counters, walls, and appliances.
  11. Add it with warm water, and you get a homemade mopping solution.

What can I use instead of body wash?

Avoid using shampoos as your go-to substitute when you’ve run out of body washes.

Instead, remember to stack your cabinet or bathroom with other products like the following:

1. Soaps 

Bath soaps typically last longer than body washes. They’re usually made of fat, oils, and fragrances.

Opt for organic, high-quality soaps which contain natural essential oils with no synthetic fragrances. Charcoal soap is also a good one to keep.

2. Natural oils

Oils of olive, castor bean, sweet almond, and grapeseed have excellent cleansing properties. 

You need to rub a good amount of your chosen natural oils in your skin and wipe it off using a damp washcloth. You may also rinse the oils off your skin in the shower.

Shower oils are also a great choice. These are made of natural oils formulated with ingredients that become milky substance when it comes in contact with water. 

Many people widely use shower oils instead of body wash or bath soap because of their refreshing, moisturizing, and naturally fragrant effect on the skin.

3. Body scrubs

A woman is mixing her shampoo with her body scrub and using it to cleanse her skin

If you haven’t tried body scrubs before, then you don’t know what you’re missing. 

Now is probably the time that you’ll add body scrubs to your bath essentials. I mean, they’re basically a better alternative for body wash instead of shampoos. 

Body scrubs can remove dead skin cells, which gives you a smoother, softer, and more even skin texture.

They also help your skin to better absorb moisturizers, unclog your pores, and prevent razor bumps and/or ingrown hair. On top of that, because of its rough texture, using a body scrub can increase healthy blood flow. 

Body scrubs come in a different variety with various scents. So, you don’t have to worry about not smelling fresh because you’ve run out of your favorite body wash for your shower later.

If you have your favorite essential oil stored in your cabinet, like lavender. An olive, coconut, and/or almond oil, sugar, or coffee grounds from your kitchen, you can easily make your quick DIY body scrub at home. 

4. Soapberries

Haven’t you heard of it or seen one? 

Well, it’s the most natural and healthy alternative to your body wash. 

It’s a type of fruit, berry-like shaped, and when dried, deseeded, and boiled, will produce a soap-like lather. 

Although it doesn’t lather as much as your body wash, it’s still very effective and healthy for your skin. For starters, you can add your favorite essential oil to make your soapberry lather or body wash. 

5. Milk

You may have heard the magic of milk baths and been dying to try them just that you always forget or have no time to set up for it. 

A woman is having a milk bath to cleanse her skin

Milk baths are a perfect substitute when you’ve run out of body wash to shower.

Add 2-4 cups of milk to set up your bath in a warm water-filled tub.

Add in oil of coconut, jojoba, or almond oil, your favorite essential oils, and other add-ons like Epsom salts, honey, and baking soda for a more relaxing and soothing milk bath. 

Play some slow music or listen to a podcast. Maybe, drink your favorite wine to add a little spice to your milk bath party.

6. Baby wipes

Baby wipes are usually gentle on the skin and should eliminate that dirty and greasy feeling on your body.

It may not be as effective as taking a bath with soaps or body wash, but they should get you through until you purchase a new bottle of body wash. 

7. Clay

Clay powder is also something that you should add to your cabinet or bath essentials. 

So, the next time you run out of body wash, you can make yourself a detoxifying clay bath.

I’m sure you’ve heard about clay face masks and the benefits of clay beauty products for the skin. Well, if you did, then make sure to try dipping yourself into a clay bath next time.

It can detoxify and exfoliate your skin which helps in bringing out your youthful glow.


Is it okay to shower with dish soap?

Yes, but not for long-term or frequent use. Dish soaps may contain ingredients that aren’t considered friendly to your skin.

Can I wash my body with conditioner?

Yes, you can, but conditioners were intended for your hair.

You might have heard or read on the internet about how conditioners moisturize your skin better than soap or body lotions, but some ingredients in your hair conditioner may irritate your skin and clog pores.

What happens if I put face wash in my hair?

Your scalp could become irritated, and your hair would become dried or fizzy.

Ingredients in your facial wash may be too intense for your hair follicles, making your hair dull and brittle. 


Shampoos may contain ingredients that aren’t friendly to your skin. And using them as a substitute for your empty bottle of body wash may not be the best idea.

It’s okay to use it once or maybe a couple of times, but certainly, avoid using shampoos on your skin frequently. 

Shampoos may not efficiently remove oils and dirt off your skin, resulting in clogged pores and other skin irritations. 

Make sure to stack your bathroom cabinet with other healthy alternatives for a body wash to avoid using shampoos the next time you run out of supplies.

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Reana Jean Cuevas
Mabuhay! I'm Reana Jean Cuevas. A healthy body means living well with no worries-just happiness and more life adventures. Taking care of my body and well-being is an investment for my career and future. I was a volunteer at the Philippine Red Cross. I joined the training to become a first-aider and be able to provide other health and safety services in my community. I love discussing anything but mainly first-aid, home remedies, and women's health.

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