Can You Use Shampoo as Body Wash? The Differences and If It’s Safe

Have you ever thought to yourself: can you use shampoo as body wash? This question is one that many people don’t consider until they run out of body wash at the last minute. However, before you begin slathering shampoo over your body as an alternative to body wash, we’d recommend that you consider the following tips and tricks to ensure you’re not putting yourself at risk while using shampoo as a body wash alternative.

Fortunately, our experts are on hand to help you find out more about how you can use shampoo as a body wash – because, luckily, this is absolutely possible! However, if you want to use shampoo as an alternative body wash, it’s well worth being cautious and taking a few steps to avoid putting yourself at risk.

Can You Use Shampoo as Body Wash? 

Can you use shampoo as body wash? Many people aren’t actually aware of the fact that, in many cases, shampoo and body wash are surprisingly similar. While these products do differ significantly, especially in their mode of action, they are potentially similar enough to use easily interchangeably. 

However, as mentioned, each of these products is designed with a particular function in mind; to get the most from every bath or shower, it’s still worth using shampoo or body wash as intended for best results. However, if you find yourself in a position where you’ve run out of body wash (but have plenty of shampoo left), you can use shampoo as body wash occasionally.

Similarities and Differences Between Shampoo and Body Wash 

We have clarified that yes, you can use shampoo as an alternative to body wash. However, it’s well worth noting that, even though you can use shampoo in an emergency situation, it’s probably best not to use shampoo regularly as a body wash alternative since there are still significant differences between shampoo and body wash.

Still, before we get there, we should briefly consider the similarities between shampoo and body wash that make shampoo a good backup option. Firstly, it’s worth considering that many shampoos and body washes include moisturizing ingredients designed to help prevent cracks and dryness as a result. Naturally, this is critical when it comes to your skin since no one wants to worry about their skin getting chapped and dry after washing.

What’s more, shampoos also contain cleaning agents, as with body washes. This helps cleanse your skin safely, removing debris, grease, and dirt that may have accumulated. However, body wash may be more effective for this goal.

Body Wash is Designed to Remove Oils and Dirt

As we just mentioned, while shampoos may still be effective for cleansing your skin, they’re likely not quite as good as a proper bottle of body wash. This is integral to consider since, after all, the entire purpose of washing your body is to remove the buildup of dirt and debris, leaving your skin feeling smooth and clean accordingly. Some body wash products may also contain gentle exfoliating ingredients.

Shampoo is Designed to Perform in a Much Different Manner

While shampoo may help reduce contamination if used as a body wash, its cleansing properties are very different from body wash products. This is since shampoo – unsurprisingly – is designed for use on your hair, which is made from a very tough protein known as keratin.

Since hair is not directly alive, per se, the requirements for cleansing are a little different; for example, your shampoo bottle may be less effective at dislodging grease since our hair needs a small amount of grease naturally to look its best.

It’s also worth considering that many shampoos contain potentially nasty chemicals that could impact your skin health or cause adverse reactions if used as a body wash alternative. As such, if you’re concerned about this, we would recommend checking the ingredients list for your shampoo and trying a patch test first if you’re still determined to go ahead.

Fortunately, organic, natural-based shampoos may be less risky than chemical-based products, so check this in advance before trying to use the shampoo. After all, our hair is a tough and dead structure compared to our skin which is a living organ; as such, how they respond to chemicals will understandably differ significantly.  

Shower Gel That’s for Hair and Body – What’s That Then?

One product that you could consider keeping in your cupboard as a good backup in case you run out of shampoo or body wash is shower gel. Shower gel is specifically designed for safe use on your hair and your skin – but how can this be the case? After all, as we’ve already determined, body wash is often substantially gentler than shampoo; surely, then, shower gel wouldn’t be strong enough to provide effective cleansing for the hair?

Shower gel is slightly different from most shampoo and body wash products. Indeed, shower gel works through emulsification, helping ease dirt away from the hair or skin to allow for thorough and effective cleaning. It can be used on both your hair and skin, making it an excellent all in one solution.


Hopefully, you’re feeling a little more confident about using shampoo as an emergency alternative to body wash. However, if you still have further questions, we hope the following FAQs might help you make the ideal choice for your own washing needs.

Can you use body wash as shampoo? 

Can you use body wash as shampoo? While you can use shampoo as an emergency body wash, it’s often not recommended to do the reverse. Many body wash products will remove too much natural oil from your hair, leaving the strands dry, brittle, and potentially even frizzy. Plus, if your chosen body wash contains a gentle exfoliant, this may be difficult to remove from your hair after applying it. As such, we would not recommend using body wash as shampoo – but shower gel can be a great alternative.

Can you wash your hands with shampoo?

When using shampoo to wash your hands, we recommend taking caution as the stronger chemicals in shampoo may harm the delicate skin of your hands. However, as a one-off, this usually should not cause too much damage; just be sure to do a patch test first. We also recommend that you use genuine hand wash where possible to ensure you benefit from the antibacterial properties of soap versus shampoo.

Can you wash your face with shampoo? 

The skin of your face is highly sensitive, so ideally, you should not use shampoo to wash your face. However, this shouldn’t do a significant amount of damage if a very small amount of diluted shampoo should get on your face, so you shouldn’t have to worry too much when in the shower.

What can I use instead of body wash? 

The ideal alternatives to body wash are shower gel or hand soap (ideally a gentle hand soap that includes moisturizers). You may also be able to use a face wash as body wash. Alternatively, while it’s not advisable in the long-term, shampoo could be used as a body wash alternative if you do a patch test first.

Final Thoughts 

Can you use shampoo as a body wash alternative if you’ve ever wondered? If so, then we hope today’s guide will have helped you find out a little more about the key properties of shampoo and body wash, how these differ, and what this might mean for your bathing needs as a result. After all, if you ask us, everyone should be free to wash as they please – however, if you choose to do so, it’s essential that you’ve taken steps to ensure you’re not going to damage your skin.

Ideally, you should only ever use shampoo as a temporary solution. After all, these two products aren’t entirely interchangeable due to the differences between shampoo and body wash. Still, if you find yourself caught out without body wash and need a last-minute solution, shampoo could be a suitable alternative to use as a one-off until you can get more body wash. Just be careful when using it around sensitive skin, as many shampoos contain harsh chemicals that might do more harm than good.

Similar Posts