Depending on the type of skin you have, you may need either a shower gel or body wash to improve your overall texture. If you are planning to improve your skin through the use of luxury bath products, then the two most common choices you’ll have is between a shower gel and a body wash. So, between shower gel vs body wash which one is better than the other?
While both of these items are excellent for bolstering your skin’s health, they contribute in different ways. For instance, shower gel tends to be better for scents and summer weather, while body wash tends to work better for moisturizing during the winter months.
To help you understand the differences between shower gel and body wash so that you can comprehend which product would be better for you, we’ll break down the two products below. Then, we’ll discuss consistency, ingredients, structure and texture, moisturizing properties, exfoliating effects, and odor. That way, you should have the information you’ll need to pick out the right product for your skin type.
Difference Between Shower Gel and Body Wash: An Overview
There are several significant differences between shower gel and body wash. Below we’ll cover those major differences so that you can figure out which product is best for your skin.
Shower Gel vs. Body Wash: Consistency
The consistency and appearance of shower gel vs body wash varies. For instance, if you look at the consistency of a shower gel, you’ll notice that it’s thicker, and a body wash’s consistency is thinner. Along with consistency and appearance, color is also another thing that differs between shower gels and body washes. Shower gels usually have deep colors like greens and blues, while body washes look more like white, foamy, soapy products.
Since shower gels have a thicker consistency compared to body washes, shower gels are better for warm weather and humid climates. If you live in a very seasonal area, then you may consider using shower gels in the Spring and Summer months, when the temperature rises.
Shower gels have a cooling feature that feels great in a hot shower when the weather is warm outside. Plus, since shower gels were designed to be used when it’s warmer, they also help moisturize oily, sensitive, or reddening skin. Shower gels feature extra moisturizers that won’t harm the natural oils in your skin.
By comparison, body washes are better for healthy, normal skin because of their thin consistency. Once your skin is healthy, or the climate gets back to normal where you live, you could switch back to a body wash to avoid over-moisturizing your skin.
If your skin is dehydrated and the weather isn’t warm, for instance, during the cold, windy winter season, then we’d recommend going a step beyond and buying a moisturizing body wash. A moisturizing body wash will have lightweight hydration to help with the skin irritation you’ll typically experience when winter arrives.
Active Ingredients in Shower Gel and Body Wash
So, what are the typical ingredients you’ll find in shower gels and body washes? We’ll break down some of that information below.
Shower Gel Ingredients
Some ingredients you’ll find in shower gels includes:
- Sunflower seed oil
- Vitamins (like A, B3, C, B5, and E)
- Sea kelp extract
- Rosemary extract
- Horse chestnut extract
The ingredients listed above are commonly found in shower gels because they help provide some extra moisture during the warm, humid months of the year. Shower gel benefits your skin because of how they are designed to moisturize your skin when you are exposed to a lot of heat and moisture (including your sweat) so that your skin can maintain its regular levels of moisturization.
Body Wash Ingredients
Typical ingredients that you’ll find in body washes include:
- Aloe Vera
- Coffee seed extract
- Antioxidants from superfruits, like acai
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Lemon extract
- Lavender extract
- Coconut oil
- Vitamins (A, B3, C, B5, and E)
The benefits of these ingredients help make your body wash effectively at balancing combination skin and normal skin. So, regular body wash typically works great for normal and combination skin. However, if your skin is dehydrated and it’s wintertime, consider a moisturizing body wash, which will probably include things like aloe vera and coconut oil to help repair the damage that the cold, dry winter weather is doing to your skin.
While you’ll typically find vitamins A, B3, C, B5, and E in both shower gels and body washes, that’s where the similarities end. Shower gel products tend to use more botanicals, while body washes try to include superfruits and other skin-balancing ingredients. Is one better than the other? Are there advantages and disadvantages of shower gel and body wash?
In truth, one of these products isn’t necessarily “better” than the other. However, one product will be better for your needs than the other. Keep in mind that shower gels and body washes are made to do different things. So, depending on what’s going on with your skin, you’ll need to purchase one or the other.
Properties of Shower Gel vs Body Wash
Shower Gel vs. Body Wash: Texture
There’s also a substantial difference between shower gels and body washes when it comes to texture. While we know both products are liquids, shower gels are given their moniker for their gel-like appearance, which means they are thicker than body washes. By comparison, the texture of a body wash appears thin and is very similar to liquid soap.
So, if you need something that’s going to hydrate and moisturize your skin when the weather is cold, then body wash is the clear winner because of the texture. A body wash is effortless to use with your hands and performs gentle skin cleaning when you use it. If you need to scrub more, you can use body wash with a washcloth. You can also use a body wash whether you are taking a shower or a bath.
Shower gels, on the other hand, are made explicitly for showering, and not necessarily for bathing. There are some exceptions to this rule, but in most cases, that’s pretty much the standard. So, if you enjoy taking baths more often, you will probably be better off purchasing some body wash.
Shower Gel vs. Body Wash: Moisture
When it comes to moisture, body washes offer more hydration than most shower gels. Body washes tend to include a lot of moisture ingredients, like petroleum and mineral oil. Some more recently created body wash formulas also feature emulsified petrolatum, which is an excellent skin ointment that helps reduce dryness while you are washing.
Whether you are taking a shower or a bath, a moisturizing body wash will help the moisture seal into your skin. That means your skin will still feel very hydrated once you’ve finished your shower or bath. So, if you have dehydrated skin, and it’s wintertime, we’d recommend using a body wash.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever use a shower gel if you have dry skin. Like we mentioned earlier, much of what you should use depends on the season and climate, too. So, if it’s summer or spring, and the weather is humid and hot outside, you should use a shower gel instead. During this time of year, shower gels do a more effective job of retaining moisture. Body washes are better to use during the wintertime when your skin is dry.
At other times of the year, you should consider using shower gels if you have oily skin. Shower gels are great for people that have acne-prone skin since they won’t cause any additional breakouts due to their reduced moisture levels.
Shower gels, on the other hand, have fewer 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.
Shower Gel vs. Body Wash: Exfoliation
If you’re trying to exfoliate dead skin cells, then you should consider using a shower gel. When you wash with a shower gel, you’ll use a loofah to help you exfoliate your skin. Body washes aren’t as great at skin exfoliation as shower gels are by comparison. Shower gels, on the other hand, allow you to scrub dead skin cells from your skin, so your skin feels smooth and new. Many shower gels include organic abrasive products like oatmeal and sugar.
So, if your goal is to slough away some dead skin cells that are making you look dull everywhere, then a shower gel would be your best bet. With the steam from the shower combined with the abrasive organics in the shower gel and the loofah, you’ll get some great results.
Shower Gel vs. Body Wash: Scents
Shower gels and body washes are both known for having luxurious aromas that are pleasant and calming to experience. Many people compare their scents to beautiful perfume. So, if smelling well is a primary concern of yours, consider opting for a shower gel over a body wash. Shower gels feature stronger scents than body washes.
As a result, many people that prefer lovely aromas or that want to smell great all day opt for shower gels. So, if you’re the kind of person that loves strong scents and wants to smell good all day after your shower, you should consider a shower gel. Shower gels also provide a wide array of luxurious aromas from which you can choose.
However, there is one exception to this rule. If you have dehydrated skin and you want to use a shower gel for its aroma value, you should skip it. Shower gels with intense aromas are not suitable for dry skin because, if that’s the case for you, then your skin needs hydration and no odor. The odor is likely to intensify your dry skin. So, take care of your dry skin first with a body wash, and then once your skin has healed, you can go back to using shower gels for their aromas.
Shower Gel vs Body Wash – Which Product is Best for You?
As you can see, shower gels and body washes are both designed to clean your body. While they perform a similar function, the advantages and disadvantages of shower gel and body wash vary because they are comprised of different ingredients. Since the results you can get depending on what you use, a shower gel or a body wash, can differ dramatically, you’ll have to figure out what’s right for your skin depending on the season and climate near you.
Depending on your skin type, either a shower gel or a body wash might be better for you. If you suffer from dry skin and the weather is humid and hot outside, then we’d recommend that you use a shower gel to help balance your skin out. It’s also a good idea to use shower gels when you prefer their aromas. Shower gels are great for helping with skin exfoliation as well. If you have oily skin that’s acne-prone, then a shower gel will also be better for you.
However, if you have normal skin, then a body wash would be better for you. We recommend using a moisturizing body wash if your skin is dehydrated during the wintertime because a body wash will help to balance your skin back out during this harsh season. Also, make sure you use body washes that don’t include parabens or synthetic odors because both of those items can do a lot of damage to your skin.
If you still aren’t sure which product you should use, the best thing you can do is try out each type of product and monitor your results. You can opt for a couple of different body washes and shower gels and see how your skin reacts. Another way to approach this is to check the manufacturer’s directions so that you’ll know if the product is suitable for your skin type. Remember, after you take a shower or a bath, you should also use a moisturizer to help even out your skin.
Now it’s time for you to hit the stores and purchase your body wash or shower gel. Enjoy!