The right body wash does more than just clean your body. It makes you smell good, removes dirt and grime, and can solve frustrating skincare dilemmas like irritating bumps and dry patches. The problem? A mere walk down the body wash aisle can be overwhelming, with dozens of options, formulas and product offerings to choose from.
Body wash is important because men use it every day and sometimes twice per day. It not only eliminates odor but rather makes you feel fresh and clean. These days, luxury brands have developed body washes designed specifically for men’s skin. Yes, a man’s skin is different from women’s skin. Men’s skin really has roughly 20% more thickness, higher collagen levels and more oiliness —hence the reason why men need body washes designed for men.
As you scan the shelves, you’ll wonder which one is considered the best body wash for men. However, once you land on a quality body wash, you’ll be unable to imagine how you ever remained loyal to your standard bar of soap. It’s no secret that the men’s grooming industry has boomed in recent years, and with savvy consumers demanding high-performing formulas beyond the traditional bar soap, it’s officially time to level up on this shower essential.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your self-care routine or are actively seeking a solution to whatever skin woe you’re going through, here’s a roundup of five of the best body washes for men that you’ll be eager to lather up with. Take a look and let me know what you think as I am very interested in hearing from you.
Fellas, it’s time to stop washing your body with some overly-fragrant wash that just dries your skin out. That’s where Blu Atlas’ all-natural body wash comes in. The product includes ingredients like shea butter to not only rehydrate your skin, but to actually restore damaged cells. An all-powerful green tea extract further prevents cell breakdown, while its antioxidants form a barrier around your skin that keeps out dirt and dust. Your body wash should leave your torso feeling as good as your face after a cleanse. Use the Blu Atlas Body Wash daily to ensure happy, healthy skin that also smells incredible.
2. Jack Black All-Over Wash for Face, Hair & Body
We get it. Most days, a shower is just part of the routine rather than an invigorating experience. On days you just want to clean and go, this pick from Jack Black saves you time and effort, offering all the benefits of a face, body and hair cleanser packed into one gentle yet effective formula. Infused with wheat protein and panthenol (both touted for their uber-hydrating properties), this creamy wash foams into a rich lather for healthy, moisturized skin and hair. Plus, it gets bonus points for being thick enough to use as a shaving cream. How’s that for a multi-tasker!
Think of Sauvage as a cologne, but one you use in your shower. Luxurious in nature, with a sophisticated scent, this earthy shower gel from Dior is everything you need to jumpstart your day. It’s an ode to the brand’s signature fan-favorite cologne, yet much more subtle in scent, fusing bright, spicy bergamot with amber for a light, musky aroma that hits your senses in all the right ways. Not only will the wash fill your bathroom with a waft of woody goodness; you’ll love the fact that the smell lingers on your skin throughout the day.
4. Old Spice GentleMan’s Blend Aloe & Wild Sage Body & Face Wash
Your shower can be a place where you come up with your best ideas. Treat yourself to a dual-purpose face and body wash that has unmatched cleaning power and is friendly to sensitive skin. Made without harsh, often irritating ingredients (read: parabens and dyes), this wash focuses on cleaning your body rather than disrupting your skin’s outer protective layer, which is essential to maintaining healthy, hydrated skin. Its formula boasts sage (which offers a refreshing burst of energy in the morning) and aloe (which serves to hydrate and soothe post-workout skin). Plus, because it can be used on the face as well, it means one less product in your shower.
5. Kiehl’s “Made For All” Gentle Body Wash
If sustainability is your thing, this sudsy cleanser from Kiehl’s will check all the right boxes. It’s biodegradable, made with 95% naturally derived ingredients, and housed in a bottle that’s made with 100% post-consumer recycled materials. Its fragrance-free formula means it’s suited for even the most temperamental skin types (no irritation here). It gets rid of dirt, sweat, grime and excess oil for a top-notch clean that never feels harsh. The formula also contains soothing aloe vera and hand-harvested soap tree extract, meaning you only need a small amount of product to yield a frothy lather.
How to use body wash
Rinse, lather, repeat. Right? Not quite. Turns out that there’s a method to giving yourself a proper clean, and everything from the amount of product you use to the placement of the product plays a role in a successful wash. Here are some tried-and-true tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your body wash.
• Amount: You’re probably using too much body wash. There, we said it. Overzealous product use can mean you go through bottles quicker than you can add them to your cart, and it can also strip your skin of its natural oils, leaving you with a dry, parched surface that’s prone to irritation. With most body washes, a quarter-sized amount should be plenty. Any more and you may be washing money down the drain.
• Frequency: How often you use body wash will depend on a few things. Of course, if you’re looking to get rid of sweat, dirt and grime (say, post-workout), body wash is essential. But if a simple rinse is all your body needs, you may be able to nix body wash. The benefit? This prevents your skin from drying out. After all, your skin requires a little bit of oil in order to feel moisturized and look healthy.
• Application: Everyone has their go-to spots they hit with their body wash when they first lather up. Turns out that your underarms and groin regions are the two spots to focus on—you can skip everywhere else unless there’s visible dirt.
Bar soap vs. body wash
The ongoing debate of bar soap versus body wash doesn’t stem from nothing. Some argue that bar soaps are more eco-friendly, are generally made with fewer, less potentially irritating ingredients than body wash, and last longer since they contain less water.
Others argue that bar soaps can be difficult to store without harboring bacteria, fail to have the moisture-binding capabilities of a body wash, and can leave your skin feeling parched. There are a few things to consider when it comes to choosing the right cleanser. Often, those with dry skin types will benefit from using an emollient-rich body wash that has hydrating ingredients (but of course, this requires knowing what those ingredients are). That said, if you’re prone to sweat, an exfoliating bar of soap can help get rid of dead skin cells for smoother, more refined skin.
If you choose to go the bar soap route, make sure to store it away from water (not on your water-laden shower bench!), and let it air dry before you use it again. You can also grate your bar soap, empty it into a bottle, and dilute it with water to create a DIY shower gel.
What ingredients should you look for in a body wash?
As with anything skincare-related, ingredients are crucial. If you have sensitive skin, steer clear of body washes containing fragrance, as this can include dozens of hidden chemicals that may be irritating. Sulfates are another offender for those with sensitive skin, and though they’re the ingredient responsible for creating a rich lather in your body wash, they can be quite irritating. Instead, opt for gentle formulas that contain ingredients like glycerin and aloe vera.
Have skin that skews dry? Look for ceramides in your body wash, which trap hydration, shield your skin from environmental damage and prevent moisture loss. If you’re suffering from skin inflammation by way of eczema or psoriasis, stick to the same protocol for those with sensitive skin, but also make an effort to incorporate colloidal oats into your shower or bath time routine—this ingredient is not only known for its highly effective cleansing power; it also offers the perfect amount of nourishment and soothes irritated, inflamed skin.
Finally, if your skin is prone to oil buildup, and thus acne, opt for an exfoliating body wash. These are formulated to ward off acne-causing bacteria and manage grease through ingredients like salicylic acid (a tried-and-true acne fighter) and glycolic acid (a gentler exfoliating option that evens out skin tone as it exfoliates).
What is the best body wash for men? As I have seen in this section, it depends on many factors, including skin type.
What tools can I use to wash my body?
You may be using your bare hands to wash your body, but is that the best method? Again, it depends on your skin type. For instance, those with oily skin types may benefit from using a cleansing brush in the shower. This provides a physical exfoliation that buffs away dead skin cells and excess oil that may contribute to clogged pores and, eventually, acne. Because these brushes tend to have longer handles, they’re also great for getting rid of buildup on your back (an often hard-to-reach area). If you go the cleansing-brush route, limit the use to a few times a week to avoid over-exfoliation (which can irritate the skin), and avoid applying the brush to active breakouts or areas of inflammation.
Cleansing brushes typically have firm bristles, so they’re best used in conjunction with a body wash to avoid snagging your skin. Find cleansing brushes too harsh but still want to reap the benefits of physical exfoliation? Try an exfoliating mitt. These are gentler and offer more precision, yet provide the same skin-brightening effects of a cleansing brush. Just be mindful of excessively rubbing your skin (or doing too many passes on the same area), which can cause irritation. And again, use it in combination with your body wash.
Lastly, there’s the loofah. Many modern-day loofahs have body wash built into them, but if you’d rather use your own separate product, loofahs are a fancy upgrade from a washcloth and can yield an irresistible lather. They offer the same physical exfoliation of cleansing brushes and exfoliating mitts, but are much gentler on the skin.
That said, it’s important to maintain your loofah cleanliness, as they can harbor germs and bacteria. To ensure your loofah is squeaky clean, soak it in a diluted bleach solution once a week for a few minutes. You can also throw it into the washing machine on a hot setting and let it hang to dry until you’re ready to use it next.
Can you use body wash as shaving cream?
Getting ready to shave only to realize that you ran out of shaving cream can be frustrating. The good news? Your body wash can serve as a shaving cream substitute. That’s because the general idea behind shaving creams is to provide enough lubrication so that your razor glides effortlessly across the surface of your skin.
Water doesn’t provide enough slip—and can lead to micro-cuts—but body washes are a great alternative. Not only do they create the ideal surface for your razor in terms of slip, but they offer enough cushion between your skin and the razor blade to minimize razor burn. Furthermore, body washes are a better option than face washes. This is because face washes tend to be thinner, are less likely to lather up, and certain ones contain exfoliating beads that can make getting a close shave quite the feat. To use your body wash as a shaving cream substitute, simply mix a small amount with some water and apply to your skin.
Can you use shampoo as body wash?
You step into the shower only to find that your bottle of body wash is empty, and no amount of flipping it over and bouncing it into the palm of your hand to get out any last remnants is working. What’s a guy to do? Your shampoo can serve as a body wash, but be mindful that unlike body washes (which have a lower pH level), shampoos have a higher pH (used for its cuticle-smoothing properties) and are made with surfactants to give your hair a thorough cleanse. This means that if you use a shampoo in place of your body wash, you may end your shower session with skin that feels dryer than when you first stepped in. Of course, if you’re about to replace your body wash with a new one, this is a non-issue in the long term, but if your go-to habit is to use shampoo on your body, you may want to make the switch to a body-specific wash.
Can you use body wash as shampoo?
As mentioned, body wash and shampoo have different properties, and while using shampoo in place of body wash won’t be damaging in the long term if done sparingly, using body wash as shampoo can be an issue even if done even once. Body washes aren’t formulated to clean the scalp and hair; in fact, they can strip your hair of its natural oils and lead to dry, flaky scalp as well as straw-like strands. Also, shampoos have a higher pH level than body washes, which aren’t pH balanced. This can lead to noticeable frizz, breakage and overall dryness.
What’s the best water temperature for the shower?
A steam shower can have detoxifying benefits, but a scalding-hot shower can wreak havoc on your skin, no matter how relaxing it may feel. Though there’s no hard-and-fast rule on what temperature your water should be in the shower, a good rule of thumb is that if your skin is turning red, the water is too hot. Your water temperature should be lukewarm—not too hot, not too cold. The goal is to prevent transepidermal water loss, which is when moisture passes through the outer layer of skin and evaporates into the environment. This can lead to parched skin, and if you frequently shower with hot water, this can amplify that dry, tight feeling and lead to flaky skin. Not to mention that hot water is known to strip your skin of its natural oils, and with the frequency and duration of hot water usage comes the risk of developing an inflammatory skin condition such as eczema—and even dandruff. Think about this the next time you’re tempted to crank up the heat (especially during the cold weather months).
How long should you shower?
Your shower routine should last around five to 10 minutes. Anything less and you’re likely not getting a good clean; anything more and you’d be overdoing it. While water is essential to the health of your skin, too much exposure could dehydrate it and open up your pores, thereby giving moisture a clear running path to escape.
How to get the most out of your shower time:
More often than not, your shower routine only lasts a few minutes (or at least, it should). If you don’t have the patience for a bath yet you’re looking to get the most out of your shower time, there are a few things you can do to tackle your other grooming tasks as you lather up.
• Shave in the shower: Rather than waiting to get out of the shower to shave, try shaving in the shower. Not only will this save you precious getting-ready time, but the continual circulation of steam will help open up your hair pores and make it easier to get a closer shave. Just make sure to invest in a fog-free mirror—impaired vision with a sharp tool so close to your skin is the last thing you want to worry about.
• Brush your teeth: Hear us out. While naysayers of brushing your pearly whites in the shower say that your brush is more likely to harbor bacteria if it’s left in a moist environment, advocates of the act say this is a moot point if you store the brush somewhere other than a steamy shower. There’s validity to this point, and using shower time to brush can speed up your grooming routine, not to mention minimize water spots and messy cleanups around your sink and countertop.
• Do a face mask: A lukewarm shower can soothe your razor burns, but a detoxifying mask can also work wonders on nicks. Pop on a face mask before you step into the shower and you’ll find that the steam will open up your pores, deeply exfoliate, and help the mask rid your skin of more impurities. Ones that contain charcoal or clay can deep-clean pores, draw out toxins, protect the skin from pollutants and rebalance the skin.
• Exfoliate your feet: Your feet bear the brunt of your daily activities. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can show them some in-shower love. A pumice stone or foot rasp can get rid of dry, cracked heels (just make sure you don’t file off too much skin, as this can leave your feet feeling raw). Likewise, an exfoliating foot scrub that contains grainy ingredients like sugar or kaolin clay can help buff away residue and dead skin. Often, these foot polishes are paired with hydrating ingredients like avocado oil or shea butter, which envelop your skin with a hydrating layer post-exfoliation.
• Use an in-shower lotion: Your post-shower skincare routine may not involve a lotion. But what if there was an easier way to reap the hydrating benefits of a lotion without slowing down your getting-ready process? Cue in-shower lotions, which by design are water-activated moisturizers that give your skin a chance to absorb the benefits of a hydration-packed formula. They’re made with moisture-binding ingredients (think oils and butters), and soften the surface of the skin. Since in-shower body lotions are meant to be rinsed off, you’ll reap the hydrating benefits of a lotion without the risk of leaving behind a sticky residue, which many traditional lotion formulas do.