Can You Use Body Wash As Shampoo

By: | Last Updated: March 1, 2022

If you’re reading this article, I’m guessing you’ve run out of shampoo and are now contemplating using your body wash.

No shame; it happens even to the best of us.

So the question is, can you use body wash for your hair?

After all, the ultimate purpose for shampoo and body wash is to clean. They also both bubble up, and they both smell good. So what makes them different from each other?

Well, the answer to your question lies below. So you might want to read on to know more.

What is body wash?

If you’re not familiar, body wash is a liquid alternative for bar soap.

Others prefer body wash over bar soap as it’s less drying to your skin due to its added moisturizing ingredients.

It’s become a staple to some bathing routines, not only for its cleansing properties but also because of its delightful smell.

It’s available in various scents like floral or citrus, so you’re sure to find one that you like.

A few body washes also contain vitamins and essential oils to nourish your skin further. So it sometimes feels like you just stepped out of a spa. 

Since body wash is good for your skin, is it also safe to use on your hair?

Can I use body wash to wash my hair?

Can I use body wash to wash my hair

Your shampoo and body wash may look similar, but there’s a reason they’re different products.

A body wash’s purpose is to clean your skin, so it contains milder cleansing agents compared to commercial shampoos since it should be able to clean dirt and oils without irritating your skin.

So if you’re brave enough to use body wash to clean your hair once, you might not feel a drastic difference. 

But if for some reason, you’re planning on permanently replacing your shampoo with body wash, you might want to reconsider. Shampoo contains ingredients that keep your hair healthy that you won’t find in body wash.

Is shampoo the same as body wash?

Shampoo and body wash may contain the same ingredients but in different quantities.

The same way cakes and cookies compose the same basic ingredients of butter, flour, and sugar. But measured differently to create different baked goods.

So, in this case, an ingredient that shampoo and body wash both contain surfactants.

Surfactants are responsible for cleaning your hair and skin. They do this by lifting the oil and dirt away from your hair or skin attaching them to water so they can wash out easily.

As mentioned above, body wash contains milder surfactants than shampoo. That’s because body wash doesn’t need a lot of surfactants to do the job of cleaning your skin and making sure not to strip its natural oils.

Also, shampoo contains ingredients that body wash doesn’t need since shampoo needs to cleanse and nourish your hair.

It also needs to cater to different hair types and textures, so its ingredients will matter accordingly.

Like adding moisturizing ingredients for dry or curly hair, adjusting the formula to protect color-treated hair, or adding nutrients to revive brittle or damaged hair.

Some shampoos also have conditioners mixed in to help counterbalance the effects of surfactants on your hair. They flatten out your hair shaft so you’ll have smoother and shinier hair.  Conditioners also help soften your hair, so it’ll be easier to brush out.

Shampoo also has a higher pH compared to body wash. It usually has a pH between 4-6 to stay close to your hair’s natural pH. This is also to avoid enlarging your hair shaft or stripping its natural oils.

While body wash usually has a pH of 5-6.5 to avoid irritating your skin. 

Now that we’ve established their differences, what will happen if you wash your hair with body wash?

What happens if you use body wash as shampoo?

What happens if you use body wash as shampoo

Even though your hair is just a bunch of dead matter containing a few live cells, what you apply to it can still affect its health. 

So what happens if you put body wash in your hair?

Since body wash is not meant for your hair, using it continuously can make your hair dry and brittle.

It also dries up your scalp since body wash doesn’t contain the moisturizing agents that it needs. Which, in turn, can lead to itchiness and dandruff

Considering body wash has milder surfactants than shampoo, it can’t totally remove the accumulated oil and products in your hair. Making it feel waxy and flat. 

So it will be difficult to add volume to your hair no matter how much you blow-dry or style it.

Although, some speculate that curly hair can benefit from using body wash as shampoo. 

Since curly hair tends to be drier than straight hair, the mild formula of a body wash doesn’t strip off as much of its natural oils as regular shampoo does.

Ran out of shampoo; what can I use?

Beautiful woman with long healthy hair holding aloe vera leaf and smiling

So what should you use instead of your body wash? 

Well, you can try to DIY a homemade shampoo using ingredients you can easily find at home:

Baking soda

Have you heard of the trick of putting a box of baking soda inside your refrigerator to absorb its odor?

If so, would you believe baking soda can also do that to your hair?

That’s because sodium bicarbonate can offset acid, allowing it to absorb odor. It’s also a gentle abrasive that can remove dirt and oil build-up on your hair.

So if you feel like your scalp has been itchy lately from accumulated products on your hair, baking soda can be a great clarifier.

To do this, mix a half cup of baking soda with 1 cup of warm water. You can also adjust the mixture depending on your preferred consistency.

Apply the mixture on wet hair, and gently massage your scalp to loosen product build-up. Wait for 1 minute, then rinse.

You can then follow up with a conditioner if you feel like your hair needs moisturizing.   

Apple cider vinegar

If you have a bottle of apple cider vinegar at home, you can also use it to clean your hair.

It contains antibacterial properties that can help remove product build-up and close your hair shaft. Resulting in smoother and shinier hair.

You can try this by diluting one part of apple cider vinegar into 5 parts of water.

Place the mixture in a spray bottle and mist your hair evenly. You can also massage your hair and scalp gently to help remove oil and dirt.

Let the mixture sit for 2-5 minutes, then rinse. You can also follow up with a conditioner to hydrate your hair more.

An alternative recipe that’s great for curly hair is adding tea and flower water to apple cider vinegar.

You’ll need 1 cup green tea, ½  cup rose water, and ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar. Mix them in a spray bottle and apply to your hair.

Let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing. Make sure to apply your conditioner after to give your hair extra moisture.


Yes, it’s weird, but an egg is actually a great alternative for shampoo.

It contains vitamins A and E, folate, and biotin, which are great for making your hair stronger and shinier.

The egg white also acts as a surfactant, making your hair clean, while the yolk makes your hair softer. So it’s a 2-in-1 shampoo in one ingredient.

You can apply this like a hair mask by cracking the egg on a bowl and mixing it. Apply it all over your hair and let it sit for 3 minutes. 

You can also gather your hair into a shower cap if you’re worried about the egg dripping from your hair.

After 3 minutes, rinse your hair with cold water to help seal in the moisture. And you’re done!

Oat milk

If you’re prone to scalp irritation and dandruff, oat milk is a great shampoo alternative.

That’s because it has anti-inflammatory properties that calm down skin irritation. Oat milk also contains antioxidants, vitamin E, and ferulic acid that help soothe and moisturize your hair.

To get the benefits of oat milk, apply it all over your hair and scalp. Gather your hair in a shower cap, and let it sit for 20-30 minutes.

Once that’s done, rinse your hair with cold water, and enjoy your healthy hair.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is famous for helping heal wounds and sunburns due to its antiseptic properties.

But did you know that it’s also a good shampoo alternative? 

That’s because it also contains antibacterial properties that can cleanse your hair. It’s also an anti-inflammatory that can help lessen dandruff.

So if you don’t mind, you can pluck off a leaf from your aloe vera plant and apply its gel to your hair and scalp.

Leave it on for 30 minutes. You can also gather your hair up into a shower cap to avoid any mess.

Then, rinse your hair with cold water, and you’re good to go.

CHECKOUT: Best DHT Blocker Shampoo and Supplement

Final thoughts

Using a body wash in the shower can give you that luxurious feeling after. But it might not get you the same results if you use it to wash your hair.

If your hair needs a good cleaning, but you don’t have shampoo, you can use some ingredients found at home. It might get a bit messy, but they’re actually healthier compared to chemicals found in regular shampoo (or body wash, for that matter).

But if DIY-ing isn’t your thing, you can use dry shampoo to manage extra oils in your hair until you can get ahold of a shampoo.

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