Imagine taking a shower and when it is time to wash your hair, your regular shampoo has run out from its bottle. Even if you manage to scrap the very last drops of this hair cleansing agent, the amount still does not suffice. Yes, we all have faced such a silly moment at least once in a lifetime. There are several ‘bathroom products’ to replace shampoo in condition like this. One of them is body wash. Can you use body wash as shampoo? Such question will pop up inevitable, emerging out of nowhere when an emergency moment (read: running out of shampoo) happens whenever you are already inside the shower room.

It is no more than a striking fact that shampoo, soaps, body wash or shower gel, share this ultimate feature for humans: cleaning our body part, although the position to apply the products are different. Just like you already know since your childhood, shampoo is perfect for hair, and even until now there is no such word as body shampoo. You know, cleaning the body is the job of soaps and body wash. That’s why they are invented.

For this article, we will only focus on talking about body wash and shampoo. Of course, before talking about those, it is important to know the answer of this question, ‘can you use body wash as shampoo?’ Despite their visible, clear, and focal difference in the term of ‘area of expertise’, you might wonder, do body wash and shampoo contain the same ingredients? What may come as a result if you use them interchangeably? Will it bring any instant and later harm for hair and body? Lastly, what substitution can work safely as a replacement of shampoo in case of, let’s say, no shampoo left while having a quick morning shower?

Revealing the Truth: Can You Use Body Wash as Shampoo?

As a short answer, yes – you literally can use body wash, liquid soap, or anything to clean one’s body as a shampoo. However, if such thing exists, why manufacturers insist on making products with enhancement here and there? It can be considered as a waste of energy and money, right? Or is it just a play to obtain a pile of cash?

Well, it is better to put aside those negative thoughts away. People build companies and produce body wash different from shampoo because there is an underlying reason: the anatomy of hair and your body skin is different. Even your facial skin has a different structure if compared with your body skin. That is why different products are produced.

Well, no one will forbid you to use body wash as shampoo since it is not illegal after all. However, if you use body wash in routinely, it takes a toll to your hair health. There is a mismatch between what your hair needs and what you provide for it. Budget may be cut for a while by using only a product for two purposes, but later, you will pay a bit more to get deal with the downsides of having body wash as shampoo.

In an emergency situation, you cannot help but to use body wash if your shampoo is running out. Or, probably you are camping but you forgot to bring the hair washing agent. In such conditions, you may use non-hair shampoo cleaning product to clean your hair, body wash as example. Of course, you should not go as extreme as using laundry detergent, dish soap, or even a mopping liquid.

So, to sum up, can you use body wash as shampoo? Citing back to our previous statement – yes, you can but that will take its toll on your hair’s health as the ingredients and formula are not what your hair is needed.

What May Come as a Result of Using Body Wash as Shampoo

What can be a result if you use body wash as shampoo? To better understand what can be the consequence of using body wash as hair-cleaning agent, it is never wrong if we analyze it based on its ingredients.

  1. Body Wash Ingredients

First, let’s talk about body wash ingredients. Body wash products contain these chemical substances as their main ingredients:

  • Water
  • SLS (sodium laureth sulphate)
  • Betaines

These three are basically the same basic ingredients to make soap. The main point to underline is the existence of foaming agent, or typically known as surfactant in body wash. From those three basic ingredients, it is the SLS (sodium laureth sulphate) that plays the role as surfactant. Foaming agent is not needed merely to create lather and provide squeaky clean feeling afterward, it is also needed to emulsify oil and lifting up dirt from one’s body.

While this ingredient does exist in body wash, shampoo has it too. However, in shampoos, SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulphate) is commonly made milder through a process called as ethoxylation. Betaine. Comparatively speaking, the only differentiating aspect that brings difference between shampoo and body wash is the surfactant amount used (and its ‘strength’ to create lather). Well, let’s not forget that each product’s target is different.

To be put briefly, there is lower surfactant level in shampoo. Hair is basically a modified type of skin that has lower production of oil; hence it makes lower surfactant is needed to emulsify the grease and dirt coming through one’s hair. The counterpart – the body skin – is producing oil relatively higher than the hair itself, so the body wash, shower gel, and such product got more surfactants.

  1. The Result or Effects

What can be the result if you use body wash as shampoo? Even after the first trial, you will notice a notable difference compared to when you wash your hair with your regular shampoo. Surfactant will create more foam, but it takes moisture from your hair, leading to a drier hair after washing. If you use it just once or twice, the moisture can be restored quickly. But what if you use it regularly in lieu of a true product specialized for hair? Guess you know the answer.

Is It a Perilous Act to Use Body Wash as Shampoo?

  1. Hair Breakage

It is not as dangerous as a nuclear bomb, of course. However, having a continuous hair wash will cause your hair more prone to breakage as it promotes drying. It is more perilous in wavy and curly hair which are in natural has been drier than straight hair. Let alone if you tend to do hair styling after washing your hair. Using body wash as shampoo, not using hair conditioner, drying your hair over the heat – a destructive combo for your hair!

Let’s repeat it again, can you use body wash as shampoo? You can use body wash as shampoo, but kindly limit it only to emergency cases when you cannot get the regular shampoo. As aforementioned, curly hair and wavy hair tends to have drier hair, but that does not simply mean the ones with straight hair can use body wash as shampoo too much.

  1. Dandruff

Other than hair breakage, dandruff is a problem found in people who often use body wash as shampoo. Future hyper-production of hair oil can also be happened as a consequence of getting your hair too dry. It is like a self-protecting mechanism where your hair produces oil to protect your hair, but it goes too far that it becomes greasier than before. What about using liquid soap and/or bar soap? It is basically the same. The recommended one is to use what’s appropriate for your hair.

The Recommendation

For the umpteenth time, it is advised to only use the right product for the right purpose and part of body. So, according to that statement alone, the question ‘can you use body wash as shampoo?’ should not be answered with such a permitting response. In case of an emergency, body wash can be that kind of last-minute savior people can count on. Thanks for its reachability and those satisfying foams produced get people hypnotized and hence, they end up using body wash to wash their hair. No wonder, this thoroughly clean feeling is one among those reasons why people love to switch their shampoo to a body wash.

There are many natural ways too to deal with no shampoo day, but this requires a decent preparation beforehand. Using baking soda and apple cider vinegar are commonly known as shampoo replacement due to its base and acidic features combined altogether. Creative people out there also come with more ideas of doing mix and match (but not a fashion item this time!). Below are several ingredients used as the substitute of shampoo and body wash.

  1. Oat milk
  2. Water, combined with apple cider vinegar
  3. Coconut milk and olive oil, mixed
  4. Water and lemon juice
  5. Water and tea tree oil

Although it may be quirky for some due to its eccentric combination of ingredients, many people find it helpful. For the know-how, you can find it anywhere on the net these days. So, when you want to dodge body wash after getting that negative self-response for the question ‘can you use body wash as shampoo?’, those mentioned natural ingredients can help.