These days, guys have more options than ever to get themselves clean. Some prefer bar soap (if so, try our non-drying formulas). Others prefer the ease and feeling of body wash. But not all body washes are the same—or even similar. So, we’ve created this easy guide to answer all your questions about what you’re seeing out there in the grooming section and how to pick the best body wash for you.
What Is In Body Wash?
Body washes are a form of liquid soap used to clean the body. They often blend water, cleansing agents, and other oils and emollients to keep them in liquid form. When applied, either by hand or via sponge or loofah, body washes typically foam or lather while they clean.
Liquid soap was patented by William Shepphard in 1865. In 1898, B.J. Johnson Soap Company made the idea mainstream with its soap made of palm and olive oils, called Palmolive. In 1980, the modern liquid soap was invented and so followed hundreds of body washes.
Bar Soap vs Body Wash
The obvious difference between bar soap and body wash is that bar soaps come in solid form while body washes are liquid. But they are different experiences altogether. Many guys like the portability and eco-friendly aspects of bar soaps—or the often extra-rich lather they provide. Others prefer the ease of use (aka, no slippery bars) and the lighter consistency of body washes. Still others use brushes or loofahs in combination with bar soap or body wash to feel totally clean. The only way to tell which is right for you is to try each for yourself.
Body Wash for Men 101: Types of Men’s Body Wash
There truly is a plethora of body wash options for guys—many pointed at specific skin types and issues. We’ll break down some of the most popular and help you understand who they’re best for:
Moisturizing Body Wash
If you’ve experienced dry skin, that means your skin has lost too much moisture and needs replenishing. One great way to combat this is to use a moisturizing body wash. Moisturizing body washes usually contain additional ingredients—like oil, cream, or gel—that moisturize during the cleansing process. Our body wash uses Jojoba Oil and Aloe to hydrate your skin and seal in moisture so your skin feels healthy throughout the day.
You may have experienced your skin feeling dry or tight right after a shower. This can be an indication that your body wash or soap includes ingredients that are stripping your skin of its natural oils. Ingredients in many conventional body washes that have this effect are Alcohol and Sulfates, used to give you a squeaky clean feeling that many of us have grown accustomed to and, in the case of Sulfates, to create a sudsy lather. Neither of these ingredients are good for your skin’s health and you won’t find either in our moisturizing body wash.
Who It’s Best For: People with dry skin
Natural Body Wash
Natural body washes are those that contain naturally derived ingredients and refrain from including harsh chemicals like Sulfates or harmful preservatives like Parabens (ours don’t use either). Many people use body washes with naturally derived (aka plant-based) ingredients to prevent negative or allergic reactions, such as redness, rashes, bumps, and other forms of skin irritation.
Natural body wash is also used by those who prefer to put natural ingredients in or on their body. Whether it’s to reduce the risk of a skin reaction or to sleep better knowing you’re using a healthier option, there’s no bad reason to use a body wash made with naturally derived ingredients like our Luxury Body Wash.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want to avoid harsh chemicals
Sensitive Skin Body Wash
Sensitive body washes use gentler cleansers to remove dirt and excess oil from the skin. Some body washes use harsh chemicals to clean your skin, but certain cleansing agents, fragrances, and other allergens can cause negative reactions in guys with sensitive skin.
If you’ve ever experienced a negative reaction from your body wash—such as redness, bumps, itching, or flaking—try a body wash made for sensitive skin. Remember to use any new products on a small patch of skin before using it all over the body.
Who It’s Best For: Those with sensitive or reactive skin
Sulfate-Free Body Wash
Sulfates are the salts of Sulfuric Acid and they’re used as cleansing agents in common household cleaners and detergents. Unfortunately they can rob your skin of moisture and impair skin barrier function. Sulfate-free body washes don’t contain sulfates, which can cause irritation, redness, and even acne. Instead, they use gentle cleaners to get the job done. We recommend using a Sulfate-free body wash (like ours!) for all skin types.
Who It’s Best For: All skin types
Tea Tree Body Wash
Tea tree body washes contain the extract of tea tree, a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredient that’s great for skin. It has a refreshing scent that mixes nicely with your shower’s steam to open up your sinuses. Our Alpine Tea Tree Luxury Body Wash has a natural cooling effect on the skin too.
Who It’s Best For: For all skin types and people who are active/exercise
Eczema Body Wash
Eczema is a form of extremely dry skin that affects 10% of the US population. It can appear as redness, itchiness, pain, bumps—or a combination of these symptoms. Those with this condition may feel relief from using a body wash formulated specifically for eczema, typically made with gentler cleansing ingredients that won’t exacerbate the condition and additional moisturizing and hydrating ingredients to calm skin.
Who It’s Best For: People with Eczema or extremely dry skin
How to Find the Best Body Wash for Men
Now that you know which body wash sounds right for you, we recommend checking out our collection to find a body wash that works for you.
Join the club!
Subscribe to The Oars + Alps newsletter for email updates and extra special content!