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Fact: Not all body washes are created equally. While it’s tempting to grab whatever option is on sale at the drugstore, you may want to consider your skin’s specific needs the next time you go shopping to avoid ending up with an overly-harsh cleanser that’ll dry you out.
“Look for a body wash that contains ingredients that will moisturize your skin, such as coconut oil, shea butter, and glycerin,” suggests dermatologist Dr. Peterson Pierre. “You may want to avoid a common foaming agent known as sodium lauryl sulfate if you have sensitive skin.” Dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf adds that she’s a fan of essential oils, like relaxing lavender and stimulating eucalyptus and citrus, in body washes.
Ready to find your perfect body wash? Keep scrolling for our picks of the best body washes worthy of the precious real estate in your shower.
Best Overall: Necessaire The Body Wash
There are lots of reasons why so many people, including Byrdie senior editor Hallie Gould, love this body wash. Available in fragrance-free as well as eucalyptus- and sandalwood-scented varieties, this body wash is formulated with niacinamide to gently cleanse skin without stripping. Users rave about how soft and smooth their skin feels after using this body wash and note that it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin.
Best Budget: Dove Dry Oil Moisturizing Body Wash
If you have dry skin, then you know it can be tricky to find a body wash that won’t leave you feeling tight and itchy post-shower. Enter this budget pick, which is formulated with jojoba oil and Moroccan argan oil, two powerful moisturizing ingredients. The super-creamy lather is also sulfate-free, making it a great option for anyone prone to sensitivity.
Best Splurge: Byredo Gypsy Water Body Wash
Make your bathroom feel like a spa with this oh-so-luxurious body wash. The scent, featuring notes of bergamot, lemon, pepper, and juniper berries, lasts for hours but isn’t overpowering, according to users. It’s the perfect complement to the brand’s fragrance of the same name.
Runner-Up, Best Splurge: Aesop Citrus Melange Body Cleanser
Whether you have dry skin or oily skin, you can benefit from using this body wash with a low-foaming gel formula. It’s super-gentle while still being an effective cleanser. Plus, it smells amazing thanks to a blend of petitgrain, lemon rind, and grapefruit rind in the formula.
Best Natural: Rahua Body Shower Gel
Gould swears by this body wash, which is formulated with an uplifting blend of essential oils including lavender, eucalyptus, organic vanilla, and palo santo. This organic, vegan, gluten-free, sulfate-free body wash does a great job of softening skin while it cleanses.
Runner-Up, Best Natural: Plant Apothecary Wakey Wakey Body Wash
Boost your mood and your skin with this rosemary- and lemongrass-scented body wash. The all-natural formula contains only eight ingredients and is free of sulfates, silicones, parabens, and petroleum. It’s gentle enough for even sensitive skin types to use.
Best for Sensitive Skin: The Seaweed Bath Co. Hydrating Cleansing Body Wash
Soothe sensitive skin with this calming, unscented body wash. Its star ingredient is organic, sustainably-harvested seaweed, which is high in more than 65 vitamins and minerals. There’s also neem oil, an antimicrobial; spirulina, an antioxidant; and ultra-hydrating kukui oil, coconut oil, and aloe vera in the formula.
Best for Dry Skin: Huron Cleanse & Recharge Body Wash
Graf is a fan of this body wash thanks to its moisturizing formula and refreshing scent. “I like the combination of coconut oil and macadamia oil which together have antioxidant, soothing, hydrating, and moisturizing properties for the skin,” says Graf. “Witch hazel, menthol, and eucalyptus clean and stimulate the skin.”
Runner-Up, Best for Dry Skin: Dermalogica Conditioning Body Wash
Say goodbye to dirt and grime without parting with your skin’s natural moisture. This body wash, formulated especially to treat dryness, is chock full of nourishing vitamin E as well as a trio of stress-relieving essential oils (eucalyptus, lavender, and sandalwood). Users like the scent and texture, noting that this body wash feels “spa-like.” Bonus: You can even use it as a bubble bath.
Best for Acne: Neutrogena Body Clear Acne Body Wash
This body wash receives high marks for its acne-fighting superpowers. It’s formulated with salicylic acid, one of the most effective pimple-clearing ingredients, and is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores. It’s also got glycerin in the formula, ensuring it won’t overly dry skin. Users highlight this body wash’s ability to get rid of body acne quickly without leaving skin tight and dry.
Best for Eczema: CLn Gentle Non-Drying Body Wash
Those with eczema need to take extra care when cleansing the skin to avoid further irritation. This body wash was created specifically for people with eczema, folliculitis, acne, and skin infections. “[It] does a fantastic job using hypochlorous acid to kill bacteria and reduce infection risk, yet is gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin, especially those who suffer from eczema,” says Pierre. “It even has published studies showing its efficacy against Staph.”
Best for Oily Skin: Nubian Heritage African Black Soap Body Wash
Keep oily skin balanced with this exfoliating yet still totally gentle body wash. Dead sea salts, cocoa pod ash, organic shea butter, jojoba beads, and aloe and oat extracts help to unclog pores and remove excess oil while maintaining moisture levels. Users enjoy how fresh and smooth their skin feels after using it.
Best Anti-Aging: Oribe Cote D’Azur Replenishing Body Wash
When it comes to anti-aging skincare, it’s important to pay attention to the skin below your neck. This body wash is full of ingredients that promote youthful-looking skin, including soybean oil, rice oil, and a blend of sweet almond, meadowfoam, and starflower oils.
Best Drugstore: Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash with Shea Butter
Both Pierre and Graf are fans of this hydrating drugstore body wash with shea butter. “It’s very luxurious, moisturizing, and nourishing, and a little goes a long way,” says Pierre. Adds Graf: “It cleans the skin while at the same time leaves a layer of moisture on the skin.”
Runner-Up, Best Drugstore: Soap & Glory Best Washes Uplifting Body Wash
Users can’t get enough of this body wash’s invigorating fragrance. The scent features notes of grapefruit and rhubarb to awaken your senses in the shower. The formula isn’t too shabby either: A mix of vitamins B5, C, and E promote bright, hydrated, healthy skin.
Best Cream Formula: Drunk Elephant Kamili Cream Body Cleanser
Cream body washes are a must if you have dry skin. This body wash has a creamy formula that gently yet effectively cleanses without stripping your skin’s moisture barrier. It’s sulfate-, silicone-, essential-oil, fragrance-, dye-, and alcohol-free, so sensitive skin types can use it without risking further irritation.
Best Scent: Jurlique Softening Shower Gel Rose
Take a whiff of this gel body wash, which smells like a bouquet of roses. The soap-free, sulfate-free formula is gentle enough for use by sensitive skin. Aloe leaf and honey extracts pump up the moisture for skin that’s clean yet soft. Users love the “gorgeous” scent and how soft this body wash leaves their skin.
Best Fragrance-Free: Cetaphil Ultra Gentle Body Wash Fragrance-Free
For those that prefer their body wash unscented, it’s time to turn your attention to this product. The non-irritating formula contains moisture-locking glycerin and calming aloe vera and panthenol. Users note that it doesn’t leave any residue behind and is a good option for sensitive skin.
Best Multitasker: Athena Club Creamy Body Wash
This body wash has the consistency of your creamiest body lotion, and that's precisely how it feels as it glides over your skin before transforming into a foam. It's rich for certain thanks to a mix of vitamins, extracts, and oils, and will leave your skin feeling supple and soft post-cleanse. And not only that, the smell of vanilla, cocoa butter, and flowers is such a treat for the senses. Oh, and it can sub-in as a luxe shaving cream when you're in a pinch so bonus points for double-duty benefits.
Runner-Up, Best Multitasker: Sol de Janeiro Brazilian 4 Play Moisturizing Shower Cream-Gel
This body wash is so rich, it’s able to pull double-duty as a shaving cream. The formula is loaded with moisturizers like coconut oil and cupuacu butter, so you don’t have to worry about razor nicks. Plus, the light pistachio scent is sweet without being cloying. Users like how this body wash leaves their skin feeling soft sans any greasiness.
Best Sulfate-Free: Alaffia Everyday Coconut Body Wash
Formulated for normal to very dry skin, this sulfate-free body wash is gentle enough for everyday use. It’s made with fair trade virgin coconut oil, as well as antioxidant-rich coffee berry extract and fair trade, certified organic, unrefined raw shea butter. Users love how moisturizing and replenishing this body wash is.
- Use a loofah: Keep in mind that there are certain steps you should take in the shower to get the most out of your body wash. Graf recommends using a puff sponge or loofah with your body wash “since it spreads the body wash more quickly more efficiently over the body as opposed to frequently pouring into hands.”
- Cut down your shower time: You also shouldn’t spend too much time in the shower. Staying in there for longer for 10 minutes will strip your moisture barrier and dry out your skin, explains Graf. “If the skin is dry, try to spend less than 10 minutes in the shower,” she says.
- Mind the water temperature: Finally, Graf says you should only shower in tepid or lukewarm water, as hot water will strip moisture.