These 21 Body Washes Deserve Some Real Estate in Your Shower

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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 will 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 the best body washes worthy of the precious real estate in your shower.

Best Overall: Nécessaire The Body Wash

necessaire 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 Dryness Relief Body Wash with Jojoba Oil

dove dry oil moisture

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 two powerful moisturizing ingredients: jojoba oil and Moroccan argan oil. 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

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 without being overpowering, according to users. It’s the perfect complement to the brand’s fragrance of the same name.  

Best Scent: Aesop Citrus Melange Body Cleanser

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

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.

Best Clean Formula: Plant Apothecary Wakey Wakey Organic Body Wash

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

The Seaweed Bath Co. Hydrating Cleansing Body Wash

Key Ingredients

Seaweed is a very powerful concentration of seawater and is able to uptake minerals by absorption and active transport from seawater. Because of these processes, some seaweeds have a dense concentration of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, and lipids, which all pose benefits for the skin.

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. The formula also boasts neem oil, an antimicrobial; spirulina, an antioxidant; and ultra-hydrating kukui oil, coconut oil, and aloe vera

Best for Dry Skin: Huron Cleanse & Recharge Body Wash

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.” 

Best for Stress-Relief: Dermalogica Conditioning Body Wash

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 Body Wash

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 BodyWash

CLn BodyWash

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

Courtesy of Amazon

Key Ingredients

Shea butter is a plant lipid that comes from African shea tree nuts and is rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins. It's used to help moisturize, nourish, and soothe the skin.

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

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 Shea Butter Body Wash

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.”

Best Budget: Soap & Glory Best Washes Uplifting Body Wash

Soap & Glory Call of Fruity Bubble In Paradise 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

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

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

Cetaphil Ultra Gentle Body Wash

Key Ingredients

Glycerin is a naturally occurring compound in the body; in topical skincare, it is derived from plants. It functions to draw water to the skin and continue hydrating it, making it a great ingredient for extreme dryness.

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

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.

Best for Shaving: Sol de Janeiro Brazilian 4 Play Moisturizing Shower Cream-Gel

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

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. 

Helpful Tips

  • 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. 
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Becker, l. Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics: International Journal of Toxicology. December 16, 2019. 38(3_suppl): 6S-22S. doi:10.1177/1091581819883820

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