Reviewed: Harry's Body Wash Is a Gentle Miracle Among Low-Cost Cleansers

A sulfate-free rinse, in four scents.

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Harry's Body Wash

Harry's Body Wash

Adam Hurly/Design by Cristina Cianci

What We Like
  • Sulfate-free, coconut-powered lather

  • Preserves skin's moisture levels

  • Four refreshing scents

  • Accessible price point

What We Don't Like
  • No unscented options

  • Non-natural ingredients, not Byrdie Clean

If you like no-frills grooming products (and scented ones at that), then Harry’s Body Wash is a terrific low-cost option. It builds a sulfate-free lather and won’t dry out the skin.

4

Harry's Body Wash

Harry's Body Wash

Adam Hurly/Design by Cristina Cianci

We put Harry's Body Wash to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.

I am often reluctant to try low-cost cleansers, but I had a good feeling about Harry’s Body Wash. While many mass-made hand soaps, shampoos, and body washes are packed with skin-parching sulfates or excessively irritating ingredients, I have come to hold Harry’s in a higher regard. Their track record is pretty darn good, too, from the brand’s inexpensive German-steel razor blades, to their soothing aloe shave gel and their new scalp-care assortment.

And their body wash, which is available in four different scents, is a cut above the competition with which they share retail real estate. It’s a sulfate-free wash, gentle on skin, and a veritable aromatherapy session (which admittedly may be a bit much for the fragrance-averse) as it fills the shower.

So, which ingredients give it its lathering powers in place of sulfates? And which of the four scents is my favorite? Keep reading for my honest review.

Harry's Body Wash

Best For: Everyday hygiene, with an aromatic boost.

Uses: Body cleansing (not for face or hair).

Potential Allergens: Fragrance is fairly powerful in these body washes, so take note if you’re sensitive to scented products. The core surfactant, cocamidopropyl betaine, can cause irritation if left on skin—but you’ll of course be rinsing it away quickly. Other potential allergens (benzyl salicylate and decyl glucoside) are in super small doses. 

Active Ingredients: Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Lauric Acid, Citric Acid.

Byrdie Clean? No, but it’s debatable. This wash contains PEG-120, but it’s contaminant-free in this case. However, it’s hard to call its high volume of synthetic fragrances clean, given how many people are sensitive to scented products. Still, to Harry’s credit, this one is about as clean as mass-made, low-cost, synthetic body wash can be.  

Price: $7 for 16 oz.; $3 for 2-oz. travel size; $26 for all four scents in 16 oz.; $12 for all four scents in 2 oz.

About the Brand: Since 2012, Harry’s has been making high-quality, low-cost shaving products. In recent years, the brand has branched into other facets of grooming, like hair, scalp, and skincare.

About My Skin: Overly sweaty and over-washed

I shower two to three times a day—but I promise that each one is quick. I’m a guy who likes being freshly cleaned before bed, and again as soon as I wake up. Add in a periodic workout or excessively hot day (as I’ll turn into a melting popsicle if it’s above 80 degrees out), and I will rinse off once midday, too. For this reason, my body’s skin is likely over-washed, so I rely on gentle cleansing products that preserve my skin’s moisture levels: no sulfates or drying detergents allowed. I primarily stick with oil-powered bar soaps, but keep body washes ready for the occasional loofah-ing.

Harry's Body Wash is a good example of what I always have in my shower—both for my periodic use, and to appease any house guests. It builds a creamy lather in your hands, no loofah (or body hair) needed, and I find that it flushes away all stink, grime, and oil in a single second. No need to let it linger on your body too long, because it acts fast. Avoid using it in your hair or on your face, however. While I find this gentle enough for frequent use, it’s still not intended for the sensitive skin on one’s face, nor the task of preserving your hair and scalp’s equilibrium.

The Feel: Like a rich hand soap

There’s a cream-like texture to Harry's Body Wash, thanks to the numerous coconut-powered surfactants that give the body wash its volume and lathering powers. It doesn’t build suds so much as glide over your body as the lather builds. A quick once-over is all it takes—perfect for someone like me who takes fast (but frequent) showers. And that scent—it’s a strong one. But I can’t talk about the feel of this body wash without mentioning how it invigorates my senses: calming, uplifting, clean. It has the same viscosity as hand soap, and is nearly as gentle as one too; I’d classify it as slightly above the hand soap in terms of cleansing powers, but gentle enough that skin remains soft and smooth with daily use.

The Ingredients: A thoughtful formula for a low-cost option

  • Cocamidopropyl betaine: a synthetic fatty acid derived from coconuts (and one of many coconut-derived ingredients on the Harry's Body Wash roster). This one builds a lather without relying on sulfates, so that it nourishes skin instead of parching it.
  • Lauric acid: Also found in coconuts, lauric acid is loaded with antibacterial agents. It’s terrific for mitigating bodily breakouts and blemishes.
  • Citric acid: This alpha-hydroxy acid dissolves dead surface skin cells and keeps pores clear. It’s in low amounts in Harry’s Body Wash, but still does its part to keep skin smooth.
  • Fragrance: The four scent options are heavily fragrant, so it’s best to avoid this body wash if your skin reacts badly to scented products.

The Scents: Which one is the best?

Harry's Body Wash

Adam Hurly/Design by Cristina Cianci

Of the four Harry's Body Wash scents, our prize goes to Stone, for its crisp, cool, and refreshing boost that it delivers to a morning regimen (and equally uplifts any time of day). But you can’t go wrong with any of them, really. Here is a breakdown of the four scents (unfortunately, there isn’t currently an unscented option).

  • Shiso: Notes of crushed shiso, oakmoss, and lemon zest. 
  • Redwood: Notes of evergreen woods, sea salt, and sandalwood.
  • Fig: Notes of fig, cardamom, and blood orange.
  • Stone: Notes of Japanese yuzu, charcoal, and bergamot. 

The Results: Thoroughly refreshed skin and senses

Sometimes having no major gripes is the best compliment you can give a functional product, and Harry's Body Wash does its job without compromising my skin’s moisture levels. And it leaves a refreshing scent in its wake, which lasts an hour or more. I like all of that. Besides, I use body lotions to proactively keep my skin smooth. I really don’t need a body wash to do all of that for me; I simply need it to flush away dirt, sweat, and grime without stripping my skin of its natural oils and moisture. And given that this one is powered by coconut-derived cleansing and lathering agents, you know it’s not going to compromise your crucial levels.

The Value: A bargain, honestly

Harry's Body Wash in Stone

Adam Hurly/Design by Cristina Cianci

At $7 for 16 ounces, Harry's Body Wash is giving you a lot of bang for your buck—particularly if you’re trying to save coin. While I personally prefer a slightly more expensive ($20-30) body wash with more naturally derived ingredients (like oils, soothing extracts, and even some butters), I think this one is a good fit for its price range; it feels like a thoroughly considered mass-market product, on par with the Doves and Neutrogenas. You can even go crazy and get all four 16-oz. bottles for $26, to stay fresh the entire year round. (Heck, even the $3, 2-oz. travel sizes are an easy choice.)

Similar Products: You've got options

Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Liquid Soap: There's nothing synthetic about this do-it-all body wash from Dr. Bronner's ($11), which deploys a blend of tingly, nourishing organic oils to polish your skin. Boasting 18 uses, the soap also works as a laundry detergent, floor cleaner, mouth gargle, and more.

Nécessaire The Body Wash: Oil-rich and vitamin-dense, Nécessaire's cult favorite body wash ($25) comes in two scents (eucalyptus and sandalwood), but also offers a fragrance-free option.

Art of Sport Victory Activated Charcoal Body Wash: Another sulfate-free option in the accessible price range, Art of Sport's body wash ($9) uses a trio of ingredients (aloe, tea tree oil, and roseroot) to respectively soothe, balance, and defend skin.

Final Verdict

This is one of those products where you never know when you'll need it. For showering, yeah, that’s obvious enough. But perhaps you want to have it at the ready when your favorite bar of deluxe body soap disappears, or if you’re hosting friends for the weekend and need something inexpensive and effective to keep them clean and happy. You might even pick up a travel size in the same scent of your choice, and refill it as needed for the gym or weekend getaways. You’ll never be disappointed in this product, which isn’t to say you’ll find it the most innovative thing in the world, either. Rather, it does its job perfectly well, and does nothing to compromise your skin’s health and hydration.

Specs

  • Product Name Body Wash
  • Product Brand Harry's
  • Price $7
  • Weight 16 oz.
  • Full Ingredient List Water/Aqua/Eau, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Lauric Acid, Fragrance/Parfum, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Hydroxide, Peg-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Polysorbate 20, Glycerin, Coconut Fatty Acid, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Menthol, Chlorphenesin, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Tocopherol, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate, Lecithin, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Linalool.

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