Can you use body wash as shampoo?

There have often been times in our busy lives, where the shampoo bottle goes empty right when we need it the most, and the thought of using body washes lingers in our heads. 

However, can we really use body wash as shampoo?

In short, yes, you can use body wash as shampoo, but only when it’s very urgent. Using body wash as shampoo regularly, will largely damage the quality of your hair, and may even lead to serious consequences such as balding.

The Difference between Body Wash and Shampoo

1. Body Wash

As the names go, it is pretty self-explanatory. Body washes are built to suit and cleanse the different types of skin. Shampoos and body washes come in different types, to suit various textures of hair and skin respectively.

Body washes work on the skin, which is our largest living organ. Hence, it’s composition is very unique and much more complex.

Our skin is made of cells which often die out and this leads to ageing, clogged pores, body odour etc. Body washes are therefore designed to unclog these pores, strip them off the oil and give you better skin, without any body odour.

The detergents used in body washes are milder to maintain the pH of the skin. They also use less suds which in turn, prevent excess loss of natural oils which would lead to a dry and itchy skin.

2. Shampoos

Shampoos are designed to combat common scalp and hair issues such as oily, dry scalps, dandruff, hair fall and excessive itching etc.

As our scalp requires more intense cleansing to keep it perfectly dirt-free, shampoos often use harsh chemicals which are stronger and more effective. They help in removing the sweat, oil and dirt.

Shampoos are formulated to make sure that it does not remove natural oils from your hair, hence it keeps the right balance and gives you smooth, detangled and shiny hair.

How would body wash affect your hair?

Using body wash on our hair would prove to be really detrimental, considering how as explained above, our hair and skin have very different needs. For example,

  • Lead to drying out of scalp 
  • Strips off natural oils from hair
  • Harder and stickier to remove
  • pH level of hair will be imbalanced(4-5)
  • Dirt will not be efficiently removed, as body washes are mild.

Here is a video showing how a body wash/soap affects your hair

What can you use instead of Shampoo?

However, if you’re really in an emergency and desperately need to use an alternative to shampoos, here are your remedies:

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is known for being rich in hair nutrients and minerals. It is filled with vitamin C and B. It helps in exfoliating the dead skin, in turn removing dandruff.

Egg yolk Shampoo

It helps in making your hair grow faster. Egg yolk is infused with rich vitamins which strengthen your roots and prevent breakage, thereby giving you more voluminous, thicker hair.

Baking soda Shampoo

Baking soda leaves your hair neat and clean by removing the dust formed on the scalp due to humidity and sweat.

How to take Proper Care after Shampooing

It is essential to take proper after-care once you’ve shampooed, in order to get the healthiest version of your hair. Follow the easy steps below, and you’re good to go :

1. Proper Drying of Hair

A lot of us often seem to roughly rub our hair with a towel, right after washing it. Stop! It will only lead to more breakage and thinning. Instead, you want to lightly dab it and wrap it around your hair loosely, allowing the excess water to get removed.

2. Apply anti-heat serums

Whenever you’re going out, chances of the hot bright weather ruining your scalp is high. Just like how we use SPF for the face, use Anti-Heat serums for your hair.

3. Don’t use heat products

Once in a while is alright, however you want to make sure it’s kept to the minimum. Heat damages our hair permanently and only gives you a temporary shine, and irreversible damage for the long run.

4. Do not comb or tie your hair while it’s wet

Wet hair can easily be tucked on, causing it to fall. Wait till the hair air dries and only ten proceed to comb.

5. Detangle in the shower

Removing knots after showering, with dried hair, will lead to more breakage than normal. Lightly use your fingertips to remove them in the shower itself.

Hair Care Routine by Dr. Geeta Patel

6. Apply a suitable conditioner

Apply a suitable conditioner in the right amounts. It helps in locking the shine and softness, also replenishing any lack of natural oils. Only shampooing will leave you with dryer hair!


To summarise, body wash and shampoo are two vastly different products which have their own roles. A body wash cannot be regularly used as a shampoo, or vice-versa. Our skin and hair have separate needs and pH balances. It is okay to use body wash as shampoo very occasionally, if it’s an emergency. Otherwise, it is recommended to use a proper shampoo or even dry shampoo! 


Shampoos, in short, have a stronger and more rigorous formula to deep cleanse. On the other hand, body washes have a milder design to maintain soft skin.

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