How To Use Body Wash — 7 Tips To Make The Most Of It
Have you ever stepped out of the shower and felt a layer of residue on your body? Or maybe you've dried off only to find that your skin feels tight and dry post-wash. If this sounds familiar, you may want to reconsider what you’re using in the shower and how you're using it.
Though actually using body wash is relatively self-explanatory, there are a few ways to get the most out of your cleansing product. We're here to give you a few tips and tricks to do just that, some of which may surprise you. Let's go into it.
How to use body wash:
Select a body wash you like.
Everyone has different preferences when it comes to body wash. Some prefer a strong scent that doubles as aromatherapy, while others reach for a simple, fragrance-free formula. Further, some prefer simple bar soap to a hydrating liquid blend.
A quick expert note on the topic: "Bar soaps' pH levels are between nine and 10, while our slightly acidic pH skin level is between four and five," board-certified dermatologist Zenovia Gabriel, M.D., FAAD, previously told mbg. When you use those bar soaps, you can cause an increase in your skin's pH levels, which can change the skin's texture1 (and if you already have dry or sensitive skin, those bar soaps can be extra dehydrating).
Beyond choosing a body wash that's best for your skin type, you should prioritize the sensorial experience as well, considering you use this product daily. We know it can be overwhelming to find a good place to start, so here are a few lists we've made for you to reference:
Use the right amount.
You may be surprised to hear: You don't have to wash your entire body with soap every day. The important part is to wash anywhere that produces excess sweat and odor (think underarms, feet, etc.). Your arms and legs don't need to be fully lathered (unless they're actually dirty, of course). If you have dry or reactive skin, you can actually benefit from skipping the full-body scrub every day as it will help preserve your natural oils.
If you have body acne, however, you should cleanse any acne-prone areas daily. You may benefit from using an acne-fighting body wash as well. Our go-to is the Kosas Good Body Skin AHA + Enzyme Exfoliating Body Wash. This wash contains a blend of exfoliating ingredients including glycolic, lactic, and mandelic acids to unclog pores and fight breakouts, while allantoin and fruit enzymes work to hydrate and brighten the skin. You only need to use this body wash on the areas where you break out, and let it sit for 30 seconds to a minute for best results.
Find your shower schedule.
The shower experience is different for everyone. Some people prefer to hop in and out within minutes, while others see it as a leisurely ritual. No matter which kind of shower you take, you may still wonder how often you should do so. Here are a few things to consider:
Weather: If the weather is warmer or more humid, you should shower more often to clear out the influx of sweat and grime. On the flip side, showering too often during the colder months may dry out your skin even more.
Activity level: You should definitely shower daily if you're working out and producing sweat (this is even more essential if you're prone to body acne). If you exercise in the morning or midday, a shower after exercising and in the evening may benefit you. We collect bacteria and pollutants throughout the day that should be washed off before climbing into bed.
Skin type: Like we said, showering too often could dry out your skin. So if you're already prone to dry, flaky, or itchy skin, then showering once a day or every other day may help hold on to the moisture you do have. If your skin is oily or acne-prone, a daily rinse is best practice.
Use a tool—or don't.
This part is entirely dependent on personal preferences. Many people prefer to use a shower tool as a vehicle for their body soap, while others feel A-OK with a hands-on wash. If you like the feeling of foam and suds on your body, then using a loofah or shower sponge may be a great option. These tools provide light exfoliation for the body without stripping the skin. Another option for those looking to slough away dead skin is exfoliating gloves (here's a list of our favorites if you're interested).
For those with dry or sensitive skin, using a soft towel may be a better choice to ensure you're not irritating the skin barrier or over-exfoliating (which will make your skin even drier).
If you don't want to use a tool in the shower, you still have tons of options for exfoliating your skin. You can dry brush before stepping in (which benefits the skin in other ways as well), use a body scrub, or reach for an exfoliating body serum or retinol body lotion post-rinse.
Don't use extra hot water.
While a steaming hot shower may feel great on occasion, it's certainly not healthy to do every day. How come? Well, hot water has the ability to strip the skin of natural oils and lipids, which will lead to a compromised skin microbiome.
Pro tip: Board-certified dermatologist Loretta Ciraldo, M.D., FAAD, shared a helpful tip with mbg: "Take lengthy showers in tepid water, staying under the water until your fingertips get wrinkled," she said. "This is a sign that you have tremendously rehydrated your skin."
Here, a few other tips on how to take the healthiest shower for your microbiome.
Is it safe for the face?
While cutting down the number of products you use on a daily basis is both time-efficient and better for the environment, there are some things that can't be used universally. One example? Body wash. Of course, there are a select few body soaps out there that are technically safe for the face, but we'd recommend making sure it's labeled as such (or asking your dermatologist) before using it as a two-in-one.
If you have sensitive skin or have specific skin goals (like reducing breakouts or brightening your skin), you'll want to keep body wash and face cleanser in their own categories.
Use it as a bubble bath.
Here, a perfect example of a time when you can cut down on bathroom products. The occasional bath bomb is great for a special occasion (especially when they're infused with CBD like this Bath Gem from Prima). But at the end of the day, your body wash can certainly double as a bubble bath as well if it lathers up nicely.
Especially if your skin tends to be reactive to new products, sticking to your go-to wash will make your bath experience worry-free. This way, you'll get a bang for your buck and cut down on unnecessary items in the bathroom. Remember, keep your bath temperature warm, not hot to ensure your skin doesn't dry out.
Though you may think a how-to guide for a body wash is unnecessary, why not take some time to make your shower routine more effective and enjoyable? Some changes may be minimal, like adding in a shower tool for deeper cleansing, and others may be essential like turning down the temperature of your shower water. Either way, your skin will thank you. Now if you want to add ambience to your shower, you may want to consider looking into creating a shower bouquet or adding some aromatherapy—trust us, it's worth it.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.