Body washes and shampoos are personal care products that are used for cleansing. Although very similar, they are two different cleansing formulas intended for different parts of the body. But what if you ran out of shampoo? Can you use body wash on your hair?
You can use body wash on your hair as a temporary emergency if you run out of shampoo. But this should not be a normal practice. After two or three days of using body wash on your hair, your scalp will become itchy, and your hair will dry, split, and can even start falling out.
Body wash and shampoo are formulated very differently to target very different parts of your body. Body wash is formulated for cleaning the skin, a living organism. Shampoo is formulated for cleaning the hair, dead material derived from cells within the skin.
Read on to learn more about body wash and why you shouldn’t use it on your hair.
Also, for an excellent foaming body wash, take a look at our top pick, the bliss Fabulous Foaming Body Wash:
Can you Use Body Wash on Your Hair?
There is a reason why a body wash is for the body and shampoo is for the hair. If it’s an emergency, let’s say you are already in the shower and you can’t find a shampoo.
You forgot to replenish it or you were not aware that the bottle is empty. A body wash is the only thing you have, go ahead and use it.
Generally, It will do the job of cleaning your hair if that is all you’re after. But you won’t get the same results. Your hair will definitely not come out shiny and tangle-free.
Not all types of body wash will give the same result too. It may clean your hair but will leave it frizzy, dry and lifeless. Your scalp may even become itchy because not all dirt and oil build up on your hair will be washed out.
Shampoos are formulated to provide the care and the nutrients that your hair needs to keep it shiny. It helps prevent hair from falling out and keeps your scalp healthy.
Manufacturers create formulas that help address different hair problems so that people with oily hair, sun-damaged hair, color-treated hair, etc. can finally enjoy beautiful hair.
The regular use of body wash on your hair or using body wash as a substitute for shampoo will eventually lead to hair damage, unless of course it’s a hair and body wash in one.
Prolonged use of body wash can lead to hair damage such as dry scalp which can lead to dandruff, hair falling out, damaged frizzy hair and even cause split ends.
Although a body wash is milder, it is formulated to clean the skin which is fairly different from the hair. Skin is a living organism. Hair is dead material derived from cells within the skin.
Since skin and hair are made from different components, we need to be specific about what products to use.
The skin is our largest organ and although our scalp is a part of it; the scalp holds our hair together and keeps it from falling out. The use of body wash on these two sides of the skin won’t produce the same result. And this is where it gets complicated.
So let me explain to you why body wash is meant for the body and shampoo is intended for the hair.
What’s in a Body Wash?
A body wash is the evolution of soap. They are formulated to be technically milder because it is used for our body, not just our hands. Most soaps have higher pH that’s why some people prefer using body wash.
The skin is more sensitive than the hair. It is made up of cells that regenerate every day, leaving dead skin on the surface. The dead skin causes skin aging, uneven skin tones, and other skin problems.
You will need a good cleansing formula to strip the dead skin away and leave your skin looking fresh and young.
The body wash is formulated to take out excess oils and avoid body odor. When you use body wash it helps opens up the pores for better cleansing.
So if you use it often on your hair, it will open up the pores on your scalp leading to hair loss and loss of natural oils as well which then leads to a number of hair problems.
While both shampoo and body wash contains surfactants, shampoo uses a stronger detergent to thoroughly clean your hair. These detergents are not in your body wash, hence they are milder.
If you notice, body wash usually produces less suds compared to shampoo. This is because too much suds strips the skin of its natural oil leaving it dry and itchy.
To avoid such problems, manufacturers of body wash also infuse their products with natural oils but with a different formulation to help keep the skin healthy and young-looking. After all, the skin covers our whole body and we need to care for it as best as we can.
Now let’s get to know our shampoo.
What’s in a Shampoo?
The shampoo is formulated to clean the hair and scalp of dirt and excess oil. Where does the oil come from? Our scalp releases oil to keep the hair soft but it also attracts dirt so you need to wash it off.
The shampoo contains surfactants that are responsible for the suds. Shampoos need suds to fully clean your hair from dirt and excess oils that you get from everyday pollutants. The more suds, the better it is in cleaning your hair.
Have you noticed that when your hair is very dirty, the shampoo can’t make as much suds or foam? And sometimes you have to wash and do it again to get the effect that you want? Well, the one responsible for that is the surfactants in the shampoo. The surfactants help mix water, dirt, and oil and washes it away, leaving your hair clean.
In reality, the surfactants that are present in shampoos are stronger and it takes away all the natural oils leaving your hair and scalp dry. That’s why some people don’t use shampoo every day.
The manufacturers are aware of this that’s why shampoos are infused with natural oils like jojoba oil, coconut oil, argan oil, and other essential oils that are good for your hair.
These essential oils replace the oil that is stripped from your scalp, leaving it soft and light. Shampoos are so effective in cleaning your hair and that’s why it has become very popular since it was introduced.
Why are shampoos effective? They use a stronger detergent to build suds that will thoroughly clean your hair and scalp and put enough oils in the formula to keep your hair and scalp from drying out.
Over time, companies have developed different types of shampoos for different hair needs so people have more choices. While all hair and scalp are made from the same cells, some are more sensitive while others have specific preferences.
Try my current favorite shampoo, R+Co Bel Air Smoothing Shampoo + Anti-Oxidant Complex, from Amazon. It is packed with essential oils and an anti-oxidant complex that makes my hair look and feel simply amazing all day.
What Your Hair Needs
Your hair is also an extension of your skin but with different needs. While they say it is made of dead materials, healthy hair does look shiny and healthy. The state of your hair depends on how well you take care of it.
Since the hair is held in place by the follicles that spring from the epidermis, you need to keep your scalp healthy as well. This is why we use specific products for our body.
Over the years, manufacturers have perfected shampoo to ensure that all hair problems and needs are met just by using these products.
Also, if you asked ‘can you use body wash on your hair’, you also may wonder ‘can you use shampoo on your body’.
Simply put, no. Like body wash, it is okay to use shampoo in an emgergency if you have nothing else. But don’t keep using shampoo on your body. After about 2 or 3 days, your skin will dry out and the pores will be bigger.
What Your Skin Needs
Our skin has almost the same acidity or pH level as our hair however if the products are too acidic it is definitely more damaging to the skin. Not to mention more visible.
But more importantly, our skin is our protection against the elements so we need to take care of it properly. To take care of it, we must use products that not only nourishes it but also protects it from damage.
Conclusion — Can You Use Body Wash on Your Hair?
Can you use body wash on your hair?
You can use body wash as an emergency solution if you need to wash your hair and you’ve run out of shampoo. Although body wash won’t damage your hair right away, continuous use may lead to damage.
It also dries up your scalp which can cause itchy scalp and dandruff to break out. A body wash can’t replace your shampoo for good.
If you are really looking for a quick fix, you can look for products that are specifically formulated to be used as both a body wash and shampoo; a two-in-one formula. Unless that is the case, try not to make a habit of using body wash on your hair.
Make sure you have enough supply of shampoo and body wash in your bathroom to avoid having to substitute your shampoo and exposing your hair to neglect that would eventually ruin your crowning glory.