When it comes to cleaning ourselves, there are a plethora of options out there; just one walk down the toiletries aisle at a Tesco Extra is enough to feel overwhelmed.
According to a recent report (opens in new tab) examining the global bath and shower products market, this industry was worth a whopping $41.33 billion in 2019 and demonstrates no signs of slowing down. It’s expected to reach $59.72 billion by the end of 2027.
Most of us make this tricky shower-time product decision-making process easier by just shoving whatever is on promotion into our shopping baskets. However, there is good reason to suggest we should do our research and choose a shower product that is right for us and our skin as opposed to just bagging the cheapest shower gel isn’t always a great idea. Instead, opting for the best body wash for men, that complements our lifestyles could give our skin - one of our most important organs - everything it needs to feel smooth and look great.
But how is a body wash different from a shower gel or bar soap? And why is it superior? We’ll cover all that in this men's body wash guide. We hope you’re ready to have your mind blown!
What exactly is body wash?
Okay, so you might be thinking “why does this article assume I’m stupid enough not to know what a body wash is?” Well, we don’t but it’s quite common for people to mix up with that and what else is on the market. The best way to define body wash is by comparing it to its counterpart: shower gel.
Yes, most people aren’t aware that these two products are actually quite different. While both are liquid cleansers used on the body, the distinction comes down to texture. Shower gels have a thin, gel-like consistency and are usually more fragrant, whereas body washes concentrate less on smelling nice and offer a more concentrated formula, usually comprising more expensive ingredients like essential oils that are more moisturising and hydrating.
To compare these two product-wise, think of a shower gel like the £1 Radox you find in most convenience stores, and body wash as the more premium offerings you’ll find in Holland and Barrett or Boots. As a result, body washes are generally more expensive. They also tend to be focused on a specific user. For example, active users who might be in need of ingredients that can help them with muscle repair or aches, such as magnesium or epsom salts.
Why body wash is better than bar soap
In terms of ingredients, a body wash probably has more similarities to bar soap than shower gel. This is because body wash products often use the same cleansing mechanism as bar soap - breaking the oily layer of dirt on your skin and lifting away pathogens - and contain a mixture of ingredients meant to help treat common skin conditions.
However, body wash is usually preferred over solid soap as its base ingredient provides a foaming, cleaning element that regular bar soap doesn't, making it way more efficient and easier to use at shower time.
Also, bar soap has a tendency to dry out the skin. This, according to eco-friendly retailer Kankan, is because the pH levels of bar soap are usually around 9-10 pH, which is considerably higher than the skin's normal pH levels of 6-7. Most body wash, on the other hand, makes use of ingredients such as Decyl Glucoside, which has a pH level between 3-5.
“This [ingredient] makes it very gentle and non-drying for all skins, especially those sensitive,” the soap specialist says.
Why body wash is better than shower gel
As we’ve already mentioned previously, shower gels typically have a thinner consistency when compared to body wash, making them less potent and thus not as nourishing for the skin. Shower gels prefer to focus on making you smell nice as opposed to getting to the root of any skin issues, such as dryness.
Body washes, because they are more concentrated, often last a lot longer than shower gels as the amount needed to get clean is significantly less.
The best body wash men can buy right now
While it’s clear that body wash is the best product for men to use, there are still what seems like a million offerings to choose from. So, if you still can’t make your mind up which to go for, consider some of the following tried and tested body washes that we deem worthy of purchase.
A T3 favourite is Bullet & Bone’s Cooling Recovery Body Wash (opens in new tab). Focused on enhancing sports and fitness performance, this body wash delivers an intense cooling effect thanks to a potent peppermint ingredient. In the same vein is Nuasan’s Active Body Wash (opens in new tab), a potion packed full of muscle-loving oils such as magnesium and arnica, which work to make you feel less achy after exercise.
On the more premium side we have Aesop’s Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser (opens in new tab)- a way more premium (£33’s worth of premium) yet super invigorating body wash that offers a refreshing cocktail of fresh, citrusy aromas.
Still not convinced? Check out our best body wash for men buying guide for some more ideas.