Skip to Content

Can Shower Gel Be Used as Shampoo?

Are you considering swapping out your shampoo for shower gel? Shower gels are often marketed to have cleansing and moisturizing qualities, but can shower gel be used as shampoo?

What happens to your hair and scalp if you do use a shower gel as a shampoo to wash your hair? I’m going to share the pros and cons of using shower gel as a shampoo, so keep on reading to find out more…

Can Shower Gel Be Used as Shampoo?

What Exactly Is A Shower Gel?

Shower gel is a liquid soap specifically designed for use in the shower. Its purpose is to effectively cleanse your skin and remove dirt, sweat, and excess oils.

Compared to traditional bar soap or hand soap, shower gels are known for their rich lathers and pleasant scents.

They come in various formulations to meet your specific needs, such as moisturizing, exfoliating, or even relaxing effects.

The main ingredients in shower gels include water, cleansing agents (surfactants), emollients, and fragrance, to make your hair smell good.

Surfactants are responsible for producing lather and lifting dirt off your skin. Emollients help moisturize and soften skin, while fragrances add a pleasant scent to your shower experience.

Shower gels also often contain other beneficial ingredients such as vitamins, antioxidants, and plant extracts to address specific skin concerns or enhance the overall benefits of the product.

While shower gels are primarily designed for cleaning your skin, you may wonder if they are suitable for your hair follicles as well.

Generally, shower gels can be used as a makeshift shampoo in a pinch, but it is not recommended for regular use, leaving your hair looking healthy.

This is because the cleansing strength of shower gels differs from that of shampoos.

Shampoos are uniquely formulated to cleanse your hair and scalp without stripping them of their natural oils, whereas shower gels may strip these oils and cause your hair to become dry, brittle, or damaged over time.

The pH levels of shower gels are often different from those of shampoos. Hair and scalp have a specific pH balance that must be maintained, as a pH imbalance can lead to irritation, excess oil production, or other issues.

Using a shower gel on a regular basis may disrupt this balance and lead to various hair and scalp problems.

What Exactly Is Shampoo?

Shampoo is a hair care product specifically formulated to cleanse your scalp and hair. It works by helping to remove dirt, oil, and sweat, as well as other environmental pollutants that accumulate on your hair throughout the day.

When you use shampoo, it not only works to cleanse the hair fibers, but it also helps to maintain the hair proteins and natural oils that are essential for healthy hair.

In contrast to shower gel, shampoo is designed to address the unique composition of your hair and scalp.

It usually has a specific pH level that suits the structure of your hair and prevents damage to hair proteins.

This pH level is essential, as it ensures the hair strands remain intact while effectively cleansing and removing impurities.

Typically, it’s recommended to follow the shampooing process with a conditioner. This step helps to replenish moisture, detangle hair, and smooth the hair cuticle.

Using both shampoo and conditioner together can provide optimal results, as they work in tandem to cleanse and nourish your hair.

When formulating shampoo, manufacturers consider various factors like hair type, scalp condition, and intended effects.

Some shampoos are tailored to specific needs, such as color-treated hair, dandruff control, or volume enhancement.

However, the primary purpose of all shampoos remains the same – to effectively cleanse your scalp and hair while maintaining hair integrity.

What Exactly Is Shampoo?

Can Shower Gel Be Used as Shampoo?

In some instances, you can use shower gel as a shampoo. Shower gels are milder than soap and can work for people with sensitive skin or prone to skin problems.

If you suffer from dandruff, psoriasis, eczema, or dry skin, using a shower gel on your hair might be beneficial.

However, it’s essential to note that shower gel isn’t specifically designed for hair, so it may not provide the same benefits as a dedicated shampoo.

When using a shower gel to wash your hair, be sure to dilute it with water first. Most shower gels can be used sparingly without causing damage.

However, using shower gel as a shampoo regularly is not recommended, as it may strip your hair of its natural oils and cause dandruff, irritation, or scalp issues.

It’s advised to use shower gel on your hair only in a pinch, when you don’t have access to shampoo.

Some brands may include elements that disrupt the pH balance of your hair, which could potentially cause damage.

Before using a body wash on your hair, carefully read the label and avoid using products containing harsh chemicals or irritants.

What Are The Differences Between Body Wash And Shower Gel?

While shower gel and body wash serve a similar purpose of cleansing your skin, they come with some differences that you may want to consider when choosing which one to use.

Shower gel has a thick, gel-like consistency and is typically known for producing heavier lather.

If you have oily skin, shower gel might be a better option for you, as its cleansing properties can help remove the excess oil.

However, one drawback of shower gel is that it might be a bit harsh on sensitive or dry skin, potentially causing irritation.

Body wash has a thinner, liquid soap-like formula, often with a creamy consistency.

It is formulated to provide your skin with more moisturizing and hydrating benefits. In case you have dry skin, using body wash can help maintain your skin’s moisture barrier, preventing it from excessive dryness.

Although body washes are usually gentler on the skin, it’s essential to be cautious about the specific ingredients, especially if you have sensitive skin or are prone to skin irritation.

As for using body wash as a shampoo, they do share common cleansing agents.

However, shampoos are designed to target the specific needs of your hair and scalp, providing an optimal balance between cleansing and care.

While body washes may cleanse your hair, they might not offer the same level of nourishment and conditioning that a shampoo would provide.

Therefore, it’s advisable to use a separate shampoo for your hair care routine.

What Happens When You Use Body Wash to Wash Your Hair?

What Happens When You Use Body Wash to Wash Your Hair?

When you use body wash in your hair, several things can happen. First, body wash has a different formulation than shampoo. It might not effectively clean your hair and scalp like a shampoo would.

The pH level of body wash is usually higher than that of shampoo, making the former less suitable for your hair.

Using body wash as shampoo could strip the hair of its natural oils, leading to dryness and potential damage.

Drying out your hair can make it brittle and more susceptible to breakage, which is not something you want on your hair care journey.

The ingredients in body wash are usually designed to cater to the needs of the skin; therefore they may lack essential nutrients required to nourish and maintain healthy hair.

Using body wash continuously as a substitute for shampoo may result in the buildup of dirt and oil on your scalp, causing hair issues like dandruff and itching.

It’s essential to shampoo your hair with a product specifically formulated for it to avoid such complications.

Here are some hair care tips, when considering using body wash as a shampoo replacement:

  • Use body wash on your hair only in emergencies when you’ve run out of shampoo. Make it a point to restock shampoo as soon as possible.
  • If you have no other choice but to use body wash on your hair, try to select a gentler, sulfate-free product.
  • Always follow up with a conditioner after using body wash on your hair to help restore moisture and minimize the negative effects.
  • Consult with a hair care professional if you have any concerns or need personalized advice on using alternatives for your hair.

In general, it’s best to use products specifically designed for your hair and skin, respectively.

Body wash and shampoo are formulated with different pH levels, ingredients, and consistencies to cater to the unique needs of hair and skin.

Sticking to the appropriate products will help ensure that both your hair and skin stay healthy and happy.

Can You Use Shower Gel And Shampoo To Wash Your Body?

When it comes to washing your body, you may wonder if you can use shower gel and shampoo interchangeably.

Shower gels and shampoos share some common ingredients, such as surfactants. These substances help to lower the surface tension and remove dirt and oils from your skin and hair.

While both products have the same cleaning mechanism, they are formulated differently to suit specific needs.

Shampoos are designed to remove dirt and excess oils while preserving the natural moisture balance of your hair and scalp.

They may also contain detangling ingredients to make it easier to manage your hair after washing.

Shower gels are formulated to be more effective on your skin, removing dead skin cells and dirt without causing excessive dryness.

Using shampoo to wash your entire body might not provide the same level of cleanliness and exfoliation as using a designated body wash.

However, if you’re in a pinch and don’t have shower gel, shampoo can still be used as a temporary alternative.

Using shower gel on your hair is generally not recommended, as its harsher surfactants and pH levels may damage your hair, making it weak, dry, and frizzy.

Facial skin is also more delicate, so avoid using shower gel on your face as it may cause irritation or worsen existing skin conditions.

Can You Use Shower Gel And Shampoo To Wash Your Body?


Shower gels can be used as a shampoo substitute in a pinch, but it’s not recommended for regular use.

This is because the formulation of shower gels differ from that of shampoos and may strip your hair of its natural oils or disrupt the pH balance of your scalp.

Shampoo is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of your hair and scalp, providing an optimal cleaning and conditioning experience.

Body wash is primarily formulated for cleansing your body and may not offer similar benefits as shampoo when used on your hair.

In general, it’s best to stick to products specifically designed for each function – using shampoo on your hair and body wash or shower gel on your skin.

*This post contains affiliate links