Shower Gel vs. Body Wash: What’s the Difference?

Shower Gel vs. Body Wash: What’s the Difference?

Body wash, shower gel, and bar soap: They’re all used for cleansing, but which one packs the most beneficial skincare ingredients? They seem like the same thing, right? However, based on your skin type, you may want to choose one over the other. At the end of the day, we all just want to feel clean and smell great, while feeling pampered. 

Shower gel and body wash are both used to serve the same purpose: To cleanse the skin. Some, however, provide nourishing ingredients that moisturize and protect the skin from dryness as well. Formulations can differ significantly depending on which you choose.

Both shower gel and body wash can be used with a sponge or cloth, and both come in liquid forms. Let’s dive into the differences between shower gel and body wash. 

What Are Body Wash and Shower Gel?

Body wash is similar to other types of soaps in that it creates a foamy lather. Bar soaps tend to be harsher on the skin, resulting in itchy, dry, flaky skin. This is why many people choose a body wash over traditional bar soap. 

The purpose of body wash is to cleanse the skin of dirt, oil, and debris. When you’re armed with the right body wash, you’ve got a spa-like experience right in the comfort of your own home. 

The Difference Between Shower Gel and Body Wash

The main difference between shower gel and body wash is the texture. Shower gel tends to be thicker than body wash with a firm, gel-like consistency. Body wash has a more liquidy texture. 

Body washes also tend to be more hydrating and nourishing than shower gel, although that’s not always the case. This leads many people to choose a wash over a gel.

Shower gel is recommended more for those with sensitive, oily, acne-prone skin and people living in more humid regions. Body wash is best for dry, normal, and combination skin types.

Ingredients Contained in Body Wash and Shower Gel

The ingredients contained in body wash and shower gels are important, especially if you want healthy, moisturized skin. It is essential to read the labels before choosing a product to ensure you are receiving the highest quality ingredients.

Most body washes contain two main parts: lipophilic and hydrophilic compounds. Lipophilic ingredients are fat-soluble, and hydrophilic are water-soluble. The lipophilic part of a body wash lifts away and dissolves dirt, while the hydrophilic part rinses it away.

These two ingredients combine to form a surfactant. A surfactant works to cleanse the skin, ridding it of dirt, oils, and unwanted germs.

Harmful Ingredients to Watch Out For

Some body washes and shower gels contain chemicals that can cause dryness, irritation, and may even be harmful to your skin. Ingredients to avoid include:

  • Propylene Glycol - This ingredient is known to cause toxicity, irritation in the eyes, skin, and bodily organs. Propylene glycol should be avoided.
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) - This is a common foaming agent that you might find in body wash, but it’s also a skin irritant. It can allow other chemical ingredients to penetrate the skin more easily, causing adverse side effects.
  • Triclosan - Triclosan is an antibacterial agent often added to soaps and body washes. This is a highly toxic agent that can cause allergies and is restricted for use in cosmetics in Canada and Japan.

Beneficial Ingredients to Look Out For

Many ingredients on product labels are seemingly impossible to pronounce, making it difficult to know which ones are good and which are bad. Luckily, we have the answers. 

There are many beneficial ingredients that you can look for that will provide your skin with nourishing hydration. These favorable ingredients include:

  • Amino Acids - Moisturizes and restores the skin, providing deep-lasting hydration.
  • Vitamin B5 (Panthenol) - Vitamin B5 delivers moisturization and healing properties to the skin. This ingredient is found in many luxury bath products.
  • Glycerin - Glycerine acts as a humectant, which means it allows the skin to retain its moisture, thus alleviating dry skin. It also helps protect the skin from irritants. 

With the right ingredients in hand, you can provide your skin with moisture and healing effects. Plus, it will make your bathing experience much more enjoyable when you feel pampered—and who doesn’t like to feel pampered?


Shower gels often have a stronger fragrance than body washes. So, if you prefer a product with more fragrance, choose a shower gel. 

Body washes, although not usually as fragranced, contain more nourishing and hydrating ingredients such as skin healing vitamins, peptides, and amino acids. Many luxury body washes contain natural ingredients that add both fragrance and nourishing ingredients, giving you the best of both worlds.


Exfoliation is important because it reveals a softer, more radiant complexion. It allows a gentle sloughing of the outer layer of the skin. 

Some body washes and shower gels contain tiny exfoliating beads that help remove dead skin cells, dirt, and oils. A mild exfoliating shower gel can be used daily. It will provide your skin with a healthy glow.

People with sensitive skin need to be mindful of how often they exfoliate their skin and what product ingredients are included. If you have sensitive skin, exfoliation may be too harsh depending on which ingredients are in the products you use. Ingredients such as fruit acids and certain enzymes are examples of these harsher elements. 

Choose a body wash that helps moisturize dry skin instead, revealing a smooth feel and appearance.

Skin Types

Regardless of your skin type, everyone needs the proper cleanser. Those with acne and sensitive skin types should observe product labels in order to avoid further irritation to your skin. Mild, moisturizing body cleansers are best for these skin types.

Oilier, acne-prone skin types should look for skin-specific varieties of cleansers. Look for ingredients that heal and soothe your skin. These types of ingredients may include tea tree oil and coconut oil.

Body Wash for a Beautiful Cleanse

Spongellé’s luxurious body wash collection offers hydrating, pampering ingredients in each body buffer and bottle. Each product delivers a spa-like cleanse with each use that will leave your skin feeling soft, smooth, and utterly relaxed.

The body wash collection includes beautifully scented body wash in bottles that contain enough product for 70+ uses. We also specifically choose pampering ingredients in our Fision Hydrate Pro formulation to help you feel your best. 

Spongellé Body Wash Ingredients

We at Spongellé take pride in our body buffers and body products. That is why we choose to formulate our products with custom-blended fragrances. All of our body products are vegan, cruelty-free, free of sulfates, parabens, and gluten. Our formulas contain no harsh ingredients and are made for all skin types. 

The Spongellé Fision Hydrate Pro formula contains the following ingredients to provide you with ultra-smooth and nourished skin.

  • Amino Acids - These provide up to 48 hours of hydrated skin and restoration in only one use. Amino acids are naturally moisturizing and repair damaged skin to promote healing. They also aid in the penetration of other healthy ingredients in the skin. Amino acids aid in the regeneration of cells and collagen production.
  • Pro-Vitamin B5 (Panthenol) - Vitamin B5 acts as a moisturizer to the skin and is used as a humectant and emollient in skincare products. Humectants attract moisture, and emollients act as a filler, utilizing lipids. Vitamin B5 restores and protects the skin barrier, which is essential in managing skin dryness.
  • Glycerin - Glycerin is also known as glycerol. The word glycerol comes from the Greek word “glukus,” which means sweet. Glycerin is a humectant, which means it draws moisture from the air to hydrate the skin and helps shed dead skin cells to give your skin a healthy glow.

Each Spongellé body wash is designed using patented technology with these and other natural ingredients to provide the most luxurious at-home, spa-like cleanse available. Each wash can be used along with your favorite Spongellé body buffer for the ultimate relaxing experience. 

Take our fragrance quiz to help you decide which fragrance is right for you!


Body wash and shower gel are two common skin cleansing products, but they’re not the same thing. Body wash is more hydrating than shower gel and generally provides more nourishing ingredients. Shower gel is thicker and is usually recommended for those with sensitive, oily, and acne-prone skin types.

Spongellé Beyond Cleansing body wash collection provides you with a spa-like experience every time you use it. Choose the indulgent scent of your choice and pamper yourself—you deserve it.



Glossary: Lipophilic | Green Facts

What Is the Difference Between Vegan and Cruelty-Free Makeup? | Treehugger

Coconut Oil Benefits And Uses - How To Use Coconut Oil For Skin And Hair | ELLE

What Is Panthenol? The Hair and Skin Benefits of Vitamin B5 | WebMD

Glycerin for Face and Skin: Hydration and Protection | Healthline