After testing the best bar soaps, the battle royale for the best body wash was only inevitable. After all, “bar soap versus body wash” is basically the “boxers or briefs” of bathing. If you’re in the body wash corner of that debate, you need a cleanser that’s equally hydrating as it is thorough. And it’s gotta smell fresh—or perfectly neutral. (Many people prefer a fragrance-free option, often due to sensitive skin.) In some instances, it’s got to neutralize bacterial buildup or counter acne-prone skin. Maybe you need a body wash that won’t break the bank, or one that is luxurious through and through. Regardless, there’s a pick for you below, in our roundup of the nine best body washes.
The Best Unscented Body Wash
Nécessaire happens to sell some of our favorite scented body washes—Sandalwood is our top pick of their three—but this fragrance-free option is equally great. If you’ve got sensitive skin or are scent averse, it’s an affordable yet lavish gel-oil lather. All of the brand’s body washes are plant-derived, and are chock full of vitamins and nutrients, ensuring your skin doesn’t dry up after a shower.
The Best-Smelling Body Wash
We were hard pressed to be unfaithful to Aesop’s Geranium Leaf body wash, a longtime favorite. But this newer Citrus Melange light-foaming cleanser is vying for prime shower caddy real estate. It unites petitgrain with rinds of lemon and grapefruit, for the crispest, freshest feeling.
The Best Simple Body Wash
Dr. Bronner’s claims its liquid castile soap is an “18-in-1” cleaner, renewing everything from clothes to dishes, pets to laundry, floors to food, and body to hair. That’s an impressive lineup, but it’s not the only reason this one makes our shortlist. Its unscented variety—among many stellar scents—comes with a satisfying skin tingle like none other, and a roster of organic oils (coconut, palm, olive, hemp, and jojoba) preserve the skin’s moisture while the soap deep cleans dirt and grime. Put it in a travel-size container for your trips, and use any excess on clothing stains or quick-and-easy hand laundry.
The Best Body Wash for the Gym
Athletes work up quite a sweat, and need to be mindful of all the sweat taking residence around their body. That’s why Art of Sport harnesses tea tree oil in its body wash, to neutralize any threat of bacterial or fungal breakouts—in turn kiboshing breakouts, too. Activated charcoal extracts sweat and oil from deep within the pores without over drying skin, and you get to enjoy an uplifting eucalyptus scent at the same time.
The Best Low-Cost Body Wash
If you’re in the market for an affordable, brand-name body wash, then Dollar Shave Club offers this refreshing, uplifting pick in a mint and cedarwood medley. It soothes with aloe and uses plant-derived cleansing agents to leave you refreshed.
The Best Shampoo-Body Wash Hybrid
This workhorse 5-in-1 is a shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shave agent, and hair balm. And while we don’t often encourage combining hair and body products into one, this is a big exception. It’s nourishing on head and body alike, and leaves skin feeling plumped and nourished after rinsing away the rich lather.
The Best Acne-Clearing Body Wash
Salicylic acid is one of the top ingredients of note in acne-fighting body washes (the other being benzoyl peroxide, in more prescriptive formulas). And salicylic acid is center of PTR’s recipe here, to flush out grime and dead skin from within the pores, while glycolic acid smooths and exfoliates the surface of skin. It soothes skin, too, with allantoin and aloe, while jojoba beads gently scrub away to lift remaining rough patches. It also doubles as a face wash.
The Best Deodorizing Body Wash
If you’re prone to odorous bacteria buildup, then a deodorant isn’t the only thing to seek salvation: You can use an odor-fighting body wash, too, like American Crew’s. This one promises to keep you fresh for up to 24 hours, using ingredients like silver citrate and tea tree oil to fight off the bacteria that lead to funky smells. It finishes with a peppermint scent, to start those 24 hours on a refreshing note.
The Best Luxury Body Wash
Creed takes many of its best-selling (and best-smelling) scents, and bottles them as body washes. So of course, our go-to is the brand’s most famous scent, Aventus. It’s a sweet-musky-woody scent, combining notes of pineapple, birch, musk, oak moss, and patchouli. You can pair it with the scent itself, if you’re exactly that fancy, or enjoy its essence by letting this luxury wash stand alone.