Bathing: We all (hopefully!) do it regularly, and it’s something we’ve been doing since we were babies. Yet, with a never-ending plethora of new bath and shower cleansers out there, it might be time for a refresher course on how to best use the basics. We’re talking about one of the most important products in your shower: body wash. Versatile and lovely-smelling, a shower gel or body wash is a definite must for your everyday routine! Here, we’re covering how to use a shower gel or body wash as part of your daily skin care routine.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SHOWER GEL AND BODY WASH?
Many people believe that shower gel and body wash are pretty much the same thing. Wrong. Sure, if you ask what shower gel is used for, the answer will be the same as what body wash is used for. Both of these products are used to cleanse your body during a shower sesh, but there is one main difference that sets them apart: texture! Shower gel has a firm, gel-like consistency. It also can sometimes be used on both the body and hair, depending on the formula.
On the flip side, body wash has a thinner formula that emulates a liquid soap and may have a creamy consistency, which works to provide your skin with more moisturizing and hydrating benefits.
HOW TO USE SHOWER GEL OR BODY WASH
Like we said, using a shower gel or body wash probably isn’t a new concept to you. However, when it comes to cleansing your body, there are more ways than ever to do so. New formulas, products, and general bathing techniques are seemingly always cropping up. Not sure what we’re even talking about? Keep reading for all of your many options regarding how to use shower gel and body wash. Because once you’ve gone through the arduous process of choosing the best shower gel or body wash from the body care aisle—whether you’ve picked one that foams, one with a floral-scent, or one that offers lots of hydration—you’ll still need to know what to do with it.
OPTION #1: WITH YOUR HANDS
The most convenient and economical option here is just to use your hands to apply your body wash or shower gel. Whichever product you’ve chosen, simply squeeze a small amount into the palm of your wet hands while you’re in the shower. Rub your hands together to lather up a bit and then proceed as usual. Scrub a dub, dub, hitting all the important spots, then rinse off until your skin is clean.
OPTION #2: WITH A LOOFAH
We’d suggest that you consider this second option—using a loofah to apply your body wash— whenever you’re looking to exfoliate, such as before shaving your legs or during the dry winter months when your skin could use an extra buffing.
You can also add a loofah to your routine for no reason other than to make showering a more spa-like experience. Typically made out of a thin plastic material, you can use the loofah (combined with your shower gel or body wash) to exfoliate and lift away dead skin cells from the surface of your body. To use your loofah, simply apply a bit of shower gel or body wash on the sponge, run it under the faucet briefly, and then rub all over your body. Things should get sudsy pretty fast, and it should feel relaxing—don’t scrub too hard, the loofah pretty much does the work for you.
Editor’s note: Keeping a damp sponge in your shower is just asking for bacteria, so don’t forget to wash your loofah regularly and replace it before it gets gross.
OPTION #3: WITH A WASHCLOTH
No loofah on hand? Traveling? No body scrub in sight? No problem! You can always use your hands, of course, but another option to consider is a good old washcloth. Simply wet your washcloth under the faucet, then dispense a bit of shower gel or body wash onto the cloth, rub it against itself to create your suds, and get to work. Just like a loofah, a washcloth is great for times when you want to exfoliate your skin. Happy scrubbing!
OPTION #4: WITH A BODY BRUSH
Showering can feel like a bit of a chore—especially when all you want to do is crawl into bed after a long day—but it’s totally possible to upgrade your shower experience, even just with how you wash your body. Using a body brush to wash up will feel great on your back and can be majorly helpful with reaching areas you struggle to get to with your hands. Add body wash into the mix, and you’ll have yourself the perfect cleansing session. It’s the same thing here: Dispense some product onto the body brush, wet it underneath the shower or bath faucet, and get to scrubbing.
As with all of the techniques we've mentioned, but especially here, remember to be gentle. You don’t want to step out of the shower with skin that's as red as a tomato—that’s not the goal here. Your intent is simply to cleanse and exfoliate your skin and also to scrub areas that aren’t easy to reach, such as your lower and upper back. Ah, it should feel fabulous! It should not, however, leave your skin feeling irritated or raw!
WHAT TO DO AFTER USING BODY WASH OR SHOWER GEL
Here’s a fun skin care fact you may not already know: To keep your skin as hydrated as possible, apply your body moisturizer right after you step out of the shower, while your skin is still slightly damp. No, it’s not counterproductive—it will actually help seal in moisture.
And there you have it; now you know the best ways to put your shower gel and body wash to use. Next up: Sugar Scrubs: What Are They and How to Use Them.