Can You Wash Your Hair With Body Wash?

Proper hair care is critical to maintaining healthy, luscious, and smooth-textured locks. While there are many products on the market designed specifically for washing your hair, sometimes you have to use what you have on hand. So, can you wash your hair with body wash?

You can wash your hair with body wash, but it’s not recommended. Body wash can alter your scalp’s pH level and strip your hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry, brittle, and damaged. If you must use body wash, use it infrequently, and follow up with a conditioner to replenish lost moisture.

Although body wash will suffice in a pinch, using it on your hair should not be a daily routine. In this article, I explain why that is and shed light on what happens when you use body wash on your hair.

Can You Wash Your Hair With Body Wash?

Body wash is specifically designed for cleaning the body, while hair care products are specially formulated to maintain scalp health and clean your hair. 

Although conditioners can do a decent job of replacing body wash, the reverse is not the same case.

The contents of body wash can be harsh on the scalp and hair, especially if used too often. 

What Will Happen If You Wash Your Hair With Body Wash?

If you wash your hair with body wash, the harsh chemicals will strip away the natural oils that protect the hair from damage. This can leave your hair feeling dry, straw-like, and frizzy.

Unlike shampoos, body wash lacks proper cleansing strength as they are made for the skin, not the hair. 

Over time, your hair traps dirt, grease, and sweat. With enough time, this buildup accumulates to the point where it can cause problems like irritation and hair breakage. 

Shampoos are typically formulated to deal with this efficiently, quickly removing the buildup and leaving your hair healthy.

While body washes are also cleaning agents, they are far less suited to this job and will leave a lot of residue behind. 

How To Use Body Wash on Your Hair

You won’t always have shampoo available when you need it. Perhaps you stayed over at a friend’s home, or maybe you just forgot to get a refill before your bottle finished. 

Whatever the case, you now need an alternative to shampoo. When this happens, can you use body wash?

The good news is that you can use body wash on your hair in an emergency. Body wash takes repeated uses to cause lasting problems to your hair, so using it once in a while is usually fine. 

To use body wash on your hair, wet the hair and massage the wash into your scalp gently. Ensure the wash penetrates deeply and forms a lather, and remember to take slightly more time than you would with shampoo since body wash is less effective.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to wash your hair with body wash:

  1. Wet your hair with warm water to open up the cuticle and help the body wash more easily penetrate your strands. 
  2. Apply a small amount of body wash to your scalp and massage it using your fingertips until it forms a lather.
  3. Rinse the body wash out thoroughly.
  4. Follow up with a conditioner (if you have one handy) to help replenish the moisture stripped from your hair during the cleansing process. Leave the conditioner in for 10-30 minutes before rinsing it out.

Try to use a body wash that contains hydrating ingredients such as glycerin or aloe vera, as these will help to minimize dryness. Also, avoid sulfate body washes, which can further dry your hair and scalp.

Only use body wash to clean your hair in a pinch and avoid using it more than once a week. Overwashing your hair can strip away the natural oils that keep your hair healthy, leading to dryness and damage.

Can You Wash Hair With Just Water?

You can wash your hair with just water, but it won’t completely remove the dirt from your hair. That said, using water is a better choice than using nothing at all. Water also has no chemicals and is pH neutral, so it won’t exacerbate any previous problems or cause new ones.

Many people actually only use water for their hair, forgoing any hair care products for a more “natural” hair care process.

The water-only method rallies behind the idea that the scalp produces sebum, an oily substance that naturally coats, protects, and strengthens the hair. 

When you shampoo your hair, you alter the scalp’s pH and strip away this sebum, causing the scalp to overproduce sebum to re-balance the pH and protect the hair. This can lead to oily, greasy hair.

To avoid this, use warm water to wet your hair and massage your scalp with your fingers to help loosen water-soluble dirt and sweat trapped in your pores. This protects your scalp without stripping away the sebum it needs to stay healthy. 

Rinse your hair thoroughly, using your fingers to help detangle any knots. Follow up with a cold water rinse to help seal the cuticle and add shine to your hair.

Can I Use Dove Soap on My Hair?

You can use Dove soap on your hair, but you may not get the best results. Dove soap is primarily designed for the face and body, not the scalp and hair. It won’t entirely remove the dirt, oil, and product buildup, leaving your hair feeling heavy and greasy.

Dove soap is gentle enough for daily use on the face and body but may not be tough enough to cleanse your hair properly. 

Final Thoughts

While you may be able to get away with using body wash on your hair occasionally, it’s not a good idea to make a habit of it. Body wash contains harsh cleansers that can strip away the natural oils that keep your hair healthy, leading to dryness and damage. 

Use body washes in moderation, and follow up with a conditioner to help replenish the moisture stripped away during the cleansing process. Alternatively, you can adopt the water-only method to clean your hair while protecting your scalp.