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What Happens If You Put Body Wash In Your Hair? - Big Approved Insights

By Avi Green October 10, 2023

Have you ever found yourself in the shower, ready to wash your hair, only to realize you're out of shampoo? It might seem like an easy fix to just use body wash instead. After all, it's all soap, right?

However, using body wash in your hair isn't as simple as it seems. It can lead to a variety of issues for your hair and scalp. Before we delve into the consequences, let's explore why people might consider using body wash on their hair and what it actually does.

Why Might You Put Body Wash In Your Hair?

There are a few reasons why someone might use body wash as a quick substitute for shampoo:

  • Convenience: It's often a matter of convenience, especially if you're in a rush or haven't bought shampoo yet.
  • Ingredient Assumptions: Some people assume that since both products may contain similar ingredients, body wash should be safe for hair.
  • Curiosity: Others are simply curious about the effects or have heard mixed advice about using body wash as a shampoo alternative.
what happens if you put body wash in your hair

Differences Between Body Wash and Shampoo

To understand the impact of using body wash on your hair, it's essential to look at the differences between body wash and shampoo. These products are formulated differently for a reason:

Main Ingredients

While both body wash and shampoo contain cleaning agents, their compositions vary. Shampoos often have milder surfactants designed to clean the delicate scalp and hair without stripping away essential oils. In contrast, body washes have stronger surfactants made for cleaning tougher skin.

pH Levels

Your scalp has a different pH compared to the rest of your body. Shampoos are balanced to match the scalp's pH, usually between 4.5 and 5.5. Body washes, however, have a higher pH, designed for less sensitive skin.

What Happens When You Use Body Wash On Your Hair?

So, what exactly happens if you use body wash on your hair? Here are the potential consequences:


The most immediate effect is dryness. Body wash is not designed to be gentle on hair or scalp, and its harsher surfactants can strip natural oils, leading to dryness and brittleness.


Using a product with an incorrect pH balance can irritate the scalp, manifesting as redness, itching, or dandruff. Prolonged use can worsen these symptoms.

Hair Damage

Long-term use of body wash on your hair can cause damage, making your hair more prone to breakage and split ends. The absence of nourishing ingredients can also leave your hair looking dull and lifeless.

Are There Any Safe Alternatives?

If you're out of shampoo, consider these alternatives instead of using body wash:

  • Water-Only Wash: Sometimes, a rinse with water can suffice until you can get proper shampoo.
  • Conditioner-Only Wash: If you have conditioner but no shampoo, try a conditioner-only wash to cleanse and hydrate your hair.
  • Natural Ingredients: Natural options like diluted apple cider vinegar or baking soda can serve as a temporary gentle cleanser.

Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Hair Care Tips

If you're an eco-conscious shopper, you might already be interested in natural and sustainable hair care products. Here are some eco-friendly tips:

Invest In Multifunctional Products

Consider investing in multifunctional products without compromising on quality. Some eco-friendly brands offer shampoo bars or all-in-one soaps safe for both hair and body.

Check Ingredient Labels

Always read ingredient labels. Look for products free from sulfates, parabens, and artificial fragrances, which can be harmful to both you and the environment.

DIY Hair Care

DIY hair care can be a rewarding and sustainable way to maintain your hair's health. Recipes with natural ingredients like coconut oil, avocado, and honey can nourish your hair without negative side effects.

When To Seek Professional Advice

If you've used body wash on your hair and are experiencing severe symptoms like extreme dryness, irritation, or hair loss, it might be time to consult a healthcare or haircare professional.


While it may be tempting to use body wash in your hair in a pinch, it's generally better to avoid doing so. The key differences in formulation between body wash and shampoo mean that using body wash can lead to dryness, irritation, and long-term damage.

Instead, consider healthier and eco-friendly alternatives for your hair. Remember to use products that align with your hair's pH levels and specific needs.

For more in-depth information, you can click here.


Can body wash damage my hair permanently?

While occasional use might not cause permanent damage, regular use can lead to dryness and breakage, which could be difficult to reverse without professional treatment.

Is it safe to use conditioner after using body wash on hair?

Yes, using conditioner can help mitigate some of the drying effects of body wash, but it's better to use proper shampoo whenever possible.

What can I use for my hair if I dont have shampoo?

In a pinch, consider a water-only rinse, a conditioner-only wash, or natural alternatives like diluted apple cider vinegar. Always follow up with proper shampoo when you can.

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