Skip to main content

The best body washes

(Image credit: Dr Bronner's)

Body wash may be a bathroom staple, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Choose wisely, and it’ll transform your bathing ritual into a decadent treat that leaves you feeling sparkling, scented and squeaky clean.

When it comes to finding your shower soulmate the options can seem baffling, so consider what really matters to you and your skin. Dry, flaky skin will thank you for a creamy, hydrating formula, such as Dove Deeply Nourishing Body Wash, which is super moisturising and ideal for daily use. But if you want to step out of your shower feeling deliciously perfumed, then Jo Malone London Pomegranate Noir Hand and Body Wash may be your perfect cleansing companion. Richly scented, it’ll leave your skin smelling beautiful from top to toe.

As with most skincare products, it’s not just which body wash you use that counts, it’s also how you use it. Excessively hot showers can strip the skin of natural oils, so try to stick to a lukewarm temperature instead. And while it can be tempting to vigorously rub yourself down with a towel afterwards, dermatologists recommend patting yourself dry, to avoid irritating the skin. Finally, apply your body lotion while your skin is still slightly damp, to seal in moisture.

(Image credit: Dr Bronners)

Dr Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap in Lavender

Eco-friendly formula

Reasons to buy
+Made with pure organic oils+Very versatile+No artificial ingredients 
Reasons to avoid
-Can be runny

This delicious body wash is hugely popular amongst celebs, not least for its eco and cruelty-free credentials. In fact, even Meghan Markle is reported to be a fan – during her Suits days she confessed to loving the lavender scent. Made with pure organic oils, it’s entirely vegan, fair trade certified and totally devoid of synthetic foaming agents and artificial ingredients. It’s also eminently affordable, and you’ll only need a few drops each time you shower. The liquid formula is very versatile – you can even use it for washing the dishes, although you might feel it’s wasted on your pots and pans!

(Image credit: Elemis)

Elemis Exotic Frangipani Monoi Shower Cream

Richly scented shower cream

Reasons to buy
+Leaves skin soft  +Contains moisturising oils+Feels luxuriant 
Reasons to avoid

From its decadent red packaging to its heavenly scent and luxuriant feel, everything about Elemis Exotic Frangipani Monoi Shower Cream screams indulgence. The combination of Tahitian Monoi oil and coconut oil ensured it didn’t strip our skin of moisture – instead it left it feeling incredibly supple, soft and nourished. Even when we stepped out of the bathroom later, we still smelled richly of Frangipani Flowers, making this ideal to use before a night out or special occasion. While this product may be a little on the expensive side, we only needed a small amount to work up enough of a creamy lather.

(Image credit: Dove)

Dove Deeply Nourishing Cream Body Wash

Nourishing daily wash

Reasons to buy
+Very hydrating  +Suitable for daily use+Great value  
Reasons to avoid
-Packaging looks practical   

Dove Deeply Nourishing Body Wash isn’t just fantastic value, it’s also often rated by dermatologists for its hydrating powers. It contains NutriumMoisture, which is a blend of 100% natural moisturising ingredients, and is completely sulphate-free. Instead of stripping the skin like some shower products, the formula deeply nourishes it, helping to lock in moisture and leaving it feeling noticeably softer – we could feel a difference after just one use. The thick body wash also works up a satisfying creamy lather, meaning you feel squeaky clean when you step out of the shower! The bargain price makes this product cracking value too.

(Image credit: Rituals)

Rituals The Rituals of Happy Buddha Shower Oil

An uplifting oil

Reasons to buy
+Warm scent+Stylish packaging+Decent value  
Reasons to avoid

With its vibrant red packaging and uplifting smell, this shower oil gave us a great start to the day. When you rub the deliciously oily formula onto damp skin it gradually transforms into a silky soft foam, which glides quickly and easily over the body, nourishing and hydrating as it cleanses. Containing sweet orange and skin-soothing cedar wood, this shower oil also gives off a lovely aroma – we found it to be a warm scent, without being overpowering. This is skincare with a conscience too – The Rituals Of Happy Buddha is cruelty free and suitable for vegans.

(Image credit: Jo Malone)

Jo Malone London Pomegranate Noir Body & Hand Wash

A treat in a bottle

Reasons to buy
+Luxuriant lather  +Long-lasting scent  +Versatile
Reasons to avoid

With its unmistakably spicy scent, this crystal-clear shower gel feels like the ultimate treat. When combined with water it quickly works up into a luxuriant lather, which swathed our skin in the rich, peppery fragrance. Afterwards, it felt soft and oh-so-supple too. Yes, this shower gel may be pricey, but we found a little went a very long way and that the scent still lingered pleasantly on our body hours later. The heady combination of pomegranate, pink pepper, patchouli and Casablanca lily make it ideal to use before a special night out. If you’re happy to share, you can use it as a handwash too.

Sophie Barton

Sophie Barton is a journalist and editor with 18 years’ experience in the national media. She spent 11 years as both Deputy and Executive Editor of Closer magazine, and now specialises in lifestyle, wellbeing and celebrity. She is an experienced product reviewer, with a focus on beauty, family and travel.