The Best Body Wash Will Give Your Skin the Fresh Start It Deserves

·9 min read

We rounded up the absolute best body wash on the market, because "bar soap versus body wash" is basically the “boxers or briefs” of bathing. If you’re in the liquid corner of that debate, you need some soap that’s as hydrating as it is cleansing. It’s gotta smell fresh—or perfectly neutral.

With plenty options on the market, it can be hard to settle on the right one for your skin needs. If you love to get your olfactory sensory neurons going early in the morning, a scented wash is going to set you up with a solid base note that you can layer on top post-shower. Whereas a fragrance-free option will get you clean without sensitive skin-types running the risk of irritation. Aroma isn't the only thing you've got to factor in: The body wash you take home has got to neutralize bacterial buildup or counter acne-prone skin.

Whether you're looking for an inexpensive workhorse body wash or you're after something more luxurious, there's a liquid soap guaranteed to leave you squeaky clean. So we rounded up 23 of the best body washes so you can get your suds on.

Who Should Use Body Wash?

To be clear, this isn't a question of whether you should use soap to clean your body (the answer to that is a roaring yes) but rather what skin types would benefit more from a liquid cleanser versus a traditional bar. If you're someone who deals with particularly dry and flaky skin, a body wash packed with hydrating ingredients that slides on and off could be your key to a smoother complexion. Traditional bars tend to be more concentrated which can leave dry and sensitive skin types further dehydrated while body washes tug less and are better suited to lock in moisture along with a satisfyingly deep cleanse.

The Best Body Wash, at a Glance

The Best-Smelling Body Wash

Aesop Citrus Melange body wash

$49.00, Aesop

Best For: Normal/oily skin Ingredient Highlight: Petitgrain, lemon rind, grapefruit rind

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 peppermint 18-in-1 liquid soap

$18.00, Target

Best For: Normal/oily skin Ingredient Highlight: Coconut oil, hemp seed oil, peppermint

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. That’s an impressive lineup, but it makes our list for one reason only: it's the perfect way to get a very special kind of tingly, squeaky clean for your whole body.

The Best Unscented Body Wash

SEEN body wash

$24.00, Amazon

Best For: Sensitive skin Ingredient Highlight: Bisabolol, glycerin, hemisqualane

Fragrance, while a delight for the senses, can sometimes be too irritating on the skin. If you lean more on the sensitive side (or you'd like to leave your scent layering for the post-shower routine) an unscented body wash like SEEN's will set you straight. Derm-developed, the ultra-plush texture is why we crowned this gem a Grooming Award winner.

The Best Body Wash for the Gym

Cardon vital body wash

$15.00, Cardon Skin

Best For: Oily skin Ingredient Highlight: Green tea, tiger grass

Getting sweaty at the gym is all great until that sweat leads to unsightly breakouts. Needless to say, you want to make sure your pores are getting a deep clean when you hop in the shower. Cardon's body wash is infused with skin-purifying green tea extract and tiger grass to reduce inflammation and redness. Now you can celebrate your gains without a side of body acne.

The Best Low-Cost Body Wash

Dove "Revitalizante" body wash

$9.00, Target

Best For: Normal/dry skin Ingredient Highlight:  Cherry extract, chia milk

So the soap your parents stocked the bathroom with during your most, um, formative years still reigns supreme when it comes to getting squeaky clean without breaking the bank. Dove’s sulfate and paraben-free body wash is a creamy iteration of its classic beauty bars, making it great for days when you want a refreshing cleanse but are feeling particularly dry. There are plenty of scents to choose from but our favorite is the cherry and chia milk, a not-too-sweet blend that’ll awaken your senses while you’re scrub-a-dubbin.

The Best Acne-Clearing Body Wash

Peter Thomas Roth salycylic body wash

$39.00, Sephora

Best For: Oily/acne-prone skin Ingredient Highlight: Salicylic acid, aloe vera, jojoba

Salicylic acid is one of the top ingredients of note in acne-fighting body washes (the other being benzoyl peroxide, in more medical formulas). And salicylic acid is the center of PTR's recipe here: it flushes 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.

The Best Deodorizing Body Wash

American Crew 24-hour deodorizing body wash

$15.00, Ulta

Best For: Normal/oily skin Ingredient Highlight: Silver citrate, tea tree oil, peppermint oil

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

L'Objet "Rose Noire" hand & body liquid soap

$55.00, Saks Fifth Avenue

Best For: Normal/oily skin Ingredient Highlight: Rose, white pepper, pimento berry, Ceylon tea, moss

Most rose blends simply don’t smell good—they’re either too sweet or powdery, and often smell more like artificial syrup than the plant they’re claiming. Not the case with L’Objet’s Rose Noire body wash. Somehow the luxury interior design house managed to bottle up a fresh bouquet of roses so you literally feel like you’re standing face to petal with each pump. The gentle foaming cleanser also mixes in notes of white pepper and Ceylon tea for a more invigorating wash.

The Best Body Wash for Dry Skin

CeraVe soothing body wash

$18.00, Amazon

Best For: Dry/sensitive skin Ingredient Highlight: Ceramide, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide

Waging a losing battle against the forces of dryness or eczema? The brand behind the best drugstore moisturizer in the biz also sells your new weapon of choice. CeraVe's body wash is heavy on the ceramides to help strengthen your skin barrier and beat back any attacks on the itchiness front.

The Best Two-For-One Body Wash

Le Labo shower oil

$38.00, Net-A-Porter

Best For: Normal/oily skin Ingredient Highlight: Argan oil, sunflower oil, mandarin, geranium

When it's cold and your skin is feeling particularly dry, the last thing you want to do is strip it of necessary oils while you freshen up. Le Labo's shower oil goes on thick before transforming into a gentle cleansing foam that will remove built up dirt and grime and leave your skin clean and pillow soft. (Not to mention: You'll smell fantastic.)

The Best Exfoliating Body Wash

Bevel supreme oak body wash

$11.00, Amazon

Best For: Oily skin Ingredient Highlight: Shea Butter, witamin B, charcoal, argan oil

Snagged yourself a reliable facial exfoliator? Now treat the rest of your body to the same epidermis-saving luxury. Bevel's gentle body wash incorporates silica and charcoal to scrub away dead skin cells, but counters with ultra-hydrating argan oil to lock in moisture and leave your skin as soft as a newborn babe's.

Plus 13 More Body Washes We Love

Elemis sharp shower body wash

$36.00, Amazon

Naturium multi vitamin daily nutrient body wash

$14.00, Soko Glam

Alaffia shea body wash

$8.00, Amazon

Susanne Kaufmann hair & body wash

$60.00, Dermstore

Diptyque "Do Son" hand & body gel cleanse

$50.00, SSENSE

Flamingo Estate rosemary & clary sage body wash

$44.00, Flamingo Estate

Starface "Outer Space" foaming body cleanser

$13.00, Starface

Dr. Teal's body wash with pure epsom salt (pack of 4)

$28.00, Amazon

Sangre de Fruta garden of earthly delights body wash

$48.00, Goop

Disco invigorating body wash

$22.00, Disco

Jason natural body wash & shower gel

$12.00, Amazon

Malin + Goetz rum hand and body wash

$26.00, Nordstrom

L'Occitane cleansing and softening shower oil

$29.00, Sephora

Fur all body wash

$32.00, Fur

Originally Appeared on GQ

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