The 9 Best Body Washes of 2021

These stand-out washes are guaranteed to keep your skin soft and supple

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First Look

Best Overall: Cerave Hydrating Body Wash at Bed Bath & Beyond

"It's packed with three different ceramides to lock in moisture as well as glycerin and hyaluronic acid."

Best for Acne: Neutrogena Body Clear Acne Treatment Body Wash with Salicylic Acid at Amazon

"It's a powerful acne-fighting option because it’s non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores."

Best for Eczema: Zerafite Creamy Cleanser and Shaving Cream at eBay

"This is designed to tackle eczema and gently cleanses while removing makeup and sunscreen."

Best for Dry Skin: Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash at Amazon

"Free of sulfates and parabens, it's designed to be gentle on the skin’s microbiome while washing away dirt."

Best Natural: Rahua Body Shower Gel at Amazon

"It’s designed to be invigorating, gentle, and nourishing."

Best for Men: Nivea Men Maximum Hydration 3-in-1 Body Wash at riteaid.com

"This packs a punch and serves as a body wash and shampoo all in one powerful bottle."

Best for Women: Drunk Elephant Kamili Cream Body Cleanser at Amazon

"Leave your skin buttery soft thanks to this product's plant oils and skin-restorative amino acids."

Best Smelling: Hesperides Grapefruit Bath Shower Gel at Amazon

"Not only moisturizing, but it's blooming with fruity, garden scents that will awaken the senses and leave you feeling energized."

Best Anti-Bacterial: Derma-nu Antifungal Antibacterial Body Wash at Amazon

"It's organic and features a mighty concoction with key ingredients like tea tree oil, peppermint and eucalyptus."

Searching for the perfect body wash isn’t an easy feat. With countless options on store shelves, it can be hard to find the right product that will leave your skin squeaky clean, hydrated, and healthy.

Experts tell us it’s important to pay attention to the ingredients depending on your skin type to avoid stripping away your body’s moisture and to tackle conditions like acne and eczema. Leslie Baumann MD, a dermatologist, researcher and author based in Miami, shares with Verywell Health that it’s best to go for body washes with minimal foam that won’t dry out the skin, but will leave you feeling soft and hydrated.  

Not all luxurious lathers are alike. Dr. Baumann says people with acne should avoid ingredients like coconut oil and emollients such as isopropyl myristate, which clog pores and can lead to breakouts. Meanwhile, those with dry skin should look for products that include ceramides, shea butter and hyaluronic acid. She reveals a common problem is “overusing” body washes, which can strip skin of moisture. She says, “If you need to shower more than once a day, the second time concentrate on areas with apocrine glands like the armpits and groin,” where bacteria tends to build up first and can cause odor.

If you're looking for a new cleanser, check out a few of the best body washes on the market.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Cerave Hydrating Body Wash

Cerave

Cerave’s Hydrating Body Wash is packed with three different ceramides to lock in moisture as well as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which binds water to skin cells to keep it hydrated and plump. Best of all it’s available at drug stores making it an easily, affordable find. Cerave’s body wash is also accepted by the National Eczema Association, meaning it’s also great for people with dry, eczema-prone skin.

Dr. Baumann suggests using a gel-like, gentle body wash with minimal foam for normal skin and this formula will hydrate the skin’s barrier without drying you out when you leave the shower.

Best for Acne: Neutrogena Body Clear Acne Treatment Body Wash with Salicylic Acid

Neutrogena Body Clear Acne Treatment Body Wash with Salicylic Acid is a powerful acne-fighting option because it’s non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores. The salicylic acid penetrates deep into the skin to exfoliate and help with oiliness. The glycerin in the formula assures it won’t leave skin dry and tight.

Dr. Baumann suggests acne body washes free of coconut oil, SD or denatured alcohol, which promote skin dryness, and emollients such as isopropyl myristate, which can clog pores and lead to more pimples. She also advises avoiding lotion-like products saying, “A creamier wash is more likely to cause acne than a gel wash,” making Neutrogena’s Body Clear Acne wash a perfect option.

Best for Eczema: Zerafite Creamy Cleanser and Shaving Cream

Zerafite Creamy Cleanser & Shaving Cream
Courtesy of Parsamd.

Zerafite Creamy Cleanser and Shaving Cream is designed to tackle eczema and gently cleanses while removing makeup and sunscreen.

Dr. Baumann says these types of creamy cleansers are better than foaming ones that have lots of detergents and can irritate eczema-prone skin. She advises to steer clear of ingredients like ammonium laureth sulfate (ALS) and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which disrupt the skin’s natural oils and can lead to irritation. This wash checks all those boxes.

Best for Dry Skin: Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash

Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash
Courtesy of Amazon.

Dove’s Deep Moisture Body Wash is free of sulfates and parabens and designed to be gentle on the skin’s microbiome while washing away dirt. The creamy lather feels silky upon the skin and the soft floral fragrance will awaken the senses. You’ll be surprised by how instantly soft your skin will feel. Dove’s body wash, which is frequently praised by dermatologists, comes in a recycled bottle and at a friendly price, making this a shower staple. 

Dr. Baumman says searching for a body wash for dry skin is similar for those with eczema and that a creamy hydrating formula is key.

Best Natural: Rahua Body Shower Gel

Rahua’s Body Shower gel is an indulgent plant-derived wash made with USDA-certified organic ingredients with luscious scents of scents of lavender, eucalyptus, vanilla, and palo santo. It’s designed to be invigorating, gentle, and nourishing. 

Not only is it vegan and cruelty free, it’s formulated without gluten and made with USDA-certified organic ingredients. This wash includes sacha inchi, which is rich in omega 3 lipids and antioxidants to restore the moisture balance of skin and quinoa to promote healing and moisture retention.

Best for Men: Nivea Men Maximum Hydration 3-in-1 Body Wash

Nivea Men

Nivea Men’s Maximum Hydration 3-in-1 Body Wash packs a punch and serves as a body wash and shampoo all in one powerful bottle. It offers long-lasting hydration thanks to its key ingredient aloe vera and customers rave that it makes their skin feel supple and soft. Fans of the product say it’s strong enough to scrub away dirt and sweat and balance out oily and dry skin.

The best part is its drug-store price tag, making it a perfect option to refresh your skin without breaking the bank. Not only is this an effective cleanser, product reviewers say they love leaving the shower with the wash’s fresh, cool scent.

Best for Women: Drunk Elephant Kamili Cream Body Cleanser

Drunk Elephant’s Kamili Cream Body Cleanser gently cleanses while leaving your skin buttery soft thanks to plant oils and skin-restorative amino acids. Enjoy the suds made of sacha inchi seed oil and passionfruit oil, which has skin soothing benefits, and a multi-amino acid blend that quickly absorbs and moisturizes the skin. 

This product is designed to keep your pH level balanced and is appropriate for all skin types, even sensitive. It’s free of sulfates, silicones fragrance, and drying alcohols meaning it won’t irritate the skin.

Best Smelling: Hesperides Grapefruit Bath Shower Gel

Hesperides’ Grapefruit Bath Shower Gel is not only moisturizing but blooming with fruity, garden scents that will awaken the senses and leave you feeling energized. Notes of Italian lemon, orange, grapefruit, bergamot make lathering up a lush experience while shea butter and vitamins C and E will moisturize and soften the skin.

This is also a great option for those with sensitive skin as it’s free of parabens, sulfates, or phthalates. Customers say once they’ve tried this wash they used it for months and found it to work just as well for a luxurious bubble bath.

Best Anti-Bacterial: Derma-nu Antifungal Antibacterial Body Wash

Derma-nu’s Antifungal Antibacterial Body Wash is organic and features a mighty concoction with key ingredients like tea tree oil, peppermint and eucalyptus, which prevent bacteria and fungus from gathering on the skin. It’s designed to treat athlete’s foot, body odor, nail fungus, ringworm, as well as back acne and eczema all while leaving a fresh and uplifting scent as it deep cleans and washes away bacteria.

Athletes and customers with active lifestyles love this product and say it’s helped with their fungus on toenails, athlete’s foot, and even helped clear up their facial acne.

Final Verdict

A go-to body wash option, no matter what your skin type may be, is Cerave Hydrating Body Wash because it’s gentle and hydrating. A second similar and safe option is Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash, which similarly works for a variety of skin conditions from normal to eczema-prone. The best part is both are budget friendly.

What to Look for in a Body Wash

Ingredients: Searching for the right ingredients is key to finding your perfect body wash. Those with acne should avoid emollients and Isopropyl Myristate which can clog pores and should seek options with salicylic acid.

Consistency: Shoppers with acne should seek a more gel-like consistency in a body wash and those with dry skin should go for a creamy consistency. “A creamier wash is more likely to cause acne than a gel wash,” Dr. Baumann says.

Strength: Antibacterial options are good to consider if you have stronger body odor, fungus, Athlete’s foot or severe acne. If not, Dr. Baumann warns “they will throw off your microbiome—your skin’s natural bacteria.”

Why Trust Verywell Health

As a health writer, Marlene Lenthang knows just how important it is to find the right product for your body and mind. Over the years she has written about health crises, vaccines and product guides. She takes careful note of doctor recommendations, medical research and customer reviews in every product review to assure readers can choose quality products and understand the science behind them.

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  1. National Eczema Association. Eczema products.