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Our top pick is Olay’s Cleansing and Firming Body Wash: a hydrating, soothing, and lightly scented formula that won’t break the bank.
While some beauty and skincare products are worth splurging on, a drugstore body wash can be just as effective as a high-end formula. The best drugstore body washes thoroughly cleanse the skin without stripping it of essential moisture—and they often come at an affordable price, too.
To find the best drugstore body washes, we researched dozens of options while considering factors like scent, formula, ingredients, price, and size. We also consulted with Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital's Department of Dermatology, for tips on how to select a drugstore body wash.
Luckily, the type of body wash you choose doesn’t really matter as much as the ingredients, purpose, or fragrance. “Advances in cosmetic chemistry have given us bars, oils, and liquids that are equally safe and equally effective," says Dr. Zeichner.
Our best overall pick is the Olay Cleansing and Firming Body Wash, a unique product that cleanses the skin and leaves it feeling nourished and moisturized. Keep reading for more of our top picks and everything you need to know before purchasing a drugstore body wash.
Olay Cleansing & Firming Body Wash
Best Overall Drugstore Body Wash
Who it’s for: People who want a moisturizing body wash that nourishes the skin.
Who it isn’t for: People who want to combat textured skin conditions like keratosis pilaris.
This body wash from Olay includes hydrating and nourishing ingredients like vitamin B3 and niacinamide, two staple ingredients in the brand's Lock-in-Moisture technology. According to Olay, these ingredients penetrate the deepest layers of the skin to leave it feeling soft and smooth, all without leaving behind a greasy residue.
Another powerhouse ingredient is collagen, which the brand reveres for its ability to tighten and rejuvenate skin. Keep in mind that the research surrounding topical collagen use is inconclusive, so this wash may noticeably firm or tighten as claimed. This drugstore body wash also has a creamy texture, fresh scent, and, of course, an affordable price.
Price at time of publish: $32 for 4
Size: 17.9 fluid ounces
Key Ingredients: Collagen, niacinamide, vitamin B3
OGX Extra Creamy + Coconut Miracle Oil Ultra Moisture Body Wash
Best Budget Drugstore Body Wash
Who it’s for: People wanting a moisturizing formula at an affordable price.
Who it isn’t for: People with sensitivities to tree nuts.
If you're looking for the ultimate budget-friendly cleanser, OGX's Extra Creamy + Coconut Miracle Oil Ultra Moisture Body Wash has a delectable scent and leaves skin feeling soft and supple. It has a creamy texture that isn't emulsifying but still cleanses the skin.
This body wash’s formula includes a luxe coconut oil blend that absorbs quickly into the skin and leaves behind a luminous, never-greasy glow. And, because coconut oil is full of lauric acid, it also has anti-microbial properties, making it phenomenal for hydrating and cleansing.
Price at time of publish: $7
Size: 19.5 fluid ounces
Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, safflower seed oil, silk amino acids
Scent: Coconut, vanilla
Dr. Bronner's Unscented Pure Castile Soap
Best Natural Drugstore Body Wash
Who it’s for: People who are looking for a versatile body wash.
Who it isn’t for: People looking to treat specific skin concerns like texture or loss of elasticity.
The Unscented Castile Soap from Dr. Bronner's is a multi-purpose concentrate meant to be diluted before applying directly to the skin. While that might seem more daunting than your traditional body wash, it's as simple as adding water to the formula before gently scrubbing the skin.
Natural, plant-based ingredients like coconut, hemp seed, olive, and jojoba oils blend to make an occlusive formula that cleanses the skin thoroughly. Pairing it with a nourishing body cream post-shower will leave your skin feeling refreshed. This versatile soap can also be used for cleaning tasks, such as laundry, dishwashing, and mopping.
Price at time of publish: From $10
Size: 2–32 fluid ounces
Key Ingredients: Organic coconut oil, organic olive oil, organic hemp seed oil, organic jojoba oil
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash
Best Moisturizing Drugstore Body Wash
Who it’s for: People looking for a gentle and hydrating body wash that can soothe conditions like eczema or dermatitis.
Who it isn’t for: People who prefer fragrance-free formulas.
This lightly scented body wash is ideal for sensitive skin, thanks to ingredients like oat kernel flour, oat kernel oil, and oat kernel extract, which have barrier-restoring properties. It also contains dimethicone, which is well-known for keeping skin silky smooth and nourished once you exit the shower.
The Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash is also free from parabens, phthalates, dyes, and alcohol. Overall, it is bound to become your staple product for dry skin in need of extra nourishment. Since this body wash is lightly scented, those who prefer fragrance-free skincare products should choose another option from this list.
Price at time of publish: $9
Size: 18 fluid ounces
Key Ingredients: Oat kernel flour, oat kernel oil, oat kernel extract
CeraVe SA Body Wash for Rough & Bumpy Skin
Best Exfoliating Drugstore Body Wash
Who it’s for: People looking to target skin texture or acne with a body wash.
Who it isn’t for: People with sensitive skin who need extra hydration.
Highly concentrated formulas mean you can use less product and yield quick results, as is the case with CeraVe’s SA Body Wash for Rough & Bumpy Skin. The skin-smoothing and fragrance-free formula are dermatologist-approved to help treat skin texture from conditions like keratosis pilaris and body acne.
It boasts a range of powerhouse ingredients like salicylic acid, which penetrates deep into the pore to dislodge trapped bacteria and sebum, while niacinamide and ceramides help to lock in moisture.
Price at time of publish: $14
Size: 10 fluid ounces
Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, ceramides
La Roche-Posay Lipikar Wash AP+ Moisturizing Body & Face Wash
Best Drugstore Body Wash for Sensitive Skin
Who it’s for: People with dry, sensitive skin who need extra hydration.
Who it isn’t for: People who prefer a scented body wash.
One thing Parisian beauty never underestimates is the power of good skincare. So, it's no wonder French pharmacy brand La Roche-Posay's Lipikar Wash AP+ is an excellent choice for sensitive skin.
Ingredients like emollient shea butter, microbiome-balancing postbiotics, and the brand’s patented Thermal Spring Water make this multi-functional cleanser dermatologist-approved for the face and body. The formula has a slight lather that won't leave the skin feeling tight and dehydrated, but instead, soothed and moisturized the moment it touches your body.
Price at time of publish: $16
Size: 13.52 fluid ounces
Key Ingredients: Shea butter, glycerin, niacinamide, La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water
Native Body Wash
Best Scented Drugstore Body Wash
Who it’s for: People who want a hydrating body wash that comes in a variety of scents.
Who it isn’t for: People with sensitivities to fragrances or tree nuts.
If you want to create an aromatherapy experience every time you step in the shower, consider one of Native’s scented body washes. All of its products are free from common irritants like dyes, parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. The body wash is available in a wide range of scents, such as coconut vanilla, lavender rose, and cucumber mint.
The packaging, too, is unlike others on the market. While most ingredient labels have hard-to-pronounce ingredients, Native includes a handy guide that breaks down the exact purpose of each component of the formula. You won't question what's going onto your skin with this body wash.
Price at time of publish: $20 for 2
Size: 18 fluid ounces
Key Ingredients: Cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium cocoyl isethionate
Scent: Multiple options available
Dove Irritation Care Body Wash
Best Unscented Drugstore Body Wash
Who it’s for: People who want a gentle body wash that hydrates the skin without added fragrance.
Who it isn’t for: People seeking treatment for specific skin conditions.
Dove is arguably one of the most iconic drugstore body wash brands on the market. Even though many people describe the brand’s classic scent as mild and barely there, some prefer a truly unscented formula—like the Dove Irritation Care Body Wash.
Free of sulfates, parabens, and fragrance, this gentle and creamy formula balances the skin's hydration levels without causing irritation or itchiness. It contains ingredients such as lauric acid, soybean oil, and glycerin, as well as a blend of prebiotics that strengthen your skin’s barrier.
Price at time of publish: $28 for 4
Size: 22 fluid ounces
Key Ingredients: Lauric acid, soybean oil, glycerin, prebiotics
Phisoderm Anti-Blemish Body Wash
Best Drugstore Body Wash for Acne
Who it’s for: People looking to target body acne.
Who it isn’t for: People with sensitive skin who cannot tolerate chemical exfoliants.
Treating body acne requires a straightforward and targeted approach, which makes the Phisoderm Anti-Blemish Body Wash a great choice. This no-frills gel cleanser relies on salicylic acid to target acne-causing bacteria at the source.
Its formula also contains soothing aloe and chamomile to prevent skin from experiencing the irritation commonly associated with topical chemical exfoliants. While this body wash is free from dyes and harsh alcohol, it's still most suitable for those with oily and acne-prone skin.
Price at time of publish: $9
Size: 10 fluid ounces
Key Ingredients: Aloe, chamomile, salicylic acid, vitamin E
Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar
Best Drugstore Body Wash Bar
Who it’s for: People looking for a minimalist soap to restore the skin’s natural barrier.
Who it isn’t for: People who don’t like lathering a bar to get product onto the skin.
This bar soap formula is hypoallergenic and free from harsh surfactants, which leave skin feeling overly cleansed and lacking moisture. By gently whisking away germs and bacteria, this glycerin-packed cleansing bar leaves nothing to be desired for the shower minimalist. Plus, it's unscented, making it a safe choice for sensitive skin.
Price at time of publish: $12 for 3
Size: 4.5 ounces
Key Ingredients: Glycerin
Bioderma Atoderm Cleansing Oil
Best Drugstore Body Wash Oil
Who it’s for: People with very dry skin who need an extremely moisturizing cleanser.
Who it isn’t for: People who want a product that lathers and leaves the skin feeling squeaky clean.
For an in-shower experience that feels opulent and extravagant, reach for the Bioderma Atoderm Cleansing Oil. Specifically designed for dry and sensitive skin, this paraben-free shower oil instantly replenishes the skin, relieving tightness and irritation.
The oil is full of rich vegetable bio-lipids and patented Skin Barrier Therapy, which keeps skin smooth and moisturized from head to toe. Use this product once or twice daily for a minimum of seven days to reap the immediate and long-term hydrating benefits.
Price at time of publish: $30
Size: 33.8 fluid ounces
Key Ingredients: Glycerin, vegetable bio-lipids, vitamin B3
Our top pick is the Olay Cleansing and Firming Body Wash, an affordable drugstore body wash that gently cleanses the skin. The collagen-forward and vitamin B3-packed formula hydrates the skin and won't leave behind a greasy residue. We also like that the lightly scented cleanser will keep dry skin feeling soothed all day long.
How to Shop for Drugstore Body Wash Like a Pro
Dr. Zeichner suggests avoiding certain ingredients is of the utmost importance. "You want alternative sulfate surfactants," he says. These ingredients strip the skin of essential oils, which can result in a damaged moisture barrier over time. Instead, look for alternatives such as sodium cocoyl isethionate and disodium cocoyl glutamate, which will lather without drying out the skin.
The best body wash comes down to personal preference and what you want to achieve in terms of benefits. Someone with mature skin will likely seek a product formula that is hydrating or firming, while someone with body acne or keratosis pilaris will need something with chemical exfoliants. Just be mindful of the ingredient callouts and claims made on the product packaging to determine whether a cleanser is the right fit for your skin type.
Dr. Zeichner explains that we don't always need to be afraid of fragrances in our beauty products. "Fragrance significantly adds to the sensorial experience and makes using it an enjoyable experience," he says. So while he suggests those with skin conditions like eczema refrain from using products with added scents, Dr. Zeichner isn't afraid to admit that even he keeps a few fragranced products in his routine.
Questions You Might Ask
What's the best way to apply body wash?
"There's really no definitive right way to apply a body wash to the skin," says Dr. Zeichner. So while some might use circular hand motions or a loofah, he does make a few strong suggestions. He recommends using the body wash gently, never aggressively, as this can irritate the skin. And, while you are working the cleanser onto your body, it's best to start from the top and work your way down since "the lather drips down your body with gravity regardless."
His most important tip, however, is that you should always ensure that whatever tool you use to apply your body wash is clean. "You cannot leave a damp washcloth in the shower because it will grow mildew," says Dr. Zeichner. This will deposit dirt and bacteria onto the skin, which can exacerbate skin conditions, acne, or infection.
Is a bar or liquid body wash better?
Like everything in the beauty space, the form of body wash you use is dependent on your preferences. Dr. Zeichner says bars, oils, and liquids are all equally effective, but his only suggestion is that those who opt for a bar soap choose one without sulfate surfactants due to their potentially irritating properties.
Can you use body wash on your face?
Dr. Zeichner sees no harm in using certain body washes to cleanse your face, as long as they meet a few requirements. "So long as you are not using a body wash with fragrances, sulfates, or exfoliating ingredients, they generally can be used on the face without any issues," he says. Formulas like that of La-Roche Posay or the Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar are ideal choices in these one-and-done scenarios.
Take Our Word for It
This article was written by Samantha Parsons, a beauty industry veteran and writer with experience across the cosmetics, skin, and wellness industries. She researched countless drugstore formulas to find body washes that were efficacious in formulation, easily accessible to consumers, and varied in scent profiles. She also consulted Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital's Department of Dermatology, to solidify her decisions.
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