Warmer weather means more sweating, which means you'll probably start showering more, which also means it's time to replenish your body wash. Are you still using the same body wash your mom bought you in high school? Well, then it's time for an upgrade. Or maybe you’re more of a bar soap guy, which is cool—but have you tried a body wash lately? Or maybe, just maybe, you think what kind of body wash you use doesn't actually matter as long as it smells good. You couldn’t be more wrong.
The best men's body washes don't just smell fantastic, though that obviously has a lot to do with it. When shopping for body wash, you also need to focus on your skin's particular needs. Body washes can treat everything from dry skin to blemishes to irritation. But one of the most common body wash issues? Over-cleansing.
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Old school body washes can give you a tight, squeaky-clean feeling after you use them—which is not great. That tight feeling is one step away from dry, meaning your skin barrier has been compromised by a harsh body wash. While cleaning away dirt and grime, harsh detergents and sulfates in traditional soaps can damage your skin barrier, making skin conditions like dry skin and irritation worse. If this sounds like you, it's time to embrace hydration with a body wash that won't suck your skin of moisture.
Switching to a new body wash could keep your skin healthier in the long run and help control uncomfortable dryness and more. That's why we reached out to Joshua Zeicher, MD, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai in New York City to help us vet the best body washes for men.
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- Energizing scent
- Great for sweaty or oily skin
Charcoal isn’t for everyone, but if you are especially sweaty or oily, this deep-cleaning body wash could help keep you fresh after a tough workout. The formula also contains aloe vera to keep skin from drying out post-charcoal-assisted clean. Plus, the energizing citrus scent is good for a morning jolt.
- Active ingredients: Glycerin, charcoal powder, tea tree oil
- Quality ingredients for the price point
- Cleans without drying skin
- Fragrance can be too strong for some
For the price, it’s hard to beat this body wash. It contains naturally derived ingredients that deliver the type of clean you want from an everyday wash. Plus, the outdoorsy scent makes you feel like you just came back from a hike even if all you did was wake up and stumble to the shower.
- Active ingredients: citric acid, aloe extract, coconut oils
- Cologne-like scent
- Dispenser makes application easy
Old standby Jack Black takes the body wash game to the next level with a more elevated scent that smells more like a fancy cologne than a body wash. It leaves your skin smelling expensive, but not overpowering, all while making your skin feel clean without making it too dry, thanks to the sulfate-free formula.
- Active ingredients: Jojoba protein, aloe vera, panthenol
You can choose a variety of scents for this sulfate-free body wash, but this unscented version won’t compete with the other fragrances you throw on later (and also makes it more suitable for sensitive skin). The coconut-derived cleansers in this formula clean without stripping oils, too.
- Active ingredients: Citric acid, sodium benzoate, sodium cocoyl isethionate
- Sophisticated scent
- Feels soothing on skin
If there is such a thing as status body wash, this would be it. Keep this in your shower to impress anyone who might see it—even if it’s just you. The scent is sophisticated and earthy and the natural ingredients can make you feel good about putting it on your body.
- Active ingredients: Glycerin, seed oil, sea salt
If you look for a tingly, fresh feel in your body wash, this cleansing gel contains menthol and eucalyptus to deliver it. The lather is rich and conditioning, but still effective at stripping away excess oil. It’s perfect for after a long run or a day out in the sun.
This gentle cleanser contains 95% natural ingredients aloe vera and other botanicals, which are included to make this body wash suitable for all skin types. You won’t get the tingle you get from some other harsher soaps, but it still delivers a standout clean. Plus, it’s biodegradable.
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Body scrubs can be helpful for smoother skin, but too harsh for sensitive skin or daily use. This new body wash is the best of both worlds. It has silica and jojoba beads to gently exfoliate away dead skin cells, charcoal for a deep clean, and argan oil to leave your skin moisturized. And it's all in a smooth formula that won’t upset sensitive skin.
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As if you couldn’t tell by the name, this new scent from Harry’s was inspired by coastal woodlands and comes to life through notes of cypress, sandalwood, and driftwood (with a dash of citrus). It is a fan-favorite out of all the Harry’s body wash scents.
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The cleaning power of this body wash is top-notch, and the addition of lavender gives it a fresh scent. Lavender has relaxation properties to help you unwind, too. Chill out, you ball of stress you.
“This body wash contains the same types of ingredients found in traditional moisturizers, including stearic acid,” says Dr. Zeichner. “It also has ultra gentle cleansing ingredients that won’t disrupt the outer skin layer.”
The star of this body wash isn’t the scent (though it is nice and not overpowering). It’s oat, which acts as a soothing agent to help calm sensitive, itchy and dry skin without drying it out. The sulfate-free formula ensures you get a fresh clean feeling without tightness.
Use this body wash to soothe super dry skin--even eczema. It works because it contains a combination of the specific ceramides that are predominant in the skin and replenishes them to build up your skin barrier, according to Dr. Zeichner.
Two ingredients to look for in a body wash, according to Joshua Zeicher, MD, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research, Department of Dermatology at Mount Sinai in New York City, are stearic acid and ceramides. “Stearic acid is a fatty acid found naturally in the outer skin layer,” he says. “It helps seal the skin barrier and when applied topically to the skin, it also acts as an emollient to soften rough cells on the skin's surface.” Similarly, ceramides are a lipid that keeps the skin barrier intact. “In conditions like dry skin or eczema, where the skin barrier is not functioning properly,” adding in ceramides can help build it back up, says Dr. Zeichner.
How We Selected
For the past two years, we consulted with Men's Health's Grooming editors and writers on the top body washes for men. Experts including Dr. Zeicher, Grooming Editor Garrett Munce and Senior Commerce Editor Christian Gollayan have tried countless body washes and evaluated their effectiveness, scent, and value. We also considered top-reviewed body washes that have at least 100 five-star customer ratings on e-commerce websites that we trust.