Bath & Body Works Shower Gel vs Body Wash: Which Should You Choose?

Bath & Body Works is known for their wide range of luxurious and indulgent body care products, especially their shower gels and body washes. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to decide between their shower gels and body washes.

While both products are meant to cleanse and refresh the skin during showering or bathing, there are some key differences between Bath & Body Works’ shower gels and body washes. Understanding the distinctions can help you determine which option may be better suited for your individual needs and preferences.

Here is an in-depth comparison table contrasting key factors between Bath & Body Works shower gels and body washes:

FactorShower GelBody Wash
TextureLight gel, foams into bubblesCreamy, thick, foams into indulgent bubbles
Key IngredientsWater, sulfates, fragranceWater, sulfates, emollients like shea butter, fragrance
FragranceCrisp, bright scentsSmooth, moisturized scents
Skin FeelRefreshing, cleanNourished, moisturized
LatherLight, foamyThick, creamy
RinseabilityRinses quicklyMay take more rinsing
UseIdeal as in-shower cleanserGreat for shaving legs or dry skin
DurationFragrances fade fasterFragrances linger longer
Skin TypeBest for non-sensitiveGreat for dry or sensitive
Popular TypesAromatherapy, seasonal scentsSignature collection, retired scents
ProsLightweight lather, antisepticMoisturizing, skin-softening
ConsCan dry sensitive skinNeeds loofah, pricier

Overview of Bath & Body Works Shower Gels and Body Washes

First, let’s take a quick look at what defines Bath & Body Works’ shower gels and body washes.

Shower Gels

Bath & Body Works describes their shower gels as “gentle cleansers that transform into a luxe lather, leaving skin soft, smooth and touchably fragranced.” The shower gels have a light, gel-like consistency and texture. They tend to produce a rich, foamy lather when blended with water. Bath & Body Works shower gels areavailable in a wide variety of scents like floral, fruity, fresh, and musky. Popular shower gel types include the Aromatherapy line and seasonal or limited edition scents.

Body Washes

Meanwhile, Bath & Body Works body washes are marketed as “gentle cleansing formulas that nourish skin with essential moisture.” The body washes have a creamier, more viscous consistency compared to the shower gels. When lathered up, they make lots of bubbles and foam. Bath & Body Works offers body washes in many of the same fragrances as their shower gels, also covering floral, fruity, fresh, and musky categories. Some of their most popular body washes include the Signature collection and retired/seasonal scents.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s compare some of the key differences between the two product types.

Key Differences Between Shower Gels and Body Washes

While Bath & Body Works shower gels and body washes both cleanse and fragrance the skin, they have some notable distinctions:


The main ingredients in shower gels are water, sulfates for cleansing/lathering, and fragrance. Common key ingredients include sodium laureth sulfate, cocamidopropyl betaine, and various essential oils.

Body washes contain more emollients and moisturizers like glycerin, shea butter, olive oil, or aloe vera. This gives them a creamier, more moisturizing texture. The fragrances also tend to be a bit richer in body washes compared to shower gels.


As mentioned above, the textures differ between the two. Shower gels have a lightweight gel consistency that lathers up into foam and bubbles. Body washes are thicker, almost like a creamy lotion, producing lots of luxurious bubbles and foam.


Both shower gels and body washes come in Bath & Body Works’ signature fragrances, though the scents may be a bit brighter and crisper in the shower gels. The body washes tend to have more moisturizing ingredients that smooth out the fragrances.


Shower gels are quick-rinsing and ideal for use as an in-shower cleanser. Some people may find them drying, so shower gels work best on non-sensitive skin. Meanwhile, body washes offer a more moisturized wash experience, better for dry or sensitive skin. Their richer lather also makes body washes popular for shaving legs and other body parts.

Now that we’ve compared the key characteristics, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each product type.

Pros and Cons of Shower Gels vs Body Washes

Pros of Shower Gels

  • Lightweight, gel-like texture lathers into gentle foam
  • Refreshing fragrances leave skin crisp and clean
  • Quick to rinse off completely after washing
  • Great for non-sensitive skin

Cons of Shower Gels

  • May dry out sensitive skin types
  • Fragrances fade faster than body washes
  • Less moisturizing than body washes

Pros of Body Washes

  • Creamy, lotion-like texture creates indulgent bubbles
  • Long-lasting fragrances moisturize skin
  • Hydrating ingredients soothe and condition skin
  • Ideal for dry or sensitive skin types

Cons of Body Washes

  • Richer lather may take more rinsing off
  • Thicker consistency needs a puff or loofah to adequately lather
  • More expensive than shower gels

As you can see, both shower gels and body washes have their advantages, and the right choice depends on your specific needs and preferences.


Which lasts longer, shower gels or body washes from Bath & Body Works?

Generally, the body washes have more moisturizing ingredients that help the fragrance last longer on skin. The shower gels provide more of a quick fragrance burst.

Can you use Bath & Body Works shower gels as bubble bath?

Yes, the shower gels will foam up and make bubbles in your bath water. However, they don’t contain as many moisturizing ingredients as the body washes. For best results, add a small amount of shower gel into a running bath.

What is the difference between Bath & Body Works’ Gentle Foaming Hand Soaps and shower gels?

While their foaming hand soaps can also be used as shower gels in a pinch, the formulas are a bit different. The hand soaps tend to be more drying on the skin since they are designed specifically for hands.

How long does an 8 oz bottle of shower gel or body wash from Bath & Body Works typically last?

For an average user, an 8 oz bottle should provide around 30 to 40 uses. This depends on how much product you use per shower of course.

Does it matter if I use shower gels or body wash first when bathing?

Feel free to use them in whichever order you prefer! Some people like to cleanse with shower gel first then moisturize with body wash. Others use body wash for the whole process. Do what feels best for your body and bathing needs.


In summary, Bath & Body Works shower gels and body washes both make delightful additions to your bathing routine. Shower gels offer refreshing, gently cleansing washes perfect for non-sensitive skin. Meanwhile, body washes provide a more moisturized, skin-nourishing experience ideal for drier skin types.

Consider your own skin type, desired feel and fragrance, and budget to decide which option fits your needs. Or alternate between the two for variety! With so many amazing scents and formulas to explore, you really can’t go wrong choosing Bath & Body Works for a luxurious shower or bath.

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