Shower gel and body wash are both forms of liquid soap that are appropriate for cleansing the body. The primary difference between the two is texture. Shower gel has a firmer, gel-like consistency, while body wash is more like liquid soap or dish soap. Another difference between the two, though slight, is their concentration. Much like the difference between perfume and eau de toilette, shower gel frequently has a higher concentration of fragrance and tends to go farther.
Both types of soap are popular alternatives to bar soap for cleansing, especially among women. Their preference could be attributed to how easy they are to use and store, but is most likely because of the wide variety of scents available. Both may also be more appealing than bar soap because they frequently include moisturizers.
Most people find it best to apply these products with a bath sponge or mitt. A washcloth can be effective, but sponges and mitts tend to produce more lather. There are differences in the quality of gels and washes as well. Less expensive drug store brands clean as effectively as the more expensive bath store products, but tend to produce less lather. There are exceptions, but bath store products typically have a wider variety of fragrances.
Shower gel and body wash are available for women, men, and even children and infants. Infant body wash is very mild and can be used on skin and hair. There are a wide variety of fragrances available in all varieties, including designer fragrances and those made specifically for men.
The best way for consumers to find the bath product that they prefer is to experiment with different varieties and fragrances. Products are available for sensitive skin and with extra moisturizers, so shoppers can simply read the labels and ingredients before buying. Parents should avoid using either product on babies and young children unless it is specified for that use, as adult cleansers can sometimes be too harsh for young skin.