What is the difference between shower gel and shampoo?

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If you’re looking to get yourself some new beauty or grooming products, then the majority of people consider getting a new shampoo. Maybe you can rejuvenate your hair and make it look vibrant and thick. But one product that people often look over is a good shower gel, which can be another asset in your daily care regime.

Of course, the main difference between shower gel and shampoo is that whilst shower gel is designed to clean your entire body, shampoo is designed to concentrate on specifically the hair. Though there are some similarities between the two, and you’ll notice that many shower gels double up as a shampoo too.

But, you’ve probably seen many people who use their shower gel consistent to wash their body and hair. Or less likely, but you also find those who use shampoo to wash their entire body. So is there really much of a difference between the two products, or is it just a marketing ploy to make more money?

What’s the difference between shampoo and shower gel, then?

pH Level

Well, there isn’t much between them. The main difference that you’ll find between the two is the pH level.

The pH level of shampoo is usually a little bit lower than that of body wash. This generally means that it has more alkaline, which you might think makes a difference. The answer is that usually the difference is so insignificant, that the likelihood is that it won’t make much of a difference between the two.

If your shampoo has a pH level of 4-5 and you body wash has a pH level of 5-6 (on average), then you can easily see an overlap between the two. The more neutral the pH level is (closer to 7-8), then more it’s considered to be skin friendly.

Generally, this means that the alkaline level of your shampoo or shower gel is unlikely to differ dramatically.


Generally, you’re going to find far more surfactants in shampoo – especially in the Western world, where we’re often dealing with greasy and colored hair. There’s a necessity to use a stronger shampoo in some cases, which does suggest a difference between the two.

If you need a special shampoo for your hair, then you can’t really consider using shower gel for this. Shampoos are specially formulated to deal with harsh conditions like psoriasis and dandruff, which shower gel just can’t deal with.


Overall, the differences between shower gel and shampoo are really minimal. Unless you’re getting a shampoo specifically formulated to deal with a hair condition, then generic shampoos do not differ than much from regular shower gel. Generally they just have a lower pH level and they may have more surfactants, but not many.


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