Men’s Shower Gels & Body Washes

Whether you call it body wash or shower gel, the liquid-gel has become an omnipresent part of the modern gentleman’s grooming routine, alongside other essentials such as a face wash and razor. Traditionally a mixture of water and cleansing agents with added fragrance, it’s important to note that body-specific shower gels shouldn’t be used on the face or hair. Instead, opt for a specialist face wash and haircare products designed for more delicate facial skin and the unique needs of hair, respectively.

Of course, there are many two-in-one products available today that combine a body wash and shampoo, which are better but still not perfect. Nevertheless, let’s be clear: using a body wash on your hair isn’t the end of the world. Many contain milder surfactant bases than shampoos, meaning a shower gel would just increase the hair’s moisture levels. That said, shampoos will be designed with specific hair-benefiting ingredients in mind – so don’t miss out.


The choice of shower gels for men is of course endless, but what makes a good body wash? Nearly all shower gels on the market today are pH-balanced. Why is this important? A poorly-balanced skin pH can result in wrinkles, inflammation, sensitivity and even acne, as a result of a disrupted skin barrier (also known as the acid mantle).

A good body wash or shower gel should balance your skin's pH levels

This barrier is crucial as it’s responsible for keeping in lipids and moisture while blocking germs, pollution, toxins and bacteria. In an ideal world your skin would be slightly acidic, at a 5.5 pH-balance for optimal performance. If skin is too alkaline it becomes dry and sensitive. Conversely, too acidic means breakouts of spots and acne. For reference, a lower number indicates increasing acidity whereas a higher number indicates increased alkalinity.

Ingredients To Avoid

Furthermore, the basics of pH-balance covered, men’s shower gels differentiate themselves using a variety of ingredients from herbal-infusions to aromatherapy benefits. Many contain menthol, particularly within the men’s bath and body sphere, due to its masculine and refreshing aroma.

Naturally, many brands experiment with aroma, lather and texture. Having sampled everything under the sun here at Ape, the variance in quality is quite startling. Especially relevant are affordable supermarket brands, which often include cheaper, potentially skin-irritating ingredients – so it’s a good idea to pay a little more.

Key ingredients to ideally avoid are: DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine), Phthalates and Parabens, Quaternium-15 and Triclosan.


A good men’s shower gel should lather well, smell fantastic, be a good texture, be concentrated and last, possess quality ingredients, be easily dispensed and offer value for money. We expect a lot, you say? As always, yes. And why not? Thus, Ape to Gentleman brings you our Top 10 Men’s Shower Gels – don’t settle for anything less.

In numerical order of supremacy, this list, compiled from reader feedback, popularity, innovation, ingredients, results, price and Ape to Gentleman’s testers displays the best body washes the male grooming world has to offer.

1. Molton Brown Black Peppercorn Body Wash

Mens Shower Gel - Molton Brown

No surprises here. A Molton Brown bestseller and we can see why – an incredibly manly scent, with a rich lather. Popular amongst men across the globe and the winner of countless industry awards. The price is more than reasonable when you consider it has a concentrated formula which lasts a long, long time. Use sparingly. 300ml

£20.00 >

2. Malin+Goetz Rum Body Wash

Men's Shower Gel - Malin+Goetz

From science meets nature experts Malin+Goetz, their Rum Body (+ Hand) Wash is designed to gently yet effectively purify and balance all skin types. This foaming cleansing gel synthesises 0.5% fragrant warm Dark Rum EDT fragrance with amino acid-based cleansing agents. Skin is left thoroughly cleanse and hydrated with protein amino acids and natural glycerin. It lathers richly and rinses without residue whilst being non-irritating, drying or stripping the skin, to help reduce epidermal stress. Available in a variety of other incredible scents too. 250ml

£20.00 >

3. retaW Body Wash – Fragrance Shampoo for Body and Soul

Mens Shower Gel - retaW Tokyo

Anything with, “a fragrance for your body and soul” in the product description captures our attention. Combine this with the richest lather you’ve ever seen, a truly special scent, concentrated organic ingredients and you get an incredible ‘Fragrance Shampoo’ AKA shower gel. 300ml

£29.00 >

4. Korres Guava Shower Gel

Mens Shower Gel - Korres Guava

Delivering a deliciously invigorating blend of tropical fruits, this creamy-foam shower gel with wheat proteins and Althea extract helps maintain skin’s natural moisture levels and leaves you feeling fresher than a Starburst. 250ml

£8.00 >

5. L’Occitan Shower Gel for Men

Mens Shower Gel - L'Occitane

An award-winning 2-in-1 formulation cleanses hair and body in one step. Made with with authentic A.O.C. lavender, blended with the peppery, nutmeg scent of burnt wood, this shower gel will leave you smelling magnificently and with shiny, healthy hair. 250ml

£16.00 >

6. Kiehl’s Pour Homme Bath and Shower Liquid Body Cleanser

Men's Shower Gel - Kiehl's

A truly masculine smelling shower gel from Manhattan’s oldest pharmacy (now part of L’Oreal). A rich texture which produces a generous lather. This smells like the gentlemen of yesteryear, very manly. 250ml

£18.50 >

7. Aesop Coriander Seed Body Cleanser

Mens Shower Gel - Aesop

This low-foaming cleanser – noted for its warm, unorthodox scent derived from the oils of crushed Coriander Seeds and Black Peppercorns – offers a superb cleansing experience that refreshes skin and spirit. 500ml

£31.00 >

8. D. R. Harris Windsor Head-to-Toe Wash

Mens Shower Gel - D R Harris

Great for both showering and bathing, it can be used to wash the hair as well as the body. Windsor is a fresh fragrance that opens with bracing citrus notes that mature into a warm, leathery scent thanks to its base of black pepper and vetiver. The perfect mix of traditional, understated luxury and fresh, contemporary vibrancy. 250ml

£23.00 >

9. Baxter of California Invigorating Body Wash Bergamot and Pear

Mens Shower Gel - Baxter of California

A super-hydrating shower gel for men featuring bergamot and pear essence. It gently washes away dirt and debris from the body without stripping skin of moisture. Mild cleansers and skin-softening agents keep skin smooth and soft. A subtle fruity fragrance that sees bergamot lemon combined with green pear and cedar wood. 300ml

£18.00 >

10. Cowshed Bullocks Bracing Body Wash

Mens Shower Gel - Cowshed

No parabens, petrochemicals, sulphates or artificial colours, it’s even suitable for vegetarians – this might not mean much to you but trust us, it’s a good thing. The Cowshed offering from the Soho House group could lather up a bit better; it stays creamy rather than foamy. The scent is great – very manly – and we really like the name and bottle design, which would look great on your bathroom shelf. 300ml

£18.00 >