Can I use an SLS-free body wash on my face?

Following my post if we can use body lotion on our face, I thought I’ll disucss on whether we can use our body wash on our face. We know that that it’s generally not advisable but what if you’re using an SLS or SLES free body wash? Doesn’t that make it more gentle and hence, can be used on the face too?

Well, yes, to an extend but even an SLS or SLES-free body wash is still not suitable for the face because it usually contains more surfactants meant to cleanse the skin of dirt and impurities. For the purpose of analysis, let us look at the ingredient list of two products from A’kin – one being a body wash and one being a facial wash.

A’kin Orange Blossom Body Wash

aqua (purified Australian water*), cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine (from coconut), sodium lauroyl sarcosinate (from palm), disodium cocoamphodiacetate (from coconut), sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (from palm), lauryl glucoside (from coconut, palm & glucose), glyceryl laurate (botanical source), sorbitol (from GMO free maize), glycerin (botanical source), sodium citrate (botanical source), sodium gluconate (from GMO free corn), citric acid (botanical source) sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) oil (petigrain), citrus aurantium bergamia (bergamot) fruit oil, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) oil, citrus nobilis (mandarin orange) peel oil, juniperus communis fruit oil, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) oil (neroli), d-limonene, linalool, methyl heptin carbonate (from bergamot oil). BP 2007 standard

In this body wash, you can find five surfactants and they are:
1. Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine (from coconut)
2. Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate (from palm)
3. Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate (from coconut)
4. Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (from palm)
5. Lauryl Glucoside (from coconut, palm & glucose)

A’kin Sandalwood & Neroli Pure Facial Cleansing Gel

Aqua, disodium cocoamphodiacetate (from coconut), lauryl glucoside (from coconut, palm and glucose), sorbitol (non-GMO), sodium cocoyl glutamate (from coconut and sugarcane), glycerin (botanical source), selerotium gum, sodium isostearoyl lactylate (botanical source), witch hazel extract, glyceryl laurate (botanical source), sodium gluconate(non-GMO), sodium citrate (botanical source), citric acid (botanical source), sodium stearoyl lactylate (botanical source), methyldibromo glutaronitrile, phenoxyethanol, panama bark, panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), west Australian sandalwood oil, orange flower water.

In the case of the facial cleanser, you find three surfactants and they are:
1. Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate (from coconut)
2. Lauryl Glucoside (from coconut, palm and glucose)
3. Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate (from coconut and sugarcane)

Extra surfactants will strip the natural lipids from the face
So even though the body wash is SLS and SLES-free, the additional surfactants in it would not be suitable for the skin on the face. If you don’t believe me, you can just try it because I’ve tried it and know for a fact. While my face did not feel dry or taut immediately, the dryness crept in much later.

Most facial cleansers contain extra skin goodies
Additionally, most facial wash are made with extra moisturizing ingredients as well as antioxidant ingredients that are beneficial for the facial skin. Hence, unless you are desperate like you’ve ran out of your facial cleanser, it is best NOT to use your body wash on your face, even if they are SLS or SLES-free. The skin on our body is not quite the same as the skin on our face and while you can use facial products on your body, you may not always use body products on your face.


  1. Soos says:

    Also, many of the body washes or gels I use have citrus essential oils and other fragrance ingredients, which shouldn’t be used on one’s face.
    Soos last post is: Invitation to Lunch at Work

  2. EcoBeauty says:

    When I’m soooooooo lazy or staying in for overnight work, I use my body wash for my face and wake up with patchy skin– and that’s using the SLS/SLES-free body cleanser for babies!
    EcoBeauty last post is: UV Protection Sunglasses: Snub or Wear?

  3. sesame says:

    Yeah, better not to use. Really not good. I felt my face oozing with oil just after a few hours.

  4. sesame says:

    Very good reminders. Fragrances are not great for the face and too many citrus essential oils can cause photosensitivity. Unfortunately, I’ve also come across many facial cleansers with citrus EOs.

  5. Lydia says:

    You surely know how to read my mind!! I picked up a washing lotion the other day and was wondering if it’s okay to use it as a facial wash as well because it’s suitable for sensitive skin with pH 5,5 etc. I know from a couple of beauties who use this to remove their make up so I also wanted to give this a try. But now I changed my mind. lol
    Lydia last post is: A missing brush

  6. Abby says:

    I’m using QV wash as my face wash together with a cleansing oil. I read at the back of the bottle and saw that it wouldn’t clog pore so I assumed it would be safe to use on my face. I know a lot of people are using it too. But after reading your post, I’m having second thought… Maybe it’s best to use a facial cleanser after all.

  7. sesame says:

    QV is rather mild…doesn’t foam although it contains SLS. I think the % is low.

  8. sesame says:

    Haha…great minds think alike!

  9. Chelsea says:

    Ditto to Soos on the fragrance comment! My skin is sensitive to fragrance too… plus bugs tend to bite my face more often if my facial cleanser/lotion is too sweet-smelling!!

    One a week, I’ll use pure jojoba oil to cleanse my face, but ONLY at nighttime because it will leave an immediate layer of oily residue behind. However when I wake up the next morning, my skin is very soft and my pores are even clearer!

    I wonder if an all-purpose, oil-based Castille soap (like Dr. Woods or Dr. Bronners) can be used on the face? Any experience with this, Sesame?

  10. Amanda says:

    For me, the question should be “Will you use an SLS-free body wash on your face?” Even though the ingredients are milder than what you list above, I still can’t get over my mental barrier to use a body wash on my delicate face. It’s personal preference, nothing scientific ?
    Amanda last post is: Nanotech Sunscreen: Risk or No Risk?

  11. Jasmine says:

    Funny thing is sometimes I use facial wash for my body — especially on really humid days I find that using acne face wash on my décolletage really helps to prevent tiny inflamed bumps. Exfoliates much better than most exfoliating body washes (these come with too much moisturizing ingredients) and keeps the oils at bay.

  12. sesame says:

    Your facial wash may contain exfoliating ingredients like AHA or BHA (very typical for acne face wash) that provide those benefits you mentioned. Hence, they’ll work well for the body too.

  13. sesame says:

    True…there’s the mental barrier especially knowing that it’s not something formulated for the face.

  14. sesame says:

    Yes, it can be but I don’t like the feel. I tried using Dr Bronners and it left my nose too squeaky clean, like using a soap. It is not moisturizing.

  15. Sarah Bellum says:

    Good advice about facial washes needing be milder and containing more moisturizing agents. The skin on your face, especially around the eyes, is more delicate therm the rest of your body.
    Sarah Bellum last post is: Are You Cheated When Companies Sell You The Same Product At Different Prices?

  16. Simply Essential UK says:

    Interesting debate and views. I use SLS free shampoo and shower gels but personally dont use any “washes” on my face – just warm water in the shower! I don’t suffer from blotches, blemishes or spots so not sure if Im lucky or due to the fact that I leave my skin alone. I also dont wear alot of makeup so it helps that I dont have to scrub it off but a wash with warm water and a quick moisturise and Im done.

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