Can You Use Shampoo As Hand Soap?

If you’ve ever been short on supplies for washing your hands and needed to use something else as a substitute, you would, as expected, probably reach for the shampoo. It’s technically soap, right? But have you ever had that nagging feeling in the back of your mind causing you to wonder if using shampoo is actually okay to use instead of hand soap? Sure, shampoo is great for occasional use when you’re out of hand soap, but is it really okay to use more than that? Let’s find out!

Can You Use Shampoo as Hand Soap?

First of all, the difference between shampoo and hand soap is that shampoo is made to specifically not suck out all the moisture of whatever it is put on, usually hair.

However, one of the goals of shampoo use is to get rid of grease or oil – making it ideal for hand soap. Hand soap, on the other hand, is made for germ removal and is stronger than shampoo in that sense. Since a shampoo’s goal is not to remove germs, this is why hand soap exists!

Still, if you’re determined to make the switch, there are a few things that separate hand soap from shampoo and these are things you should keep in mind if you’re really considering going from hand soap to shampoo permanently.

The Goods

The shampoo doesn’t dry out skin:

These days, you have to shop carefully if you want to find a hand soap that won’t leave your hands feeling completely parched after washing. If your skin is especially sensitive, a shampoo can be helpful in that it won’t suck out the moisture from your sensitive skin.

The shampoo is cheaper than hand soap:

The refills, that is. Many people simply stock up on their shampoo because the bigger bottles are cheaper to buy than hand soap refills.

You hit two birds with one stone by only using shampoo:

You won’t have to worry about always having both hand soap and shampoo at home if you’re using shampoo for both!

A little shampoo goes a long way:

The good news is if you make the switch, just filling up the hand soap bottle halfway with it and the other half with water along with a good shake will last a while.

The Not So Great

As we mentioned above, shampoo is not as powerful as hand soap:

Because the chances of you having germs in your hair are really low, the ingredients in shampoo are not really meant for that purpose.

Not everyone can use shampoo regularly on their hands:

Not all skin types are created equal! Some of us are extra sensitive when it comes to scents and lotions… shampoo and hand soap are the same. Consider trying out shampoo for a few days or a full week to see how your hands handle it before switching permanently.

The shampoo is more concentrated:

Because shampoo is thicker, you have to use less of it if you’re going to be using it on your hands. Just like when you use too much shampoo on your hair, if you use too much of it on your hands, you’ll dry out the skin and potentially damage it.

Weigh the pros and cons for yourself but the bottom line seems to be that as long as you water down the shampoo in the bottle you use for hand soap, using it to wash your hands instead of actual hand soap won’t be too hard on your skin and may even save you money in the long run! Just don’t expect it to remove harmful germs as well as that trusty hand soap.


I am Jessica Coles, a hairstyling and trends expert who also holds a master's degree in cosmetology. I am one of the leading hair care experts who has been offering support round the clock.

Recent Posts