Beauty Test Drive: The Body Shop’s Spiced Pumpkin Body Wash

I am prefacing this review with a note about a hilarious argument (well, I thought it was) Jessica and I just had. Jessica seems to believe that A) body wash is not the same as “soap” and that B) you cannot get clean with products that are considered non-soaps (as this one is). For the record, I am a body wash user. I don’t use bar soap. I consider body wash just as good as your average bar of soap and, I suspect, some of the body wash brands I use have “soap” in them, while others don’t, though I’ve clearly never paid attention.

So what exactly is “soap” and what does “soap-free” mean? Chemically speaking, soap is made when fatty acid salts (from plants or animals) are combined with an alkaline solution like lye. Soap-free products are detergents that do the same thing as soap but are made from plants with natural high saponin levels. Or something like that. So, basically, if you’re someone who purposefully does not use soap products, you’re likely doing so because you’re not down with harsh chemicals, which can be drying to the skin and aren’t as eco-friendly.

Anyway, read onward for Jessica’s review of The Body Shop’s Spiced Pumpkin Wash, which she would use in addition to bar soap, but those of us who don’t differentiate between soap and soap-free, would use on its own.

A fews years ago, I dated a guy who didn’t have any bar soap in his shower. He only bathed with body wash.  Now, maybe I am about to get a strongly worded letter from the International Body Wash Association but body wash is not soap. It is like soap. It is soap-like. But I’ve always seen body wash as something something perfumed you scrub on your skin, not something you use for a thorough cleaning of your armpit, feet, booty or other places that really need a good washing.

I preface all this by saying that, to me, choosing a body wash is a bit like choosing a fragrance and I try to match my scented body wash to my scented body lotion. So I’m not altogether thrilled with the limited edition Spiced Pumpkin Bath & Shower Gel that The Body Shop sent me to testdrive. It isn’t that the Spiced Pumpkin doesn’t smell good; it’s just that I don’t want to smell like it all over my body after a shower.

This body wash’s scent was created by a company fan, Stephie J. Wilheim of California, for a Body Shop contest; she beat out out 8,000 entries with her homemade pumpkin pie suggestion. Alas, it’s actually a more “spicy” scent than a heavy, pumpkin-y one, which could be why I dislike it. Notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove or whatever spice is in there don’t scream “bathtime clean” to me — they scream “dessert”! 

This Spiced Pumpkin Bath & Shower Gel is also soap-free, according to the Body Shop web site, so it really is more like a fragrance for your skin. It’s pleasant enough in the shower, but I won’t be replacing the bottle when it’s done. In fact, I might hand it off to my mom when I go home for Thanksgiving. Sorry, Body Shop, but I’m a bigger fan of your Sweet Pea Body Butter Duo.

 [$5.99, The Body Shop]