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Shower gel (also shower cream or body wash) is a liquid product used for cleaning the body. Most commercial shower gels do not contain any soap, in the technical sense, although they are sometimes referred to as "soap", colloquially. Shower gel is an emulsion of water and detergent base (derived from petroleum), usually with added fragrance, used as a skin cleansing agent in the shower or bath. It has advantages over soap because it is less irritating to the skin, lathers better in hard water areas and does not leave a mineral residue on the skin or in the bathtub after usage.
Shower gel is available in different colors and scents. Practically all shower gels on the market today are pH-balanced. Some shower gels are herb-infused, and some claim aroma therapeutic benefits. Shower gels for men may contain the ingredient menthol, which gives a cooling and stimulating sensation on the skin, and many men's shower gels are also designed specifically for use on hair and body and are thus more convenient to use. Shower gels contain milder surfactant bases than shampoos and in addition to being pH-friendly to the skin, most also contain gentle conditioning agents in the formula. This means that shower gels can also double as an effective and perfectly acceptable substitute to shampoo, even if they are not labelled as a hair and body wash. Washing hair with shower gel should give approximately the same result as using a moisturising shampoo.
Like shampoo and bubble bath products, many are marketed directly towards children. These often feature scents intended to appeal to children, such as fruit scents, or treats such as cookies or cotton candy. The bottles of many feature popular characters from children's television or movies. As with men's body wash, they often, though not always, are specifically designed to be used also as a shampoo and conditioner. They also often contain gentle ingredients designed for young skin.