Can Your Bodywash Affect Your Mood?

Science says yes.

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When you hop in the shower, do you think about the scent of your bodywash? The brand behind that product certainly did. From tropical fragrances mimicking a vacation destination to pine-infused washes that evoke a walk through a forest, your body wash usually has an olfactory story behind it. A handful of brands have recently launched products that are meant to either wake you up, put you to sleep, or even make you happier, but how do these scents work and which one is right for you?

These washes have one thing in common: powerful essential oils. For example, Plant Apothecary’s popular Get Happy wash contains a blend of essential oils geranium and peppermint, which are both known for their uplifting properties. Peppermint has even been scientifically shown to stimulate senses while simultaneously reducing heart rate and stress.

Essential oils in bodywashes can be especially potent when it comes to nighttime formulas. For example, Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil was made to put you to sleep with a proven sleepytime trio of vetiver, chamomile, and sandalwood. For centuries, sandalwood and vetiver have been used for many uses, but especially anxiety reduction. These blends can affect the brain, soothing an overactive mind into relaxing.  

Determining which wash is right for you is best decided by your showering habits…

If You Shower at Night…

Courtesy of Aromatherapy Associates

Try a formula that can soothe and deeply relax, like the aforementioned Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil, $70. Chamomile is not only fantastic to drink at night, but the smell of it also calms your mind and body; sandalwood comforts but also has anti-inflammatory qualities; and vetiver relaxes the body. It was created by the brand to not only put your body at ease but to also your mind.

If You Have Trouble Waking Up in the Morning…

Courtesy of Goop

The Goop G.Day Ginger + Ashwagandha Energy Body Wash, $32, uses a mix of potent essential oils, ginger, Indian black pepper oil, and a secret ingredient often found in your green smoothie: Ashwagandha. The ancient herb has been proven to increase energy levels and reduce stress, which is much needed in the early morning. Mixed with black pepper essential oils, which can get body flow moving quickly, and ginger, the morning-friendly wash is meant to awaken your mind and body.

If You Want to Feel Happier…

Courtesy of Plant Apothecary

Plant Apothecary Get Happy, $18, is specifically blended to improve your mood. The mix of geranium and peppermint essential oils is not only powerfully bright smelling, but it also has some pretty bold scientific benefits. Geranium has been shown to possess “potent anti-inflammatory” benefits, especially topically, making it ideal for achy muscles. And peppermint has numerous positive qualities, including stress reduction and antimicrobial benefits. This could be used morning or night or whenever you might need a mood boost.

If You’re Feeling Fatigued…

Courtesy of Ren

Do you have that achy, tired, been-on-your-feet-all-day feeling when you hop in the shower? This Ren Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Anti-Fatigue Body Wash, $27, is perfect for banishing soreness, thanks to a base of magnesium and ethically sourced plankton and kelp extracts. Magnesium is a powerful mineral with impressive results, especially when applied topically. It can banish sore muscles, stress, and even sleep issues. In addition to magnesium, the blend also features a trio of root-based, anti-fatigue essential oils: rosemary, clary sage, and cypress extracts. Cypress essential oils have been shown to especially be effective at aiding and preventing muscle cramps.

The plus of these washes is that you don’t need to do any additional steps to receive their benefits. You’re already in the shower, so you might as well customize the experience with a sensory, choose-your-own-adventure bodywash. Happy showering.

Kristin Limoges


Kristin can usually be found face, hair, and body masking simultaneously, while thinking-up clever DIYs for her small-space Chinatown apartment. She’s always on the search for the greatest and most life-changing beauty and wellness hacks (hello nootropics and adaptogens) and is happy to report she loves dogs and cats equally.