In 2019, pretty much anyone and anything can become Internet famous. I mean, an egg beat out Kylie Jenner for the most-liked Instagram photo ever. So when I recently compared a body wash to an influencer at work, everyone shook their head, nodding in agreement. Crazier things have been said, but you know what, I wasn’t wrong.
Shortly after its release last November, Nécessaire The Body Wash was everywhere. As I scrolled through my Instagram feed it felt impossible to avoid a photo of a yellowy-orange bottle propped up next to a single lit Diptyque candle, living together in bougie self-care bath routine unity.
What struck me the most about The Body Wash was the fact that I had never before seen anyone photograph their body wash quite like this. I, for one, have only ever used Dove body wash and that’s for no other reason than I don’t know what else to use. I don’t ever think about body wash at all ever. It’s just an errand—something I pick up at CVS when I run out. And for that reason, I’ve never, ever thought to Instagram it. If anything I always hide my showering products away whenever I take a picture or my friends come over to my apartment. My feelings towards body wash can best be described as the complete and total opposite of how people feel about something like Glossier: apathetic.
So when I saw everyone willingly showing off Nécessaire as if it were Boy Brow or Drunk Elephant (key elements in every Instagram girl’s top shelf and vanity photos), I really wanted in. I bought a bottle in Sandalwood and after my first shower with it I immediately understood where everyone was coming from. I didn’t just want to photograph it, I wanted to write a love letter to it.
For one, the smell is light, beautiful, and undeniably soothing. I shower with a branch of eucalyptus hanging from my showerhead and the sandalwood scent definitely adds to the spa-like atmosphere I’m trying to accomplish. One of Nécessaire’s co-founders, Randi Christiansen, has actually described the smell as “sexual.” She’s right, and the sexy smell definitely made me feel confident like no other body wash has ever done when I was massaging the foam into my skin.
Speaking of skin, mine felt incredible right after I used it. This was also a new sensation, since I typically don’t feel any longterm after effects from the body washes I’ve tried in the past. I just always assume they’re getting the job done. That wasn’t the case with Nécessaire, which made my skin feel so clean, so moisturized, and so hydrated. It became evident why when I flipped over the bottle to read the ingredients.
Nécessaire’s body wash uses gentle plant-derived surfactants instead of harsher, frothier alternatives. The formula doesn’t have sulfates, parabens, or synthetic dyes. Instead, all you’ll find is vitamins and pure essential oils (like sandalwood). Obviously the branding is also pretty (hence all the Instagram photos), but a maybe underrated detail is the simple lid design. There is no loose cap or hard-to-open flip top. You just turn and squeeze the bottle, which helps me not over-pour and waste product.
Christiansen and Nick Axelrod, Nécessaire’s other co-founder (who originally co-founded the cult beauty site Into the Gloss), started Nécessaire because they wanted a body care (and also sex care) brand that felt like a necessity and not an after-thought. Considering I now look forward to using it every night (while also occasionally propping it up against my bathroom vase for a photo opp), I think it’s safe to say they succeeded.
Tara Gonzalez is the commerce editor at Glamour. Follow her at @tarigonzalez on Instagram.