I tested 5 Shampoo Bars (and here are my honest thoughts)
I’ll be honest: shampoo bars were one of those things I really wanted to want to try. But the experience of squeezing a bottle and feeling the sudsy stuff in my palm was so familiar. Using a bar to clean my hair just felt, well, a little strange! Especially since I have oily, thick hair (via my Greek roots), I worried a bar wouldn’t do the cleaning that my strands needed.
But as an imperfect and forever learning zero-waster, I decided to put my suspicions aside and give shampoo bars a try. And I’m glad I did. Because after trying shampoo bars from brands I already loved (Lush) and other brands I had never tried before (Ethique), I now have fully transitioned to shampoo bars and have one less thing to attempt upcycling into another flower vase. Or pencil holder. Or some other craft that looks a whole lot better on Pinterest than when I do it… 🙂
PLEASE NOTE: this post is unsponsored and unaffiliated with any brands. These are just 100% my personal thoughts for products I bought myself over a few months. I’m also writing this post from the point of view of a white woman with thick, oil-prone hair.
Shampoo Bar Tips:
- Keep the bar dry in your shower: Something I learned very early on was the need for a container to keep the shampoo bar dry when I wasn’t using it. Some brands provide a tin with the product, but I used an old chocolate tin box I had hanging around my house from the holidays that worked well. I also found some like storing bars in mesh bags, which can also do the trick.
- Separate hair: One thing that I initially was bothered by was feeling like my hair was still oily after washing it. So I googled “shampoo bar tips” and stumbled upon this article that advised sectioning hair. Once I “parted” my hair into thirds and lathered the suds this way, I didn’t have a problem anymore.
- Figure out your shampoo bar washing style: My preference is to lather the soap in my hands and then put the suds in my hair, rather than rubbing the soap directly on my head. However, some bars don’t work as efficiently that way. So, it’s worth trying out both methods to see what works best for you.
1. Ethique Solid Shampoo
The Wombar from Ethique was my second favorite of the five shampoo bars I tried. I LOVE that it is in partnership with Bindi Irwin and $1AUD goes to The Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors foundation. At first, I didn’t feel like my hair was getting as clean as I wanted it to be. But after reading some reviews on their website, I saw Ethique suggests putting the bar straight on the head for best results, which made a huge difference. That said, I still prefer to lather suds in my hands first. (Just a personal preference.)
I’d recommend trying the Hair Sampler Pack or one of the $4 – $6 mini bars before committing to a $15 bar. (Side note: when I ordered the shampoo bar I tried some of their face scrubs, and I fell in love with the Gingersnap Face Scrub.)
Price: $15 (ethique.com)
Overall: Would purchase the shampoo bar again + other products.
2. Love Beauty and Planet Shampoo Bar
For whatever reason, the Murumuru Butter and Rose Shampoo Bar from Love Beauty and Planet didn’t work as well for me as I hoped. I struggled to get a lather going and had to REALLY rub the firm soap on my head to get any suds. It did get softer and easier to lather with time, but I never felt like my hair was getting as clean as I wanted.
What I did like about it: the price (I got it at Target for $4.99). I also like the heart-shaped bar, which added a little joy to my day, and it smells lovely. So, I decided to use it as hand soap instead since it didn’t work for my hair. EDIT: After posting this blog, I learned that Love Beauty and Planet is owned by Unilever (a large conglomerate) and has been criticized for greenwashing. Just something to keep in mind on your search.
Price: $4.99 (Target)
Overall: Wouldn’t buy shampoo bars again but appreciate the more accessible price.
3. Spring & Vine Shampoo Bar
Spring & Vine’s Moisturizing Oatmeal Shampoo Bar was another one that didn’t work for me. First: it came in a plastic sleeve, which was a bit disheartening because the whole reason I’m switching to shampoo bars is to cut down on plastic. But I’m sure they’re working to change that in the future.
Even though I liked the designs on the bar and the very subtle smell, after I got out of the shower and dried my hair, I felt like I had to take another one to clean my hair again. Perhaps if my hair was shorter or less oily this would work for me, but as it is, I wouldn’t use it again.
Price: $9.99 (Target)
Overall: Wouldn’t try it again but I do love their mission to make “responsible beauty accessible to more people.”
4. HiBar Solid Shampoo
I was really excited to try the Moisturize Solid Shampoo from HiBar because I thought the coconut oil and rice protein would offer good hydration for my hair. And I was overall happy-ish with the experience.
I did feel like my hair was clean after using it and I enjoyed the slightly irregular shape, which was oddly fun to hold. Plus, the flat-end did make it easy to glide on my head. But I didn’t connect with the scent (it reminded me a bit of cleaning products) and my hair felt a bit flat/weighed down after using it.
Price: $13.95 (HelloHiBar.com)
Overall: If I was to purchase another bar from HiBar, I’d opt for the Fragrance-Free Solid Shampoo.
5. Lush Shampoo Bar
Last but not least! Of all the bars I tried, Honey I Washed My Hair from Lush was my favorite. It smells SO good, it gets very sudsy in my hands, and my hair felt clean but not dry. And for being a relatively small bar, it has lasted me months (in fact, I still have some left!). Also, my husband, sister, and mom commented on how good my hair smelled in three separate interactions, so that was an added perk! This is the bar I will officially be investing in.
NOTE: this bar does have honey in it, as the name suggests. So if you don’t support using honey, then check out some of the other bars on their website that are vegan-friendly.
Price: $11.95 (lushusa.com)
Overall: Already purchased a second bar because I liked it so much.
Have you tried shampoo bars? Let us know your favorites in the comments below!
For more zero-waste tips, check out this blog: 10 Easy Ways to Introduce Zero-Waste Into Your Life
Thank you so much for this great insight!! I have been waiting for my bottle shampoo to run out so I can transition into bars (which has taken 2 years since I have short hair and the bottle seems to be lasting forever….). I was always curious about how bars work on oily hair. I at least have some options narrowed down now because of your review. Would love to know your thoughts on other bars if you end up trying others!
Thank you so much, Amy. Love that you’re waiting until your bottled shampoo runs out before buying shampoo bars, we 100% support that. Another one I have my eye on to try when I run out of these bars is: The Earthling Co. I’ll be sure to update this review with it when I (eventually) try it!
I love shampoo bars! They are great, and you can also get conditioner bars too! I have only tried ones from lush but highly recommended.
Nice! Conditioner bars are next on the list to try. I think I’m going to take your word for it and try Lush. Thanks for the tip, Julie!