We’re big fans of shampoo bars here. For starters, they’re space-efficient, which is a necessity when you share shower space with family members. They’re also extremely travel-friendly with no risk of causing spills in your bag. Most importantly, they cut down on plastic use (something we’re really trying to work on in 2020 and beyond).
Of course it takes a little getting used to at first since we’ve all been conditioned to lather up a certain way. With bar shampoo, you either want to rub the bar between your palms to create a lather or put the bar directly on wet strands. Either way works—though we prefer the palm method because a direct application can sometimes be too heavy handed.
With that in mind, here are seven shampoo bars that deliver a solid performance on lather, scent and cleansing ability.
1. Lush Honey I Washed My Hair Shampoo Bar
Fun fact: When Lush first launched their now cult favorite shampoo bars, they sold 12,000 of them within the first 48 hours. Each bar (there are 12 different varieties to choose from) is loaded with essential oils and hair-friendly ingredients to address your most pressing concerns—be it an oily scalp or frizz. We like this honey-scented bar because it smells delicious and makes our strands softer and smoother without weighing them down.
2. Peach Strengthening Shampoo Bar
A newcomer on the block, this honeydew melon-scented bar has quickly become a favorite in our showers. (Just look at that cheery lime green color!) Crafted in small batches, no two bars look exactly the same but each one is sulfate-free and packed with coconut oil, shea butter and monoi oil to strengthen weak strands and smooth down your cuticles. Plus, every purchase supports 5 Gyres Institute, a nonprofit organization that focuses on reducing plastics pollution through research.
3. Odacité 552M Soap-Free Shampoo Bar
Approximately 552 million plastic bottles end up in landfills each year, which is what prompted Valerie Grandury, the founder of Odacité, to create this shampoo bar. (It also explains the name.) Formulated with argan oil, cupuaçu butter and coconut oil, it washes away dirt, excess oil and product buildup, while keeping the ends silky soft. Psst, Hilary Duff is a fan.
4. Love Beauty and Planet Murumuru Butter & Rose Shampoo Bar
For the dyed and highlighted among us, this color-safe bar is your best bet. Formulated with Amazonian murumuru butter and organic coconut oil to hydrate parched ends and no sulfates, it gently cleanses your scalp and strands without stripping it of moisture or color. The heart-shaped bar fits snugly into your palm and the rose scent lingers long after you rinse.
5. Wildland Organics The Super Bar
If you’re really looking to cut down on space and waste, you’ll love this three-in-one bar from Wildland Organics. Made with saponified sunflower, coconut and castor oils, it gently cleans from tip to toe (or, to be more specific, from scalp to strands to face to the rest of your body). Imbued with Palo Santo and Gotu Kola (an ancient Chinese herb), it fills your shower with a grounding earthy scent that’s calming. The brand really (ahem) raised the bar on its packaging as well; it’s made from post-consumer recycled paper and is 100% recyclable.
6. Bar None Hydrating Shampoo Bar
Clever name aside, we appreciate the way this bar leaves our hair feeling super smooth and soft. A closer look at the ingredient list and we can see that we have glycerin, cocoa butter, coconut and olive oil to thank for that. Also of note: The generous lather and fresh scent that smells clean, not cloying.
7. Ethique Hair Sampler
And if you’re still on the fence about which bar to buy, try this sampler from Ethique. At 16 bucks a set, you get three kinds of shampoos and two conditioners to tackle everything from frizz to an irritated scalp. Each petite bar (for reference, they’re roughly the size of a Reese’s peanut butter cup) is completely biodegradable and comes in compostable packaging so they don’t leave any trace (or residue) behind.