20 Best Shampoo and Conditioner Bars and How to Use Them
Thinking about making the switch from traditional bottles to bars? These top-rated products will help the environment—and give you gorgeous hair.
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You’ve heard the phrase a million times: “Reduce, reuse, recycle.” But recycling still involves plastic production and energy resources for the recycling part. One easy way to cut down on single-use plastic and reduce your carbon footprint: Ditch your regular hair-care products that come in plastic bottles and switch to the best shampoo bars and conditioner bars.
“Using these products causes a reduction in plastic and a reduction in fossil-fuel use,” explains Jennifer Brandon, PhD, a senior scientist at Applied Ocean Sciences. “It takes a lot of fossil fuels and energy to make plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles—plus, plastic is itself made out of fossil fuels.” What’s worse, Brandon estimates that only eight percent of discarded plastics end up being recycled. “And the caps and pumper tops are often made of a different plastic and cannot be recycled,” she adds. Bars, on the other hand, are usually packaged in recyclable and biodegradable paper.
While you might be nervous to try something new in your beauty routine, don’t be. These eco-friendly products work just as well as their liquid counterparts, say experts and happy customers. Here’s how to use them: “First, get your hair completely wet,” says Julia Papworth, hair department lead on the CBS show S.W.A.T. “Then get a great lather going with the bar and your hands, and transfer it to your hair.” Repeat the process if you love suds. They bars are cost-effective, too. Papworth says that most bars can last anywhere from 75 to 100 washes with proper storage (atop a soap dish so they can air out, not sitting in a puddle of water).
So, what are you waiting for? Find out which top-rated natural beauty brands will clean, condition, and outright pamper your hair in a way that makes you feel extra good every day. Try them once and you’ll never go back.
Best shampoo bars
HiBAR Volumize Shampoo Bar
If you’re looking for a shampoo for thin hair, your search is over. Made with African dates and vitamin B5, the HiBar Volumizing Shampoo Bar will give your hair body without weighing it down. Plus, since it’s free of harmful chemicals like parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and silicones, it’s gentle on hair—even curly hair. One verified Amazon reviewer raves: “With all other shampoos, my hair would get greasy 24 to 28 hours later. With this product, I don’t have to worry about it getting greasy for at least 40 hours! It leaves my hair super clean and glossy, and my hair also gets super nice curls when allowed to dry naturally.” Additionally, this bar’s fun shape makes it stand apart from the rest: Instead of being square or rectangular, it looks like an oversized beauty blender, making it easy to hold and use.
Love Beauty and Planet Murumuru Shampoo Bar
One of the biggest hair-coloring mistakes people make is spending top dollar to look great and then using a shampoo that ruins everything. With this Love Beauty and Planet shampoo bar, there’s no compromising on color—it cleanses gently so you won’t lose any of that beautiful shine. Made with organic coconut oil and naturally sourced Amazonian murumuru butter (which is incredibly hydrating), this rose-scented bar is also free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates.
Ethique Heali Kiwi
If you suffer from dandruff or a dry, itchy scalp, this Ethique formulation is about to change your life. It’s full of healthy oils like kiwi, coconut, neem, and manuka, and it also contains oatmeal for a soothing effect. While it’s a little pricier than some of the other shampoo bars on this list, it’s still the equivalent of three bottles of traditional shampoo—and nearly 6,800 five-stars reviewers on Amazon say it’s totally worth it. Amazon reviewer Danielle sums it up with an emphatic “wow.” Her go-to anti-dandruff shampoo had left her with lingering itchiness, dry patches on her scalp, and frizzy hair, but this little bar has been a “godsend” that has combated all of those problems. “I was skeptical at first, but I noticed a difference with my first use,” she writes. “It smells amazing, lathers well, and my scalp feels healthy and normal for the first time in years.”
Dirty Bee Wild Leopard Shampoo Bar
We all have at least one relative or friend who loves items that are a little (or a lot) extra. Dirty Bee’s Wild Leopard Shampoo Bar would make a great and affordable eco-friendly gift for them. (It’s $10—or $16 if you add the travel container.) The blended scents of this round bar include orange flower, ginger, and honey sandalwood, and the formulation is highly concentrated and made to last through numerous washes. One word of warning: If your giftee has particularly sensitive skin, this might not be the best choice since it may contain charcoal powder along with a few dyes.
Lush Avocado Co-Wash
For natural hair, try Lush’s 3.5-ounce avocado co-wash bar. The fresh avocado nourishes strands, while rosemary and lavender help to clean gently without stripping hair of its natural nutrients, leaving it incredibly soft and well moisturized. “Last month I decided to let my hair loc, and I was concerned about washing my hair with the twist in,” says one reviewer. “Happy to say that the process was seamless, and this product is perfect. It has helped me to cultivate and maintain a super healthy and hydrated head of hair.” If your hair is very dry or fried, consider adding one of these best masks for damaged hair.
Klorane Shampoo Bar with Mango
Sometimes hair needs a little TLC. Klorane’s nourishing shampoo bar with mango is 100 percent soap-free and gentle on all hair types. One five-star reviewer had this to say: “I have long, straight, fine blond hair, and this bar works great for my hair type. It lathers well, rinses clean, and leaves my hair amazingly soft. And it makes my hair feel really healthy and clean—not at all greasy or dry. Love!”
Dissertation Soap Coconut Milk Unscented Shampoo Bar
Not everyone likes strong-smelling soaps. For those who prefer their shampoo unscented, this shampoo bar from Dissertation Soap fits the bill. It’s comprised of simple but nourishing ingredients, including coconut milk, coconut oil, shea butter, and pro vitamin B5, so it will do exactly what you need it to do without bugging your nose.
Earth Essentials Pure Castile Soap
If you’re on a tight budget, you can’t go wrong with the drugstore option that costs less than $4—especially since it’s a serious multitasker. While this castile soap with hemp and lavender works great as a shampoo bar, it can also be used as a body wash and face wash, making it particularly perfect for children who might find it confusing to use multiple bars.
Beekman 1802 Goat Milk Shampoo Bar Duo
Made with coconut and castor oils as well as vitamins and fatty acids, this two-pack of 3.5-ounce goat milk shampoo bars by Beekman 1802 is great for guys and gals. Plus, the black vintage style of the boxes makes them great for gifting, though you could give one and keep one. (We won’t tell!) Even better, these bars are cruelty-free and PETA-certified.
Vert 100% Natural Shampoo Bar
Is your hair dry and maybe even falling out? If so, this natural shampoo bar is the way to go. Nut oils and shea butter help to lock in moisture, and plant oils soothe the scalp. Reviewers also love that this formulation doesn’t strip dyed hair of its color. Bonus: For less than $10, you’ll get a two-pack with one rose-scented and one jasmine-scented bar—perfect for home, travel (bye-bye TSA stress!), or camping.
J.R. Liggett Old-Fashioned Bar Shampoo Variety Pack
For people who like to mix it up, this sampler set has six all-natural, vegan shampoo bars wrapped in cool, old-fashioned packaging. You’ll get the classic original, moisturizing, and herbal formulas, as well as coconut and argan oil, tea tree and hemp oil, and jojoba and peppermint. Each bar is a little smaller than normal (0.65 ounces), but that makes them perfect for travel or for storing in small spaces. FYI, no two bars look identical, since they are handcrafted in Cornish, New Hampshire.
Duke Cannon’s Shampoo Puck
Men might not love the sweetly scented options found in most shampoos and shampoo bars. If that’s the case, try this shampoo puck from Duke Cannon that comes in masculine scents like Gold Rush Fever, Barrel Char, and Field Mint. Reviewers love that it’s easy to stick in a gym bag and that a little goes a long way. Still on the fence about shampoo bars? Amazon reviewer Matt McColm was until he tried this one: “After using liquid shampoo forever, I was more than a little skeptical. My wife has long hair, and I usually only do my beard. It works amazing—I just give my beard a few rubs, and it lathers up and perfect every time. After a month, we have hardly made a dent in it. Honestly, I think that we will be saving a bunch of money because we will be using less.”
Best conditioning bars
Lush Big Pressed Conditioner
Some people doubt the power of conditioner bars, but Lush’s Big bar adds body and shine, like you just spent the day at the beach. Sea salt, coconut oil, and seaweed keep your hair from feeling weighed down while strengthening your strands. And jasmine, vanilla, lemon, and lime are in there as well to keep hair feeling and smelling fresh. Just make sure to store your bar somewhere dry, where it can drain between uses. One note: Reviewers say it may feel like you’re not getting enough conditioner on your hair, but you totally are. And more isn’t always better—that’s just one of the hair myths that could be ruining your ‘do.
Unwrapped Life For Tangles Conditioner
Tangles and knots are the absolute worst. But Unwrapped Life’s For Tangles conditioner bar has you covered. Powerhouse ingredients include cocoa seed oil, coconut oil, shea butter, and various essential oils, including ylang ylang, grapefruit, and eucalyptus radiata. Plus, it’s blue and bubblegum-scented, so kids will love it, even though it’s great for grown-ups, too. One happy reviewer comments, “I was hesitant to make the switch because I have such long, thick hair that is always a mess and gets tangled up all the time. I don’t wash my hair every day, nor do I brush it. This made my life easier, and my hair feels amazing now.” If frizz is also issue, make sure to check out these frizzy hair products for every hair type.
Vunella Natural Conditioning Bar
This formulation from Vunella will help you sleep better, knowing you’re doing everything you can to help the planet and your hair. The bar is vegan, cruelty-free, and doesn’t contain palm oil, and while it comes in a variety of scents from citrus to raspberry sugar, the lavender will also help calm your thoughts. Plus, reviewers say that this bar will leave your hair feeling super soft after the very first time you use it. Not fully satisfied? Your purchase comes with a guarantee, so if you’re not happy, you can get a full refund.
Ethique Super Hydrating Solid Conditioner
Need some seriously deep conditioning for damaged or treated hair? You can’t go wrong with Ethique’s conditioner bars, according to more than 3,300 five-star reviews on Amazon. Reviewer Kira Pilot says she’s not the type to write online reviews but felt compelled to do so for this product. In addition to checking off all her boxes—chemical-free, zero-waste packaging, great price—this conditioner bar exceeded her expectations. “I have really dry ends because I used to color my hair, but I also have a fairly greasy scalp,” she writes. “This conditioner has made my hair so unbelievably soft without exacerbating the oil issue. My hairdresser immediately noticed a difference in the texture of my hair and remarked on how healthy it felt and looked. This has never happened to me before—I felt like a hair champion.” Bonus: The company donates 20 percent of profits to charitable organizations that are fighting to save the planet. Check out these more products that give back.
Kitsch Deep-Moisturizing Conditioner Bar
Free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates, this Kitsch conditioner bar won’t strip your hair of its natural nutrients. Coconut oil and shea butter add moisture to strands and reduce breakage, while natural silicone makes hair smooth and shiny. Since it’s lightly scented with essential oils, it’s also great for sensitive noses. Pro tip: With this bar, you should focus on length and ends, adding a little bit of water after lathering. Apply the bar in a painting motion from top to bottom. Customers swoon over this cult-favorite product. Reviewer Jamie S. writes, “I was hesitant but liked the idea of less waste. Also, my hair was lackluster, dull, and dry, so why not. I tell you, I’m in love! My hair is soft and shiny now.” And Becky, who says her dry, dyed-blond hair has been totally transformed, puts it simply: “Just get it—it is bomb. It rivals the best of the best.”
The Earthling Co. Conditioner Bar
If you’re on the more basic side when it comes to your sniffer, you’ll adore The Earthling Co.’s unscented conditioner bar, though the plant-based bar, which has more than 3,000 five-star reviews on the brand’s website, also comes in a whole rainbow of colors and light scents. Each two-ounce bar meets the TSA travel requirements, but one word of warning: This product melts easily, so monitor your tracking info for a quick retrieval.
Aspen Kay Naturals Conditioner Bar
Great for all hair types, this Aspen Kay Naturals conditioner bar comes in two scents: a blend of lemongrass and sweet orange, and rosemary and peppermint. It boasts a few ingredients that might surprise you—namely, turmeric and chamomile, which help to repair damaged hair. At just under $17, it’s a little pricey, but each bar is handcrafted rather than mass-produced, and it’s made in the U.S.A.
Zero Waste Store Sunshine Conditioner Bar
Can a conditioner bar actually make you feel like you’re basking in the sun’s glow? This Sunshine conditioner bar just might. Vanilla, citrus, and pineapple get you in a sunny mood, and a healthy blend of essential oils, minerals, and vitamins make hair feel light, soft, and tangle-free. Just make sure to leave it on for two to five minutes, focusing on the ends, and store the bar out of the water stream on a dry soap dish. Here are more of the best conditioners for soft, luxurious hair.
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- Jennifer Brandon, PhD, a senior scientist at Applied Ocean Sciences
- Julia Papworth, hair department lead on the CBS show S.W.A.T