8 Best Shampoo Bars for a Zero-Waste Lifestyle
Discover a new way to wash your hair with a shampoo bar that can outlast the bottled stuff and still leave you with luscious locks.
Sponsored By: Grove Collaborative
A portion of this piece was created in partnership with Grove Collaborative, which curates sustainable home, personal, beauty and pet products.
RD.COM, VIA MERCHANT (3)
If you’re looking for an affordable shampoo without all the extra plastic, why not try a shampoo bar? This sustainable alternative is a win-win for your hair, the environment and your budget. Shampoo bars are an eco-friendly alternative to liquid shampoo that can help reduce your carbon footprint.
What is a shampoo bar?
A shampoo bar does the same thing as traditional liquid shampoo, except it comes as a solid bar. Think of it this way—a shampoo bar is to liquid shampoo as bar soap is to body wash. Shampoo bars are formulated with less water, which means the ingredients are less diluted. Most shampoo bars created by sustainable brands skip ingredients that may be in traditional brands, including certain detergents, parabens, sulfates and synthetic fragrances.
How to use a shampoo bar
After finding the right shampoo bar for your hair type, it’s easy to incorporate into your hair-washing routine. Here’s how to do it:
- Wet your hair.
- Wet the shampoo bar in your hands and rub it to create a foamy lather. You can apply the bar directly onto wet hair, if you prefer.
- Apply it to your hair and massage it into your scalp.
- Thoroughly rinse your hair.
Ethique Pinkalicious Uplifting Solid Shampoo Bar
Nearly 9,000 five-star Amazon ratings agree that this is the best overall shampoo bar for your hair. It comes highly recommended, due to the scent and the fact that one bar replaces up to three bottles (!) of liquid shampoo. Reviewers appreciate the fact that this shampoo bar is 100 percent plastic-free, certified vegan and cruelty-free—much like natural makeup products.
- Equivalent to three bottles of shampoo
- Has a pink grapefruit and vanilla scent
- Plastic-, cruelty- and palm oil-free
- 2 percent of sales are donated
- Recommended for normal hair
- On the pricier side
Bambo Earth Solid Shampoo Bar
A highly-rated shampoo bar for under $10? Reviewers say it’s a quality buy for your money, as it has a conditioning effect, too. One Bambo Earth shampoo bar is equal to up to three bottles of regular liquid shampoo. It’s cruelty-free, vegan and eco-friendly. Each bar comes in 100 percent plastic-free packaging that is 100 percent recyclable. The brand also offers a portable storage container with a drying tray to extend your shampoo bar’s life. Plus, it allows for easy packing, making it a travel essential.
- Won’t break the bank
- Equivalent to three bottles of shampoo
- Available in eight scents
- Has a conditioning effect that some might not want
Best for frizzy hair
Roven Peach Shampoo Bar – Strengthening
Anyone who regularly fights the frizzies is undoubtably familiar with coconut oil. This bar nourishes hair with its frizz-fighting formula, which includes Monoi oil to improve hair elasticity. The Roven Peach Shampoo Bar – Strengthening combines these ingredients with softening shea butter, infusing your hair with extra moisture while giving it a natural clean. Best of all, just one bar lasts as long as two 8.5-ounce bottles of shampoo.
- Tames frizz and hydrates with coconut oil
- Creates a rich lather
- Vegan and made in the USA
- Has a subscribe-and-save option
- Only comes in one scent
Best for curly hair
HiBAR Curl Solid Shampoo Bar
Calling all curly folks with curly hair types three and four, or coiled or kinked hair: This is the shampoo bar for you! It has hydrating ingredients and is free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates and silicones. HiBAR can last as long as a 16-ounce bottle of liquid shampoo. It has especially high reviews for frequent travelers who appreciate the ergonomic design. A matching conditioner bar is also available, or you could opt for one of the best hair conditioners.
- Made for curly hair types three and four
- Designed to be easy to hold and use
- One bar is equal to a 16-ounce bottle
- Once unwrapped, shampoo and conditioner can be hard to tell apart
Naples Soap Company Solid Shampoo Bar
If you’re guilty of picking a shampoo only based on scent, you’re not alone. We’ve got you covered with a shampoo bar that not only smells amazing, but works like it’s supposed to. This shampoo bar from Naples Soap Company has an average of 4.5 out of five stars on Amazon, and is beloved for its amazing scents. All scent options, including lavender and ocean breeze, are available in this coconut oil-based bar. (That’s just one of many coconut oil uses.) We especially love that it can last for up to 75 washes.
- Available in 10 scents
- Made with a coconut oil and cocoa butter base
- Lasts for up to 75 washes
Comes in a plastic storage container
Best for men
Bossman Men’s Bar Soap
This four-in-one soap is for the guy who wants to get the most for their money, and loves smelling fantastic. This cleansing bar is part of a realistic skincare for men routine as Bossman’s soap is a shampoo, conditioner, beard wash and body wash, so getting an all-over clean is easy. Plus, it’s infused with organic, nourishing ingredients instead of drying alcohols. Bonus: It’s made in the USA.
- Has a four-in-one function
- Both scents smell amazing
- Not tested on animals
- Doesn’t last as long as other bars
Best for fine hair
Garnier Whole Blends Oat Delicacy Softening Shampoo Bar
Hydrate your fine hair with this shampoo bar from Garnier. Not only does it last for up to 40 washes, but it’s formulated with 94 percent plant-based ingredients. It’s especially designed to nourish fine hair and deliver healthy-looking strands. We love that the brand uses 100 percent recyclable cardboard instead of plastic.
- Designed to hydrate and soften hair
- Doesn’t strip your hair
- Free of plastic packaging
- Only comes in one scent
Best for damaged hair
Kitsch Rice Water Protein Shampoo Bar
For those with hair needing extra love, consider the Kitsch Rice Water Protein Shampoo Bar. It’s formulated to repair damaged hair follicles, prevent split ends and encourage hair growth. The brand estimates that one bar lasts 100 washes, saving you upwards of two bottles of liquid shampoo. Those weak, brittle strands will soon be full of bounce and shine.
- Repairs damaged follicles and ends
- Contains rice water, which is a trick to make hair grow faster
- Safe for color-treated hair
- Formulated without sulfates, parabens or phthalates
- On the smaller side
What to consider when buying shampoo bars
Always think about your hair type. The best shampoo bar known for its scent or affordability means nothing if the formula is not right for your specific hair type. Most shampoo bars have fewer ingredients, so it’s easy to spot anything that might be especially great or especially bad for curly, thick, thin or color-treated hair.
After you decide to make the switch, give your hair some time to adjust. Switching formulas and testing new products takes time. Only hit the refund button or search for another brand after allowing your locks to adjust and adapt to the change.
How we found the best shampoo bars
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
Are shampoo bars good for your hair?
Shampoo bars often replace preservatives, chemicals, sulfates and dyes with natural ingredients, which could be good for your hair since those ingredients are so harsh. And going the shampoo bar route is just one of the natural beauty product swaps you should try.
Are shampoo bars good for curly hair?
Again, it’s all about the ingredients. Shampoo bars specifically formulated for curly hair will do the trick. Seeing as most shampoo bars already lack harsh sulfates and drying alcohols, many could be compatible with curly hair types.
How often should you wash your hair with a shampoo bar?
You can use a shampoo bar to wash your hair as often as you wash with regular shampoo. Some reviewers claim that after continuously using a shampoo bar, they can actually wash their hair less often. How often you wash your hair generally depends on your hair type.
Stop hunting for the best products and deals—get our expert scoop on secret sales and discounts, gift ideas for everyone and can’t-miss products. Sign up for the Stuff We Love newsletter.