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The Best Shampoo Bar for a Fresh and Eco-Friendly Cleanse

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Written by Kristie Olivieri

A shampoo bar is similar to its liquid counterpart in that it cleans your scalp and hair. Shampoo bars, as the name suggests, don’t come in a bottle and are instead packaged more like a bar of soap. Most options contain natural ingredients, making them a much healthier and more sustainable product when compared to liquid shampoos.

Shampoo bars also provide a great alternative to traditional liquid shampoos that contain synthetic sulfates and silicones, which could damage your hair in the long term. So if you’re interested in introducing this innovative beauty product to your hair care routine, take a look at our list of the highest-rated shampoo bars in 2023. And, for your convenience, we’ve also put together a buying guide to wash away any questions that you might have before making a final decision.

The Best Shampoo Bar: A Buying Guide

What Is a Shampoo Bar?

A shampoo bar is small, soap-like bar that is meant for cleaning your hair. They come in solid form and do not contain any harsh additives, which are often found in regular shampoos. Overall, shampoo bars require less packaging than regular liquid shampoos and generally last longer than them, too.

A big positive about shampoo bars is that they’re incredibly beneficial for the environment as they leave behind less waste. Plus, a lot of people who made the switch to shampoo bars constantly mention the change they’ve noticed in the overall health and condition of their hair.

What Are the Different Types of Shampoo Bars?

Sodium lauryl sulfate bars

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) bars provide a cleanse similar to that of regular liquid shampoo. That said, they contain surfactant cleansers which can be harsh on your hair and may strip it of essential oils. As a result, they might not be a great option for people with curly hair.

Sodium coco-sulfate bars

Sodium coco-sulfate bars don’t leave your scalp dry or strip away the essential oils from your hair. They contain a medium-strength surfactant cleanser that is not as harsh as SLS while still providing a good deep clean. This may be a good choice for users who want good lather but feel that SLS is a bit too harsh for their hair.

Isethionate or methosulfate bars

Sodium cocoyl isethionate and behentrimonium methosulfate bars are sulfate-free cleansers that are a bit weak as compared to other shampoo bars. These bars provide you with a deeper cleanse, removing the oil and dirt from your hair, and are amazing for the health of your scalp or if you want a gentler alternative for your hair.

Natural soap-based bars

Natural soap-based bars are usually weak cleansers and require a supply of soft water to work properly. Surfactant and cleansing ingredients like natural soapnuts, saponified oils, and glucosides are generally included in natural soap-based bars. Using these bars helps you avoid leaving any oily, soapy, or waxy residue on the hair, and they are very successful when used in combination with a dash of low-pH apple cider vinegar

The Transition Period and How To Get Through It

If you have been a regular user of bottled shampoo, then you will most likely have leftover residue from using these products. Therefore, the natural oils on your scalp and in your hair will require time to adjust which may lead to your hair getting dry or greasy. The time required for your hair to adjust is referred to as the ‘transition period’, and it usually takes around three weeks until your hair adjusts and you start to experience the benefits.

This transition period is different for different people and some people may not have a transition period at all. As more plastic-free products start to appear on the market, we’re seeing that a lot of them don’t require you to go through any transition period at all.

You can also use vinegar after you’ve rinsed your hair using a shampoo bar. What this does is help to even out the pH levels on your scalp and cut through any built-up residue.

How to Choose a Shampoo Bar

The pH value

The pH value is an important parameter when you are considering buying a shampoo bar. Since the human scalp and hair are a bit acidic, a shampoo bar with a pH value between five and 6.5 is ideal. A pH value that’s seven or higher will raise the negative electrical charges of the hair fibers, causing increased friction between the fibers. This increased friction leads to fiber breakage and cuticle damage.

Transition period

Because soap-based shampoo typically has a higher pH value, it might take a while for your hair and scalp to adjust. The transition period differs for every person and can range anywhere from one week to several weeks or months. Luckily, syndet (soap-free) shampoo bars can be an alternative if you want to avoid this transition period.

Hard water vs. soft water

Soap-based shampoo performs poorly in hard water. They leave behind soap scum on your scalp which can lead to clogging of pores. This increases scalp irritation and makes your scalp itchy and flaky. You might also notice more hair loss because of this. If you are going to use hard water, then you should choose a syndet shampoo bar since they use surfactants to create lather in all water types.


The composition of ingredients is something you should consider before buying a shampoo bar. This is because the type of ingredients should be suited to your hair type. For example, a hemp-based shampoo bar may sound natural and healthy, but may not be suitable for an oily scalp. Similarly, a charcoal-based shampoo bar may be unsuitable for someone who has a dry scalp.

The Best Shampoo Bar Options of 2023


Aspen Kay Naturals Shampoo Bar


  • Lasts longer than traditional shampoo
  • Has soothing and restorative properties
  • Scented with 100% essential oils


  • May not be suitable for dry hair
The Aspen Kay Naturals shampoo bar features organic, natural ingredients and works great with all hair types. This bar cleans your hair without stripping away the protective oils from your scalp. Even better, it's soap-free and does not contain any harsh detergents. Because of its portable design, this eco-friendly shampoo bar is ideal for traveling, camping, or washing up after a trip to the beach. It also contains organic herbs, which strengthen and restore your hair, as well as natural ingredients that help in repairing damaged strands and provide a soothing effect to the scalp. Best of all, it’s handcrafted and packaged individually, and each bar saves up to three bottles of liquid shampoo. Overall, we’ve chosen this pick as the best on our list because of its high-quality, eco-friendly formula and amazing hair benefits.

Ethique Shampoo Bar


  • Soothes dry scalps and sensitive skin
  • Made from sustainable ingredients
  • Available in many colors and scents


  • Large size makes handling difficult
The Ethique calming solid shampoo bar is amazing for itchy and dry scalps. It contains a powerful blend of Karanja and neem oils, known in Ayurvedic medicine for their healing properties. This blend, combined with other natural ingredients like oatmeal, helps calm itchy scalps for a soothing experience. The coconut oil and cocoa butter also nourish the hair for smooth strands, giving you soft and shiny hair. This shampoo bar is pH balanced, 100% soap-free, and safe for use with color-treated hair. It's also free from palm oil, parabens, preservatives, and phthalates. Even better, this bar is biodegradable and comes in portable, eco-friendly, compostable, and plastic-free packaging.

Viori Shampoo Bar


  • Handcrafted with natural ingredients
  • Available in four unique scents
  • Gently cleanses and repairs hair


  • May require conditioner afterward
The Viori vegan shampoo bar is meticulously handcrafted with natural ingredients. The presence of longsheng rice water gives it a unique aroma that cannot be found anywhere else. This bar offers natural benefits that can strengthen, renew, rejuvenate, and volumize your hair, giving it a natural shine. Along with longsheng rice water, this shampoo bar boasts a variety of natural ingredients like cocoa butter, shea butter, rice bran oil, hydrolyzed rice protein, aloe vera, and bamboo. It also includes essential oils, including mandarin, cedarwood, sandalwood, jasmine, and amber. Most importantly, the shampoo bar is equivalent to three shampoo bottles, making it a truly eco-friendly alternative.

J·R·Liggett’s Shampoo Bar


  • Rich oils offer long-lasting protection
  • Made from an all-natural formula
  • Includes six mini shampoo bars


  • Does not emit any scent
Each J·R·Liggett mini shampoo bar features pure natural vegetable oils that are ideal for people with allergies or other sensitivities. They’re gentle, safe for all hair types, and each bar is equivalent to 24 ounces of liquid shampoo, making them exceptionally efficient. They're infused with a rich blend of oils including olive, coconut, and castor oil, which offer long-lasting protection and nourish your hair with antioxidants and vitamins A, B, and E. Each shampoo bar contains an all-natural formula without any detergents, synthetic oils, or chemicals to help rejuvenate dull hair. When used regularly, these bars provide a healthy and radiant shine without making your hair greasy. They're perfect for color-treated or naturally curly hair, and can clean your tresses without stripping away natural oils.

Pacific Spirit Shampoo Bar


  • Innovative curved design
  • Great for dull, damaged hair
  • Also conditions the hair


  • May not be suitable for soft hair
Pacific Spirit’s shampoo bar with argan oil can provide your scalp with a gentle moisturizing effect. It’s made from natural ingredients that leave your hair shiny and hydrated, and one bar lasts between 50 to 90 washes. What’s more, this shampoo bar is soap-free but still produces a rich foam to clean your hair perfectly. This shampoo bar is specifically formulated for people with damaged or dull hair. It has low pH and gentle composition, making it safe for color-treated hair and great for regular use. And, with three lovely scents that correspond to your hair type, there’s an option for anyone.

People Also Ask

  • Q: How long should I expect a shampoo bar to last?

    A:This depends on the number of people using the shampoo bar, how big the shampoo bar is, the length of your hair, and how much you need to use. But generally speaking, a shampoo bar lasts for about 6 months. A good rule of thumb is that a regular bar can last up to 80 washes on average.

  • Q: What is the duration of the transition period?

    A:On average, the transition period lasts around three weeks. Not going through a transition phase is also a possibility — it really varies from person to person.

  • Q: Will I need to use conditioner after using a shampoo bar?

    A:Apart from the few benefits that it offers over commercial, liquid shampoo, a shampoo bar basically serves the same purpose as a standard shampoo. So, yes, you might still feel the need to condition your hair afterward.

  • Q: What is a vinegar rinse for?

    A:A vinegar rinse allows you to make the switch from a traditional liquid shampoo since it helps reduce the residue build-up.

Why trust Us

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By Kristie Olivieri

Kristie is a documentary enthusiast, horror movie lover, and avid gamer. When not lost in a virtual world, they enjoy curling up with a good book and their feline friends.