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The Best Shampoo Bars of 2024

Kaitlyn Neese
Written by Ashley Neese
Woman washing her hair with a shampoo bar

Shampoo bars, as the name suggests, are hair shampoos that look like a bar of soap (which is extremely convenient if you’re traveling). They’re a great alternative to traditional liquid shampoos containing synthetic sulfates and silicones, which could damage your hair in the long term. Also, they tend to come in minimal or plastic-free packaging, making them more environmentally friendly. 

We’ve compiled a list of the best shampoo bars to add to your hair-washing routine! Our favorite is the Aspen Kay Naturals Shampoo Bar, which is scented with essential oils, silicone, sulfate, and paraben-free, and equivalent to three bottles of 6oz liquid shampoo.

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The Best Shampoo Bar Buying Guide

What Is a Shampoo Bar?

A shampoo bar is a small, soap-like bar that cleans and clarifies hair. It comes in solid form and typically does not contain harsh additives, which are often found in regular shampoos. Overall, shampoo bars require less packaging than regular liquid shampoos and generally last longer.

A big positive about shampoo bars is that they’re incredibly beneficial for the environment, as they leave behind less waste. Plus, many 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 Bars

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) bars provide a cleanse similar to regular liquid shampoo. With 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 too harsh for their hair.

Isethionate or Methosulfate bars

Sodium cocoyl isethionate and behentrimonium methosulfate bars are sulfate-free cleansers that are a bit weaker than other shampoo bars. These bars provide a deeper cleanse, removing 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 that require a supply of soft water to work properly. Surfactant and cleansing ingredients like natural soapnuts, saponified oils, and glucosides are generally included in these bars. Using these bars helps you avoid leaving any oily, soapy, or waxy residue on the hair, and they are very successful when combined with a dash of apple cider vinegar.

The Transition Period and How To Get Through It

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

This transition period differs for different people, and some may not have a transition period at all. As more plastic-free products appear on the market, we see that many of them don’t require a transition period.

Using a shampoo bar, you can also use vinegar after you’ve rinsed your hair. This helps 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

Since the human scalp and hair are a bit acidic (with a baseline of 3.5-4.5), a shampoo bar with a pH value between four and 6.5 is ideal. When your hair has a pH value of seven or higher, your chances for breakage and extreme frizz increase exponentially due to the negative electrical charges of the hair fibers, causing increased friction between the fibers.

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, consider switching to a shampoo formulated specifically for hard water. These shampoos are designed to work effectively even in water with high mineral content. Look for shampoos labeled as "clarifying" or "hard water resistant."


The composition of ingredients is something you should consider before buying a shampoo bar. This is because the 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 with a dry scalp. It’s all about balance!

Comparing the Best Shampoo Bars of 2024


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.

Kitsch Shampoo Bar


  • Different bars have their own type of hair treatment
  • Promotes and stimulates hair growth
  • Increases hair volume after multiple washes


  • On the smaller side

The Kitsch Shampoo Bar is infused with rice water and thoroughly cleanses your hair from root to tip. Don’t worry if you have dry or color-treated hair; this bar has been specially formulated to give your hair the extra love and care it needs. It has no parabens, sulfates, artificial fragrances, or dyes, so you don’t have to worry about excessive splitting or breakage. Kitsch’s commitment to sustainability is massively impressive; its packaging is made of recycled paper, and all of its ingredients are earth-friendly and cruelty-free. Five types of shampoo bars from Kitsch address different hair treatments: strengthening, nourishing, clarifying, toning, and a 2-1 body wash/shampoo combo. There’s truly something for everyone!

People Also Ask

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

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

  • Q: Are shampoo bars better for the environment?

    A:Generally, yes. Shampoo bars often come with minimal or no plastic packaging, reducing waste compared to traditional liquid shampoos that usually come in plastic bottles. Many shampoo bars contain natural ingredients and are biodegradable as well!

  • Q: Can shampoo bars strip hair of natural oils?

    A:Some shampoo bars may be formulated to be more clarifying, which can strip hair of natural oils if used too frequently. However, many shampoo bars are made with moisturizing and nourishing ingredients to help maintain the natural balance of oils in the hair and scalp.

  • Q: Are shampoo bars travel-friendly?

    A:Yes, and it's one of the best things about them! They’re excellent for travel as they are compact, lightweight, and not subject to TSA liquid restrictions. You also don’t have to worry about opening your suitcase and seeing an explosion of shampoo

  • Q: Can I use a conditioner with a shampoo bar?

    A:Yes, you can! Conditioning bars are also available that pair with shampoo bars for a complete hair care routine.

Why trust Us

At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

Kaitlyn Neese

By Ashley Neese

Hi, I'm Ashley Neese and I graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.  I'm passionate about all things beauty, fashion, and wellness — specifically skin care, makeup, and natural health. I love writing about things that help people feel like their best selves, whether it's finding their perfect lip color or a supplement to alleviate anxiety. In my free time, I am usually reading a romantic comedy or playing with my two dogs.

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