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4 Shampoo and 2 Conditioner Bars That Nourish the Hair

Ditch the plastic bottles once and for all with these eco-friendly options.
Photo: Shutterstock

It’s official, I am obsessed with shampoo and conditioner bars. It’s all part of my crusade to eliminate as much plastic packaging as I can from my daily life. Ever since I learned that only about 9 percent of plastic ever made is recycled, I’ve been determined to do my part not to add to the growing plastic pollution problem. While I like convenience as much as the next person, I like nature more. I’m happy to report that this is one example in which I didn’t have to sacrifice convenience. Shampoo bars are about as convenient as shampoo gets. Not surprisingly, I’m not the only one who can’t get enough of these fabulous-smelling bars. I recently caught my boyfriend trying to snag one from my stash of products to review. He, too, preferred the bars over the three shampoo bottles lingering in my shower. I can’t say I’m surprised men would find shampoo bars appealing. They’re the ultimate in low-maintenance haircare. I especially love that I can target my scalp and roots, which require me to wash more often than I’d like. I honestly don’t understand why all haircare companies aren’t embracing this eco-friendly alternative and bidding farewell to plastic packaging once and for all. While the selection of bars is still somewhat limited, I’ve discovered some really great options. Granted, my straight hair isn’t all that challenging and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. However, I hope both consumers and manufacturers jump on the bandwagon and embrace this sustainable option that can help us turn the tide on plastic pollution.

HiBar Shampoo and Conditiioner
What We Love
  • No soap, sulfates, parabens, silicone, or phthalates
  • Cruelty-free
  • Safe for colored or treated hair
  • In line with the Curly Girl Method, a healthy curly hair regimen
Ingredients of Note
  • Sodium cocoyl isethionate (derived from coconut oil)
  • Shea butter
  • Panthenol (vitamin B5)

Formulated for normal hair, this shampoo and conditioner pair removes buildup and leaves hair refreshed with plenty of volume. Containing honeyquat and shea butter for added shine, the bars feature a tapered shape that lets you target your scalp and the ends of your hair. The shampoo bar produces a nice lather, so you don’t feel deprived of the bubbly sensation associated with washing your hair. My only issue was that the bars looked so similar, with only a minor differentiation of color, it was hard to tell them apart.

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What We Love
  • #BeCrueltyFree messaging
  • Herbal scent
  • Vegan
  • Bar replaces up to three 250ml bottles of liquid shampoo
Ingredients of Note
  • Clove bud oil
  • Cinnamon leaf oil
  • Nettle and peppermint infusion

This spicy bar left my entire bathroom smelling heavenly. As someone who loves all things cinnamon (even toothpaste), I couldn’t wait to lather it up. Cinnamon leaf oil creates an enticing scent. Thanks to stimulating clove, nettle, and peppermint, it revitalizes the scalp and leaves the hair looking and feeling healthy. The special #BeCrueltyFree message is also a great reminder to end animal testing. Lush also offers a variety of other shampoo bars with a variety of scents and benefits.

Odacite Shampoo Bar
What We Love
  • Ideal for all hair types
  • GMO-free
  • Vegan and gluten-free
  • Lasts approximately 60 to 80 washes
Ingredients of Note
  • Organic coconut oil
  • Organic cupuacu butter
  • Organic argan oil
  • Organic castor oil

Named for the 552 million plastic bottles that end up in landfills every year, this soap-free shampoo bar delivers a rich lather to help restore hair. Formulated with nourishing ingredients, such as organic coconut oil, cupuacu butter, and organic argan oil, it leaves hair feeling soft and manageable. I’ve never been one to go without conditioner, but I didn’t need it while I was using this bar. It may be a bit pricier than some of the other available options, but when I considered how long it lasted and the fact that I didn’t need to invest in conditioner, it was well worth the price. The bar also comes in a travel size.

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What We Love
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Paraben- and phthalate-free
  • Color-safe and can be used with extensions
  • Lasts approximately 50 to 75 washes
Ingredients of Note
  • Coconut oil (shampoo and conditioner)
  • Coco butter (shampoo and conditioner)
  • Shea oil (shampoo)
  • D-panthenol (shampoo and conditioner)

This dreamy duo made washing my hair feel like a trip to French Polynesia. Bora Bora, which is part of the Wanderlust collection, features an especially enticing scent, particularly if you’re a fan of jasmine and vanilla, which I am. Again, my bathroom smelled divine. Honestly, who needs scented candles when you have a shampoo bar in your shower? Delivering a healthy lather, the shampoo bar left my hair feeling soft and silky. I used the conditioner bar only on the ends, where it was needed, and was thrilled with the results. Matte gold travel tins are also available if you plan to travel with your bars. With a host of other scents (as well as an unscented version) from which to choose, Unwrapped Life also offers shampoo bars and conditioners for various hair types and based on what you’d like to accomplish, such as clarifying, repairing, moisturizing, thickening, and more.   

About The Author
Heather-Mikesell-author-1

Heather, co-founder of Well Defined and the former editor-in-chief of American Spa, is an award-winning journalist and content strategist, skilled in writing, copyediting, and media relations. She is also a freelance writer and has contributed to Elite Traveler, Islands, Kiwi, Luxury Travel Advisor, Organic Spa, Porthole Cruise, Travel Agent, abcnews.com, jetsetter.com, outside.com, and wellandgood.com, in addition to various custom publications. She is frequently called upon to comment on various spa and wellness trends for various media outlets.