My Honest Review of Eco-Friendly Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
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Better hair & better for the environment.
It’s no surprise there’s a shift in consumer goods to mindfulness around sustainability, eco-friendliness, and cleaner products… and I’m totally here for it! That’s why I was curious about one of the latest personal care trends I’ve been noticing more often: shampoo and conditioner bars. I tried them out on my own strands to see if they could earn a permanent spot in my shower.
Shampoo bars are exactly what they sound like—a concentrated shampoo product in solid bar form. The idea is this method of production will cut back on plastic waste from empty hair product bottles. Many brands that produce these shampoo bars also focus on clean, vegan, and cruelty-free formulations without harsh chemicals. So not only are they innovative products, but they’re likely better quality too!
Why use a shampoo bar?
- They’re environmentally-friendly. Most come in compostable packaging and eliminate the need for plastic bottles.
- They’re TSA-friendly. Both the small-sized and full-sized bars can be pack in carry-on luggage due to their solid form.
- They’re cost-effective. The full-sized 3.88 oz. shampoo bars are equivalent to 3 regular bottles of shampoo ($6 per bottle) and the 2.47 oz. conditioner bars equal 5 bottles of liquid conditioner ($3 per bottle).
- They work for all hair types. Ethique has formulas for dry to oily hair (& even itchy scalp relief) and all of their bars are safe for color-treated hair.
To give this hair product a fair shot, I went with the sampler pack from Ethique so I could try out both their shampoo and conditioner bars. The set is SO adorable with mini versions of their popular shampoos and conditioners in heart-shaped molds. 😍
The included bars are:
- Frizz Wrangler: shampoo for dry, frizzy hair
- Heali Kiwi: shampoo for itchy, irritated scalps
- St Clements: shampoo to cleanse & refresh stands
- The Guardian: conditioner for moisturizing (can even be used for shaving or in-store lotion)
- Wonderbar: conditioner for smoothing
Beyond hair care, they even have samplers for body wash and face cleansers so you could transform your shower collection into a high-quality and eco-friendly oasis of personal care products! I would recommend storing these in a soap dish away from the stream of water so they last as long as possible. Ethique makes one which holds multiple bars but really any dish will do.
For my first trial run, I went with St Clements shampoo mainly because I want everything in my beauty collection to smell as amazing as this bar does. It’s bright, citrusy scent is glorious in the shower and I really needed the refreshment on my greasy roots.
Unlike the images showcased on Amazon, I didn’t think this bar had the same amount of lather I’m used to with liquid shampoo and there’s definitely a learning curve with usage. As instructed, I ran the bar down my strands starting at the root and going all the way down to the ends. It says “several times” but I did 20ish strokes because it didn’t seem like I had enough product dispersed through my hair.
You also really need to work this into the hair to produce the lather. However, when comparing to how much time my hairdresser spends massaging my scalp every time she washes my hair, I don’t think I put forth enough effort in the shampooing department on the regular.
After rinsing, my hair felt like it had been totally refreshed and it smelled amazing, though the de-slicked strands made me even more anxious to move on to conditioner to add back some hydration.
Onto the Wonderbar, and oh how wonderful it is! I followed the same swiping method as the shampoo bar and still felt like 20ish strokes were necessary to really saturate my hair with the conditioner. I didn’t start exactly at the root (to avoid oily build-up) and started the swipes about 2-3 inches away from the roots.
As I do with my traditional conditioner, I let the product sit on my head while I used my body wash and cleansed my face. I wouldn’t say this conditioner is excellent at detangling BUT the coconut & cocoa butters were awesome for the hydration element.
After I let my hair air dry, my strands were soft and totally touchable without having to add in any extra products post-shower!
The final verdict.
Will I be ditching my day-to-day shampoo? Probably not… but that’s only because I use a purple-dyed formula for my highlighted hair. Now if they came out with a similar product in bar form, I’d be all over it! I’ll likely continue using this set for the days that I don’t use my tone control shampoo.
That said, I could actually see myself switching to the conditioner bars since the coconut and cocoa butter compounds made my hair feel nice and soft after it dried.
I’ll definitely be buying this set again so I can gift it to family and friends—it’s a great way to have your beauty-centric loved ones give the sustainable products a try! And heart-shaped hair product bars are just too cute not to share. 💛
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haven’t tried this brand, but I do love the lush brand. Thanks for the review! While yes, a little more expensive, I have found that they last forever, leave less of a carbon footprint in the environment/bathtub and smell amazing!
SO true, Erin! And the quality of the bars helps justify the price as well!
Try Lush products. You’ll never go back!
The only thing I tried was their deodorant I wasn’t impressed. I will have to try other products of theirs.
I also bought this sampler on Amazon a couple of month ago and can only second everything written in this article.
Once used up I will order the full size product.
I also purchased the sampler pack off of Amazon. I’ve tried the Frizz Wrangler shampoo and The Guardian conditioner, I’m in love! I was concerned about build up on my fine hair but I have not experienced any. I have color treated dark brown hair and the shampoo seems to be color safe. I actually have a haircut scheduled for this evening and we will see if my stylist says anything. I will be gifting this sampler set to my would-be “crunchy’ daughter for Christmas. I’m trying buy sustainable items for Christmas and this seems to fit the bill.
I can’t wait to gift this to my mom & SIL! I’m actually considering breaking up the pack to use the individual bars as little stocking stuffers!
I have a shampoo bar from Lush and absolutely love it! You can also buy a tin for it to sit in in the shower. I also use a purple shampoo. I use my lush shampoo first, rinse, then do a small amount of purple shampoo. It’s a little bit more work but it’s similar to removing your makeup before washing your face. Take the grime off to get a true clean!
Can anyone tell me, How long do they last? That’s the real question for me. Thank you.
It will likely vary based on how frequently you wash your hair but the item description says the full-sized shampoo bars are comparable to 3 bottles of shampoo and the conditioner bars equal 5 bottles of conditioner. Hope that helps!
So you run the bar over your hair? It doesn’t tug and snarl? Am wondering as never tried a bar shampoo before?
I run the bar length-wise starting at the root and all the way down the strands so that it doesn’t cause tangling. Then I gently massage the product in on the scalp to help work it into the roots. You’ll definitely want to follow with a conditioner because just the shampoo alone leaves the hair feeling a bit rough.
I make my own bath soaps that are all natural cold processes soap (essential oils only and natural colorant). Is this something I should try to make too? I see these bars occasionally but never hear of anyone using them. Thoughts and advice is greatly appreciated!!
What recipe you use?
Do you have to apply directly to hair or can you create a lather in your hands and then disperse the lather to hair?
You could try to create a lather in your palms but I didn’t find the bars created much suds. You might have better luck though! I just followed the package instructions by applying the bar directly to my hair.
I just pile all my hair on top of my head and rub the bar all over it, then scrunch and massage it around after that…that creates sufficient lather for me. Rubbing the bar by itself in my hands doesn’t make much lather at all. It really needs the textural element of your hair to get the lather built up.
Emily what shampoo do you use for your highlighted hair? I have never heard of purple-dyed formula for highlighted hair.
I use Kristin Ess The One Purple Shampoo. It eliminates any brassiness between salon trips since I’m naturally brunette. I’ve tried several purple-toning shampoos and this one is by far my favorite. A word of caution, it will temporarily tint your hair purple if you leave it in longer than the recommended 1-2 minutes (but I think the lavender hue that comes with it is actually really pretty!)
Thanks for the info. I was wondering what shampoo you used to eliminate brassiness. I need to get me some of that! Thank you.
Thanks so much Emily I’m a natural brunette also, I put blond or red highlights in my hair so I will have to give this a try.
Ethinque now has a purple shampoo bar.
LOVE this brand! It does take some getting used though. At first it feels really weird to basically rub a bar of soap on your head and down your hair. You get used to it though and I found it gets way more sudsy after the second or third use! I found that they last a lot longer than I thought they would. Ethique also offers face and body products as well! They only use natural ingredients and no plastics which is so amazing!
Ahh maybe I’ll get more of the lathering effect after a few uses. I saw they have other products too, such a great collection of sustainable personal care products!
Wow, thank you so much, this is beyond helpful!! Going on a trip to Egypt in a month for 12 days and in order to make some space in my carryon, I bought the Frizz Wrangler. I was iffy about it but this has helped, especially the instructions because I wouldn’t have read them then been irritated when it didn’t delivered😊
Hope you end up loving the bar, Danie! And have an incredible time in Egypt!
I have these shampoo bars in regular size and honestly – love them! They lather amazingly well. I have a sensitive scalp and they are the lifesavers for me.
Maybe because of the small sizes it was hard for you to get enough foam? I think they lather more than regular soaps.
From some other comments, I think it could have been that it was the first time using the bar. It sounds like after a few uses they really suds up! So glad you love these shampoo bars!
Anyone try these with hard water? And/or with very coarse hair? I’m losing hair like crazy and can’t afford to try something that might make it worse but traditional conditions are adding up quickly and not rinsing clean in W. TX water.
We have hard water, like chisel mineral deposits off of toilet ring hard water. Ihave fine hair though and will be switching to the full size bars after I use up my sampler.
Melanie, I suggest you try a filter for your shower head. Many on Amazon and reasonably priced. My area has very hard water. And of course chlorine and fluoride which are not great for your hair. Here’s one on Amazon that was recently recommended by several hairdressers and barbers I know: AquaBliss High Output Universal Shower Filter. About $34.
My husband is military and we moved to DFW recently shortly after my hair started falling out. On amazon search for shower water filter. They run around $20 and have really saved my hair. We have this one and love it, but its one of the pricier ones. https://www.amazon.com/AquaBliss-Output-12-Stage-Shower-Filter/dp/B01MUBU0YC/ref=sr_1_4?crid=3QLK6MIACRGQO&keywords=shower+filter+for+hard+water&qid=1570200594&refinements=p_85%3A2470955011&rnid=2470954011&rps=1&sprefix=shower+filt%2Caps%2C165&sr=8-4
Has anyone with thick curly hair tried this? I’m worried I would be in the shower forever just trying to get enough of the shampoo in my hair. I workout every morning and sometimes my hair is crazy tangled when I shower.
I didn’t know there was anyone else out there with my same hair type…LOL
Sorry, it’s a pain. I too would live to know how these work with thick, coarse, curly hair.
For dogs, Wondercide makes an all-natural dog-shampoo bar that’s FANTASTIC. It’s so much faster to wash the dog without constantly reaching for the bottle to squirt a little more. It also rinses very easily. Wondercide’s are infused with EO, including Neem for pest repelling properties. I love the way the dogs smell after baths with this product — I’ll never go back to liquid shampoo for our dogs after trying the bar! I put mine in clean net bag that once held garlic to make it grippy and hang to dry.
I have an extremely sensitive scalp. Every lush bar I have tried completely burned my head. Heali kiwi was my life saver shampoo. I will say, I am not super fond of the heali kiwi scent (it smells like a lemon/lime more than kiwi to me, and I typically avoid citrus scents), but after trying several shampoos for a horrible case of dry scalp, this stuff was the absolute best! If you need a cure for an itchy head, this stuff is it! (for the record, I have thick, fine hair that is not color-treated, so I can’t speak for the effectiveness on other hair types)
Here’s the purple bar for colored hair!
And the purple shampoo bar on Amazon!
Ethique Eco-Friendly Purple Shampoo Bar for Blondes & Silver Hair, Tone It Down – Sustainable Natural Solid Shampoo, Soap Free, Sulfate Free, Vegan, Plant Based, 100% Compostable & Zero Waste, 3.88oz https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YM3D6P7/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_9RcTEbNAFPS8N
I have to say that I purchased the Ethique because I was trying to do the right thing for the environment. And somehow I fell in love with this stuff! I will use the rest of my bottles up but I don’t think I’ll be buying any more bottles. I actually love the fact that it doesn’t contain chemicals. I also love the way my hair feels after using it. I will be an Ethique customer for life or as long as they make this product. I ordered the trial box and will be ordering the kitchen cleaner this week.