The best eco-friendly and packaging-free shampoo bars you need to try

Now that we’ve wised up to the eco-benefits of reusable coffee flasks and water bottles, it’s about time we addressed the waste that comes with washing our hair. 

It’s safe to say there’s a fair bit of scepticism around shampoo bars. While people are on-board with reusable bottles and ditching plastic bags, for some, giving up the luxury of a frothy pump-action shampoo in favour of a soap-like bar is a step too far.

But opting to swap out your plastic shampoo bottle for a packaging-free shower routine can do a lot of good.

The average shampoo bar claims to offer the equivalent of two to three bottles of their liquid counterparts, due to the fact that liquid shampoo is about 80% water. 

Considering bars are mostly around the £5 mark you could also save on money as well as plastic. Here’s all the information you need to initiate your move to the solid side of haircare…

Why should you use shampoo bars?

Shampoo bars are a great eco-friendly option for people who want to cut down their plastic footprint. They’re often full of natural and organic ingredients, too.

The shampoo bars we’ve included in our round up (below) are all sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS)-free. SLS is a controversial ingredient that is included in many products to help them lather, but it’s also a known irritant for many people. It’s important to note that not all bars are SLS-free, but more and more brands are making an effort to overhaul their ingredients.

What’s the transition phase?

When transitioning from a liquid shampoo to a bar, it takes time and patience. It’s thought to take a few weeks for your hair to get used to the new cleanser, and this transition phase can be helped by a vinegar rise (more on this later). 

Your hair might feel like it has residue left in it – in fact, it might even feel slightly sticky for a short period of time – but if you persevere, your scalp should reach a balance and feel normal again. 

Should I do a vinegar rinse?

While it might sound scary, a vinegar rinse isn’t as harsh as it sounds. It cuts through the product build up and leaves hair surprisingly shiny. Suitable for coloured and virgin hair, the rinse also helps to balance out the pH of your scalp.

Apple cider vinegar works well in a solution that’s one part vinegar to three plus parts water – but if you want a gentler version, just add more water. After shampooing, pour the mixture over your wet hair and massage into your scalp. Leave it on for five to 10 minutes and then rinse out. It’s recommended not to follow with conditioner, so dry it how you normally would and see the results for yourself. 

How do you use shampoo bars?

There’s two schools of thought on this. The first is to rub the wet bar between your hands and massage your scalp. The second is to use the bar directly on your head.  

SLS-free bars won’t lather up in the same way as liquid shampoo but remember, foam doesn’t equate to clean hair. That being said, make sure you get as much product from the bar as you can to ensure you get a thorough clean.

Finally, make sure you allow your shampoo bar to dry out after each use. Storing it on a soap dish can help to drain excess water, which also helps it to last longer.

  • Margo Selby Soap Dish

    JOHN LEWIS, £12

  • Voxnan Soap Dish

    IKEA, £4.50

  • Garden Trading Glass Soap Dish

    SELFRIDGES, £10

  • Grey Marble Soap Dish

    MARKS & SPENCER, £10

The best SLS-free shampoo bars

  • Bain & Savon Zesty Orange Solid Shampoo Bar

    Refreshing grapefruit, orange and lemongrass give this bar a gorgeous scent to brighten your morning shower. The vegan-friendly formula only has nine natural ingredients, including olive oil and shea butter.

    Bain & Savon Zesty Orange Solid Shampoo Bar, £5.50

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  • Wild Sage & Co Rosemary + Lavender Shampoo Bar

    Made in a log cabin just outside Bristol, this is cold-pressed and full of mango butter, lavender oil and apple cider vinegar to provide a clarifying wash.

     Wild Sage & Co Rosemary + Lavender Shampoo Bar, £6

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  • Beauty Kubes Shampoo

    Simply crumble one of these Cornish cubes in your hands and mix it into a lather with some water. Massage the paste into your hair and release its rose and coconut fragrance.

    Beauty Kubes Shampoo, £9.50

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  • Funky Soap Shop Acai Berry Solid Shampoo Bar

    The star of this soap bar is acai berry grown in the Amazon region of Northern Brazil. The special ingredient strengthens brittle hair and leaves it feeling smooth.

    Funky Soap Shop Acai Berry Solid Shampoo Bar, £5

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  • Christophe Robin Hydrating Shampoo Bar with Aloe Vera

    A shampoo bar for the brand conscious, this Christophe Robin shampoo is gentle and calming on your scalp. Added castor oil will help nourish and condition.

    Christophe Robin Hydrating Shampoo Bar with Aloe Vera, £16

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  • Friendly Soap Lavender & Tea Tree Shampoo Bar

    Cruelty-free and free from palm oil, this bar is a force for good. The lavender and tea tree essential oils not only smell gorgeous but are anti-bacterial, too.

    Friendly Soap Lavender & Tea Tree Shampoo Bar, £2.75

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Images: Getty

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