The 15 Best Shampoo Bars of 2023

Our best overall pick is J.R. Liggett's Virgin Coconut & Argan Oil Shampoo Bar

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J.R. Liggett's Coconut & Argan Oil Shampoo Bar

Byrdie / Jessica Juliao

Bar soaps recently had a major moment, reemerging on the beauty scene with more options available than ever before and paved the way for the emergence of shampoo bars. As is the case with soap, these solid sudsers are poised to give their liquid counterparts a run for their money and are a great eco-friendly option for those looking to live more sustainably. If you're considering a shampoo bar, know that one bar typically replaces two to three bottles of shampoo.

Byrdie Researched & Approved

Our best overall pick is J.R. Liggett's Virgin Coconut & Argan Oil Shampoo Bar, which is made with good-for-hair oils plus vitamin E. Our tester even noticed that it soothed her dandruff symptoms, too. As an alternative, Garnier's Whole Blends Hydrating Shampoo Bar is our favorite drugstore choice—it's sulfate-free (meaning it's safe for color-treated strands) and aloe vera conditions without weighing your hair down.

“Shampoo bars are a solid form of shampoo usually made from a blend of raw or plant-based ingredients like oils," says stylist April Kayganich, owner of The Curl Whisperer Salon in Austin, Texas. Typically made without sulfates and other harsh detergents that are common in liquid formulas, shampoo bars are also lauded for being gentler on the hair, and many are very hydrating, too. “They’re also great for travel since the waterless formula makes them very convenient to pack,” adds stylist Nunzio Saviano, owner of the eponymous salon in New York City. “Shampoo bars also save water and don’t require excess plastic packaging, making them a good option for those who want to make their beauty routine more eco-conscious,” he points out.

To find the very best in bottle-less shampooing, we tried out a few of the top contenders on the market. Our testers used them for multiple washes, rating their texture and feel, ingredient list, and overall performance. Our team then combined these results along with our own research and expert recommendations to compile this list.

Best Overall

J.R. Liggett's Virgin Coconut & Argan Oil Shampoo Bar

4.9
All-Narural Shampoo Bar
What We Like
  • Softens and smoothes hair

  • Has UV protection

  • Nourishing

What We Don't Like
  • Requires dry storage

Not only does this contain moisturizing coconut and olive oils, but it also contains strengthening argan oil meant to help keep your hair long and strong. Made with vitamin E and sunflower oil, this shampoo bar protects against pollution and UV damage, according to the brand. And how cute is the vintage packaging?

Price at time of publish: $12

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Clean | Size: 3.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

What Our Testers Say

"My dandruff issue subsided almost completely—much quicker and more effectively than dandruff shampoo—and the patches of red, flaky skin I was noticing along my hairline and sideburns vanished completely. My black turtlenecks and I are forever grateful to J.R. Liggett." — Jenna Igneri, Product Tester

Best Drugstore

Garnier Whole Blends Hydrating Shampoo Bar

Garnier Whole Blends Hydrating Shampoo Bar

Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • 94 percent plant-based

  • Easy-to-hold shape

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains fragrance

This staple drugstore haircare brand recently launched several shampoo bar variants, though this option is Saviano’s fave. “I like that it’s sulfate-free, so it can be used even on color-treated hair. Aloe vera in the formula conditions the hair without weighing it down,” he says. That being said, there are also restoring, strengthening, and softening formulas available—and at this price, you can easily afford to try them all out to find your fave. Plus, they all come in a unique shape that’s much easier to hold than the traditional squares.

Price at time of publish: $9

Hair Type: Balanced | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Clean | Size: 2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Colored Hair

Love Beauty And Planet Shampoo Bar

4.2
Love Beauty and Planet Murumuru Butter and Rose Shampoo Bar

 Courtesy of Love Beauty and Planet

What We Like
  • 100 percent recyclable packaging

  • Lovely scent

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't lather well

Sulfate-free and ultra-gentle, this newbie is specially made to keep your hue shiny and vibrant and won’t strip color. Using ethically and naturally sourced ingredients, it’s also housed in a carton made from 100 percent recyclable materials. But we’d be remiss to not mention the scent, one of our favorites of all time—it’s the best balance of floral and sweet and will have everyone asking what perfume you’re wearing.

Price at time of publish: $5

Hair Type: Color-treated | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Floral | Size: 4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Curly Hair

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Clay Shampoo Bar

4.2
shea moisture rhassoul clay shampoo bar

Courtesy of Shea Moisture

What We Like
  • Easy to work into scalp

  • Moisturizing

What We Don't Like
  • Can leave a greasy residue

Some shampoo bars tend to leave hair tangled, particularly thick and curly hair. Not the case with this one, specially made to leave your curls soft and full of body and bounce. The mineral-rich bar also has a unique curved edge that makes it super easy to work into your scalp.

Hair Type: Curly | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Coconut | Size: 4.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Dandruff

Ethique Heali Kiwi Shampoo for Dandruff or Scalp Problems

4.8
Ethique Dandruff Shampoo Bar

Amazon

What We Like
  • Reduces itchiness

  • Fights flakes

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't lather well

This brand offers some of the top-rated shampoo bars, including this one. Formulated with neem and karanja oils, it’s 100 percent soap-free and promises to help with scalp issues; users repeatedly comment on how well it works to fight flakes. Soothing oats combat itchiness, too, and the zero-waste brand places a special emphasis on minimizing their environmental impact, always a good thing.

Price at time of publish: $16

Hair Type: Dry | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Kiwi | Size: 3.9 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Fine Hair

Lush Seanik Shampoo Bar

Lush Seanik

Courtesy of Lush 

What We Like
  • Adds volume

  • Softens and smoothes hair

What We Don't Like
  • Can be drying

Lush offers an impressive array of 11 different shampoo bars, but if extra volume is your goal, make this your go-to. Using a host of sea-based ingredients, sea salt promises to add body and boost limp hair, while two different types of seaweed are meant to keep your hair soft.

Price at time of publish: $14

Hair Type: Fine, thin | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Citrus | Size: 1.9 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Key Features

"I was a firm disbeliever in shampoo bars until I tried this product. Not only does it smell amazing, but it actually works. My hair gets quite oily, and this formula cuts right through the grime without making my scalp feel stripped or starved for moisture. That, and my hair is always at its bounciest and most voluminous after washing with Seanik." Holly Rhue, Associate Editorial Director

Best for Oily Scalps

Basin Charcoal Shampoo Bar

Basin Charcoal Shampoo Bar

 Courtesy of Basin

What We Like
  • Removes oil and product buildup

  • Moisturizing

What We Don't Like
  • Has fragrance

Charcoal is a commonly used skincare ingredient, thanks to its potential ability to remove excess oil. Breaking news: It might do the same for your scalp and hair. This bar, which lasts 50 to 75 washes, uses bamboo charcoal meant to eliminate oil and excess product residue, leaving your scalp and hair feeling cleaner than ever.

Price at time of publish: $12

Hair Type: Oily | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Musk | Size: Not listed | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Multi-Tasker

Meow Meow Tweet Rosemary Avocado Shampoo Bar

meow meow tweet ROSEMARY AVOCADO shampoo bar

Petit Voir

What We Like
  • Works on hair and body

  • Safe for kids and pets

What We Don't Like
  • Can leave a greasy residue

Looking to streamline your shower situation? This solid sudser does it all, working to effectively cleanse both your hair and body with certified organic and fair-trade plant-based ingredients. Not to mention that it’s safe to use for kids and even pets, too.

Price at time of publish: $12

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Herbal | Size: 4.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Dry Hair

Strands of Faith Non-Stripping Shampoo Bar

4.2
Strands of Faith Non-Stripping Shampoo Bar

Courtesy of Blk + Grn

What We Like
  • Gentle, non-stripping formula

  • Clean, natural ingredients

  • Rich in nourishing vitamins and antioxidants

What We Don't Like
  • Somewhat pricey

Like bar soap, shampoo bars have a reputation for being somewhat stripping to the hair, which is why we love this bar from Strands of Faith that’s specifically formulated to be hydrating and non-stripping. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, each bar is infused with natural ingredients like baobab, castor, and amla oils plus kaolin clay to gently cleanse as its hydrates, fortifies, and strengthens your strands. Plus, each bar can last up to 60 washes, meaning it’ll last you for quite some time.

Price at time of publish: $21

Hair Type: Dry | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Fresh | Size: 4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Sensitive Scalps

Christophe Robin Hydrating Shampoo Bar with Aloe Vera

4.6
Christophe Robin Hydrating Shampoo Bar with Aloe Vera

Skinstore

What We Like
  • Gently cleanses

  • Fragrance-free

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other options

Have fine, straight hair? Thick, curly hair? This bar works for every hair type and texture, using 100 percent plant-based ingredients such as aloe vera, castor oil, and coconut oil meant to gently cleanse hair. It’s also fragrance-free, ideal if you have a sensitive or easily irritated scalp. Saviano is a fan, adding that he especially likes it for those with fine hair because there’s beer in the mix that helps volumize.

Price at time of publish: $22

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Clean | Size: 3.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Damaged Hair

Aari & Co. Loretta Herbal Shampoo Bar

4.2
Aari & Co. Loretta Herbal Shampoo Bar

Courtesy of Aari & Co.

What We Like
  • Clean, natural ingredients

  • Nourishing and restorative formula

What We Don't Like
  • Somewhat pricey

If you have damaged hair, we understand that a shampoo bar probably isn't the first thing you'd reached for, but this supremely nourishing formula works just as hard as its anti-damage bottled counterparts. Formulated with a blend of organic plantains and honey, this natural bar helps repair and restore tired, damaged strands. The result? A healthy, glorious mane. 

Price at time of publish: $15

Hair Type: Damaged, dry | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Sweet, citrus | Size: 4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Frizzy Hair

Davines MOMO Shampoo Bar

Davines MOMO Shampoo Bar

Davines

What We Like
  • Moisturizing

  • Lathers well

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

Broadly speaking, shampoo bars may not always be the best option for those with thick, coarse, or frizzy hair; their generally less-hydrating formulas can lead to tangles and snarls. Enter this option, which is specially made to combat all of those issues. It’s super moisturizing—so much so that it transforms into more of a foamy texture as it suds up. Also nice: Even the paper wrapper it comes in is 100 percent recyclable.

Price at time of publish: $25

Hair Type: Thick, dry | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Clean | Size: 3.53 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Long-Lasting

Klorane Nourishing Shampoo Bar

4.2
Klorane Nourishing Shampoo Bar

Amazon

What We Like
  • Can be used by the entire family

  • Moisturizing

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

This option—which also happens to be entirely soap-free, making it an especially good choice for dry hair—lasts for a whopping 80 washes. Mango butter imparts plenty of moisture, though it really is a good pick for all hair types and can even be used on kids 3 years and up, a nice option for the entire fam. It saves up to 34 percent more water during the manufacturing process.

Price at time of publish: $14

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Fruity | Size: 2.8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Buildup

Odacité Argan + Coconut Soap Free Shampoo Bar

Shampoo Bar

The Detox Market

What We Like
  • Clean and natural formula

  • Adds volume

  • Safe for color-treated hair

What We Don't Like
  • Citrus scent might be off-putting to some

This clean option contains argan, coconut, and castor oils to hydrate the scalp and hair without causing oily residue that can cause buildup and weigh down hair. We love that it creates a rich and sudsy lather that bubbles beautifully and is safe for color-treated hair. The formula also contains cupuaçu butter to lock in moisture and add volume.

Price at time of publish: $29

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Citrus | Size: 3.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Scent

The Earthling Co. Shampoo Bar

the-earthling-co-shampoo-bar

Amazon

We love this eco-friendly brand, and this shampoo bar is no exception. It's made from 100 percent compostable materials, and one bar can last up to six months, depending on use. It's safe to use on all hair types, including curly, coily, color treated, and bleached. Coconut and apricot oils help to hydrate the scalp and seal in moisture, while panthenol adds shine and luster to dull hair. It comes in six scents that feature herbal aromas, like sandalwood and vanilla, and also includes an unscented option for those who prefer a fragrance-free shampoo.

Price at time of publish: $20

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: 7 scent options | Size: 3.0 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Final Verdict

Our best overall pick is the J.R. Liggett’s Virgin Coconut & Argan Oil Shampoo Bar, which is super hydrating and packed with antioxidants that can help safeguard your hair from the drying effects of the sun and pollution. The Love Beauty And Planet Murumuru Butter and Rose Shampoo Bar is a very gentle option, particularly for those with colored hair, while the Lush Seanik Shampoo Bar earns our vote for those with fine hair.

J.R. Liggetts Virgin Coconut Argan Oil Shampoo Bar
Byrdie / Jenna Igneri

Meet the Expert

  • April Kayganich is a licensed cosmetologist, stylist, and owner of The Curl Whisperer Salon in Austin, Texas.
  • Nunzio Saviano is a stylist and the owner of Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York City with 20+ years of experience. He is passionate about creating personalized styles that look incredible both in the salon and at home.
  • Sofie Pok is a Los Angeles-based barber.

What to Look For in a Shampoo Bar

Sulfate-Free

Most options are sulfate-free here—but keep in mind that even if sulfates are listed, not all sulfates are created equal. Many shampoo bars rely on plant-derived sulfates, which aren’t as harsh or drying, says Kayganich, who adds that it’s worth doing a little investigating if you do see sulfates listed on the label.

Fragrance-Free

Kayganich suggests avoiding formulas that contain added synthetic fragrance since that’s just a blanket term that can mask a whole litany of ingredients. Essentially, if you see synthetic fragrance on the ingredient list, it's much harder to know what you’re getting. You should look for shampoo bars that contain natural fragrances, like the Earthling Co. Shampoo Bar, which uses natural and herbal essences for its scent.

Activated Charcoal

According to barber Sofie Pok, charcoal is great for hair, too, and especially good to seek out in a shampoo bar. It can help remove impurities while also increasing volume, she claims. We love the Basin Charcoal Shampoo Bar to help get rid of scalp build-up.

J.R. Liggetts Virgin Coconut Argan Oil Shampoo Bar

Byrdie / Jenna Igneri

FAQ
  • Are shampoo bars better for hair?

    Yes. Because shampoo bars contain no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, silicone, or synthetic fragrances, they are less drying on your hair than shampoos that contain these ingredients.

  • How do you use a shampoo bar?

    Option one: Rub the bar between your wet hands to work up a lather, then work it through your hair. Option two: Rub the bar directly on your hair (cutting it into smaller pieces will make this easier), but always work downward instead of piling your hair on top of your head, which can create tangles.

  • How do you store a shampoo bar?

    You can store it as you would any other bar soap, so in the shower is fine. But to help increase the longevity, try putting it on a soap dish that has some ventilation on the bottom so that air can circulate around it and it doesn’t get gunky underneath.

  • How long do shampoo bars last?

    According to Kayganich, one bar can replace up to three plastic bottles of shampoo—so quite a while. Some brands even claim that their bars last for 80 to 100 washes or up to six months.

  • Can shampoo bars be used daily?

    Yes. Because shampoo bars do not contain sulfates or parabens, they do not run the risk of drying out your hair and are suitable for daily use.

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She’s a daily shampooer, and after writing this article realized how beneficial shampoo bars can be.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Gavazzoni Dias MF. Hair cosmetics: an overviewInt J Trichology. 2015;7(1):2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450

  2. Reynertson KA, Garay M, Nebus J, et al. Anti-inflammatory activities of colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) contribute to the effectiveness of oats in treatment of itch associated with dry, irritated skinJ Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(1):43-48.

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