12 Shampoo Bars Giving Liquid Picks a Run for Their Money

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Best Shampoo Bars

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

Bar soaps recently had a major moment, reemerging on the beauty scene with more options available than ever before. But while they were stealing the spotlight, there was an unsung hero quietly waiting in the wings—shampoo bars. As is the case with soap, these solid sudsers are poised to give their liquid counterparts a run for their money.

“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 and hair care expert for Puracy. 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. Yes, rubbing a bar on your head can take some getting used to, but if you're down to make the switch from liquid to solid, these shampoo bars are where it’s at.

Meet the Expert

  • April Kayganich is a licensed cosmetologist, stylist, and owner of The Curl Whisperer Salon in Austin, Texas. She’s also a hair care expert for Puracy.
  • Nunzio Saviano is a stylist and the owner of Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York City with over 20+ years of experience. He is passionate about creating personalized styles that look incredible both in the salon and at home.

Keep scrolling for our picks of the best shampoo bars.

Our Top Picks
This shampoo for damaged hair contains coconut, olive, and argan oils to keep your hair strong.
For under $8 you'll get a sulfate-free shampoo bar that hydrates hair and works on color-treated hair.
This ultra-gentle shampoo bar won't strip your color and will keep it shiny and vibrant.
Give your curly hair some love with this mineral-rich bar.
Best for Dandruff:
Ethique Heali Kiwi at Amazon
This bar is 100% soap-free and uses neem and karanja oils to treat scalp issues like dandruff.
Try this shampoo bar to add volume to your fine hair.
Formulated with charcoal, this bar helps to subdue oily scalps.
A multi-tasker, this shampoo bar is formulated to cleanse both your hair and body.
This shampoo bar contains aloe vera and helps sensitive, irritated scalps.
Best for Frizzy Hair:
Davines MOMO Shampoo Bar at Amazon
The moisturizing formula makes great work of detangling hair and combatting frizz.

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

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?

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
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • 94% 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.

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

Love Beauty and Planet Murumuru Butter and Rose Shampoo Bar
What We Like
  • 100% 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% 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.

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

shea moisture rhassoul clay shampoo bar
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

Ethique Dandruff Shampoo Bar
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% 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.

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
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.

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

"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, Editor

Best for Oily Scalps: Basin Charcoal Shampoo Bar

Basin Charcoal Shampoo Bar
What We Like
  • Removes oil and product build-up

  • Moisturizing

What We Don't Like
  • Has fragrance

Charcoal is a commonly used skin care 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.

Hair Type: Oily | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Musk | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Multi-Tasker: Meow Meow Tweet Rosemary Avocado Shampoo Bar

meow meow tweet ROSEMARY AVOCADO shampoo bar
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.

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

Best for Sensitive Scalps: Christophe Robin Hydrating Shampoo Bar with Aloe Vera

Christophe Robin Hydrating Shampoo Bar with Aloe Vera
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% 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.

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

Best for Frizzy Hair: Davines MOMO Shampoo Bar

Davines MOMO Shampoo Bar
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% recyclable.

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

Klorane Nourishing Shampoo Bar
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 three years and up, a nice option for the entire fam. It saves up to 34% more water during the manufacturing process.

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

Best for Build-Up: Peet Bros. Coconut Shampoo Bar Peppermint

Peet Bros. Coconut Shampoo Bar Peppermint
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Moisturizing

  • Includes an aluminum case

What We Don’t Like
  • Strong scent

“The peppermint [oil], menthol, and lactic acid in this shampoo bar make it a good option both for those who have a dry or itchy scalp, as well as those who have build-up or residue from styling products,” says Nunzio of another one of his picks. That being said, because it’s made from 50 percent coconut oil, it’s a top choice if you need more moisture in your hair, too. We also like how affordable (and large) the bar is, not to mention the fact that it comes in a convenient aluminum case that’s great for travel.

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Minty | Size: 5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Final Verdict

Shampoo bars are a travel-friendly, eco-conscious substitute for your traditional bottle of liquid shampoo—and there are plenty of options to choose from. The JR Liggett’s Jr Virgin Coconut & Argan Oil Shampoo Bar is our top choice. It's super hydrating and also packed with antioxidants that can help safeguard your hair from 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 (view at Lush) earns our vote for those with fine hair. And if you want one bar that can do it all, pick up the multi-tasking Meow Meow Tweet Rosemary Avocado Shampoo Bar (view at Meow Meow Tweet), which can be used all over your body, too.

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

What to Look for in a Shampoo Bar

Sulfate-Free

Most options are sulfate-free, here—but still, 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 that term on the list, it's much harder to know what you’re getting.

Activated Charcoal

According to Sofie Pok, barber and co-creator of STMNT Grooming Goods, the popular skincare ingredient 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. 

J.R. Liggetts Virgin Coconut Argan Oil Shampoo Bar

Byrdie / Jenna Igneri

FAQ
  • How do you use a shampoo bar?

    Option one: Rub the bar in between your wet hands to work up a lather, then work that 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.

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. (But underscores the fact that it’s important to use lots of conditioner after.)

Meet the Expert

Sofie Pok, barber and co-creator of STMNT Grooming Goods.

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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