Sustainable and package-free
Clean formula contains only six ingredients
Nourishes the hair while cleaning it
Softens and smoothes without sacrificing texture
Hair gets greasier, faster
Requires dry storage
J.R. Liggett's Virgin Coconut & Argan Oil Shampoo Bar
We put J.R. Liggett’s Virgin Coconut & Argan Oil Shampoo Bar to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.
It’s common knowledge that our favorite beauty products contribute heavily to the current climate crisis and the increasing amount of microplastics in our oceans. The fact is, many of our products can’t be easily recycled once they’re empty. As brands continue to innovate with more easily recyclable packaging or opting to use post-consumer recycled materials, products in bar form are having a moment since they require little to no packaging at all. Hence the growing popularity of the shampoo bar.
Not your typical bar of soap, these are often formulated with super nourishing ingredients that clean the hair without stripping it and, many times can act as your conditioner to boot. Having never used a shampoo bar before (I admittedly was skeptical of them before starting this review), I was excited to take J.R. Liggett’s Virgin Coconut & Argan Oil Shampoo Bar for a spin. Already a Byrdie favorite, I put it to the test over the course of five washes, taking note of how it affected the texture and feel of my hair during and post-wash, as well as the condition of my scalp.
Best for: Dry, dull, damaged, or tangled hair, also great for curls
Uses: Strengthens the hair, restores smoothness, boosts luster and shine, protects against UV damage, and revives dry, tangled, and flyaway hair
Potential Allergens: None
Active Ingredients: Virgin coconut oil, argan oil
Byrdie Clean?: Yes
About the Brand: After finding an old family recipe card for “hair soap” nestled into an old book, J.R. Liggett began concocting his own natural shampoo bars for friends and family, eventually leading to the launch of his eponymous brand—one that values the environment and the well-being of its customers. Over three decades later, the brand has expanded to include over 30 different products, including shaving foam, lip butter, and an extensive range of pet shampoos.
About My Hair: Shiny and healthy with occasional dandruff
Despite being extremely particular about my skincare regimen, I’m pretty lax when it comes to my hair. As a recovering bleach addict, I now let my shoulder-length brown shag do whatever it wants, washing it only when it needs it—about every three days or so—and sometimes spritzing it with a texture spray once it's dry. Save the very occasional blowout, I seldom use any sort of heat styling and only glaze my hair to a deeper shade of brown every couple of months. After years of serious damage from the icy-blonde (and sometimes blue or pink) bob of my past, my hair is once again alive, shiny, and in good condition.
Any issues I do face have to do with my scalp. I struggle with the occasional bout of dandruff, especially during the winter, which isn’t cute when your fall and winter uniform consists of black turtlenecks. While this is rare for me, I’ve recently been dealing with red, flaky patches along the hairline around my forehead and ears.
In terms of my current product lineup, I’m loving Malin + Goetz’s Peppermint Shampoo and Cilantro Conditioner and reach for Nizoral’s A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo whenever my dandruff acts up. I also love a good scalp treatment or scrub, my favorites being M+G’s Detox Scalp Mask or Christophe Robin’s Scalp Scrub, which I’ll use a few times a month. Because J.R. Liggett’s Virgin Coconut & Argan Oil Shampoo Bar is so moisturizing and doesn’t contain any stripping detergents, I used it in place of both my shampoo and conditioner.
How to Use: Wet it, then lather up
Shampoo bars are “activated” the same way you’d use a bar of soap: get it slightly wet and then lather it up in your hands (or directly onto your hair). I prefer to get a good lather going in my hands first and then massage it directly into my scalp and out through my ends before rinsing.
It’s also worth noting that when making the switch from traditional shampoo to a natural bar, you’ll likely still have buildup from past products after the first wash. That said, the brand’s VP recommended thoroughly washing my hair twice during my first use to fully remove any residue.
Ingredients: Coconut and argan oils moisturize, smooth, and strengthen the hair
The Virgin Coconut & Argan Oil Shampoo Bar only contains six ingredients without any fillers or preservatives, deeming it about as clean as clean hair care can get.
Small but mighty, each 2.5 by 1.25-inch bar is equivalent to approximately one 24 oz plastic bottle of shampoo. Impressive!
Its key ingredients are, of course, coconut and argan oils. Formulated with both regular coconut oil and virgin coconut oil (an unrefined form that’s extracted from coconut milk using a cold process that maintains the integrity of its nutrients), it helps the hair retain moisture while keeping it soft and shiny. It also has antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties that are beneficial to the scalp. Argan oil restores smoothness, strength, and shine to dry and damaged hair, making even the unruliest of hair more manageable.
The bar also boasts antioxidant-rich olive oil, which keeps hair shiny and soft, fights hair loss, improves blood circulation, and controls dandruff, fungi, and bacteria. It also contains anti-inflammatory, growth-boosting castor oil as well as vitamin E, which moisturizes and protects against UV and environmental damage.
Considering its small and filler-free ingredient list, I think it’s safe to say that every ingredient in this bar is present in effective concentrations. It’s also clean by Byrdie’s standards and is 100 percent biodegradable.
The Feel & Scent: Hydrating and lathers nicely
As soon as you wet the bar and rub it between your hands, it bubbles up into a light, creamy lather. I was surprised at how nicely it lathered since many of the cleaner shampoos on the market don’t foam at all due to their omission of sulfates. After rinsing, it left my hair and hands feeling clean, but not like the ultra-dry “tugging” effect I’ve experienced with traditional bar soap on my body.
It was really nourishing but didn’t leave behind any residue that left my hair feeling heavy, either.
While this bar doesn’t contain any added essential oils or fragrance, it has a subtle, sweet coconut scent thanks to the unrefined virgin coconut oil (and it’s delicious).
Drying & Irritation: None whatsoever
Some of J.R. Liggett’s other shampoo bars contain essential oils for added natural fragrance and benefits. But since this one is essential oil-free, you don’t have to worry about any potential scalp irritation. In fact, I noticed a major improvement in the redness and irritation along my hairline immediately after my first use—a major win because my usual dandruff shampoo hadn’t been helping this at all.
The Packaging: About as sustainable as you can get
The packaging—or rather, the lack of packaging—is what makes a shampoo bar such a great option in terms of sustainability. Because it’s solid, there’s no need for any plastic packaging whatsoever—it comes wrapped in 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper and nothing else. However, I highly suggest investing in a soap dish if your shower doesn’t already have a built-in designated soap area otherwise your bar may fall victim to a drippy shower head, leaving you with a slimy mess and wasted product.
The Results: My best hair (and scalp) yet
Immediately after washing, my hair felt really clean. And here I was almost worried the product would dry my hair out. Normally I would have reached for my conditioner to smooth and soften my ends, but remembering how many nourishing oils are in this bar, I skipped this step and trusted the product would be nice to my hair.
After my hair air dried, it looked perfect. It was soft and shiny, but not so soft and shiny that it fell flat—it still had a bit of texture to it.
My shag looked the best it ever did, with my semi-straight, semi-wavy locks bending and flipping in all the right spots.
It was voluminous. I basically had second-day hair on the first day, with it still somehow being completely clean.
Over the course of the next five washes, I witnessed magic happen. 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.
The only downside was that I had to wash more frequently, with my hair getting greasier quicker than usual. But, considering my in-shower routine was now one step rather than two, it wasn’t much of an inconvenience.
The Value: An affordable option for clean hair care
Clean beauty can sometimes come with a hefty price tag, so at around $10 per bar (which is equivalent to 24 ounces of liquid shampoo, a pretty large bottle), this one’s truly a steal, especially considering that it’s a really solid product.
Similar Products: You’ve got options
Lush Jason And The Argan Oil Shampoo Bar ($13): Lush, another early adopter of the shampoo bar, has an array of options for all hair types and hair goals. Jason And The Argan Oil is a great option for anyone looking for the strengthening and smoothing benefits of argan oil with a gorgeous rose scent. Just keep in mind that it contains limonene, a common skincare allergen that occurs naturally in essential oils, so those with sensitive scalps may want to avoid it.
Meow Meow Tweet Rosemary Avocado Shampoo Bar ($12): As a longtime fan of Meow Meow Tweet’s products (especially its natural deodorants), this is definitely the next shampoo bar on my list. This nourishing shampoo contains avocado oil and aloe vera to condition and soften while rosemary and hops flowers improve shine and scalp health. Plus, you can use it from head-to-toe, and who doesn’t love a product that multitasks?
As someone who was always a little skeptical of shampoo bars, J.R. Liggett’s Virgin Coconut & Argan Oil Shampoo Bar was a great intro product into the category. My hair is softer and healthier—plus, my scalp is totally healed of flakes and redness, and the fact that it’s 100 percent plastic-free makes me love it even more. Once I finish up the remaining shampoo bottles in my apartment, I’ll never look back. (And now I have an excuse to invest in a chic soap dish!)
- Product Name Virgin Coconut & Argan Oil Shampoo Bar
- Product Brand J.R. Liggett's
- UPC 049056102030
- Price $8
- Product Dimensions 2.5 x 1.25 x 2 in.
- Ingredients Saponified olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, virgin coconut oil, argan oil, vitamin E