The best solid shampoo bars that hydrate and nourish all hair types

We've found the best shampoo bar on the market, but how does it (and the runners-up) compare to traditional liquid shampoos?

Image of three of the best shampoo bars on template background
(Image credit: Future/Canva)

Considering adding one of the best shampoo bars into your haircare routine? These bars —solid, soap-esque versions of liquid shampoo—were once the best-kept secret of avid travelers (as they don't count towards your hand luggage allowance) but have become more mainstream recently. Plus, if you're trying to get into sustainable living and want to reduce your plastic limit, then these bars are an excellent start.

The use of shampoo bars is definitely on the rise, with so many sustainable reasons cropping up in the shampoo bars vs liquid shampoo debate to make you think twice about your trusty liquid product. Not only are shampoo bars now much more readily available, but there are now a range of choices for different hair types, as well as bars that have banished harmful ingredients for good.

But, the one thing that everyone wants to know is how do shampoo bars compare to the liquid shampoo that we're all so used to using? We put eight to the test, and Ethique Mintasy came out on top, leaving hair feeling clean and hydrated. Keep reading to see which shampoo bar will be the one for you, and find a new beauty essential. 

The best shampoo bars: tried & tested

Ethique mintasy is one of the best shampoo bar options

(Image credit: Ethique)

1. Ethique Mintasy Solid Shampoo

Formulated with cocoa butter and coconut oil this is best for most hair types

Specifications

Weight of bar: 110g (equivalent to 3 bottles of shampoo)
Brand eco-credential: Plastic free, carbon neutral, vegan and all products made without palm oil
Key ingredients: Cocoa butter, coconut oil, peppermint extract
RRP: $15.00/£13 for 110g

Reasons to buy

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It’s created by a brand who are really passionate about sustainability
+
It had the best results from first use

Reasons to avoid

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We found it didn’t dry out very well, therefore it might not be as easy to travel with as some without a case
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Slightly more pricey

Ethique’s bright green, square-shaped shampoo bar was a pleasure to use. Ethique has 11 types of shampoo bars for all different hair concerns but the Mintasy seems to be the most popular. 

It smelt super fresh and minty thanks to the peppermint oil, and it foamed up really quickly and easily in comparison to some of the others we tried. The minty scent felt like it was helping to cleanse the scalp as well as the air, and it was easy to wash out, too. It didn’t leave hair in a tangled, matted mess and while hair did feel a bit too squeaky clean, it still felt cleansed, smooth, and hydrated without that telltale waxy feel that some shampoo bars can have in the first few uses. 

Read the full Ethique Mintasy Solid Shampoo review.

Foamie is one of the best shampoo bar options

(Image credit: Foamie)

2. Foamie COCONUT SHAMPOO BAR

Inject a serious dose of hydration with this coconut shampoo bar that suitable for all hair types

Specifications

Weight of bar: 80g
Brand eco-credential: Uses 80% less water than counterparts
Key ingredients: Coconut base
RRP: $9.99/£9.15 for 80ml

Reasons to buy

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Vegan and cruelty free
+
Contains no parabens or sulphates
+
Kind to hair with a PH balanced formula
+
Smells great

Reasons to avoid

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Slightly smaller bar than others in this list

We loved the Foamie for several reasons, not only did it deliver a serious dose of hydration to our thirsty hair, leaving it smooth and supple, it smells great too—the tropical notes lasted throughout the day—and, it can be integrated as part of your curly girl routine too. 

The ergonomic design means that it fits in your palm easily. We found that when it came to usage, it lathered up better rubbing directly onto your hair rather than foaming it up in your hands, but if that's your preferred method, then it works fine too. We were also really into the handy 'travel buddy' travel case that is sold separately, which really came into its own when it was time to transport the bar. 

Faith In nature coconut and shea butter is one of the best shampoo bar options

(Image credit: Faith In Nature)

3. Faith in Nature Coconut and Shea Butter Shampoo Bar

The best budget option for anybody looking for a sulphate-free shampoo bar

Specifications

Weight of bar: 85g
Brand eco-credentials: Plastic free, carbon neutral, vegan and all products made without palm oil
Key ingredients: Cocoa butter, coconut oil, peppermint extract
RRP: $6.99/£7.00 for 85g

Reasons to buy

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It’s on the more affordable end of the scale
+
All ingredients are 100% natural

Reasons to avoid

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We found it took a while to get a decent amount of foam
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Might weigh down finer hair types

Sulfate-free and vegan-friendly, this shampoo bar is as effective as it is affordable.
This is a good size in that it’s not too big and not too small, therefore making it easy to grip once it’s wet – it didn’t slip and slide all over the place (which is no mean feat for a shampoo bar!). However, it was quite difficult to foam up – it took some doing both in my hands and by rubbing directly onto the hair, which did cause a bit of unnecessary tangling. Once washed out, hair didn’t feel as squeaky clean as some shampoo bars, instead, it felt like regular liquid shampoo had been used. It didn’t have much of a scent but we didn’t find that to be a problem at all. 

Kind2 The Hydrating One is one of the best shampoo bar options

(Image credit: Kind2)

4. Kind2 The Hydrating One

Best for dry hair and suitable for curly and coloured hair too, this shampoo bar adds a super shine

Specifications

Weight of bar: 80g (equivalent to 60 washes/two bottles of shampoo)
Brand eco-credentials: All natural and products packaged in recycled cardboard
Key ingredients: Cocoa butter, coconut oil, peppermint extract
RRP: $17.00/£7.50 for 80g

Reasons to buy

+
It’s suitable for both coloured and curly hair
+
Soap free and pH-balanced so is kind to sensitive scalps

Reasons to avoid

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It doesn’t have much of a scent
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It’s sulfate-free so doesn’t lather up that much

We followed the shampoo bar with the conditioning bar and were pleased with the results; be warned the shampoo bar doesn’t create much of a lather or foam though. That’s due to the fact that it’s sulfate-free and therefore doesn’t have the foaming agents in it, but that doesn’t make it any less effective and instead is much kinder to the scalp and is less likely to dry it out or cause irritation. It also doesn’t have much of a scent, but that’s not necessarily a problem, it’s just down to personal preference. However, it did leave hair feeling soft, smooth, and manageable with a great shine to boot, and ready to be styled with curly hair tips to keep frizz at bay.

Nuddy Ultra Volume Blow Dry is one of the best shampoo bar options

(Image credit: Nuddy)

5. Nuddy Ultra Volume Blow Dry Shampoo Bar

Peach-scented and gives serious volume to fine hair, this bar narrowly missed out on being our top pick

Specifications

Weight of bar: 100g
Brand eco-credentials: Plastic free and cruelty free
Key ingredients: Coconut oil, argan oil and glycerin
RRP: £8.95 for 100g

Reasons to buy

+
It’s created by a female-run, independent brand
+
pH balanced and super nourishing

Reasons to avoid

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Curly hair types might find it too drying
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May be too heavy for thin, fine hair

A super fun brand, Nuddy’s peach, and acai shampoo bar smells incredible and really works to help volumize hair. Super easy to use, it lathered up really quickly and easily. It didn’t leave hair feeling too clean, and nor was it too tangled or knotted after using, so if you're still figuring out whether you should brush your hair after a shower, you can still go for this shampoo. 

 Nuddy claims there’s no transition period for this shampoo bar and we can wholeheartedly agree; hair felt smooth and soft like it usually would after using traditional liquid shampoo, plus it was still super manageable and easy to brush through post-wash. The added bounce and volume also lasted until the next wash. 

Biovene Hydrate and Repair Argan Oil and mint is one of the best shampoo bar options

(Image credit: Biovene)

6. Biovene Hydrate Repair, Argan Oil & Mint shampoo bar

Minty fresh, this shampoo bar is infused with argan oil to help hair that’s dry and damaged from colouring

Specifications

Weight of bar: 40g (the equivalent of 30 washes)
Brand eco-credentials: water free, zero waste, plastic free as well as all products and packaging are biodegradable
Key ingredients: Argan oil, peppermint, shea butter and macadamia oil
RRP: $3.95/£3.79 for 40g

Reasons to buy

+
It’s formulated to help prevent hair fall
+
Made with palm oil and free of sulfates

Reasons to avoid

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It’s formulated with beeswax so isn’t suitable for vegans
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Added shea butter may weigh down fine hair

We found that this shampoo bar took a while to foam up but when it did eventually start to later, it was definitely worth the wait. It didn’t smell very strongly though, and hair didn’t feel too squeaky clean. It was used with the solid conditioner from the same range, which actually left hair feeling much smoother and more hydrated than we thought it would. However, once hair had been dried and styled it did feet a bit limp and greasy, although the more the shampoo bar was used the less that tended to happen so that could just have been the tell-tale transition period. 

Lush coconut rice cake is one of the best shampoo bar options

(Image credit: Lush)

7. Lush Coconut Rice Cake Shampoo Bar

With creamed coconut and coconut milk, this bright pink bar will inject much-needed moisture into thick and bleached hair

Specifications

Weight of bar: 55g
Brand eco-credentials: No packaging is used, all products are vegetarian and handmade
Key ingredients: Cocoa butter, white rice, creamed coconut, organic coconut milk
RRP: $14.50/£9.00 for 55g

Reasons to buy

+
It’s created by Lush, the trailblazing eco-friendly brand
+
Comes ‘naked’ without any packaging

Reasons to avoid

-
It’ll be too rich for anybody without thick or dry textured hair 
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Contains sulphates (albeit a palm-free alternative to SLS)

Super foamy and coconutty, this shampoo bar smelt incredible and had a lovely, rich lather. It cleaned effectively from the very first use, which was used on hair that was full of three-day-old grease, dirt, and dry shampoo. My hair was left feeling cleansed and much lighter. The double dose of coconut is really moisturizing but the addition of sodium coco sulfate, which although doesn’t contain palm oil, is still a type of sulfate used to help a product foam but that can often cause dryness on the scalp. For a sulfate-free alternative, you can always learn how to make shampoo bars at home, or if you find that sulfates don't lead to dryness, then this product is a must-buy textured hair because of the sheer amount of moisturizing properties it has. 

Odacite 552m is one of the best shampoo bar options

(Image credit: Odacite)

8. Odacite 552M soap free shampoo bar

Enriched with coconut oil, cupuaçu, argan and castor oil, the 552m promises to leave hair silky soft, manageable and full of volume.

Specifications

Weight of bar: 105g
Brand eco-credentials: No plastic used
Key ingredients: Coconut oil, cupuaçu, argan and castor oil
RRP: $18.00/£27.00 for 105g

Reasons to buy

+
Lasts between 60-80 washes
+
Vegan, cruelty free and contains no sulphates

Reasons to avoid

-
On the pricey side - but it does go a long way

The brand ethos is to create products that would be stocked on the shelves at a bouji French pharmacy whilst retaining the green California living factor—a match made in efficacious and sustainable heaven if you ask us. 

Aptly named 552M, which signifies the 552 million shampoo bottles that end up in landfills each year, this humble soap bar’s mission is simple: they save the planet and rather conveniently, your hair at the same time. As for the bar itself? Coconut oil wraps hair in moisture and helps to improve texture on even dry, frizzy, color-treated and damaged hair. The soap-free formula is perfect for those with sensitive scalps.  

How to choose the best shampoo bar for your hair type

Gone are the days when there was only one option available for those that wanted to make the switch to solid shampoo bars. Instead, there's a bar for every hair type, as well as choice for those concerned about certain ingredients. Here are a few examples of the bar that might be perfect for you:

  • Nourishing shea butter is great for dry, textured hair
  • Cocoa butter and coconut oil are both have supremely hydrating qualities meaning they work well on damaged, brittle hair
  • Seaweed is great for keeping fine hair smooth
  • Charcoal will work to remove excess oil
  • Aloe vera will gently cleanse sensitive skin types without causing irritation

The one thing that you always need to remember, though, is that it might take a few washes for your hair to adapt properly. There is always a transition period that comes with making the switch from traditional shampoo to shampoo bars, and after the first couple of washes hair may feel waxy; that’s completely normal and is why you should always stick with your choice of product before deciding it’s not quite right. 

Lucy Partington has been a beauty journalist for eight years, writing for titles including Stylist and Cosmopolitan. She’s a true skincare nerd who’s on a lifelong quest for a glowing complexion and loves nothing more than learning about new ingredients and products. She’s obsessed with having perfect eyebrows and collecting eyeshadow palettes she’ll probably never use.