Well, let’s talk about bar shampoo!
As you all know I’m vegan, what you don’t know yet is why I went vegan in the first place. A plant-based diet came to me very naturally as my knowledge grew about the devastating implication that animal exploitation has on our planet.
So for me, it’s not only a diet but making thoughtful choices about everything in my life in order to cause the less impact on the planet as possible.
I probably consider myself to be an environmentalist first. A plant-based diet just fit on it naturally, because is the most environmentally-friendly way to live.
Nowadays I’m vegan for many reasons, for the environment, for the animals and, for my health. All the choices I make in my life go in this line. Choosing a shampoo couldn’t be any different ???
For obvious reasons, starting to use a bar shampoo is the right way to go, but the problem is to know what to choose.
I hope that you will find this post useful. Because for me when I decided to swap for a bar shampoo it was quite hard to find information and to know what was good on the market.
The brands mentioned here are all from the United Kingdom and all have a philosophy that agrees profoundly with my ethics.
All the shampoos were tried by me and also my partner (he volunteered himself ?).
So what is written here is a completely honest review about the experience we had with the products. A mere recommendation to start you off on your journey to find the best shampoo bar for you.
All bar shampoos mentioned here are cruelty-free, eco-friendly, free from palm oil, and are from conscientious businesses ??
probably, it’s also important to say that I’m not being paid to write this article, and I will not receive anything in return if you purchase a product from the list ?
Caroline’s NEEM & Rosemary bar shampoo is precious, it has a delicate smell and is packed with goodness. You can feel by the touch and smell how careful she is at choosing the ingredients.
I just love the ethics behind her small business.
When I first used the shampoo my hair got in a mess, was very oily and kind of waxy; I found it difficult to create a good lather and to rinse.
This is not an uncommon issue for some people when using a new bar shampoo!!
So I kept trying and my reward was a healthy, soft and silky hair, after 2 weeks 🙂 I found that with this shampoo was easier to create foam on my hands, and only use the foam to wash my hair, instead of rubbing the bar directly on my hair.
From day one I didn’t need to use conditioner with this shampoo, what was great. The shampoo is made with great natural ingredients and the packaging is very environmentally friendly! The product arrived very quickly, was packaged well, no plastic involved, and the ingredients were all listed.
All Caroline’s products are handmade with locally foraged herbs and she uses predominantly organic ingredients. Her products are based on herbal extracts, non-GMO, no artificial colorants or dyes, chemical free, no parabens, and no synthetic fragrances.
I’ve tried all the 3 different bar shampoos they have. The one with Lavender and Geranium, the one with Lavender and Tea Tree and the Travel Soap, that contains lemongrass, lavender, tea tree and peppermint.
They all smell amazingly and I found the performance between the three quite similar on my hair, my favorite in terms of essence was the Travel Soap.
Plus I found the travel soup’s idea quite clever because it’s formulated to be antiseptic, anti-fungal and insect repellent. You can’t really ask for more when traveling, can you?
All 3 shampoos lathered up super easily (actually its quite impressive for a natural shampoo), and rinsed well. I didn’t need to use conditioner (only an acidic (ACV) rinse twice a week).
During the first week I had to wash my hair every day because was super oily and greasy, but now I can go 3-4 days without washing my hair. It worked better for me to cut the bars in half, to have more hand-sized pieces.
The Friendly soap bars are the ones with the best value for money, between all the bars I’ve tried. The product arrived very quickly, was packaged well on a paper box so no plastic involved. The individual paper boxes contain the list of all ingredients.
Friendly soap is a company from West Yorkshire (UK) with a strong connection to nature, so their products have little impact on nature and health as possible. Every bar is poured, cut, stamped and packed by hand.
They don’t use any animal products or by-products. They only use naturally biodegradable ingredients, plant-based oils, essential oils, flowers, spices and herbs and buy fair-trade ingredients.
I’ve tried the Rosemary and Lemongrass bar shampoo and it worked quite well on my hair.
During the first month, my hair was quite sticky. After that, I felt a boost on my hairs health. The Shampoo is extremely moisturizing yet lightweight and cleans well. The essence it’s also amazing, it smells lovely but doesn’t foam much.
I do an ACV rinse twice a week when I’m using this shampoo to help de-tangle and to add softness.
The product arrived quickly, on a lovely package, with a personalized letter and small note with instruction and the list ingredients. It was lovely to receive something so thoughtful. Because of the presentation this bar shampoo is great to offer as a gift.
Zoralou Organics is a mother & daughter business founded and based in The Lake District, UK. They create synergistic blends, with handmade products that are vegan-friendly. Everything they do is non-toxic, chemical and paraben free. They also have a resident Aromatherapist that is available to advise and tailor make specific blends on request to suit any individual needs, what is really cool.
The product arrived very quickly, was wrapped in recyclable black pepper, with a sticker listing all the ingredients.
After a short adaptation period, of about a week, where my hair didn’t look really happy (neither I ?), I can go now for about 3 days before my hair needs to be washed again. So far I didn’t need to use conditioner with this shampoo. I only do an ACV rinse once/twice a week and my hair is very smooth. I’m really happy with the results.
This bar shampoo foams really well which helps to massage your scalp.
I cut the soap into 4 pieces to get the most out of it. The lather is amazing, and my hair feels soft and smells great. My partner also loved this shampoo.
The product arrived very quickly, involved in a strip of recycled paper which can be composted with all the ingredients listed and a note inside with instructions, hits, and tips.
Wild Sage is a small family-run business hand crafting cold processed soaps and skin-loving balms from natural ingredients, from their cottage in the Herefordshire countryside. “Simple, honest and good”.
All the soaps they sell are made with 100% natural, Vegan ingredients, The shampoo I’ve tried has Rapeseed oil and Organic Apple Cider Vinegar along with their home-grown Rosemary, and infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Truly amazing.
The bar shampoo I’ve tried was the Soak And Float, and as everything on the Lush shop this product is quite appealing visually and the smell is absolutely delicious. The size is perfect and easy to hold and use.
The Soak And Float shampoo is specific for dandruff/itchy scalp. But they have more than a dozen solid shampoos to choose from.
This shampoo gives a deep cleanse, from the very first wash. My hair felt healthy, light and bouncy.
This was the only bar shampoo that my hair accepted from day one. So I didn’t go through the adjustment period like I did with the other ones.
The shampoo foams so much more than any other bar shampoo I’ve used and has a good smelling lather. My experience with this shampoo was more than positive I only think that is a shame that they use SLS on their shampoos.
The product arrived very quickly, inside a colorful paper bag with a sticker with all the ingredients listed.
Lush is a cosmetics retailer headquartered in Poole, UK; they sell creams, soaps, shampoos, moisturizers, scrubs, masks and other cosmetics using vegetarian or vegan recipes, and use parabens to preserve their products.
The company do not support animal testing, and since 2008 they removed all traces of palm oil from the products. Lush donates 100% of the price of every ‘Charity Pot’ purchased to charities that promote environmental conservation, animal welfare, and human rights.
Which one to go for?
It is a matter of taste and type of hair. All the ones mentioned here are really good!!
So look for one that can be adapted to your hair, and persist if the shampoo doesn’t agree with you straight away, it will be worth it.
Keep in mind that bar shampoos do not strip hair in the same way as detergent-based shampoos so its normal that your hair will feel different to the touch after washing.
I found that shampoo bars worked well on my hair after the adaptation period. Although my partner had a different experience. His hair didn’t require any adaptation and was really easy for him to switch to a shampoo bar. That made me so mad and super jealous?.
Personally, after using the bar shampoos I’m not using conditioner, that I used to use after every hair wash. The nourishing butters and oils that the bars have worked really well for me. So far they have been enough to keep my hair smooth and healthy.
There is usually an adjustment period of about 1 month on chemically treated hair when using natural products. So if your hair doesn’t look great after the first wash that’s normal, just keep persisting.
Shampoo bars may not perform as well in hard water. So it may be worth to try an apple cider vinegar rinse (ACV).
If you still think after a while that the bar shampoo is not agreeing with your hair, you are probably not using the right one for your hair. The true is everyone’s hair and scalp are unique so try different samples, until you find the one that is perfect for you.
What I’ve learned
27 thoughts on “Choose the best bar shampoo for you (made in the UK)”
this is the most comprehensive and helpful post
Hi great article Ana – there are alternatives to the Lush SLS bars – I’m a really picky person and cars over what I use on my kids (and the planet) – the best vegan plastic free, zero waste and totally SLS free bars that I’m using are from the solid bar company – they also have a great conditioner bar that leaves my family’s hair (which is so important with my two young ones!) easily tangle free – they have super ingredients that work really well and as good as a salon standard shampoo, as they say.
As an older person and avid vegan I tried in vain to get a grip with the shampoo bar, plastic free, SLS free idea and went through a mountain of shampoo bars over the course of a year or so, as my hair was thinning and becoming a little patchy I was at my wits end, then I came across a little scottish based company called Amica Soap and tried their shampoo bars which were a great deal cheaper than most of the products I had been using, I tried their Argan Oil and Shea Butter shampoo bars which took a bit of work to lather but eventually did lather up and incredibly after only a few months my hair is noticeably stronger, even my daughter and wife have commented on it, Ive no idea what they do but I know their bars are high in glycerin which I didn’t think was a hair thing but apparently it is, I tried their new bars which have conditioner in them and since I’ve not used any conditioner and my hair is less patchy, thicker and stronger than ever and I would recommend anyone, particularly us older folk with thinning hair, give them a look up!
Hi Marko, thanks a lot sharing your experience, I will definitely have a look and probably give it a go as well
hello. Thank you for this. Ive tried a couple of shampoo bars and so am interested to read this and learn about an adjustment period. Maybe I just need to persevere!
Hi Sarah, can be difficult to adapt.. just keep trying different brands and persevere 😉 have you tried to rinse your hair with a apple cider vinegar? It does work beautifully for me..
Not on your list but they should be as one of the best 100% vegan, sulphate, SLS and paraben free, cruelty free, silicon free shampoos and conditioners out there and made by an ethical UK small business (good to see a small producer doing what the big pharms don’t) and it works great on my tangled frizzy hair – I actually know what that word silky means after all these years of seeing it in other ads as it keeps my previously wild hair under control now at last! And forgot to mention that they are also non-plastic and no water!! so a double thumbs up from me. Check them out at The Solid Bar Company, Recommended!
This was an excellent, well-researched review! Thanks so much, I was struggling with replacing bottle shampoos / conditioners with bars. This really helped. 🙂 xxx
Thanks 🙂 I’m sure you will love using a bar shampoo
We tried Lush shampoo soap and really like it
These look soooo beautiful!
Hello, eu gostei muito desse post. Estou super de acordo com o q vc diz sobre o poder das escolhas que operamos. Eu tb virei vegan por esse motivo. Sou vegetariana há 20 anos e vegan há alguns meses. Eu tentei a marca Lush há um tempo atrás e adorei. Porém o q realmente está funcionando pro meu cabelo é lavá-lo com água apenas e uma vez a cd 2 semanas e entretenir a limpeza do cabelo com shampoo seco vegan. Uma vez por semana eu faco uma Hidratação. É isso aí. Veganism for the love of you, the animals and the planet. Enjoy. Nayara
olá Nayara, obrigada pela visita 🙂 o que usas para fazer hidratação ?
I was just looking for something like this. I’ve decided to change to a bar shampoo, thanks for your help 🙂 I’m going to start with the one from the Wild Sage sounds great!! But I will probably try most of then hehe
glad you have decided to make the change 🙂 all the best xx
Interesting that Lush uses SLS, I didn’t know that. They wrote a good description of SLS use in their products here: https://uk.lush.com/article/dont-stress-about-sls
Sulfates don’t bother me as much as plastic, but I could live without them, or without shampoo if necessary. It’s the hair coloring I don’t want to live without, because of vanity and denial of aging – a whole topic in itself. Naturtint has the cruelty-free label but I didn’t research the ingredients.
From what I’ve read I’m mostly concerned about the processing of SLS and that they can be made with palm oil. But I understand palm oil can be sustainable. Like many things, it may just be easier to not use it than to research if it is humane, fair trade, vegan, etc. It depends where you want to draw the line. Thanks for the educational post and comments!
The reason the lush one worked better is because of the sls and thats why your hair accepted it from day one, its more like regular shampoo in bar form sadly
you’re absolutely right
I love Lush products; haven’t tried the others you recommended. I would like to. I’m curious how much people use shampoo, since it varies so much. I wash my hair once a week, and my son uses shampoo about 5-6 times a year. Maybe. When I get my hair cut, stylists say it is healthy. When I washed it every day, it never looked good; when I wash it weekly, it looks pretty good for about 3 days 🙂 I am very dirty and sweaty most of the time (gardening, exercise, hats and helmets) but just massage and rinse in the shower with plain water usually.
I do not like having so many plastic bottles in my house. But my husband complains about the soap scum in the bath with bars. What is a good solution to using bars or even liquid that does not get messy?
I think the key is to allow your bar to dry. you can find a soap dish with slats, holes or a drainage spout to allow excess water to drain from the bar of soap . Or you can place a sponge in your soap dish, underneath the bar of soap, the sponge will absorb the excess soapy liquid. Or you can have a bowl with pebbles from your garden 😉
Fantastic soap! ?
Love this post! I use some of Lush’s solid shampoos, but so many of the other ones you listed look really nice too, I will have to check them out. I find the solid shampoos last a lot longer than bottled shampoo too, which is an extra bonus 🙂
Hi Rebecca, I agree with you the bars last much longer than bottled shampoo 🙂