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shampoo bars: your rundown

Pandemic life of the last year has given me more than enough time to consider my environmental choices at home, and some new habits have taken hold.

You know how it takes a while for your shower water to heat up? I place a bucket under the showerhead to save that pre-hot-shower water, and use it in the garden. I also now clean my toilet with a homemade vinegar and rubbing alcohol solution with a handful of Bon Ami thrown in for good luck. I know, who is this person?

In pursuit of less plastic, I did that thing on the internet where you search for a thing that you don’t know much about, and then start buying a lot of new things… which is how I ended up with an armful of shampoo bars in my shower stall. The bars are generally pretty small, and come wrapped in a bit of recyclable or compostable paper. When I see these tiny shampoo bars next to the traditional shampoo bottles, I realize how many resources go into producing, shipping and disposing of bottled hygiene products.

It has been a good change. I feel pretty certain I can eliminate plastic shampoo bottles from my shower routine, without sacrificing a satisfying yet non-stripping clean. Here are the bars that rotated through my shower, starting with the most expensive (based on $ per ounce, since they are all different sizes).

Odacité 552M Soap Free Shampoo Bar
$29 for 3.7 oz

I have loved Odacité serums like this one for many years. They absorb so nicely and smell wonderful. But they are admittedly highly priced, for how tiny the vials are. When I noticed they have a shampoo bar, I threw reason out the window and ordered one.

As I expected, it has a beautiful scent that is gently floral, but not overpowering. Its lightweight suds leave your hair feeling clean but not dry. I did not love the wide circular shape of the bar, though, because it makes it awkward to hold and maneuver across your head, and it’s also a bit harder to store on a small shelf in the shower. The high price fits in line with the brand’s upper crust luxury profile, but I’m not sure it’s quite special enough to warrant the purchase. But still, the scent was the nicest of all of the bars. (Odacité does make a travel size version for $18 in case you still want to try it and don’t want to pay for a full size).

LUSH Honey I Washed My Hair Shampoo Bar
$11.95 for 1.9 oz

If you love a great lather, this bar is definitely for you. There is so much sudsing action, you will wonder how it is possible that it’s coming from a little solid bar. Seriously unbelievable. But like many Lush products, the fragrance is overwhelming. The sweet honey scent isn’t bad, it’s just very strong. If you have a small apartment, this scent will waft through all the rooms after each shower. This bar is also a bit on the higher end of the price spectrum.

Christophe Robin Hydrating Shampoo Bar with Aloe Vera
$22 for 3.53 oz

Although I generally am a fan of Christophe Robin products (this scalp scrub is one of my favorites), I was not overjoyed with this bar purchase. It’s a nice size, with an easy to manage rectangular shape, a vaguely subtle clean scent, a good amount of lather without being drying… but it’s just expensive for not being special. I would save the money for that salt scrub instead.

HiBar Fragrance-Free Moisturize Conditioner Bar
$13.95 for 2.9 oz

I wish there were more conditioner bars out there! But this is the only one I found that was easily purchased at a big retailer and thought I would give it a shot. It’s a cute unscented cylinder-ish shape, which makes it easy to hold onto. The idea is that you rub it against your hair repeatedly, and then use your hands to work the conditioner into the strands. I wanted to love it, but it just didn’t really work for my hair. You can’t get that gel-like texture you yearn for in a conditioner, out of a bar. As much as you want to. But this might be great for those with thin or fine hair, who just need a tiny bit of moisture without any weight.

Spring & Vine 2 in 1 Moisturizing Oatmeal Shampoo Bar
$9.99 for 3.5 oz

This is marketed as a “two in one” shampoo and conditioner, but I didn’t feel it was moisturizing enough and still ended up using a traditional moisturizer after shampooing. But the scent is soft and oatmeal-y, and I thought it lathered nicely. I think both this bar and the Acure one below would be nice choices for your kid’s bath time, since they are relatively inexpensive and not very drying.

JR Liggett Shampoo Bar
$7.49 for 3.5 oz

This tiny little bar was my favorite, and is the one I will continue to buy. It has very little scent, and lathers up gloriously. Your hair will feel squeaky clean in the best of ways, fresh without being stripped, while getting a bit of bounce and volume. And you really can’t beat the price. The big caveat though, is that it will definitely sting in the worst way if even a little bit gets in your eyes. So this one’s not great for kids, nor for adults who like to vigorously shake their heads during shower karaoke.

Acure Coconut & Argan Shampoo Bar
$8.99 for 5 oz

Acure has a wide range of clean bath and body products that I have experimented with from time to time, so I was interested in trying their shampoo bar. Their bar is marketed as an “all in one” that can be used for body and hair. It’s a low scent, rich, moisturizing formula that does not lather much, which is well suited for those of us with frizzy, textured hair, dry skin and/or a dry scalp. I would not recommend this for anyone with fine hair, as it would weigh heavily on the strands. And one other caution – this bar seems to dissolve more quickly in the shower than the others.

So I know switching to shampoo bars is not going to change the world, but maybe a few habits changed over a lifetime are worth something, especially if I can convince a few of my friends to leave behind at least one plastic bottle from their shower stall.

Do you have any follow up questions or comments? Or do you have your own favorite product recommendations to share? Please send an email to Would love to hear from you. 🖤

(All products tested were purchased and paid for by FUTURE LYNN. Links embedded will direct to the manufacturer’s sites, but you can also shop these products from retailers like Nordstroms, Target and Amazon).

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