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7 best shampoo bars

They’re plastic free – and they leave your hair clean and shiny, too

Beverly Davies
Thursday 20 June 2019 14:33 BST
Many shampoo bars are made of natural ingredients
Many shampoo bars are made of natural ingredients (iStockphoto)

Just shampoo, in a bar, like soap, no waste, no extraneous packaging, no plastic... how zeitgeist can you get?

Shampoo bars can last up to three times as long as regular bottles. They also feel, well, a bit more wholesome than a synthetic liquid.

Each bar listed below was tested a number of times.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

The Little Goat Soap Company handmade shampoo bar, 100g: £4.25,

This shampoo contains goat’s milk and neem (an oil from the Indian lilac tree), and is recommended for people prone to allergies and a dry scalp. The bar lathered up easily on application, producing silky suds. It rinsed off just as well, without leaving a residue. Hair felt softer and thicker, even without conditioner. Our tester said her scalp also felt less itchy than it might using bottled products. The bar’s scent was quite strong but this did not transfer to her hair.

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The Natural Soap Company Tropical coconut shampoo, 100g: £4.50,

This Norfolk-based company makes all its products by hand and produces a small range of shampoo bars. Our tester tried the tropical coconut shampoo, which contains coconut milk, jojoba oil, cocoa butter and shea butter, and found that it left her hair feeling particularly clean, soft and shiny. The nettle and rosemary bar felt lighter on her hair; and the neem shampoo might be good for children prone to head lice. A brownie point is earned in the mail-order packaging being recyclable.

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Friendly Soap travel bar, 95g: £2.60,

This all-in-one travel soap, hair and body bar incorporates lemongrass, lavender, tea tree and peppermint. Designed for all hair types, it uses vitamin-E rich caster oil and tea tree oil to give your hair a healthy-looking shine. Our tester loved the lemony scent. She took it away on a mini-break, where her husband also used it as a shaving soap.

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Lush New shampoo bar, 55g: £6.50

Don’t be alarmed by the colour of this bar. We found it to be extremely effective. The soap contains nettle and peppermint to stimulate the scalp, as well as rosemary to add shine. Our tester found it to be kind to her thin hair, leaving it with more volume. She said the bar lathered up nicely, and rinsed off easily, leaving her hair feeling wonderfully clean. She added that although the bar smells strongly of cloves, the scent didn’t transfer to her hair. After another wash, her hair felt softer and even looked a little thicker and shinier than it usually does.

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AA Skincare Natural Shampoo Bar, 50g: £5.95,

Each of AA Skincare’s eight varieties uses a blend of antioxidants, minerals and vitamin-rich natural ingredients to tackle a particular hair condition. The almond-shampoo bar is for dry and damaged hair. It uses almond oil to add shine, and omega-3, to straighten the follicles. Rather than dry hair out, it moisturised. She added that it gave her hair body and bounce, and left it wonderfully clean. The other bars also fared well in our test, lathering up well.

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Beauty Kubes shampoo, 115g: £8.50,

Each pack of Beauty Kubes contains 27 shampoo cubes, one for each wash, making this last as long as a 250ml bottle of shampoo. You can also use it as a body wash. You crumble a cube into your palm, adding water to create a paste. You then smooth this over the hair to work a lather. Thicker hair may need two cubes. One tester found the shampoo for normal-to-dry hair a great all-in-one product for travelling – fresh, gentle and easy to rinse out, with a healthy look and no need for conditioner.

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Living Naturally Coconutty Soapnut shampoo bar, 90g: £5.99,

Living Naturally is big on natural, organic soap nuts (dried fruit shells that contain a natural soap called saponin), as well as Ayurvedic principles. Its moisturising shampoo bar uses organic coconut milk to produce a cleansing lather and rice bran oil for added conditioning, as well as avocado oil for moisturising dry, brittle or damaged hair. The shampoo comes in a calico bag – ideal for keeping the soap dry between shampoos.

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The Verdict

The shampoo bar by The Little Goat Soap Company produced a gentle lather, while the bar by The Natural Soap Company left our tester’s hair with an enviable shine.

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