Are Shampoo Bars Just as Good?

About a year ago, I began to learn more about the zero-waste movement. I discovered a video about environmentalist Lauren Singer, who has been living zero waste for years and could fit two years' worth of trash in a single mason jar. Inspired by this, I started to make changes in my life. I stopped ordering take-out so much, I avoided single-use plastic and I switched to bar shampoo and conditioner. My transition to low-waste is still a work in progress, but one area of my life I managed to make zero waste is my hair care routine. For about six months now, I have only used bar shampoo and bar conditioner to wash my hair. Here are some pros and cons I've noticed in my experience. 

  1. 1. Pro: The Products Are Typically Chemical-Free

    The majority of the companies that produce shampoo bars are eco-friendly. Therefore, their products tend to be free of harsh chemicals and fragrances found in regular shampoos. 

  2. 2. Pro: They Bring Out Your Natural Hair Texture

    woman looking at her reflection in mirror

    I always thought that I had straight and flat hair, but since I started using bar shampoo, I've noticed that my hair is slightly wavy, and it has so much more volume than before.  

  3. 3. Pro: No Plastic Packaging and More Sustainable

    Since shampoo and conditioner bars were created to reduce waste, they are sold with very minimal paper packaging. In stores like Lush, you can even get them with no packaging. This helps you reduce so much waste as millions of plastic bottles are thrown away each year, and only a small percentage get recycled.  

  4. 4. Pro: They Are Convenient 

    Shampoo bars take up way less space than a big bottle of shampoo, making them convenient for when you need to travel. They also can help you have a more minimalist routine. Instead of large bottles of shampoo and conditioner taking up space in your bathroom, you'd just have a couple of small bars. 

  5. 5. Pro: They Last Longer Than You Think

    Shampoo bars typically last for about 80 to 100 washes, which might be surprising because they seem pretty small compared to a bottle of shampoo. Shampoo bars are extremely concentrated and you don't need much per wash. I wash my hair nearly every other day and mine lasted for almost six months.

  6. 6. Con: They Can Dry Out Your Hair

    One of the biggest downsides to shampoo bars is that your hair can dry out your hair at first. If faced with this issue, I'd recommend doing a coconut oil mask on your hair every once in a while.  

  7. 7. Con: It Takes Time to Find the Perfect Bar  

    Another downside to shampoo bars is that you have to try a few before finding one that works for you, and that can be expensive. I tried around three or four different kinds before finding one that works. If you don't want to spend all that money, try asking for a sample. Lush, for example, will let you try out samples of their products before you decide to purchase them.

The final verdict: overall, I would say that I am very satisfied with making the switch to a zero-waste hair routine. Understandably, all hair types are not the same and shampoo bars might not work for everyone. But they are worth a try and if it works out, you would be able to cut out a lot of plastic waste in your life.