Lather Up with The Top 15 Shampoo Bars of 2021

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Most people lather their locks with liquid shampoo, but shampoo bars are changing the hair care game. In a world filled with plastic, folks love shampoo bars because they’re eco-friendly and perfect for any hair type.

Ready to make the switch? Here are the 15 best shampoo bars of 2021.

How we chose the best shampoo bars

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You can buy a bar of ’poo at a drugstore, a big-box store, or online. Here’s how we picked the top brands:

  • Ingredients. We chose bars with ingredients proven to help with even the knottiest hair conundrums.
  • Longevity. We preferred shampoo bars that highlighted their number of uses.
  • Customer feedback. We read reviews and prioritized the bars that happy shampooers love.

Pricing guide

Here’s a price guide to help you make the best choice for you and your luscious locks:

1. Best overall

LUSH Honey I Washed My Hair

Rating: 4.5 starsReviews: 751+ on LUSHPrice: $$

LUSH is famous for bringing shampoo bars to the masses. This bar in particular is a cult classic, and we can see why! It’s made with a blend of fair trade honey, bergamot oil, and sweet wild orange oil to moisturize hair. Reviewers love the toffee scent and say it gives their hair a healthy shine. It also has zero packaging!

For strong and hydrated hair

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Considerations: Some users say it weighs down their hair and that it’s best to use just a few times a week.

Buy LUSH Honey I Washed My Hair online.

2. Best drugstore

Ethique Pinkalicious Shampoo Bar for Normal Hair

Rating: 4.6 starsReviews: 4,277+ on AmazonPrice: $$$

Think pink! Toss this shampoo bar in your basket the next time you’re cruising the drugstore.

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It’s made from fair trade cocoa butter and coconut oil, so you can feel good about buying it. Plus, coconut oil helps condition, clean, and detangle hair; gives it a lasting shine; and can help ward off heat damage. Reviewers also love that it leaves hair smelling like tasty grapefruit.

Considerations: Some reviewers say it can strip vibrant hair color. It also doesn’t contain the usual sulfates, but it does contain sodium coco sulfate (SCS).

Buy Ethique Pinkalicious Shampoo Bar for Normal Hair online.

3. Best for dry hair

Soapbox Coconut Oil Shampoo Bar

Rating: 4.5 starsReviews: 212+ on AmazonPrice: $$

Volume and structure for your hair

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The shea butter and coconut oil in this bar can help zap some life back into your hair. A 2005 study found that coconut oil is particularly good at penetrating hair fibers to help quench dry locks.

Considerations: If you’re sensitive to fragrance, this one may not be for you. You may also want to go a little longer between washes if your hair is limp. This lets your locks build up natural oils without overdoing it with the shampoo.

Buy Soapbox Coconut Oil Shampoo Bar online.

4. Best for color-treated hair

Love Beauty and Planet Blooming Color Shampoo Bar for Color Treated Hair

Rating: 4.3 starsReviews: 697+ on AmazonPrice: $

Activates the microcirculation of scalp and strengthens the hair follicles to stimulate hair growth

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The Love Beauty and Planet shampoo bar uses murumuru butter to soften hair and help your color last longer. It’s also infused with organic coconut oil for extra hydration (seeing a trend here?). This bar is cruelty-free and vegan and has no silicone, parabens, or dyes to hurt colored hair. Plus, it’s easy on your wallet.

Considerations: Some reviewers loathe this shampoo’s rose scent and say the shampoo can be a little drying.

Buy Love Beauty and Planet Blooming Color Shampoo Bar for Color Treated Hair online.

5. Best for oily scalps

Ethique St. Clemens Shampoo Bar for Oily Hair

Rating: 4.5 starsReviews: 4,277+ on AmazonPrice: $$$

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Overwashing your hair or using shampoos packed with chemicals can strip away natural oils. This makes your scalp work overtime and produce excess sebum. Ethique’s St. Clements shampoo bar uses citrus oils and castor oil to remove excess oil without overstripping your hair. It also features vegetable glycerin to help moisturize without making your hair oily.

Considerations: Some reviewers don’t love this bar for colored hair or dandruff. And while it’s free of the typical sulfates, it does use the less processed sodium coco sulfate (SCS) for a lather.

Buy Ethique St. Clements Shampoo Bar for Oily Hair online.

6. Best for curly hair

Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Clay Shampoo Bar

Rating: 3.8 starsReviews: 73+ on AmazonPrice: $

Free your hair follicles

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Curls love a moisturizing shampoo. This cruelty-free bar is made with fair trade shea butter as well as coconut oil, neem oil, and silk protein to help condition hair and smooth out frizz. Plus, it has no sulfates, parabens, or phthalates.

Reviewers say Shea Moisture’s Coconut and Hibiscus Clay Shampoo bar is rich and lathers well, but it doesn’t weigh hair down and keeps curls extra bouncy.

Considerations: Some reviewers say it can make hair feel a little waxy or dry, so don’t overwash with this bar.

Buy Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Clay Shampoo Bar online.

7. Best for coarse curls

OBIA Naturals Coconut Shea Shampoo Bar
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Rating: 3.4 starsReviews: 66+ on AmazonPrice: $

Sensing a theme here? You can’t go wrong with shea butter and coconut oil for full-on follicle hydration. This award-winning curl shampoo bar helps tame and condition curly and kinky hair. More good news: It’s vegan, all-natural, and sulfate-free to help you keep those natural oils!

Considerations: If you have thinner hair, this bar might make things a little waxy. It also contains palm oil, which isn’t always the most environmentally friendly or ethically sourced ingredient.

Buy OBIA Naturals Coconut Shea Shampoo Bar online.

8. Best for fine hair

LUSH Seanik Shampoo Bar
When the scales of the hair fiber are opened, the hair becomes tangled and matted - Repair the damage

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Rating: 4.5 starsReviews: 1,335+ on LUSHPrice: $$

Nori (edible seaweed) is much more than a yummy snack. This crunchy treat is also a banging hair cleanser. This bar is nourishing without weighing hair down, and reviewers love it for adding volume. Plus, its quirky aquamarine color is cute AF.

Considerations: Some reviewers report scalp irritation, so if you have a sensitive scalp, this might not work for you.

Buy LUSH Seanik Shampoo Bar online.

9. Best natural shampoo bar

The Earthling Co. Shampoo Bars
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Rating: 4.9 starsReviews: 1,530+ on The Earthling Co.Price: $$

Lots of shampoo bars contain natural oils, but The Earthling Co. takes it to the next level with no sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), silicones, parabens, or preservatives.

The bars come in a ton of different oil blends and scents, but all use lemon oil to remove buildup and cocoa butter and coconut oil to moisturize. You can calm down with lavender vanilla or have a morning pick-me-up with citrus sun. There’s also an unscented shampoo bar if that’s your thing. Plus, some of the bars claim to last 50 to 70 washes!

Considerations: Different scents vary in size, so depending on the scent you prefer, you might not get the full 70 washes. Some reviewers also find certain scents too strong.

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Buy The Earthling Co. Shampoo Bars online.

10. Best organic shampoo bar

Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Neem & Tea Tree Body & Hair Shampoo Bar

Rating: 4.8 stars

Reviews: 260+ on Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve

Price: $

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This favorite organic and all-natural pick contains tea tree oil to help cleanse and heal the scalp and neem oil to moisturize and balance. For extra scalp soothing, it also contains elder and calendula flowers to help calm irritated skin.

Reviewers love it for dry hair, dandruff, eczema, and scalp psoriasis. Plus, it can be used on your whole body and comes in a trial size if you don’t want to buy the full bar.

Considerations: It can take some time for your hair to get used to the natural ingredients, so your hair may feel worse before it feels better. Some reviewers also say this bar doesn’t work for their fine hair.

Buy Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve’s Neem & Tea Tree Body & Hair Shampoo Bar online.

11. Best no-poo shampoo bar

SEA and CLEAN Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo Bar
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Rating: 5 starsReviews: 1,869+ reviews on EtsyPrice: $

The “no-poo” method means ditching products that contain the typical shampoo chemical additives. This bar contains apple cider vinegar (aka ACV), which is one of the more popular no-poo options. This all-natural bar cleanses hair without harsh ingredients and is an affordable way to dip your hair into the no- poo waters.

Considerations: The seller warns that because the natural ingredients don’t strip out natural oils, your hair may need a 3-week transition period to get used to this bar.

Buy SEA and CLEAN Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo Bar online.

12. Best for sensitive scalps

The Yellow Bird Grapefruit Rosemary Lavender Shampoo Bar
Cleanse in all simplicity

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Rating: 4.5 starsReviews: 124+ on The Yellow BirdPrice: $$

The Yellow Bird has several all-natural shampoo bar options, but the Grapefruit Rosemary Lavender bar is a fave for folks with flaky or sensitive scalps. It just sounds soft and gentle, right? An added perk: Rosemary has antimicrobial properties that might help with dandruff.

Considerations: Although you can use this bar on oily hair, some reviewers say it doesn’t work for theirs. Your hair will also need to get used to the natural ingredients.

Buy The Yellow Bird Grapefruit Rosemary Lavender Shampoo Bar online.

13. Best vegan/cruelty-free shampoo bar

Public Goods Shampoo Bar
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Rating: 4 starsReviews: 56+ on Public GoodsPrice: $

Plenty of shampoo bars are vegan or cruelty-fee, which is a good thing! But Public Goods offers an affordable one that checks all the boxes.

It’s a super simple bar made from olive and coconut oils, aloe vera, and a lavender and rosemary essential oil blend. It’s also free of regular shampoo nasties like parabens, synthetic fragrance, sodium lauryl sulfate, and phthalates.

Considerations: Some reviewers say it can be a little drying. It does contain organic palm and palm kernel oils, but the brand claims they’re sustainably sourced.

Sunshine under your eyes

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Buy Public Goods Shampoo Bar online.

14. Best shampoo and conditioner bar (all-in-one)

Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Water Shampoo and Conditioner Bar

Rating: 4.2 starsReviews: 835+ on AmazonPrice: $

Gotta love a twofer! This drugstore buy softens your hair with organic coconut oil, and reviewers say the bar works on a variety of hair types. Plus, the coconut scent is a hit.

Considerations: Be sure to rinse thoroughly. Some folks say it can leave a residue behind.

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Buy Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Water Shampoo and Conditioner Bar online.

15. Best clarifying shampoo bar

Skinny & Co. Clarifying Raw Shampoo Bar

Rating: 3.9 stars Reviews: 61+ on AmazonPrice: $$$

Clarifying shampoos are superstar deep cleansers and are amazing at removing surface level grit and grime. Skinny & Co.’s Clarifying Raw Shampoo Bar gives you a deep clean with simple ingredients like coconut oil that won’t wash out color-treated hair. It also has no parabens, phthalates, or sulfates and is unscented.

Considerations: Some reviewers have reported irritation. So if you’re sensitive to coconut oil, this bar may lead to an irritated, itchy scalp.

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Buy Skinny & Co. Clarifying Raw Shampoo Bar online.

How to use a shampoo bar

Shampoo bars are easy (and even fun!) to use. Here’s how to get sudsy with a shampoo bar:

  • Wet your hair thoroughly.
  • Rub the shampoo bar directly against your hair or scalp.
  • Lather, rinse, repeat (as needed).
  • Follow up with a conditioner if that’s part of your routine.
  • Store the shampoo bar in a dry place (not in your shower or tub). Bars usually last longer this way.

Choose your ’poo wisely

First, congrats on making the commitment to reduce plastic waste. That’s a really big step! Shampoo bars are just as good as (if not better than) bottled shampoo. It might take some trial and error, but you’ll def find the shampoo bar of your best-hair-day dreams!

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