9 Shampoo Bar Benefits For Luscious & Low-Impact Hair

Healthier Hair, Happier Planet… These Benefits Of Shampoo Bars Will Make You Want To Switch.

Zero waste circles are buzzing about shampoo bars.


Because using a shampoo bar benefits both you and the environment by cutting single-use plastic and harmful chemical fillers from your daily hair care routine.

They’re more economical as they last longer and it’s never been easier to find quality brands that give you amazing results without compromising on your values.

Read on to discover nine amazing reasons why you should switch to a shampoo bar today and get tips on how to make your bar work for you.

What Is A Shampoo Bar?

Shampoo Bar Benefits by etee

What is a shampoo bar? Is it just a bar of soap for your head? 

Not exactly. A good shampoo bar doesn’t contain lye (sodium hydroxide), which is a key ingredient in many soap bars. 

Soap is always alkaline and contains a naturally high pH between 9 and 10, which can damage your hair and cause skin irritation. 

If the scalp gets too alkaline, hair cuticles open and allow moisture to escape, causing dry, frizzy hair and dandruff.

Shampoo bars, on the other hand, feature balanced pH levels (between 4 and 6), which will not strip the scalp and hair of its natural oils (called sebum) or affect its pH levels. 

Where soap’s main purpose is to clean, shampoo bars contain ingredients that strengthen the follicles and enhance the quality of your hair. 

It’s worth remembering that the type of ingredients used depends on the brand. Not all shampoo bars are created equal and you should run a mile if you see a hair soap bar with sodium hydroxide on the ingredient list. 

The best zero waste shampoo bars take care of the health of your hair at a follicle level, enriching your shower with all the benefits of bar shampoo.

9 Reasons To Switch To A Shampoo Bar

1. Shampoo Bars Are Plastic-Free

Shampoo Bar Benefits by EcoRoots

The average American goes through 11 plastic shampoo bottles a year. 

It’s estimated that 550 million empty shampoo bottles are thrown out every year in the US—not including conditioner or other hair products.

A single plastic bottle can take 450 years to decompose but not before it breaks down into microplastic particles and infiltrates our waterways.

Unlike the liquid versions, shampoo bars cut out the need for plastic bottles altogether in your hair care. 

Switching to a bar ensures that a huge amount of single-use plastic is diverted from landfills and prevented from polluting the environment.

If just one person switching to bar shampoo means almost 1000 fewer plastic bottles across their lifetime, imagine how much plastic we’d save if we all collectively made the switch.

2. Bar Shampoos Are Biodegradable

Sustainable shampoo bars help you adopt a zero waste lifestyle as they’re biodegradable. 

Once they run out, there’s nothing left to throw away. 

This includes the ingredients in your shampoo. Phthalates, parabens, and sulfates (like SLS and SLES) are common chemicals found in conventional liquid shampoo.

In addition to being harmful to human health when used (for instance, phthalates are known endocrine disruptors), once they’re washed down the drain, they can contaminate waterways and lead to nutrient imbalances that forever alter these ecosystems.

A natural shampoo bar contains ingredients that break down without having an environmental impact. 

The best bars don’t have packaging or if they do, it’s FSC-certified cardboard boxes or paper wrapping, both of which are home compostable. 

If you’re ordering from zero waste online stores—almost all of which carry shampoo bars— they’ll be delivered in plastic-free packaging, too.

3. Many Shampoo Bars Contain Sustainably-Sourced Ingredients

Another common yet controversial ingredient is palm oil which has a devastating impact on orangutans and rainforests in Indonesia.

It’s included in almost all conventional shampoos as a foaming and conditioning agent.

The problem is that palm oil plantations are a driving force behind rainforest deforestation—to the tune of 42% in places like Borneo.

Sustainable beauty brands should either forgo palm oil altogether or ensure theirs is sourced from sustainably-minded suppliers, like those certified by the Roundtable On Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Speaking of sustainably sourced ingredients, many brands offering shampoo bars also ensure their ingredients and finished product alike are cruelty-free, a contrast to the rampant animal testing in the conventional beauty industry.

You may also want to check whether or not the shampoo bar is vegan. 

Some standard shampoo formulas can contain over 20 potential animal-derived ingredients like keratin which comes from the hair and horns of animals.

Even shampoo bars may sometimes contain ingredients like honey and goat’s milk, so if veganism is one of your values, look for the Vegan Society Trademark or PETA Approved logo to make sure there’s no animal content in your shampoo.

4. Shampoo Bars Make Your Hair Healthier

Shampoo Bar Benefits by Ethique

Many liquid shampoos contain harmful chemicals, sulphates and silicone that can strip the hair of its natural oils and leave your scalp feeling dry and irritated.

By comparison, are shampoo bars good for hair?

The answer is yes, but like any new product, you have to find one that’s right for you and give your scalp time to adjust. 

If you’re switching from regular shampoo to a natural shampoo bar, you may go through a transition period where your hair feels more oily and waxy than normal. 

This is a sign that your hair is readjusting to the natural ingredients after being used to the synthetic ingredients that made it appear softer. 

The transition period typically lasts 2–3 weeks, but sometimes longer. To make it as quick and as pain-free as possible, look for bars that are specially formulated for your hair type. 

Ethique has a hair quiz to help you get to the bottom of it and gruum lets you shop by hair type. 

Using an apple cider vinegar rinse can also help the process. Not only does this act as an effective natural conditioner, but it also clarifies the hair and balances scalp pH. 

Put apple cider vinegar diluted with water in a 1:1 ratio in a sprayer bottle and thoroughly spray your hair and scalp after shampooing (when you would normally apply conditioner) once a week.

After the adjustment period, you’ll likely find your hair feels not only healthier, but that they clean better than your old bottled shampoo.

This is because conventional shampoos contain ingredients that strip away your scalp’s natural oil, rather than preserving it. This in turn leads to overproduction of sebum to compensate.

Those who switch to shampoo bars often notice their hair stays less greasy for longer, meaning they can go longer between showers.

5. Shampoo Bars Are Convenient To Use

Shampoo Bar Benefits by pebble magazine

Solid bars are convenient, mess-free and easy to use. You don’t need to worry about spills or accidentally pouring out too much. 

If you’re wondering how to use a shampoo bar, here’s a quick step-by-step guide: 

  1. Wet your hair like you would normally 
  2. Wet your shampoo bar and work it into a lather in your hands
  3. Run the lather through your hair from root to tip 
  4. Alternatively, you can run the bar directly down wet hair 
  5. Massage it into your scalp and rinse as normal

You will need less than you think as it’s a concentrated formula. If you’re struggling to get a good lather, add more water.

6. Eco Shampoo Brands Have A Lower Carbon Footprint

Shampoo bars have a lower carbon footprint than their liquid counterparts which makes them an easy swap if you want to reduce your carbon emissions.

The ingredients in most shampoo bars by eco-friendly brands are less refined than those in a standard bottle, so there’s less intensive manufacturing involved both in the product and the packaging.

Shampoo bars are also much smaller and lighter than bottles, meaning fewer carbon emissions in transport. 

A truck full of shampoo bars holds roughly the same amount of washes as 15 trucks carrying liquid shampoo bottles.

One bottle of shampoo has a carbon footprint equivalent to about 0.07 kg

Shampoo bars are much lower as they’re smaller, contain little to no packaging and last much longer.

7. Shampoo Bars Save You Money

Shampoo bars aren’t just an eco-friendly choice; they’re economical, too. 

An average bar shampoo benefits your wallet as it can last twice or three times as long as bottles. 

A standard bottled shampoo lasts about 25-35 washes and 80% of the actual product is water (labeled as aqua). 

To put that into perspective, a shampoo bar from Ethique lasts more than 80 washes. This is because the bar is a concentrated formula which contains a lot less water. 

Depending on how often you wash your hair, a standard bar could replace up to three bottles. You may just need four bars to get through a year’s worth of hair washes.

8. Solid Bars Are Perfect For Travel

Shampoo Bar Benefits by pebble magazine

Worried about TSA liquid allowances? Or just looking to pack light? 

Say goodbye to wasteful tiny travel toiletries and exploded liquids in checked luggage, because shampoo bars solve all these problems.

Liquid-free shampoo bars are approved to go through airport security and you are not likely to fall victim to spills or leaky bottles. 

They’re also small and lightweight enough to stash them away in a carry-on or gym bag when you’re on the go. 

The best way to transport your bar safely is with an aluminium travel tin. Naturistic Bath gives you the option to buy a travel tin with your shampoo bar.

9. Hair Soap Bars Are Bathroom Space Savers

Shampoo Bar Benefits by EcoRoots

Shampoo bars help you cut down on clutter in your bathroom. They take up far less space in your cabinets for double or even triple the amount of washes.

You won’t need to have a jumble of half-empty bottles circling your bath or shower with a small shampoo bar tucked away neatly in the corner. 

Bear in mind, they can turn to mush if they’re not given a chance to fully dry out after use. 

Be sure to invest in the storage containers to help extend the life of your bars, like a bamboo soap dish with drainage slats.

Closing Thoughts On The Benefits Of Shampoo Bars

There are more shampoo bars on the market than ever before.

And no wonder, when the benefits of shampoo bars include saving you money on hair care, reducing plastic in your bathroom (and landfills), and enriching your scalp with sustainably-sourced ingredients that maintain your hair’s overall health. 

With so much choice, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. 

We recommend sticking to ethical, cruelty-free and zero waste shampoo brands for luscious locks that are kind to the planet. 

Already made the switch?

That’s awesome! Now it’s time to expand your positive eco impact even further by sharing this article with your bottle-loving friends to encourage them to give shampoo bars a go, too.