To bar or not to bar? That is the question. And the answer? Yes! Absolutely!
But like everything, there are pros and cons.
Let’s go over the top misconceptions about shampoo bars and what the benefits of shampoo bars are while weighing up the pros and cons:
Shampoo Bar Pros
Shampoo bars are better for the environment
Damn right shampoo bars are better for the environment.
As shampoo bars are solid, they can be packaged in cardboard. Our packaging is plastic-free and home-compostable. One shampoo bar is the equivalent of three 350 mL liquid shampoo bottles, meaning one bar saves three plastic bottles from being made or disposed of in landfills around the world. And conditioner bars? One single conditioner bar is the equivalent of five 350 mL liquid conditioner bottles!
Sure, you could recycle your plastic bottles, but sadly only 9% of plastic worldwide has been recycled.
Like all Ethique products, the ingredients for shampoo bars are cruelty-free, vegan, palm oil free, and directly traded. Ethique products are 100% biodegradable and will dilute safely with no harm to marine or wildlife under normal use conditions. Whilst we don't encourage using excessive amounts in small bodies of water, their effect is minimal and completely safe with typical use. Our bars are very popular camping companions for this reason, and because they are so compact to transport around!
Furthermore, a typical bottle of liquid shampoo contains up to 70% water in the formulation alone and the actual plastic bottle also uses a lot of water waste. One HDPE 350 ml bottle – the size of a typical bottle from the supermarket - requires 700ml of water to make.
One of our shampoo bars contains less than 1% of water meaning little to no water waste is involved in neither the formulation nor packaging of shampoo bars.
Shampoo bars are easy to use
Yup! Shampoo bars are easy to use and don’t add any extra time to your shower routine. But like anything new, it can feel a bit tricky at first.
Never fear! We’ve got you covered with our how to use a shampoo bar guide for a smooooooth transition.
Shampoo bars are good for curly hair
Our shampoo bars are good for curly hair – great even! We have a curly shampoo and conditioner duo – specially formulated in line with curl care principles for curly, coily, wavy hair meaning they don’t contain any sulfates, silicones, or drying alcohols.
88% of our trialists said that our curly care duo gave them soft, more manageable curls and 90% of them would recommend it to a friend.
Shampoo bars can be sulfate-free
We have a few shampoo bar options that are sulfate-free.
The rest of our shampoo bars do contain sulfates – sodium cocoa sulfate to be precise.
What are sulfates and are they bad? This is a solid question that we get asked about all the time. We do not use sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium laureth sulfate (SLeS) or any other palm oil derived sulfates. We use sodium cocoa sulfate in most of our shampoo bars which produces lots of fluffy lather but is gentle enough to be used in baby shampoos.
Shampoo bars can be used on coloured hair
Yes! Absolutely. Our shampoo and conditioner bars are soap-free, pH balanced and safe for colour-treated hair, meaning they won’t strip the colour out of your hair.
However, shampoo bars won't prolong the life of your hair colour either.
If you’re using something other than an Ethique shampoo bar, you’ll need to check the ingredients to make sure your colour-treated hair is in safe hands.
Shampoo bars are good for travelling
Yes! Shampoo bars are great for travelling. They save a lot of space, will not leak through your bag, are perfect for TSA/customs, last a long time, and are quite often multi-purpose, like our Tip-to-Toe shampoo, shaving, and bodywash bar.
The key is to store your shampoo bar well to make sure it doesn't get mushy while you’re travelling.
Shampoo bars are easy to store
Yes! Shampoo bars are easy to store and keep dry. We’ve made it even easier with our handy how to store your solid shampoo guide and selection of shampoo bar storage.
We can even help you with what to do with leftover soap pieces to make sure you’re getting the most out of every little piece.
Some shampoo bars can also be used as bodywash
If you’re looking for a multi-purpose bar, our Tip-to-Toe shampoo, shaving and bodywash bar is the way to go.
We wouldn’t recommend using soap on your hair though, so if you are wanting a multi-purpose bar, please check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t contain soap (as this has been scientifically proven to damage your hair long term).
Shampoo Bar Cons
Getting the hang of using a shampoo bar can feel a bit tricky at first – that’s why we have our easy-peasy how to use a shampoo bar guide.
If you are still unsure about shampoo bars and prefer liquid shampoo, try our solid-to-liquid shampoo and conditioner concentrates range and learn how to get the most out of your concentrates.
Shampoo bars can get wet and mushy
This might be a bit of a challenge if you live in a humid environment or your bathroom struggles to dry out properly. Don’t worry, we have a blog for how to save a wet shampoo bar.
Another solution would be our shampoo and conditioner concentrates range.
Shampoo bars can be more expensive up front
While the upfront cost of a shampoo bar may seem higher than one bottle of liquid shampoo, in the long run, shampoo bars are cheaper than bottles.
Keep in mind that one shampoo bar is equal in concentration to three x 350ml shampoo bottles. That same shampoo bar will last over 80 washes (which works out to be about $0.28 per wash). Furthermore, one conditioner bar is equal in concentration to five x 350ml shampoo bottles, lasting over 120 washes (which works out to be about $0.21 per wash).
We also make sure that people and the planet are looked after with every bar. For example, Ethique sources ingredients through direct trade partnerships which pay ingredient producers above market prices for the ingredients they produce. So while you might pay a bit more, you can rest assured that your money is going towards top-quality, ethically sourced ingredients.
So, are shampoo bars better than liquid shampoo?
Absolutely! They feel great on your hair, are good for your wallet, there’s a shampoo bar for every hair type, and of course, better for the environment! Win-win!
What can you use if you don’t like shampoo bars?
Concentrates! Our solid-to-liquid shampoo and conditioner concentrates range is simple to make. All you need is a bowl, spoon, and an old bottle to re-use. No fancy chemistry degree required.
New to Ethique and shampoo bars?
Welcome! You can learn the ropes with our beginners’ guide to Ethique.
If you’re not ready to commit to a full-size shampoo bar, check out our minis and Discovery Packs. You get about 10 washes per mini (plus they’re super cute, great for travelling and make great gifts).
Still on the fence?
If you’re still a bit hesitant, email our team of Miracle Workers – we’re here to help! Or pop over to our returns and product guarantee for peace of mind.