10 Reasons to Switch to a Shampoo Bar Right Now

10 Reasons to Switch to a Shampoo Bar Right Now

Typical me a few months ago. I run out of shampoo and go to the store to find something natural and organic. I pick one bottle up that has ‘Eco’ or ‘Natural’ in its name - that must be good right ? I check the ingredients and find nothing that I know or can pronounce. But my hair needs a wash so I grab some bottle and head home.

When I became more aware of plastic pollution and various chemicals in commercial shampoos, I started to look for alternatives and read about shampoo bars. I have not looked back since. 

Here are a some reasons why I started using shampoo bars:

1. Shampoo bars don’t have any unnecessary packaging.

Natural Shampoo bar


I was shocked to find out that in 2016, Americans spent 16.7 billion USD on shampoo alone, presumably most of those were plastic shampoo bottles. These bottles are not made of recycled materials nor are they usually recycled. So that amounts to a LOT of plastic shampoo bottles being thrown away, not to mention the energy and resources used for those.

And don’t even get me started on the humongous quantities of travel shampoos, conditioners etc that are used and thrown in hotels all over !

On the other hand, shampoo bars typically have no packaging or minimal paper packaging that is easily compostable and recyclable. So this is an easy swap to make to reduce waste in your bathroom.

One of my personal favorites is this coconut lime shampoo bar that is wrapped in seeded paper. I can just plant the wrapper after use and grow flowers. How cool is that ! Giving back to nature in the truest sense.

2.  Shampoo bars are natural

Plastic Shampoo bottles

I did not like NOT knowing all the chemicals that were present in commercial liquid shampoos and not knowing the effect they could potentially have on my health. Not to mention all those chemicals washing away into our drains, waterways, rivers and public water systems.

Here’s a simple ingredient comparison list of one popular commercial liquid shampoo and the one of the vegan shampoo bars I have in the store:

Popular Commercial Shampoo

Shampoo bar

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Glycol Distearate
Sodium Citrate
Cocamide Mea
Sodium Xylenesulfonate
Citric Acid
Sodium Benzoate
Sodium Chloride
Tetrasodium EDTA
Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate
Panthenyl Ethyl Ether

Certified Organic Olive Oil
Certified Organic Coconut Oil
Certified Organic Shea Butter
Castor Seed Oil
Wheat Germ Oil
Certified Organic Jojoba Oil
Certified Organic Cocoa Butter
Avocado Oil, Argan Oil
Coconut Oil
Kaffir Lime Essential Oil
Rosemary Extract


The difference is stark, isn't it?

The major ingredient in commercial shampoos is water (70-80%). Beyond that this shampoo uses a lot of detergents, synthetic cleansers and foaming agents like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate which are used in industrial cleaning and degreasing applications.

Imagine using the chemicals that clean grease off huge factory machines on your hair. Yikes !

3. No synthetic fragrances

Did you know that shampoo and cosmetics industry do not have to reveal what chemicals are used to add fragrance to the shampoos and other commercial cosmetics ? Note the ‘Fragrance’ ingredient in the comparison table above. Lot of people develop sensitivities to these synthetic chemicals fragrances like dry itchy scalps and irritated skin. Then they try another commercial shampoo which may mask some of the symptoms but not fully clear it.

Sometimes less is more and it is important to detox the hair and skin from all the chemical buildup over the years. Both the shampoo bars in the store use only essential oils for fragrance.

4. Shampoo bars are concentrated

    Shampoo bottle in store


    As I mentioned above, commercial shampoos contain 70-80% water. This is what allows the shampoo to flow easily from the bottle. With water, then comes the need to add preservatives and stabilizer chemicals to prevent any fungal, yeast or mold infections. And keep it stable on store shelves for months and years.

    Solid shampoo bars only contain the ingredients used to clean your hair, no water added. Hence there is no need for chemical preservatives when making solid shampoo bars.

    5. Shampoo bars last longer

    Continuing from the previous point, since shampoo bars are so concentrated, a little goes a long way. I have long, not-so-thick hair and find that I can get a good sudsy lather with a few swipes of the shampoo bar.

    Of course, don’t make the same mistake I made when I first switched to soap and shampoo bars and make sure it is stored properly and allowed to drain between uses. That means not storing it in containers that accumulate water. We have a wire rack in our bathroom that I directly place the soap on.

    6. No palm-oil

    This is a big NO-NO for me ! The shampoo bars in our store do not use any palm-oil.

    Palm oil grows in tropical rainforests, and the uncontrolled clearing of these forests for palm oil has led to the destruction of habitat of endangered species, including orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos. I also stay away from products that claim to have ‘sustainably harvested palm-oil’ since I’ve been reading mixed reports about if it is indeed sustainable.

    7. Travel becomes real easy

    hotel toiletries


    I used to be one of those people running to the store last minute because I had run out of travel size shampoo, conditioner, soap. Plus there was always the occasional ‘Major Shampoo Explosion !’ moment (PS: Any F.R.I.E.N.D.S fans?).  I surely don’t miss those.

    With shampoo bars, I can now just carry a bar of soap in a case and I’m good to go. In a pinch, you can use the shampoo bar for your body and skin as well. Saves space, TSA can’t take it away, one less thing to remember to pack and saves money as well. Bonus, I don’t have to waste more plastic by using the small hotel-provided shampoo and conditioner bottles.

    8. Shampoo bars offer a lower carbon footprint

    Soap dish


    Shampoo bars are smaller, more compact and lighter as compared to bottled liquid shampoo. Plus I get more washes from a shampoo bar. So overall less energy, fuel and emissions are used for transporting shampoo bars (for an equivalent number of washes).

    9. Can use every last bit


    Ever struggled to get the last bit of the shampoo sticking to the walls of the bottle ? I know I did. I almost think they designed all these bottles specifically to make it hard to reach inside and get it all out. I didn’t have any choice but to toss the bottle out, wasting so much shampoo.

    With a shampoo bar I can use it till the bar disappears. When the bar gets too tiny I dry it out and keep it in a box. When I have 4-5 bars, I put them all in a soap saver bag and use it till the end.

    10. Shampoo bars are space savers

    Shampoo bars are lighter and more compact than bottled shampoo, relative to the number of washes you can get with the same amount of product. This is handy when you have to go camping, backpacking or any sort of travel. It also helps to declutter your bathroom and use less storage space under the counter. Plus, a soap bar on a dish looks infinitely better than a line of plastic bottles, don't you think so?


    What about you ? Have you tried using shampoo bars yet? How did you like it? Let me know in the comments below.

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