The concept of bar cleaners is certainly nothing new, but as brands become more aware of packaging waste and water consumption, formulas that use less water are gaining in popularity. Many beauty enthusiasts have probably given dry shampoos a whirlwind at one point, but a shampoo bar is a completely different format that cleanses hair more like a traditional shampoo. And just like a bar body wash, a shampoo bar is water activated but contains ingredients that are suitable for removing oil and product buildup while meeting the needs of different hair textures.
As cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson explains in a recent episode of Seduce‘s The Science of Beauty podcast, your typical shampoo formula – liquid and bars – contains surfactants to emulsify oil and dirt on hair and scalp. What you also get from many of these bar cleaners are ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter to leave in moisture and shine.
Instead of pouring liquid shampoo through your hair, you can either lather the bar in the palms of your hands and then work the lather from roots to ends; or, for less foaming formulas, rub the bar directly onto the roots while the water runs through your hair. Once your strands are coated with the cleanser, massage the shampoo into your roots and through the ends of the hair to loosen debris and dirt, then rinse thoroughly.
You should buy a shampoo bar just like you would a traditional hair cleanser – depending on your texture needs. Some of these solid soaps help take an extra step in your washing routine by combining both cleanser and conditioner in one. Others contain soothing oils, butters, and aloe vera, which target scalp issues such as dryness and flaking. There are even sulfate-free options if that’s your preference.
With a growing list of bars to choose from, we’ve rounded up new and original solid shampoos to meet a range of textures and specific hair needs. Keep scrolling to see our choices.
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