Solid Shampoo Bars: The Plastic-Free Way To Wash Your Hair

Solid shampoo bars have been around for the last few decades, but have been growing in popularity in the last few years. I think has been mainly due to people looking for an alternative, to reduce both plastic usage & to avoid some of the chemicals that are found in liquid shampoo. (Although chemicals can also be found in shampoo bars too)

Shampoo itself is still a relatively new concept, and its usage has increased dramatically. An article printed in 1908 suggested it was okay to wash your hair every two weeks, but suggests that four to six weeks is a better interval. I remember in my early twenties ( before children when I had a lot more time!), I would not leave the house without washing, drying and straightening my hair – I washed my hair almost every day.

Four children and a pixie cut later, my hair is lucky to get a 60-second shower, and I usually wash it 2 to 3 times a week. With the increase of the frequency of shampooing, the amount of plastic we use for shampoo has dramatically increased.

Solid Shampoo Bars - The Plastic Free Way To Wash Your Hair - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

A Zero Waste Bathroom

As part of switching to a more eco-friendly lifestyle, we wanted to try switching to solid shampoo. The great thing about shampoo bars is they are plastic free, and often packaged in more environmentally friendly packaging than their liquid counterparts. They naturally contain fewer chemicals because they don’t need preservatives or emulsifiers. Some shampoo bars claim to last up to four times longer than liquid shampoo, and I really hope that’s correct to offset the cost; they are more expensive!

There are many recipes for homemade solid shampoo bars online, and I would love to make some when I have more time on my hands. I love the look of these recipes from Going Zero Waste and Wellness Mama

I don’t know about you but I always find bathroom recycling seemed to find its way into the bathroom waste bin much easier than in any other area of our home. Having a plastic-free bathroom will definitely help.

Solid Shampoo Bars - The Plastic Free Way To Wash Your Hair - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

The SLS debate.

One thing you might like to consider before you make the leap is where you stand on the SLS debate. Sodium Laureth Sulfate (or SLS) is a chemical compound used in many cleaning products. It can irritate the skin, and as well as removing the dirt and grease, SLS also strips all the good oils from your hair. As our bodies have adapted to SLS use, we produce more oil to compensate, which in turn means hair needs washing more frequently, creating a vicious cycle.

Shampoo bars with SLS are similar to liquid shampoo. With SLS-free shampoo bars, you might find your hair takes a while to transition, similar to the ‘no poo’ method of hair washing. I have tried the no-poo method (short for no shampoo) a few years ago, but couldn’t get past the transition period, so we opted on an SLS shampoo bar to try initially, but you can read more about the “no poo” method and SLS here.

Solid Shampoo Bars - The Plastic Free Way To Wash Your Hair - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }


How Do I Use Solid Shampoo?

You work the shampoo bar in your hands to release the product, before applying and massaging into your hair like traditional shampoo. After shampooing, simply rinse the bar and leave out to air dry. It’s really important to let the bar dry out between uses, or it may disintegrate.

Solid Shampoo Bars - The Plastic Free Way To Wash Your Hair - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }

Where Can I Buy Solid Shampoo?

SLS Shampoo Bars

We bought our solid shampoo bars from Lush – and they smell & look gorgeous and have so far have been an easy swap for our household of two adults and four children. Seanik (blue) was recommended to me by a friend. These are some of the other shampoo bars that came highly recommended and I would love to try.

SLS Free

Shampoo Bar – available directly from  Emmas Soap <Fairtrade, Vegan, Palm Oil Free, Paraben Free & SLS Free>

Coconutty Soapnut Shampoo Bar <Vegan, Palm Oil Free, Paraben Free & SLS Free>

Friendly Soap Natural Shampoo Bar – Lavender & Tea Tree <Vegan, Palm Oil Free, Paraben Free & SLS Free>

J.R. Liggett Old-Fashioned Bar Shampoo – Coconut and Argan Oil <Vegan, Palm Oil Free, Paraben Free & SLS Free>

Pure Chimp Natural Shampoo Bar – Foamy Magic <Vegan, Palm Oil Free, Paraben Free & SLS Free>

Clovelly Soap Co Handmade Rosemary & Orange Natural Soap Bar <Vegan>

Shine Shampoo Bar – available directly from Shine Hair Group

The eco-friendly choice

Shampoo bars are a brilliant alternative to traditional liquid shampoo. They are smaller and lighter, which means less packaging and transport costs. Taking up less space means they are ideal for travelling ( just make sure you store in a waterproof container, (like this tin), and that they completely dry before popping them in). They contain fewer chemicals because they dont need the preservatives or emulsifiers like traditional shampoo, and they come packaged in eco-friendly cardboard instead of plastic, which is a fantastic choice for the environment too! Whats not to love?

What are your favourite eco- friendly swaps?

I would love to hear about your eco-friendly swap, please leave a comment below or you can also find me on Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Solid Shampoo Bars - The Plastic Free Way To Wash Your Hair - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }


Solid Shampoo Bars - The Plastic Free Way To Wash Your Hair - Hannah Tasker { Simple Living | Slow Living | Zero Waste | Eco Friendly Lifestyle }


If you would like to get in touch, please leave a comment below, they always make my day!



  1. Hooray to any product that helps stop the plastic pollution #goinggreen@_karendennis

    • Hannah Tasker March 5, 2018 at 4:06 pm - Reply

      Definitely! Little changes, but they make a big difference!

  2. Gina Caro @ Gypsy Soul March 5, 2018 at 11:34 am - Reply

    I use shampoo bars from Lush. I’ve got the honey one. I’ve tried others that don’t contain SLS and I’ve found that they work for a while but then just stop cleaning my hair properly. I’d love to find an SLS free bar that works for my hair type.
    For now, I’m just happy that we have reduced our bathroom waste. #GoingGreenLinky

    • Hannah Tasker March 5, 2018 at 4:05 pm - Reply

      I’ve only been using these a few weeks, but so far, so good! It would be nice to find an SLS free version that works too, I tried ‘no poo’ a few years ago and found the transition really hard. I would love to find a good alternative! Like you say though, I am happy at the moment to have found a way to reduce our bathroom plastic 🙂

  3. Emma Metson March 6, 2018 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    Shampoo bars are such a brilliant idea, and one I’ve toyed with the idea of for a while now.

    Lately I’ve been doing a lot of research into no and low poo, and I discovered I’d been using a low poo shampoo already! I really like the Dr Organics range from Holland and Barrett.

    Do you have hard water Hannah? If so, have you found that to be an issue with the results? I live in a super hard water area with little rainfall to use, so I always assumed shampoo bars wouldn’t work,

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Hannah Tasker March 6, 2018 at 4:05 pm - Reply

      Hi Emma. I do have hard water, and I think that’s partly the reason I found ‘no poo’ so difficult. The Lush shampoo bars do have SLS in, so are closer to regular shampoo and Ive had no problems, my hair always feels nice and clean. The only thing I have noticed is that my hair feels like it needs washing a little bit more regularly than it did with normal shampoo. I have found with the lush shampoo bar, I only need to use a tiny tiny amount, and it still lathers really easily, so I am going to try using a little less and see if that helps reduce the amount of times it needs washing! I am planning on writing a review post on the lush shampoo bars once I’ve been using 6-8 weeks, and then I want to try some of the other SLS free ones I mentioned to see how they compare.

  4. Tubbs March 7, 2018 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    I love the idea of solid shampoos but need to find one that works with grey hair as normal shampoo can make it look dull. Hopefully Lush will do one at some point.

    • Hannah Tasker April 7, 2018 at 7:53 pm - Reply

      If I hear of anything I will definitely let you know, hope you find something.

    • Kerri April 21, 2018 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      Feel exactly the same. Naturally going silver in my 20s and have embraced it.

  5. Rosie (@greenrosielife) March 28, 2018 at 5:24 am - Reply

    About a year ago I switched to shampoo bars made by a friend from goats milk. They do not contain SLS but I found doing a cider vinegar wash afterwards negated the need to go through the transition period. I too am in a hard water area. #GoingGreen

    • Hannah Tasker April 7, 2018 at 7:59 pm - Reply

      I’ve heard quite a few people say this now. I’ve tried ‘no poo’ and I am sure I still have ACV lurking somewhere, Thanks 🙂

  6. Donna April 6, 2018 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    I am going to try to make a solid shampoo bar using sodium coco sulfate instead of SLS. I’ll let you know how they turn out. EWG rating is safer than SLS.

    • Hannah Tasker April 7, 2018 at 7:57 pm - Reply

      I would love to hear how you get on, any safer alternative is good to hear about!

    • Hayley April 7, 2018 at 10:44 pm - Reply

      The bars from Unwrapped Life use SCS and many use ore essential oils for scenting! Their conditioner bars work amazing and are safe too! 🙂

  7. Hayley April 7, 2018 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    You should try the bars from Unwrapped Life! They are sodium coco sulfate based and many use pure essential oils for scents! Their conditioner bars are amazing too!

  8. Erin June 13, 2018 at 1:33 am - Reply

    Do you have similar recommendations for conditioner bars? I recently bought one from LUSH, but would love to know alternatives.

    • Hannah Tasker July 10, 2018 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      My hair is so short and fine I don’t tend to use conditioner a lot but its definitely something I want to include. We have only tried the lush ones so far and I find them hard to work into my hair. Someone suggested it might be easier to let them soak in a cup of warm water while you shower to make it easier to apply if that helps?

  9. Genna June 27, 2018 at 1:51 am - Reply

    I make the shampoo bar I use. It is SLS free, no detergents, all natural and organic. I love it! Smells amazing and my hair is full clean and soft. I use infused oils and ACV while making the shampoo bar so it has a closer pH level to our natural scalp. If you can’t tell, I absolutely love it!

    • Sarah February 22, 2019 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      Can I have your recipe?! I’ve been wanting to make my own but wasn’t sure what to use.

  10. Rebecca July 9, 2018 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    I have been wanting to make the switch to shampoo bars but didn’t know where to start (or if they worked!) – this blog post was tremendously helpful.

  11. Emily September 7, 2018 at 9:55 am - Reply

    Whilst I appreciate you are trying to help in regards the issue on plastic suggesting the use of lush shampoo bars I feel is going against what you are trying to achieve. SLS is a biproduct of palm oil which is reducing the rainforest and is resulting in a rapid reduction of the number of wild orangutans. Lush is marketing themselves as eco friendly when they are far from this.

    • Hannah Tasker September 8, 2018 at 8:34 am - Reply

      Hi Emily. I see what you are saying and completely agree with your points against palm oil. However for most people, moving to a product such as Lush that still contains SLS and is similar to tradition shampoo, is a better option than trying a more natural version and struggling with an harsher transition. I hope that baby steps for the masses will have a bigger impact overall. Having said that, I am hoping that science can come up a decent, eco friendly alternative to SLS and palm oil in the meantime!

  12. Rena October 22, 2018 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    I have been using lush for years! Probably 6 or so. Karma shampoo bar is my favorite.

  13. Isabel March 14, 2019 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    Great post and love the images. I’ve been using solid shampoo, conditioner, body moisturiser bars for something like 10 years now, have never seen exzema again (which I used to get from colourants in conventional shampoo), they’re great for the hair (all hairdressers seem happy with the condition of my hair), and actually safe a ton of money as they last forever AND managed to reduce plastic waste. A total no brainer for me…

  14. Mara April 23, 2019 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    I want to switch from normal shampoo to the shampoo bar. But in my Country I don’t find those, so does anyone have a recipe for making such a shampoo bar at home? thanks

  15. Dee May 12, 2020 at 11:45 am - Reply

    I’ve been on and off shampoo bars since 2015. I first started with the no poo method and paired it with an ACV rinse. It worked for a while but then my curls became lifeless so I had to stop. After a few years since switching back to traditional shampoos, I found a shampoo bar brand that I LOVE!! It contains no palm oil or SLS but used sodium coco sulfate instead. I purchased it through Zero Waste Cartel for about $13 USD. Unfortunately, their conditioner bar didn’t provide enough moisture for me. The Bar None conditioner bar worked wonderfully and made my curls look better than ever! They were out of stock on their website but I found it for $11 USD on Urban Outfitters’ website. Both of these products are a game changer!

  16. Rachel M June 3, 2020 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    Thank-you for this fascinating article. I’ve only just recently heard of these, I’m in the UK, and we do have Lush stores, but I can’t shop there because of the fumes! I sure will try to find some, though. I bet not many people even consider the plastic they’re using this way. Wouldn’t it be great if hotels provided shampoo bars instead of those little bottles?

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