One of the most enjoyable discoveries I have made since we stopped buying anything packaged in plastic are shampoo soap bars. Unpackaged and made from just a few ingredients, shampoo bars are good for your hair and scalp and so easy to switch to. They can last up to three times as long as a bottle of shampoo and you’ll be amazed at the variety and quantity available. If you are worried that your hair won’t be as soft, manageable and clean, or if you are worried about colour treated hair, dandruff or a build-up of soap in your hair, then let me put your mind at rest. Since using shampoo soap bars which are mild and often hand-made with natural essential oils, I have not needed any conditioner or restorative treatments and my hair is easy to brush and very healthy.

The ordinary bottle of shampoo on the supermarket shelf contains a concoction of 20+ chemical ingredients that have various levels of toxicity. Some strip your hair and scalp of natural oils (detergents SLS and SLES) whilst others coat your hair with silicon-based substances. The ill effects of chemical preservatives called parabens are relatively well known. Many of the ingredients are petroleum based and the by-products from the production of fragrances include dioxin and formaldehyde.

There are many organic shampoos on the market but they all seem to be bottled in plastic. It never seizes to amaze me that the purest of ingredients imaginable are nevertheless packaged in plastic. There is an anti-shampoo movement out there called ‘no poo’  whose members advocate washing hair with bicarbonate of soda and apple cider vinegar. But I love using shampoo bars because it allows me to carry on with the daily ritual of washing my hair with something that smells good and makes lots of bubbles.

Where to buy shampoo bars:

  • Wild Sage – small family-run business near Bristol, hand crafting cold processed soaps and skin-loving balms from natural ingredients.
  • One Village sell a beautiful neem and sandalwood shampoo bars suitable for hair and skin, containing no animal fats. This UK based foundation works directly with community organisations in some of the most economically stretched parts of the world since 1979:
  • The Natural Soap is a small, ethical company based in Norfolk who sell gorgeous tropical coconut and neem shampoo bars made by a cold-process soap making method with a basic mixture of vegetable oils and fats, sodium hydroxide, water, natural nutrients and essential oils:
  • Living Naturally – vegan, homemade in the UK, organic and 100% natural, Ayurvedic but a little more expensive:
  • Lush – warning: products contain SLS and other synthetic ingredients. Lush products are somewhat controversial as a lot of the ingredients are not as organic or green as their image and marketing would suggest. However, if you are starting out on the journey of zero-plastic packaging, Lush offer a quick and easy high street solution with some 20 different unpackaged shampoo and conditioning soap bars for different hair types.

Read more:

What’s really in your shampoo?

5 Toxic chemicals probably found in your shampoo

Where do all the shampoo bottles go?

The No Shampoo Method

Guardian article on Lush

13 thoughts on “SHAMPOO SOAP BARS

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Dominika. Some other readers made similar observations about Lush. I have edited the post and changed the picture to show the truly ‘natural’ soaps from One Village and from Natural Soap in Norfolk.

    2. Emma Evans

      I own Rush Organics, a completely plastic free online store. I sell handmade shampoo bars, conditioner bars, soaps and essentials. All my products are free from SLS, palm oil, parabens and silicone. Please take a look. I’m a new independent business but growing quickly.

  1. Julie

    Hi there Claudia I have just met your mum and she asked me to contact you with details of our products. We make natural skin care and also a natural shampoo. uk good luck with your plastic free life, this is something very close to my heart

    1. admin Post author

      Hi Julie, thanks for getting in touch. I love the look of your products and your beautiful website! How wonderful to have these products grown and produced locally!

  2. Elizabeth Beesley

    I have just bought some shampoo bar soap from the Natural Soap company but have noted that it contains Palm oil – difficult!

  3. Pingback: TRAVELLING WITHOUT PLASTIC | Living Without Plastic

  4. Charlotte Vallance

    Thanks so much for such a lovely blog post! Taking my first step away from bottled shampoo and this was so helpful to have some lovely UK companies to look at. Have gone for Wild Sage so fingers crossed!

    1. admin Post author

      I think One Village shampoo bars last very long, as do Friendly Soap shampoo bars. The bars work best with short to medium long hair. You need to work the soap into a really good lather and wash out well. It takes a little longer than liquid soap but you’ll soon get used to it 🙂

  5. Lesley Mair

    I love the idea of shampoo bars for all the reasons mentioned and the convenience of travelling without bottles! I’ve tried several different bars. My hair feels squeaky clean when it’s still wet but it’s not so good when it’s dry. It feels heavy and sticky. I spend ages rinsing it and I’ve tried using conditioner after it, same result. I live in a lovely soft water area in Scotland and my plastic bottle, free from everything shamooo leaves my hair soft and lovely (she said modestly!!) Any suggestions gratefully received! Best wishes, Lesley

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