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  • Writer's pictureJessica McQuistin

Sustaina-Mini: Shampoo Bar Edition

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

In a recent sustaina-mini post, I shared my typical morning routine, which does not include washing my hair (something I do about every three to five days). So, what do I use on hair-wash days? I've been slowly experimenting with different shampoo bars and I'm excited to fill you in on what I've learned so far!

I love how shampoo bars eliminate the need for plastic packaging, and for shipping large quantities of liquid to stores and to consumers. Most shampoo bars are more costly than a bottle of shampoo, but tend to last for quite a while - around 80 washes is what most bars claim. They're also usually made with more natural ingredients than your average bottle of shampoo, which can contain substances that are harmful to the environment and to humans (sulfates, parabens, fragrance, etc.).

So far I've tried three shampoo bars and one conditioner bar on my straight, mid-length, slightly dry hair. Keep in mind that what works for one person's hair may not work for another's so finding the right shampoo bar for your hair (if that's something you're interested in) could take some time.

1. The Soap Works' Shampoo & Conditioner Bar

2. Birch Babe's Citrus Swirl Shampoo & Body Bar

3. Lush's Honey I Washed My Hair Shampoo Bar

4. Lush's American Cream Pressed Conditioner

All of the bars I've tried are made in Canada and sold package-free (yay!) and the three shampoo bars all lather surprisingly well.

Here's what sets them apart:

1. The Soap Works' Shampoo & Conditioner Bar

  • $1.99 - $2.49

  • made in Toronto, ON

The price of this bar is unbeatable! It's made of all natural and biodegradable ingredients, including aloe vera, and has a light soapy scent. This bar made my hair feel a little too squeaky clean for my liking, and it was difficult to fully rinse out. On the other hand, my husband liked how it worked on his short hair, and has switched to using it daily! (Unlike me, he washes his hair every day, as it tends to get oily and/or sweaty from exercise.) Overall, this bar is well worth a try for the price!

2. Birch Babe's Citrus Swirl Shampoo & Body Bar

  • $12.00

  • made in Northbrook, ON (about an hour north of Belleville)

How pretty are those swirls and the tree stamp?! This hydrating bar has a mild clean citrus scent and is made of all natural ingredients including grapefruit and tea tree oil. This bar works well on my slightly dry hair and I love how nourished my hair looks and feels when I wash and style it right away. (With conventional shampoos, my hair can feel a little too dry when it's freshly washed.) I would definitely recommend this shampoo bar!

3. Lush's Honey I Washed My Hair Shampoo Bar

  • $12.95

  • made in Toronto, ON & Vancouver, BC

This bar smells heavenly - or as Lush describes it, like "warm and melty honey caramel". Mmmm! This bar is recommended for dry hair, and contains mostly natural ingredients, including fair trade honey, beeswax and sweet wild orange oil. Of all three bars I've tried, this one leaves my hair the lightest and fluffiest without drying it out, and keeps it feeling clean the longest. So far, this one is my personal fave, but Birch Babe's is a very close second!

4. Lush's American Cream Pressed Conditioner

After using either of these shampoo bars, my hair still needs conditioner. Conditioner bars are harder to find so I've only tried this one so far, which has a mild sweet and creamy scent. This bar works well on my hair but is more difficult to lather than the shampoo bars. While I can easily create lots of suds by rubbing the shampoo bars between my hands, I have to rub this one against my scalp to get the product into my hair. I wouldn't mind trying other conditioner bars for comparison, but I'm very happy to continue using this one, as my hair always comes out silky smooth.

Have you tried shampoo or conditioner bars? Let me know if you have a favourite!

I also wanted to mention that a reader recommended Bear Naked Naturals shampoo bars, made in North Bay, Ontario. I might just have to check them out next!


For more on conditioner bars, check out Update to Sustaina-Mini: Shampoo Bar Edition!

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Have any topics you'd like to hear about? Share in the comments or send me a message. I'm always open to your suggestions!

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