The Pros and Cons of Bar Shampoos

Hey there,

Once upon a time, I had a real talent for packing toiletries that exploded in my backpack when I travelled. Then, I discovered shampoo bars. I thought they were the answer to my problem! But I eventually cut ties with my shampoo bars for two reasons:

1) they turned my fine hair into a stringy mess, and ....
2) I couldn’t deal with the gloopy mess they created when stored wet. 

Now, I’m ready to come back to the bar after examining the pros and cons. 

Here’s the basic breakdown.

The clean cut pros:
√ they have zero packaging
√ they last a long time, which makes them more affordable over the long haul
√ they are leak proof and therefore great for travel


The cons (or rather, the questions you might have): 
✗ Will a solid shampoo leave your hair buoyant and shiny? 
✗ Will it lock in moisture? 
✗ Can it possibly be buildup-free?
✗ How do I store it without it getting all gunky in my shower?

We gotcha. We had the same questions too.

Those who are liquid loyalists will tell you that bar shampoos can leave your hair limp and residue-ridden. As I found out, they’re right. Kind of.

The truth is, shampoos bars are not all made the same. 

Sure, most of them are better for the planet. (Look, Ma! No excess packaging!) Most of them are compact and leak-free and therefore, better for travel. And most of them are made of all-natural ingredients without the kinds of gross additives used in commercial shampoos. 

Sounds great! But are they right for YOU?

That depends entirely on the shampoo bar you use. 

Many—if not most—shampoos made through the DIY process usually use a process called saponification, the means by which oils and fats are turned into soap. Typically found on Etsy and other public marketplaces, these types of shampoo bars have a basic pH between 8 and 11. Since human hair has an acidic pH of around 5, these types of cleansers actually harm and dry out our hair. And, to make matters worse, they can leave behind nasty soap scum.

What you’ll want to use is a shampoo that is made up of all-natural  ingredients and is formulated with the same properties as a high-quality, pH-balanced liquid—but in bar form. This kind of bar will give you that sudsy, foamy, and clean experience you’d expect from a great shampoo—minus all the plastic, sulphates, parabens, and anything else you want to avoid. 

Where can I find a good shampoo bar?

The shampoo bar market is exploding and new options are popping up every day. Since different formulas work better on different hair types, you might want to test out a few sample bars from different brands to figure out what you like best.  

We just launched our new shampoo bars, made with 100% plant-based ingredients. Like our recently released conditioner bars, they’ve been tested on all types of hair: thick and fine, curly and straight, long and short, coloured and dry. It’s the same formulation as a natural shampoo—without all the water! 

Want to give them a try? 

And when it comes to storage?  Check out the SOAP STANDLE, which claims to prolong the life of your bar shampoos by reducing the ‘goo’ that builds up in traditional soap dishes.  

- Chantal + team etee

conditioner bar plastic free shampoo bar sustainable

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