Ditch the Shampoo Bottle

Did you know there are 552 million shampoo bottles produced a year that could be ending up in landfills. And since it’s plastic, some surely lands in our oceans, breaking down into micro and nano plastics and therefore entering our food stream through fish and impacting many other loved ocean creatures.

If you just listen and keep your eyes and ears open, you find solutions to avoid using plastic. Bar Soap Shampoo + Conditioner! I didn’t even know that was a thing. I was definitely skeptical if this form of shampoo + conditioner would even work and specifically provide the moisturizing I needed in a conditioner. I have always been a bar soap user so I figured I should definitely give this a try. I am a true believer and total convert to bar Shampoo and Conditioner. I LOVE IT! It did take a little time to find the right products so I want to share what I learned and my top recommendations. For context, I will share that I have shoulder length straight hair that is normal to dry (from swimming). I shower and wash my hair daily.

First, how do you use it? Hop on into the shower and wet your hair + the bar of shampoo. Slide the bar from the root to the tip 4 or so times. Than lather, rinse + follow with conditioner if needed.  Keep it in a tray so it can dry out between uses and avoid letting it sit in water.

I was impressed with all the Bar Shampoo options I tried as all seemed to lather really nicely, clean my hair and rinse well. The conditioner bars I tried were hit or miss. Pricing also varied quite a bit. My hair can be a little dry and found two great options of the 4 brands I tried. Ultimately my top recommendation is based largely on how I felt it worked and it’s a nice bonus that it is not the most expensive option.

Brands I tried: Basin, Ethique, Sweet + Sassy and Lush

Image of my shower below. On the left is Ethique with their storage container. On the right side is Basin Swim repair. In the center is Method Simply Nourish Bar Soap which I love! And not just because I work there 😉

bar shampoo + conditioner

My top choice by the narrowest of margins is Basin which is available in a few free standing stores across America and  in Hy-Vee grocery stores in the mid-west. I was fortunate enough to be traveling for work and check out the Basin section of a Hy-Vee store in Des Moines. I was stunned and thrilled when I saw they had a whole wall of Bar Shampoo and Conditioner. At this point, I had already received a few other brands I was testing out. I am so glad I happened upon these products. I bought the Charcoal Shampoo and Conditioner. As soon as I tried the combination, I knew I found the best of the best. The shampoo lathered really nicely + rinsed clean. The conditioner was by far my favorite on how it felt when massaging my hair, to post rinse out and how it felt out of the shower and when styled. Then I panicked! Am I going to have to go back to Des Moines to get my hair care fix? More importantly, how do I recommend something that is only available at Hy-Vee? Well thank you internet! You can order online at Basin Bar Shampoo + Conditioner. I ordered few more fragrances of bar shampoo and conditioner just to make sure I liked a variety of their offerings. They have so many options!  I tried the Macaroon which smells lovely and works just as good as the Charcoal. I think the Charcoal conditioner is a little bit more moisturizing. I also tried the Swim Repair, obviously since I am a swimmer. And that worked really well! All and all super happy with this find and highly recommend this brand of bar shampoo + conditioners. The only disappointment was packaging. There was quite a bit plastic in the shipment that I received with each bar wrapped in bubble wrap. However, I did  reach out to customer service and asked if they can ship in a more sustainable way. They said add a “no plastic” note next time I check out. There is an added risk of the bars breaking but I think the risk is minimal and worth it. And I would love to see them provide some travel or tray option for their bars.

  • Charcoal Shampoo + Conditioner bar $8.99 for each bar
  • Macaroon Shampoo + Conditioner bar $8.99 for each bar
  • Swim Repair Shampoo + Conditioner bar $8.99 for each bar


My super close second is Ethique. What I love is that they have 8 varieties of Bar Shampoo and 2 Conditioners. I used the Damage Control Shampoo Bar and the Guardian conditioner bar. The results are great! The shampoo lathers nicely and the conditioner leaves my hair moisturize and tangle free. Ethique also offers a fantastic shower storage container. And get this, it is made with bamboo + sugarcane and is completely compostable (will last up to 5 years in the shower). In addition, the packaging that the bars arrive in is completely compostable. They even have a biodegradable sticker! I mean this company really has thought through everything to make your shower experience as zero waste as possible. They are a B Corp (high Five!), Cruelty free + New Zealand made. I have flip flopped on which is my top choice. Ultimately, I think you will be very pleased with either Basin or Ethique. I will definitely continue to use both Ethique + Basin and since I have bought quite a few samples to fully vet what is best. I keep one set in my home shower, a set in my gym locker and another in my travel bag. I think I am set for years!

$15.50 for Shampoo Bar + $18 for conditioner. I noticed slightly lower pricing on amazon vs. their website

Affiliate Link: Ethique Bar Shampoo – Damage Control

Affiliate Link: Ethique Guardian Conditioner Bar

Affiliate Link: Ethique Storage Container

Coming in 3rd is Sweet & Sassy “Sun Kissed”– Available on Amazon $17.95 for two shampoo bars + 1 conditioner bar in plastic containers which are great for travel and storage. I would love if they offered tins vs. plastic containers. Lush does offer a bar soap tin. Like all the other brands, the shampoo bar lathers really nicely and rinses clean. The conditioner felt like it was moisturizing in the shower but when I went to style and go, my hair felt a little dry. With this brand, you may need to add something like a leave in conditioner or argon oil if your hair is normal to dry. It is quite a nice value for the price.

Affiliate Link: Sweet + Sassy Shampoo and Conditioner Bar

I wanted Lush to be my favorite since it is a store I can actually go buy the product vs. shipping. Lush offered quite a few Shampoo Bar options and the one I bought lathered nicely, cleaned well and rinsed well. They only offered two conditioning bars and I was disappointed by the conditioning bar. Even massaging it into my hair was a challenge and the rinse did not leave it with a nice silky finish as most of the others. After styling it, my hair also felt like it needed a bit more moisturizing.

Bar Shampoo “Honey I Washed my Hair” $10.95

Bar Conditioner “Big” $12.95

Lush Hair Products

Hopefully this will help you to feel confident to ditch the bottle and try Bar Soap, Bar Shampoo and Bar Conditioner. I would love to hear your feedback on your experience!

*disclosure: Some links in this blog are affiliate links, meaning I make a little bit of money but at no additional cost to you. I will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. This will help me to continue to explore and offer up recommendations to reduce your plastic usage.

One Comment on “Ditch the Shampoo Bottle

  1. Pingback: Year 1 of My Plastic Free Mission | greenswimmergirl

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