Published on June 8, 2019

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Photo by Cody Guildfoyle

Betrayal is always devastating no matter the culprit, but deception via beauty products cuts especially deep. Did your shampoo purposefully mean to spill all over your suitcase and soak your clothing? No. But does it hurt (and stain) all the same? Most definitely.

If you’ve been forsaken by a travel-size hair-care product in the past, you are not alone. But there is a tidy, handy alternative. Enter the shampoo bar: hair care’s newest reinvention that has been showing some serious ingenuity. The bar of soap used to be seen as a means to an end. Meaning, it will wash your hair, but it’s probably not your first choice when it comes to options. The formulas didn’t help its case; they were drying or left locks feeling sticky or somehow a combo of the two.

However, a shampoo via a bar is wildly convenient. Not only is it wonderfully TSA-approved come travel time, but it reduces plastic consumption and excess waste. Thankfully, a handful of brands have been quietly repackaging the way we think of shampoo bars, by making the formulas more effective and the aesthetic more attractive. Bonus points: You can use these bars for your whole body, eliminating the need to also pack body wash. (What a time to be alive!)

Here are six options we’ve been trying out, all in the name of clean hair on the go.

If You Want French-Girl Hair

Lusting after that certain je ne sais quoi? Then look to the French master Christophe Robin, who has been creating the effortless Parisian look for more than 30 years. One of his newer inventions is this aloe bar, meant to deeply hydrate hair and impart enviable shine. It’s probably more suitable for coarser or dry hair types, as the aloe vera deeply moisturizes.

If You Want It to Be Eco-Friendly

The closest thing to standard shampoo in this roundup, Humankind’s bar will work on most hair types and lasts nearly forever. On top of that, the packaging is biodegradable and all ingredients are ethically sourced. Consider it the shampoo of the future, thanks to its recyclable background, unisex stance, and plastic-free existence.

If You Want It Colorful

Lush is the O.G. in the shampoo bar community—it has been singing the bar’s praises for decades. This is for consumers who want their shampoo in a plethora of bold colors and even bolder scents: The brand currently has 11 options. Lush says each bar will last for at least 80 washes, making this under-$12 purchase worth every penny.

If You Want It Moisturizing

There’s a bar for every hair type in the SheaMoisture world, from an oil-absorbing rhassoul clay version to a balancing manuka honey option. This bar, which comes in six iterations, is specifically designed for thick, curly hair. The brand also has strict ingredient inclusions, so you know you’re getting a shampoo that’s actually good for your hair, all the while not breaking the bank.

If You Prefer It to Be Compostable

This one is a bar for the whole family, thanks to its simple usage and even simpler ingredient list. It’s a lathering and hydrating formula, made of clean ingredients, and comes in compostable packaging. A foolproof shampoo for normal-to-dry hair types.

If You Prefer to Support Cats Riding Bikes

If you find yourself constantly referring to your hair as dry or dehydrated, give this bar a try. Made of super-moisturizing hemp seed oil and coconut milk, the shampoo was created to condition and soften. It also has a dreamy floral scent that will make washing your locks feel like a heavenly escape. Because it’s so hydrating, it might be less ideal for fine strands.

See more hair tips:
16 Drugstore Hair Products That Are Better Than the Splurge
5 Things a Hair Growth Scientist Wants You to Stop Doing
Your Favorite Hair Product Is Actually Bad for You