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Shampoo Bars Review: 10 Reasons to Make the Switch

Shampoo Bars are a new concept to me. I’m a creature of habit and rotate through the same few shampoos. I was intrigued when I started noticing this new concept. After months of trying out two popular brands, Kitsch and Viori, I’m ready to share my thoughts and let you know if they’re worth trying out. 

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Main Reasons Why I Switched: 

  • Convenience: easy storage and travel-friendly 
  • Sustainability: eco-friendly, reduces plastic waste and my carbon footprint
  • Cost Efficient: lasts longer than many traditional liquid shampoos

10 Reasons to Switch to Shampoo Bars

1. Reduced Carbon Footprint

Shampoo bars have minimal packaging, reducing plastic waste and saving water in the production process. Both Kitsch and Viori have plastic-free packaging. 

2. Travel-Friendly

Compact and leak-proof, shampoo bars are hassle-free for travel, even with airport liquid restrictions.

3. Compact Design

It takes up minimal shower space, and you can use a shampoo bar rack for easy organization.

4. Natural Ingredients

Free from harsh chemicals, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances, providing a gentler option for your hair and scalp.

5. Versatility

Some shampoo bars can double as body soap, simplifying your personal care routine.

6. Cost-Effective

Last longer than liquid shampoos due to higher concentration, reducing the need for frequent replacements.

7. Support Small Businesses

Many shampoo bars are handcrafted by local artisans, supporting sustainability and small businesses.

8. Biodegradable

Made with natural, biodegradable ingredients, shampoo bars are eco-friendly and require less water in production. Once you’re done with the shampoo bar, there’s nothing left to litter a landfill. Even the box is recyclable.

9. Gentle Cleaning

Ideal for sensitive scalps, dandruff, or eczema, thanks to gentle, natural ingredients, enhancing hair texture and shine.

10. Cruelty-Free

Shampoo bars are often cruelty-free and not tested on animals, aligning with ethical values.

viroi shampoo bar in package next to kitsch shampoo bar

Choosing Shampoo Bar for your Hair Type

Choose the right formulation for you, as shampoo bars are designed for different hair types. It also comes down to personal preference.

There are many shampoo bars on the market. I tried out two of the more popular brands, Kitsch and Viori, both made with plant-based ingredients. 

Kitsch Shampoo Bar 

Kitsch currently makes eight different formulations, four shampoos and four conditioners. They also have a hair mask. 

Kitch Shampoo Bar Types:

  • Strengthening Rice Water Protein Bar: for healthier looking hair and hair growth
  • Nourishing Castor Oil Bar: for a well balanced scalp
  • Clarifying Tea Tree & Mint: for a deep, refreshed cleanse 
  • Purple Toning Biotin Bar: neutralizes brassy tones for blonde and highlighted hair

Kitsch Conditioner Bar Types: 

  • Strengthening Rice Water Protein: for hair growth
  • Deep Moisturizing Coconut Oil: for dry, damaged hair
  • Hydrating Shea Butter: for nourished happy hair
  • Purple Toning Biotin Bar: neutralizes brassy tones for blonde and highlighted hair

Kitsch has a hair quiz on its website to help you choose the right product for you. They also offer a 60-day money back guarantee. 

I have coarse, thick, color-treated hair. I had a hard time deciding which one to try for the first time. Since I also suffer from a dry flaky scalp, I chose the Nourishing Castor Oil shampoo bar. I have not tried their conditioner bar yet.

Tea tree oils are know for their antimicrobial and soothing properties, which is great for anyone with dandruff or scalp psoriasis, so I also want to try that blend.

The only one I would not try is the one to improve hair growth, as I have thick hair and even get my hair regularly thinned out. 

teal background clover shaped frame hand holding kitsch shampoo bar in a box against white tiles

Viori Shampoo Bar 

Viori partners with the Red Yao tribe in Longsheng, China, to ethically source its ingredients, specifically their ancient rice. These women are known for their long, healthy hair. Viori commits a portion of their profits to provide school books, build bridges and fund various projects that benefit the tribe. 

Viori currently makes ten different shampoos, plus one for pets. They also make body wash and conditioner.

Viori Shampoo Bar Types:

  • Chamomile Rose Essential Oil
  • Citrus Zest Essential Oil
  • Hidden Waterfall Sweet Musk Scented: all hair types
  • Citrus Yao Citrus Scented: normal to oily hair types
  • Terrace Garden Floral Scented: normal to dry hair 
  • Native Essence Unscented: normal to dry hair 
  • Longsheng Rice Water Shampoo Bar for Men: Scottish Islay Whisky Infused
  • Citrus Zest Essential Oil 
  • Tea Tree Mint Essential Oil
  • Purple Toning Shampoo Bar

Like Kitsch, they also have a quiz on their website to help you decide on a product. I chose the Citrus Yao Citrus Scented, honestly, because it had the most reviews. 

hand holding viori round shampoo bar next to green packaging

My Personal Experience with Shampoo Bars: Kitsch vs. Viori

Kitsch Shampoo Bar: Castor Oil

The first shampoo bar I decided to try was the Kitsch shampoo bar, as I’ve been a big fan of this company for a while. Kitsch is a woman-owned, U.S based company in California. It’s products are vegan and cruelty-free. 

  • First Impressions: The shampoo bar came in a small fully recyclable cardboard box with no plastic packaging. The shampoo comes in a S-shape and the conditioners look like a “C.”
  • Ingredients: The main ingredients in the shampoo bar I tried, Nourishing Solid Shampoo Castor Oil, include natural fragrance derived from plants, natural color, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Vegetable Glycerin, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Natural Fragrance, and Iron Oxide.
    • Free of parabens, phthalates, silicones, sulfates, & artificial fragrance
  • Ease of Use: Kitsch recommends rubbing the bar in your hands to get the lather going. I found it easier to move the bar around my hair and scalp. The shampoo bar smells lightly fragrant and spa-like. The bar felt good in my hands, and not slippery like a bar of soap, and I found the lather impressive. 
  • Results: After the first wash, I noticed how soft my hair felt. I also have struggled with scalp issues ever since I was a kid, and my scalp didn’t just feel cleaner, it looked clearer. 
Kitsch Shampoo Bars
$11.18 ($3.49 / Ounce)

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02/19/2024 05:50 am GMT

Viori Shampoo Bar: Citrus Yao Citrus Scented

After a month or so of using Kitsch, I decided to try the Viori shampoo bar

  • First Impressions: The Viori shampoo bar arrived in what looks like a gift box. You open it up like a flower, and inside you’ll find the shampoo bar with an intricate etched design. Simply stated from the packaging to the product itself, the Viori shampoo bar is beautiful.
  • Ingredients: The ingredient list in the Citrus Yao shampoo bar includes Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Longsheng Rice Water, Cocoa Butter, Cetyl Alcohol, Shea Butter, Stearic Acid, Rice Bran Oil, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Vitamin B8, Vitamin B5, Bamboo Extract, Broccoli Seed Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Sodium Lactate, Aloe Vera, Vitamin E Acetate, and Jojoba Oil, with natural fragrance oil from essential oils derived from grapefruit, orange, lemon, mandarin, peach, and vanilla.
    • Sulfate-free, paraben-free,  phthalates-free, pH balanced, natural, 100% vegan, and cruelty-free.
  • Ease of Use: With this shampoo too, I decided it’s easiest to lather it directly on my head rather than in my hands. I found it doesn’t lather as easily as Viori and it seemed to have a milder scent. 
  • Results: Again, I noticed immediately softer hair. It looked shinier and silkier.
Viori Shampoo Bar
$18.00 ($5.62 / Ounce)

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02/19/2024 05:50 am GMT

With both these shampoos, I noticed softer, cleaner hair. I thought the Kitsch shampoo bar did a really good job on clearing up my scalp.

I recommended that my own children switch to shampoo bars. I prefer that they use as natural ingredients as possible.

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Drawbacks of Using Shampoo Bars

Although there are many benefits to switching to shampoo bars, there are some things to be aware of: 

  • Storage: Shampoo bars need to be kept dry when not in use, as they can dissolve if they stay wet for extended periods. This means you need to have a good draining soap dish or a dedicated dry area in your bathroom for your shampoo bar. I’ve been keeping mine in the box.
  • Allergies: Although rare, some people might experience allergies. Ingredients such as essential oils and botanical extracts, while natural and beneficial for many, can be potential allergens for some users. It is always recommended to check the ingredients list thoroughly if you have known sensitivities or allergies.
  • Learning Curve: Unlike regular shampoo, it’s hard to gage how much product to use.
  • Mistaken for Bar Soap: Another reason for keeping it in it’s original box is that this shampoo could easily be mistaken for a bar of soap, especially if you share your shower with other family members.
Kitsch Stainless Steel Shower Caddy with Suction Cup

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02/19/2024 05:40 am GMT

How to Use a Shampoo Bar the Right Way

  1. Water: Initiate your shampooing process by thoroughly wetting the shampoo bar under running water. This helps activate the ingredients and aids lathering.
  2. Lather: Now, rub the shampoo bar between your wet hands to generate a rich lather. You can also directly apply it to your wet hair if you prefer as I do, creating lather with gentle circular motions.
  3. Apply to Hair: You’ve produced the lather; next, spread it evenly through your hair. Being attentive to the scalp is critical. This is where most dirt and oil build up, so give it a good, but gentle scrub.
  4. Massage: It’s not simply about cleaning, but also nourishing. Slowly massage the shampoo into your scalp – this helps in blood circulation, promoting healthier and stronger hair.
  5. Rinse Thoroughly: Once you have evenly distributed the lather and gently massaged your scalp, rinse your hair with ample water. Any residual shampoo can lead to a dry, itchy scalp, so thorough rinsing is essential.
  6. Repeat if Necessary: Based on the degree of dirt or oil in your hair, you may need to repeat the process. I wash my hair infrequently so I always shampoo twice. Just remember, overwashing can strip away necessary oils from your scalp, so don’t overdo it.
  7. Store the Bar Properly: Post uses, pat dry the shampoo bar and store it in a dry place. Leaving it soaked or in a puddle of water can make the bar soggy and reduce its life span.

Will I Switch Back to Normal Shampoo? 

I went into a little bit skeptical. I don’t have the easiest of hair. It’s hard to find a shampoo gentle enough on my dry scalp, safe for color-treated hair that also removes product buildup.

I don’t wash my hair more than three times per week, and in between when I style it, I add products like dry shampoo, oils, and leave-in conditioner. I also add heat to it, using a flat iron or curling iron. I find washing my hair less frequently doesn’t strip my hair of its natural oils. But it also means I need a shampoo that works. 

I work out five to six times per week, and pull my hair back in a ponytail or messy bun daily

I’d like to try to reduce my plastic use in general. I’ve already switched to laundry detergent sheets and more sustainable dishwashing pods. Not every eco-friendly product, in my experience, does the best job, but these shampoo bars exceeded my expectations. Plus, they’re way easier to travel with than regular shampoos. 

After a few months of use, I have to say I am a convert. I’m excited to try out both Kitsch and Viori’s different formulas and their conditioner bars. Although I’ll always have a bottle of traditional shampoo in my shower, I think I’ll try to reach more for the shampoo bars. 

So my advice for you, try out some of the most popular shampoo bars and see if you find one that you like. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. 

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