Lush Shampoo Bar Review: The Best Shampoo Bar?

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Have you seen those Instagram posts of your friend taking a ridiculously pampering bath – complete with bright pink water and a fizzy bath bomb? Chances are they were showing off their recent Lush purchase. Anyone who enjoys a quality bubble bath has heard of Lush. Their bath bombs are a staple in many self-care routines. Fully fragrant and… well…luscious- what’s not to love? 

But as for the second part of the title – in the name of all that’s good and green, what is a shampoo bar? (That was more or less my reaction when I first stumbled across this phenomenon). I’ve been trying to channel my inner minimalist recently, and I’ve been decluttering wherever I can. Shampoo bars seem to be a great alternative to the usual five or six shampoo bottles I have on my bathtub ledge. If you’re also trying to declutter or downsize, then you’re about to officially become a shampoo bar advocate.

Let me put it this way: if you care about sustainability, the environment, wastage or just want to know exactly what chemicals are going into your hair, then shampoo bars are the Holy Grail of hair washing. And they’re just as effective as the liquid variety, too! For those of you who still need convincing (or just a general breakdown), bear with me and all will be explained.

What Is A Shampoo Bar?

Woman in shower washing brunette hair.

Shampoo bars are a healthier option than traditional liquid shampoos.

Take one glance at the ingredients label of any bottled, liquid shampoo and you won’t be surprised to find that we regularly put a shocking amount of chemicals on our scalp. Preservatives, foam boosters and fragrance agents are just a few examples. I don’t know about you, but that just doesn’t sit comfortably with me. It’s easy to forget that the stuff we put on our hair is absorbed into our scalp and consequently into our bloodstream. So essentially, we’re ‘eating’ these chemicals.

Shampoo bars contain less (next to zero) of these harmful substances. They’re renowned for being able to get your hair back to its natural shine and volume specifically through using natural ingredients. Ironically, this is achieved over time by clearing the residue left from those pesky liquid shampoos.

My favorite part about shampoo bars is that they’re drastically environmentally conscious. Not only do they require no packaging (reducing our use of plastic bottles), but bars also eliminate synthetic ingredients, decreasing groundwater contamination. As if that wasn’t enough, they’re usually cruelty-free too, because they contain mostly plant-based ingredients.

Now for those of you thinking “Frankly, I just want a shampoo that cleans my hair properly”, then I’m happy to inform you that shampoo bars are still the way to go! They’ll clean your hair just as well as liquid shampoos – if not better!

How To Use A Lush Shampoo Bar

Lush shampoo bar promotional banner.

Lush’s shampoo bars.

At first glance, shampoo bars might not look like much – they literally fit into the palm of your hand. However, don’t underestimate these bars (like I initially did). Lush’s Shampoo Bars boast the ability to last for up to 80 washes! Your mileage may vary, but bottled shampoo lasts me about a month on average. (Usually less- let’s be real, I’m a sucker for the old rinse-and-repeat.) If I wash my hair every other day like I normally do, that’s around 15 washes per bottle. This means that by using a bar, my shampoo lasts 5 times longer than liquid shampoo! Not only is this economical, but it’s also sustainable! Imagine how much plastic wastage you’d be saving if you used shampoo bars for even just one year!

Not quite sure how to use a Lush shampoo bar? It’s actually as easy using a bar of soap! Just rub it between your hands to create a lather. Or, if you’re really lazy like me, then just rub it directly onto your hair. Either way, you should get a nice foaming texture. Maybe a little less than liquid shampoo, but it definitely does the job just as well. Make sure not to use too much so your hair doesn’t feel waxy.

Top 5 Lush Shampoo Bars Reviewed

1. Lush Honey I Washed My Hair Shampoo Bar Review

Lush’s honey I washed my hair shampoo bar.

Lush’s honey I washed my hair shampoo bar.

If you need an everyday shampoo that just ‘does the job’, then Lush’s Honey I Washed My Hair shampoo bar is for you. The active ingredient in this shampoo is bergamot oil. Although bergamot oil is used mainly for its aromatherapeutic properties, its application to the scalp has endless benefits. It contains antioxidants to protect the hair against free radicals. It also strips the hair of its dirt without removing any natural oils. This leaves your hair shinier and the scalp clear from gunk. I noticed that my hair felt cleaner from the very first wash. My favorite part of this daily shampoo is the sweet smell of raw honey. I wish my hair smelled that way naturally!

2. Lush Seanik Shampoo Bar Review

Lush's seanik shampoo bar.

Lush’s seanik shampoo bar.

I save this shampoo bar for when my hair needs that really deep clean. The secret ingredient of the refreshing Seanik shampoo bar is Japanese nori seaweed, aka red algae of the genus Pyropia. To put it another way, nori is like a protein shake for your hair- it contains tons of protein! Hair recovery depends on deep scalp hydration, and the minerals provided in seaweed are not only nourishing but can also encourage thicker hair.

A 2013 study published in Archives of Craniofacial Surgery reported that according to their findings, “seaweeds possess hair-growth effects and may be useful for the treatment of alopecia in the future.” Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss, and some forms of alopecia can be managed and even reversed through proper treatment.

A different study from 2013 singled out brown algae, known as Ecklonia cava, and came to the conclusion that it is also highly beneficial. Their research suggested that “E. cava containing dioxinodehydroeckol promotes hair growth through stimulation of DPCs and ORS cells.” Those two cells groups play a crucial role in the ongoing maintenance and regeneration of hair, and based on the history of seaweed it comes as no surprise that this edible algae is so useful.

Using this shampoo bar after a particularly sweaty gym session, my hair felt shinier and full of volume. Personally, I wasn’t expecting such impressive results – I thought it would feel like I was ‘soaping’ my hair. Safe to say this was not the case! (Also, totally irrelevant side note – I love how you can see the actual seaweed pieces inside the bar! It makes the product feel raw and gives it that handmade touch that Lush brags about.)

3. Lush New Shampoo Bar Review

Lush's new shampoo bar.

Lush’s new shampoo bar.

Noticed that your hair seems to be thinning out? Add this New shampoo bar to your shower routine for a hair-thickening remedy like no other. The use of clove bud oil is what makes this shampoo so effective. Clove bud oil can increase blood circulation. A 2012 review of medicinal trends pertaining to the clove (Syzygium aromaticum), published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry found that “The aromatic oils of the clove have a
stimulant and irritant effect. Cloves can increase blood circulation and raise a person’s temperature slightly. The oils of the cloves have been known to stimulate and disinfect a body as it travels through the body.” Just to be clear, the irritation mentioned here is only a potential side effect, should large quantities of the oil be ingested. 

This escalated blood flow brings nutrients to the scalp and nurtures each individual hair follicle from the very root. It’s basically a stimulant for your scalp. The cinnamon extracts left my hair feeling tingly and my scalp fresh. I should mention that if you don’t like the unique smell of cinnamon, then this one’s not for you. My hair was definitely smelling on the sickly-sweet side. Personally I loved it, but I know some people don’t!

4. Lush Soak and Float Shampoo Bar Review

Lush's soak and float shampoo bar.

Lush’s soak and float shampoo bar.

The presence of cade oil in the Soak and Float shampoo bar makes it a strong contestant in fighting the anti-dandruff war. All you dandruff sufferers out there, listen up: cade oil is an age-old remedy for treating various skin conditions and irritations. It’s essentially a hyper-moisturizing antiseptic – mild but effective. I noticed that with this shampoo bar you need to give it a bit of a chance before seeing results. I attribute that to the fact that the cade oil is really getting to the core of the problem – it’s not just doing some quick fixing. The only complaint I have is that because it’s a solid shampoo it crumbles a little easily. But in terms of doing what it says on the non-existent tin – it’s a yes from me!

5. Lush Godiva 2-in-1 Shampoo Bar Review

Lush’s godiva 2-in-1 shampoo bar.

Lush’s godiva 2-in-1 shampoo bar.

Don’t have time for shampoo and conditioner? Don’t think your hair particularly needs conditioner? Try Lush’s Godiva 2-in-1 shampoo bar. Honestly, I don’t really have an excuse- I’m just sometimes too lazy to condition my hair, and this is my all-time favorite solution. It’s a do-it-all bar. Who knew something so small could accomplish so much? This particular shampoo bar is part of Lush’s vegan range (bonus points!). It contains fatty oils like jasmine oil and shea butter to get that extra moisture and shine you would get from conditioning. Shea butter contains oleic acid, which is readily absorbed into the skin and soothes the scalp.

A U.S. patent from the early 2000’s which involved plant-based remedies for hair, noted that “shea butter can be used as a hair dressing to moisturize a dry scalp and stimulate hair growth. Used as a pomade, it helps to hold the hairstyle and lightly relax curls.” The oleic acid and other fatty acids found in shea butter can help with certain kinds of hair. The author of the patent states at the beginning of the application that “plant extracts can be administered topically to enhance hair growth and hair restoration for damaged hair.”

The best part about this shampoo, in my humble opinion, is the scent. As mentioned previously, Lush is probably best known for its aromatherapeutic bath bombs. I was happy to discover that this was also the case with their shampoo bars. The smoky, wooden aroma of this bar left my hair smelling like it had received a well-deserved spa treatment. In a rush but still need those few self-care seconds? Grab the Godiva 2-in-1 and you’re sorted.  

DIY Natural Shampoo Bar Recipe And Guide

Bowl of lavender.

Try adding lavender to your DIY shower bar.

The handmade quality of shampoo and soap bars is part of their charm, if you ask me. Here’s a simplified but effective recipe to try for a DIY natural shampoo bar.

Mix ¼ cup beeswax, ¾ cup coconut oil, 2 ¾ cups olive oil and ½ cup sweet almond oil into a pot and melt on medium heat. The beeswax is used as a thickener and provides a moisture barrier on the skin. Coconut oil gives deep moisturization, which tackles issues like dandruff. It also prevents hair breakage and encourages hair to grow. Finally, the almond oil increases blood circulation to the scalp, nurturing each hair strand. Allow the melted mixture to cool to 100°F. (Use a thermometer, as this should be accurate!)

Next, make a cup of tea using chamomile tea bags (which contain antiseptic elements that can wash away dead cells). Let this sit in the refrigerator to cool. Now comes the fun part. Wearing gloves and a mask, pour ½ cup lye into 1 ¼ cups of filtered water and stir until dissolved. This mixture also needs to cool to 100°F.

Once both mixtures are at the same temperature, pour the lye water into the oil mixture and blend until an emulsion formulates. Add 2 tbsp of essential oils (I recommend lavender for that deep relaxation aromatherapy, as well as its ability to thicken hair. But if you’re looking for something a little less scented, try lemongrass for that fresh cleanse and strong-looking hair.) Blend well.

Pour the emulsion into a mold and keep it insulated. After 24 hours, remove it from the mold and leave for another day or two. Allow to cure for 4-6 weeks in a cool, dry place before using to your heart’s content!


Shampoo bars cannot be overlooked in terms of their environmental advantages. Unpackaged options are crucial in raising awareness of the overuse of disposable plastics. It’s something that often slips our mind (I blame this largely on practicalities), but when large brands start going package-free it increases alertness within the industry. Either way – I’ve decided that shampoo bars are a far better alternative to liquid shampoos. They’re genuinely more beneficial all around!

Lush, as a brand, stands for a lot of what I myself believe in. They use fresh, natural ingredients and remain not only cruelty-free but also keen activists against animal testing. One of my favorite aspects of the Lush products is the person behind each item. On the back of their packaging there’s a sticker with the face of whoever compounded your product. This highlights the hand-made quality of Lush’s products.

That being said, I love the DIY aspect of making at-home concoctions to replace my usual chemical-filled cosmetics and skin care products. I think it’s creative and gives me confidence that I know exactly what’s in stuff. However, if you don’t have time to make a shampoo bar at home, then Lush’s shampoo bars just might be your solution.