As the beauty industry moves increasingly in the direction of sustainability, brands are getting pretty innovative in the ways they formulate, package, and provide us with our essentials and favorite products. One way you see this in the hair care space is with bars. This is great because switching to bars means less packaging—no plastic tubes, tricky pumps, or so on: These handy little self-contained beauty products come wrapped in paper.
Now, we should note that conditioner and shampoo bars aren't necessarily new (wellness-minded folks have been fans for years), but they are certainly becoming more popular with more brands and options entering the market. And with more options come more diverse offerings, better able to tend to all hair types—from straight to curly, from color-treated to sensitive scalps. Here, our favorites.
What are conditioner bars, and how do you use them?
Conditioner and shampoo bars, if you're not familiar, look identical to bar soap that you might use on your hands or body. But these contain ingredients specific to your tresses and scalp. In shampoo bars, for example, you'll find natural surfactants and cleansing agents. In conditioner bars, like the below, you'll find loads of nutrients and hydrators.
When using a conditioner bar, you can do it one of two ways: Apply it directly to your hair, letting the strands soak up the nutrients, or work it between your hands first before transferring the product. Just be sure you're using enough—it may take time to get used to how much you need—but one sign that you're not applying enough is if you are having trouble detangling or your hair feels knotty.
The Earthling Co. Conditioner Bar in Simple Fresh
While these come in a variety of scents (seven total), we're partial to the bittersweet yet tingly fragrance of this peppermint option. The formula is made with rich cocoa butter but also lightweight options like rapeseed and jojoba oils. You'll love this if volume and lift at the roots are some of your top goals.
Conditioner Bar in Simple Fresh, The Earthling Co. ($15)
Brite Organix Bar None Hydrating Conditioner Bar
This zero-waste brand (the outer box is compostable) hydrates with coconut and shea butter. It goes a step further with the hydrogenated wheat protein: These are common in even traditional conditioners as they can tend to damage and brittleness. Reach for this if you're prone to breakage or regularly use hot tools and need a reset.
Bar None Hydrating Conditioner Bar, Brite Organix ($12)
HiBar Moisturize Conditioner Bar
We love this option for the easy-to-use shape. The rounded bottom sits easily in your palm, while the pointed and slanted top makes it easy for you to maneuver between strands, hit the scalp (ideal for those with dry, itchy scalps), and target areas that need extra attention.
Moisturize Conditioner Bar, HiBar ($12)
Naples Soap Co. Boyfriend Conditioner Bar
Trust us: You're going to fall for this scent. The blend mixes notes like oak, amber, and musk with bright lime and green herbs. The result is something that feels fresh, modern, and sophisticated. Not to mention the base of jojoba oil and cocoa butter comes topped with vitamin E, an oil-soluble antioxidant that helps strands fight free radical damage.
Boyfriend Conditioner Bar, Naples Soap Co. ($9)
Kitsch Deep Moisturizing Conditioner Bar
Rich and dense with a triple crown of cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil. This is perfect for anyone who needs extra moisture (looking at you, readers with curls). And this lasts for up to 100 washes, seriously.
Deep Moisturizing Conditioner Bar, Kitsch ($14)
Eco Roots Moroccan Oil Conditioner Bar
In addition to coconut oil and cocoa butter, this comes cocktailed with Moroccan oil. This oil is ideal for hair, as it contains fatty acids, antioxidants like vitamins A and E, and also has properties to mend damaged hair. It's topped with a lemon peel extract to add shine.
Moroccan Oil Conditioner Bar, Eco Roots ($10.50)
Unwrapped Life Round Conditioner Bar in Detoxifier
If you color your hair blond, you may be tempted to steer clear of conditioner bars, as bleached hair is notorious for needing extra attention so it doesn't turn brassy. (Usually blondes turn to purple-tinted options, as they neutralize the undertones.) This harnesses the power of charcoal to tone hair and then is buffered with super-hydrating aloe vera.
Round Conditioner Bar in Detoxifier, Unwrapped Life ($14)
Ethique In The Buff Conditioner Bar
Sensitive scalp and skin? This unscented leaves out the fragrance, so those with easily irritated skin can get in on the action. But it doesn't stop there. It also has actives like less-allergenic babassu oil, THC-free hemp oil (to help ease inflammation), and hydrating cocoa butter.
In The Buff Conditioner Bar, Ethique ($17)