Round, square, rectangular, shampoos become solid and come in convenient, compact and fragrant formats. Meeting the favor of the public, who crowned them this season’s sales princes. A passing fashion or a discovery with more concrete and future-oriented perspectives? The shampoo-bar it is not just a matter of captivating shape or generic green attitude, it is rather a step, actually pleasant, towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
«It is in fact an invention developed to save water, space and plastic: a stick of solid shampoo is equivalent on average to two bottles of classic shampoo and allows considerable savings also in terms of consumption to produce, transport and distribute it. Since it does not contain water, it reduces its use by up to 90%, but above all it avoids waste ”, he explains Umberto Borellinicosmetologist and lecturer at various universities.
The “naked” product also does almost completely without packaging, which it is recyclable and zero impact. It is no coincidence that the first solid shampoos were proposed years ago by independent brands committed to the ecological front.
Today they have also spread among the major brands because never as now the attention is focused on the health of the planet as a necessary premise for individual well-being, with the corollary of green proposals also in terms of beauty. A discourse that appeals to those who are most attentive to ecology, but which is also conquering those who, pragmatically, are looking for an immediate advantage in terms of time and quality for themselves.
The new shampoo bars, in fact, are easy to carry: in the gym and pool bag they take up minimal space and weigh only a few grams. A plus that you can also take advantage of when you travel: on the plane they go in hand luggage without problems, and in general weight and mini dimensions leave more space in the suitcase. An expanding universe that offers new products every month.
But which are the best? We have examined 14, preferring 4. Find out by what criteria we have chosen them.
“Solid shampoos look like soaps, but they aren’t: they are a compound of solid surfactants and nourishing plant-derived oils or butters. They have one highly effective detergent and produce foambut the presence of fats compensates for the potential aggressiveness with emollient qualities and leaves no residue once rinsed », says cosmetologist Umberto Borellini.
These “soaps not soaps” for hair then have the advantage of requiring less water to rinse because the formulas are highly biodegradable. In addition, they help to condition the lengths, making it easier to comb thanks to the vegetable component.
“The best ones in fact have a high percentage of natural lipids such as wheat germ, coconut, olive oil or mango butter (you can find them on the label with the Latin name such as triticum vulgare, cocos nucifera, olea aeuropaea etc ). Some also contain ingredients, natural or synthetic, to increase the cosmetic result of softness of the hair, such as honey or waxes ».
It goes without saying that they are not meant to cleanse the whole body, unless otherwise specified on the package, and shared use should be avoided for hygiene reasons.
We washed our hair every two days with solid shampoos without applying rinse-off conditioner but only in leave-on form on dry hair, in order to evaluate the result of the shampoo.
We considered the type of packaging, the balance of the foam, the pleasantness of the scent and its persistence, the ease of use of the block in the shower and the result on the hair after drying. We also evaluated the value for money and preferred the products that, with the same performance and satisfaction of the formula, were cheaper or easier to find.
Like all new products, solid shampoo must be learned to dose according to your needs. Obviously, short hair is easier to manage but this type of cleanser also washes long hair well, without exceeding the doses: just wipe the wet stick on the wet head, especially on the areas that tend to get dirty more, and massage. Thick hair, after washing, still requires a rinse-off conditioner and the usual post-cleansing care.
«A special attention, then, must be dedicated to the conservation of the shampoo-bar, which it should not be left on the poolside or in a wet soap dish. The stagnation of water, in fact, not only causes it to dissolve, but also allows bacteria to proliferate. The ad hoc boxes in metal or cork. For those who use it in the shower, at home or in the gym, the cotton bags with drawstring closure are also practical to hang it and avoid water stagnation, but then it is always better to keep the product tightly closed away from dust and humidity », Concludes the cosmetologist Umberto Borellini.
SOLID SHAMPOOS, THE BEST 4:
Cocco Solid Shampoo dell’Erbolario60 g, € 6.90 with tin box in single-brand stores, herbalist’s shops and on erbolario.com
The strong point. The delicacy.
We liked its gentle, fair trade formula, with organic coconut oil and extract and other plant lipids associated with mild surfactants, all tested for 7 metals (nickel, lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, antimony and chromium). The very fine foam, the good smell and the tin box to store it included in the price won us over.
Use it like that. Round and small, it is suitable for all hair types. It is passed, moistened, on the wet head. Very quick massage and rinse. An ally for those seeking practicality, but wanting soft formulas.
Rêve de Miel Gentle Shampoo Bar by Nuxe65 g, 12 € In pharmacies and parapharmacies
The strong point. Pleasantness.
Under the FCS paper packaging from eco-managed and recyclable forests there is a square block with an intense honey fragrance. The promise of untangling is maintained thanks to the presence of vegetable oils, organic emollient camelina oil and Provençal lavender honey with softening and remineralizing properties. Surfactants without sulphates.
Use it like that. It produces a rich and fragrant foam, but don’t overdo the doses. It rinses off easily, leaving the hair easy to comb. It’s for you if you are looking for sensoriality in a shampoo, in addition to washing performance and sustainability.
Simplicity Solid Shampoo For Daily Use Normal Hair by NAE85 g, € 4.99 in large retailers
The strong point. The price ratio.
It is an Ecocert and Cosmos certified solid shampoo with 99% natural origin ingredients suitable for daily use. The first ingredient is wheat germ oil, but there are also shea butter, jojoba, lavender and rice extracts to detangle and condition the lengths. The perfume and the excellent value for money are much appreciated.
Use it like that. The wide and thin format allows you to quickly lather the whole head but do not overdo the steps: the shampoo is effective even in small doses, with quick rinse. Right for you if you are looking for products that are also valid at the supermarket.
Shampoing Solide à la Mangue by Klorane80 g, € 10.90 in pharmacies and parapharmacies
The strong point. The richness of emollient oils.
Designed for dry hair, this solid shampoo is packed with vegetable oils and butters to soften and nourish the lengths. The highly tolerable formula sees wheat germ oil as the first ingredient, while mango butter comes from the seed of fruits produced for food use, therefore, from a circular economy path. The mango scent is excellent.
Use it like that. The rectangular block is easy to handle: just wet it and pass it over a damp head to immediately foam, which must be massaged and rinsed. It’s for you if you want a product for the whole family, aged 3 and up.
Our Lab testers: Umberto Borellini, cosmetologist; Laurence Donnini, journalist.