My latest test drive products have been Lush’s newly released Shampoo Bars. I can safely say that shampoo bars are completely new to me, which is incredibly rare in the world of beauty! (I seriously think I’ve tried every type of product out there…except tanner.)
For the uninitiated, shampoo bars are soap-looking blocks which you rub onto your wet hair, then lather up as usual. Lush’s shampoo bars are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) based, which is bad news if you have a sensitive scalp, but good news for me because my scalp is greasy and needs hardcore surfactant (yes, SLS is safe in small doses!). All of them have a distinctive pellety look (kind of like if you got those long cupcake sprinkles and smooshed them together) which means you won’t mistake them for soap. Each bar is $13.95 each and are touted to last up to 80 washes (though I expect, given the nature of the product, it’s hard to use them perfectly), which makes them reasonably priced. Since they’re meant to dry out between uses, these shampoo bars don’t contain any conventional preservatives, and they come unpackaged, which is good for the environment. Additionally, since they’re dry, they’re good for carrying on international flights.
Lush already had 9 shampoo bars in their range, and the new 5 take that up to 14. Let’s go from my favourite to my least favourite…
Brazilliant (bright orange bar) contains andiroba oil to strengthen and condition hair, and orange oil for scent. I was initially a bit sceptical of putting more oil on my already oily scalp, but this shampoo bar ended up being my favourite. My hair was left smooth, and my scalp was clean – no complaints!
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Fresh Organic Oranges (Citrus aurantium dulcis), Andiroba Oil, Sweet Orange Oil (Citrus sinensis), Ylang Ylang Oil (Cananga odorata), Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Farnesol, Limonene, Linalool, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Amyl Cinnamal, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Perfume, Colour 15510
Jason and The Argan Oil (deep pink bar) contains argan oil (duh!) and smells like Rose Jam, which I love. Plus, it has a fantastic classics nerd name. It’s very similar to Braziliant in texture, cleansing but not too stripping – the only difference I can really pick out is the scent, and the bar is a bit less oily-feeling when it’s dry.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Agar Agar Gel (Gelidium cartilagineum), Water (Aqua), Argan Oil (Argania spinosa), Glycerine, Perfume, Organic Rose Absolute (Rosa damascena), Geranium Oil (Pelargonium graveolens), Rose Oil (Rosa damascena), Sicilian Lemon Oil (Citrus limonum), Limonene, Coumarin, Citronellol, Geraniol, Colour 17200
Honey I Washed My Hair (pale beige bar) is toffee-scented like Honey I Washed the Kids soap (my number one knee-weakeningly delicious Lush soap scent), and contains 5% hydrating honey. I found it a little too gentle for my needs, and makes my hair feel more tangly when it’s wet, though it’s fine once dry.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Fairly Traded Honey, Perfume, Water (Aqua), Sweet Wild Orange Oil (Citrus sinensis), Bergamot Oil (Citrus aurantium bergamia), Limonene, Linalool, Amyl Cinnamal, Lilial
Montalbano (yellow bar with bits) contains Silician lemon oil, green olives and rosemary. There’s also popping candy for some reason, though disappointingly, I didn’t notice any noises when I was using it. It’s designed for squeaky clean cleansing, which made me think that it would be the one that would suit me most, but I didn’t find it that much more effective than the other options. It actually made my scalp feel a bit itchy, possibly from overcleansing.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Green Olives, Sicilian Lemon Oil (Citrus limonum), Fresh Lemon Juice, Fresh Lemon Peel, Popping Candy, Lemon Peel Powder (Citrus limonum), Rosemary Absolute (Rosmarinus officinalis), Organic Lemon Myrtle Oil (Backhousia citriodora), Citral, Geraniol, Limonene, Perfume, Gardenia Extract (Gardenia jasminoides)
Copperhead (brown bar) was my least favourite, probably because of the scent. It’s recommended for dark dyed hair and contains coffee and henna to maintain and enhance the colour, which I couldn’t really test. It smells herby and has little gritty bits (coffee I assume).
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Agar Agar Gel (Gelidium cartilagineum), Water (Aqua), Red Henna (Lawsonia inermis), Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao), Perfume, Ground Coffee (Coffea arabica), Vetivert Oil (Vetiveria zizanoides), Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute (Vanilla planifolia), Cocoa Roasted Extract (Theobroma cacao), Coriander Oil (Coriandrum sativum), Powdered Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Fresh Organic Lemon Juice (Citrus limonum), Caffeine Powder, Coumarin, Limonene, Linalool
Wow. Most shampoos don’t agree with me if I use them daily without a break* – they either don’t cleanse enough (most upmarket brands), cleanse too much and leave my scalp sore and itchy (most supermarket brands), or leave gross residue on my scalp (Nivea, Pantene, Herbal Essences). But Braziliant, Jason and the Argan Oil and Honey I Washed My Hair all passed with flying colours, although I do get end-of-the-day itchiness – I think there’s only been about one or two shampoos I’ve tried which have been better, but they were probably also pricier (Matrix Biolage ScalpTherapie Normalizing Shampoo and Paul Mitchell Shampoo Two Clarifying, if you’re wondering). I’m extremely impressed, and would definitely repurchase these.
* Don’t try to convert me to no-poo. Been there, tried that, my scalp never adjusted and I looked like I’d walked through a shower of cooking spray then lightly dusted with dessicated coconut… for a month.
These products were provided for review, which did not affect my opinion. For more information, see Disclosure Policy.