Here's the Latest Luscious Shampoo Bar on the Market

HiBAR is salon-quality, zero-waste, and plastic-free.

HiBAR shampoo and conditioner
HiBAR shampoo and conditioner.

HiBAR (used with permission)

It has been two years since I switched to using solid shampoo and conditioner bars on my hair, and it's the best beauty-related decision I've ever made. They're lightweight, easily transportable, quick to use in the shower, made from safe ingredients, and entirely plastic-free. In other words, they're pretty much perfect.

Not all shampoo bars are created equal, however. I've tried some awful ones that made my hair feel like straw or loaded with oil, but other times I've discovered companies whose formulations blow my mind because they make my hair feel so silky soft, manageable, and moisturized. That's how I feel about HiBAR, a newish brand based in Minnesota that asked to send me a sample set of shampoo and conditioner bars to try.

HiBAR has been getting a lot of press lately. Since its launch in 2018, it has been named a top shampoo pick by Marie Claire (the only plastic-free option on the list), received an award from Health Magazine, and been covered in Martha Stewart Living. The bars are free from sulfates, soap, silicone, parabens, phthalates, gluten, and are cruelty-free. The Moisturize and Volumizing bars are vegan, and the Maintain bars contain trace amounts of honey.

When the Moisturize set arrived, I was struck by how it looked. They were not so much bars as large elegant eggs, with a flat bottom for standing tall on a shower shelf (and conveniently shedding water) and a flat top for applying the product more easily to the head. Apparently the shape is inspired by the rocks along the northern shoreline of Lake Superior, where the company is based. Both shampoo and conditioner came in paper boxes – not a piece of plastic in sight, which made my heart happy. There was very little scent, only a slight citrusy aroma when I first opened the boxes.

The shampoo lathered up quickly and easily, aided by generously soaked hair. The conditioner took a bit longer to coax out, but covered my hair thoroughly without feeling heavy. The angled flat top is meant to help with application, but it does have a small surface area, which meant lots of moving around to make sure everything gets covered. At one point I just rolled the conditioner "egg" around in my hands and used them to spread it on my hair. 

The good results were immediately obvious. Once dry, my hair was extremely soft, thoroughly clean, and not frizzy at all. These are all reasons why I love my usual Unwrapped Life bars, which makes it a hard standard for any other brands to meet, but I'd say HiBAR is comparable. It's also a significantly bigger bar, so I expect it will last a long time. The website says it's the equivalent of a 16-oz bottle of shampoo, but since I wash hair so infrequently (every 5-7 days), I'm hoping it lasts a year.

On a side note, I wrote an article last year about why we should all be using more solid products and adding water at home, rather than paying for the extra shipping weight of a liquid product. At the time, one of HiBAR's founders chimed into the comments and described other solid-bar shampoo makers as friends, not competitors: "Really, the competition (the brands we're trying to take on) are all the ones in plastic. So, go team." That welcoming, inclusive attitude warmed me to the brand immediately. The more people jumping aboard the solid-bar train, the sooner we can transition away from wasteful, polluting single-use plastic containers.

If you're curious about shampoo bars, HiBAR is definitely worth trying and I doubt you'll be disappointed; I know I wasn't, and I tend to be very fussy about hair products. Most reviews are highly positive, but in the off chance that you're not satisfied, HiBAR offers a full refund if you return the unused portion of your bar.