LUSH solid shampoo review – and alternative best solid shampoos for travel

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Lush Solid Shampoo Review and Alternatives to Lush

Updated 2022

If you’re wondering does Lush solid shampoo work well, and if the Lush solid conditioner is also worth trying, then read on. I’ve tested several solid shampoo and conditioner bars from their range and here’s my verdict, along with suggestions for the best alternatives to Lush bars!

I love my hair. It’s long, shiny and would give Rapunzel a good run for her money. Stylists often ask about my hair care regime, but really it’s pretty simple – just a quick shampoo and conditioner with quality products every morning. I first discovered the bars when I was searching for solid travel shampoo, and more specifically travel size dry shampoo, which I could take with me on long holidays and even get through security in hand luggage if I needed to. 

So I decided to try a range of natural solid shampoo and solid conditioner bars and share my verdict with you. Want to know are solid shampoos any good? Then read on. 

Solid shampoo

Trying Out Lush Solid Shampoo and Conditioner

I’d heard about Lush solid shampoo bars before, yet had always been dubious about their performance. And as for Lush solid conditioner? It just sounds ridiculous. How could a solid conditioner bar have the same effect as a bottle of milky cream full of moisture and shine.

I decided to be open minded and try some of the Lush solid shampoo and conditioner bars for myself. 

I popped down to my local store, braved the cloying wall of stink and glitter and tried not to be intimidated by the hip young staff with their nose piercings, bright blue hair and skimpy dungarees. I was never that cool. Still, never too late to start, right?

Lush solid shampoo and conditioner review and giveaway
My haul of solid shampoo and conditioner from LUSH

Lush Solid Shampoo Review

First up was the Lush ‘Godiva’ solid shampoo bar. After one use it went straight in the bin, and a week later I was still trying to get rid of the incredibly strong (and unpleasant) smell which seemed to have permeated the house. Undeterred, I returned to the shop and this time chose on scent rather than listening to the lass with spiky hair and rainbow nails telling me all about the different properties of each Lush solid shampoo bar. 

I have long fine hair which has a tendency to be greasy, so choosing the red ‘Jason and the Argan Oil‘ Lush solid shampoo didn’t feel quite right. Yet it smelled inoffensive and I kinda liked the name. Who says you should always be guided by science. I also picked up the ‘Montalbano‘ Lush solid shampoo bar, again because I actually really liked the scent and it had a cool wedge of lemon on top.

The yellow Montalbano solid shampoo smelt like lemons

So do Lush solid shampoo bars work?

I have to admit being pleasantly surprised with these natural solid shampoo bars.   

The ‘Jason and the Argan Oil‘ solid shampoo reminded me of Morocco, a country famed for both Argan oil and roses. The oil left my hair shiny rather than greasy and the overtones of rose and citronella were subtle instead of overpowering. This solid shampoo is supposed to set fair hair ‘ablaze with brightness and strength’. I’m not sure about that, but my hair was left clean and no less silky than usual. This solid shampoo bar lathers up really well too, so you really do only need a couple of strokes on your hair. So far it’s lasted me several weeks, which is great news for anyone looking for travel shampoo.

The ‘Montalbano‘ Lush solid shampoo bar works a treat too. It doesn’t leave my hair as shiny as Jason and the Argan Oil, but it does make it feel totally refreshed and smells divine! It contains Sicilian lemon oil, fresh lemon peel and organic lemon myrtle oil. And popping candy (not quite sure what that one’s about!). Again it lathers well, and you only need a couple of stokes over your hair to have enough product to wash with. They say it lasts up to 80 washes, and I can totally believe it!

Mithraeum above Rožanec, Bela Krajina, Slovenia
Fresh shiny hair on our Slovenia travels

Solid Shampoo Bars: Alternatives to Lush

But it’s not all about Lush.

There’s no doubt that Lush shampoo bars are expensive, and if you don’t choose wisely you’ll end up stinking like a teenager who’s just discovered body spray. Some potential buyers may also be put off by Lush’s controversial campaign against the Police during 2018.

But don’t worry. There are several other organic solid shampoo bars out there that are great alternatives to Lush. 

I’ve tried out several other solid shampoo brands and many of them work just as well, if not better, than the solid Lush bars. Here are my tried and tested solid shampoo bar recommendations:

Just a few strokes of the shampoo bars creates an amazing lather


Clovelly Soap Company Solid Shampoo Bars Review

I love the Clovelly Soap Company products, and not just because I’m a huge fan of Devon! They make all sorts of gorgeous natural products from deodorant to handmade soap, but what caught my eye were their solid shampoo bars. The packaging is pretty, the scents are gorgeous, and it’s nice to know exactly where the products were made. 

These bars are big and don’t fit in the round storage containers (see below) until you’ve used them for a while, but that doesn’t matter if you’re just using them at home, like I do. I did find it took a while for my hair to ‘get used’ to these shampoo bars, and felt I needed to moisturise my hands after using it, but after the first week or so that wasn’t a problem. Some people say their hair became a bit waxy after using these bars, but I didn’t experience that myself. 

They’re a bit cheaper than Lush, and the bigger bars last longer too!

Visit Clovelly Soap Company

Ethique Solid Shampoo Bars Review

I’ve only recently tried these Ethique shampoo bars – I’d been putting it off since they cost a little more than I’d usually pay, but they do tick all the boxes when it comes to being vegan, sustainable and even compostable! This natural solid shampoo is soap free and is ethically produced, sources and packaged. They have specialist solid shampoo bars for frizzy hair, dandruff and dry scalps, as well as for normal and oily hair.

I started with some of their super handy trial packs, which helped hone down my choices and see which solid shampoos work best for fine hair before committing to purchase a full-priced bar. The trial packs also include a solid conditioner, solid face scrub and solid face cleanser too. A few weeks later and I’m a total convert. The vanilla Pinkalicious solid shampoo is possibly the best smelling bar ever, and is really creamy when it comes to lathering up. Definitely worth the price tag in my humble opinion! I just wish they were round so they fit in my plastic travel tubs. 

  • For Normal HairPinkalicious – this vanilla solid shampoo bar is one of my absolute favourites, and reading the reviews online, I’m not alone. 
  • For Dandruff & Touchy ScalpsHeali Kiwi – sweet-smelling and totally creamy, this is another favourite and leaves my scalp feeling soft.
  • For Oily HairSt Clements – the citrus overtones give this bar a lovely fresh feel, using lime and orange oils to balance your natural oil production. 

Buy Ethique Solid Shampoo

Washla Solid Shampoo Bars Review

One of the things I love about the Washla brand is their commitment to sustainability. All their handmade shampoo and conditioner bars are free of packaging and plastic, and absolutely everything is produced in house. The price is on point and the scents are divine, with a few unusual fragrances like eucalyptus and tea tree to set them apart from the increasingly crowded solid shampoo market.

Another plus is that the shampoo bars are 100% soap free, which we all know makes for a much better hair washing experience. I’m in the process of putting these bars through their paces, so will report back in a couple of weeks. 

I tried the sweet orange everyday shampoo and have to say it’s possibly the most delicious-smelling bar I’ve ever used. It’s been great for cutting through grease on my oily hair days, and it didn’t take long for my now luscious locks to get used to the new product. I also gave the eucalyptus hydrate bar a whirl, because since getting highlights this summer, I have found my hair in need of a bit of extra moisturising on occasion. Again, the scent is gorgeous, and I’ve not yet had to use conditioner which is always a bonus. 

  • For Normal Hair – the Everyday Shampoo Bar comes in a range of lovely scents, is suitable for all hair types and lasts for months. 
  • For Dry Hair – the Hydrate Shampoo Bar is perfect for dry or damaged hair, with lashing of shea butter to moisturise your locks. No conditioner needed here!

Buy Washla Shampoo Bars


Garnier Shampoo Bar Review

This is another recent discovery, and I’ll be honest I was attracted mainly by the reasonable price, and the scent options. So far I’m pretty happy with my experience using the coconut one, and haven’t needed conditioner as the Garnier shampoo bars leave my hair pretty smooth. The smell is nice and subtle, with the coconut giving a bit of that holiday (it always reminds me of suncream, beaches, and cocktails!). 

These bars are round so fit perfectly in my tubs, and as they’re significantly cheaper than several of their counterparts, they make well be featuring more regularly in my wash bag on our travels. 

  • For Normal HairCoconut & Aloe Vera – this is a reliable all-rounder with a subtle coconut scent leaving hair feeling fresh.
  • For  Dry HairHoney Treasures – the honey and beeswax base is highly nourishing, and lathers easily. 
  • For Sensitive Scalps & Fragile HairDelicate Oat – this uses rice cream and oat milk to keep hair and scalps healthy.

Browse Garnier Shampoo Bars

Alter/Native Solid Shampoo Bar Review

I was really excited to discover this exotic-sounding range of shampoo bars, and with a price tag that was significantly lower than most, I just had to give them a go. Picking the Rose & Geranium and Patchouli & Sandalwood shampoo bars (for the names alone!) I put them to the test. 

Unfortunately they didn’t really make the grade. Both bars were more like glycerine soap (although they’re not soap!) than a creamy shampoo bar, and left my hands needing lots of moisturiser afterwards. The smell wasn’t great either, so I personally won’t be buying this range again. 

You may of course have a different experience since all hair is unique, and the price really is attractive when you’re first experimenting. 

Buy Alter/Native Solid Shampoo

Solid Shampoo Storage

Metals Tins for Solid Shampoo

You can buy metal tins for the Lush solid shampoos, but they don’t make any the right size or shape for the conditioners, which seems to be a bit of an oversight. It’s also really difficult to remove the used shampoo out of the tins once it’s wet, since the tins are not flexible, and to be honest I found them a bit of a nightmare. The tins are also easily dented, which is the final nail in the coffin for me. 

Round Containers for Solid Shampoo

Instead I use GoTubbs from HumanGear. The medium ones are just the right size for most solid shampoo bars, pop open using one hand, and you can remove the shampoo very easily. I love that the plastic lid is slightly transparent so you can see what’s inside without having to open the GoTubb up. They don’t rust either!

These solid shampoo containers have seriously changed my life on our travels, definitely the best bit of kit I ever purchased! They’re also great for storing dashboard mints, headphones and ipods, and all manner of odds and sods. 

As an aside, I also love their squeezy GoToob bottles for when I do want to travel with liquid shampoo, conditioner and soap. Unlike many plastic travel bottles, these ones are silicone so are robust but pliable, meaning I can squeeze out every last drop. 

Rectangular Boxes for Solid Shampoo

Okay, so this is really just a soap box, but it’s great if your solid shampoo isn’t round. These shower storage containers come in several cool colours and are made from bamboo and cornstarch, which means they are completely ethical and compostable. The best bit though is that the open slots in the bottom allow your solid shampoo to breathe rather than congealing like normal soaps do if you leave them in water.

Lush Solid Conditioner Bar Review

Lots of people say that they find they don’t need conditioner when using the solid shampoo bars, but as a girl with long hair I was rather reluctant to believe this. 

So I decided to try Lush solid conditioner bars to see if they really worked. I opted to try ‘Big‘ and ‘The Plumps‘. Spiky hair girl assured me that both would give great volume to fine hair like mine. She clearly had volume so for once I took her advice.

Both smelt rather unexcitingly of soap, which was fine because the shampoos had such strong fragrances. I don’t like mixing my scents and smelling like a seedy Parisian boudoir. Clean and fresh will work just fine!

Solid conditioner is definitely worth trying

At first I found them both really frustrating. It is after all just like rubbing a bar of soap over your hair, and they don’t glide smoothly. They also don’t lather like the solid shampoo, and actually getting some product onto my hair seemed to take forever. Eventually I realised it was easier to try and lather in my hands, and then apply to my hair. I wasn’t particularly convinced by the experience, but after rinsing and drying my hair actually felt pretty good. It was more tangled than normal (isn’t that the point of conditioner?), but after some vigorous brushing I could live with the result.

It isn’t a product I’d use long term, but for periods of extended travel, I will probably be taking some solid conditioner with me.

The other negative of Lush solid conditioner is that it’s more pliant than the solid shampoo, and after a few washes it started to deteriorate around the edges, before finally breaking into several annoying pieces. Just something to consider when packing. Although it does mean it will fit in the brilliant Go Tubbs containers!

READ MORE: Unique and Unusual Travel Gifts

Alternatives to Lush Solid Conditioner Bars

As with the solid shampoo, there are alternatives to Lush solid conditioner bars, and the ones I’ve tried (like this gorgeous-smelling hand-made lavender and lime solid conditioner) seem to work pretty much the same. None have come close to replicating the results from standard bottled conditioner, which is rather frustrating. 

Over the last few months I’ve been experimenting without using conditioner at all, and am almost convinced I can do without. Almost. The solid shampoos do leave my hear feeling clean, light, and fresh, and often when I use conditioner how it makes my hair feel heavy. There are definitely more tangles to deal with when not using conditioner, and sometimes brushing my fine hair creates an impressive amount of static…but I’m getting used to it. And no-one else can tell I’ve not used conditioner, so this may be the future after all. 

So, by all means go ahead and try some solid conditioner. Just don’t expect it to work as well as conventional conditioner, and be open-minded when it comes to ditching it all together. 

Shop Solid Conditioner

The Verdict on Solid Shampoo and Conditioner Bars

Lush products are on the pricey side, and there are several cheaper solid shampoo bars and conditioner bars on the market. Do shop around and see what works best for you. I’m pretty much sold on shampoo bars, but am not convinced by the conditioner bars. If you have a different experience, do let me know!

Remember everyone’s hair is different, so don’t just follow what I say, go try some out for yourself.

Have you tried solid shampoo or conditioner before? What did you think?

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  1. says: Amelia Clayton

    OMG! This article really useful for me. I confused for choosing the shampoo for hair information what would be the best for everything. But review this article my confusion has cleared. Thanks a lot for sharing such an informative article about Lush solid shampoo review and I have pleased to get this blog page. I have read your valuable page and gotten much information. Thanks Heather and Keep it up.

  2. says: Emma

    I’m a fan of solid shampoos and have been using them on and off for about 8 years. The biggest gripe I have with them, however, is that if they don’t dry properly, they end up becoming a sludgy mess. How do you fix this? Especially while traveling?

  3. says: Marko

    Read this will interest, and I know it’s a slightly outdated article now but I tried lush shampoo bar and was quite annoyed to find it contained SLS which I wasn’t expecting and it didn’t do anything for my own hair, but ever searching for that shampoo bar for me I came across a great alternative from Amica Soap, their body and shampoo bar doesn’t contain SLS and has transformed my skin and hair greatly. I don’t want to post a link to their product and seem spammy but if you search for them on google they are easy to find 🙂

    1. says: Heather Cole

      Really loving it for long trips (currently in the Amazon rainforest and don’t know what I’d have done without them!). Not come across Creating Harmony, will have to see if it’s available in the UK. Thanks

  4. says: Sue Price

    I would use my lush products in the shower when I go glamping! Will fill the shower blocks with a beautiful aroma ☺️

  5. says: Helen A

    I love Lush products, and I always take the yuzu and cocoa bubbleroon on holiday with me as it’s so summery and relaxing – this year I’ll be taking one to Portugal!

  6. says: Lesley Styles

    I use Lush products everywhere there is a bathroom as it’s the only brand I use! Both the shower/bath stuff to the henna to the cosmetics! I LOVE Lush!

  7. says: katrina adams

    I won’t be holidaying for a little while so I think I would use these in the shower at home to give myself a little bit of a pamper. I love the smell of lush products.

  8. says: Kayleigh Tumber

    I’d use my lush products at home, when all five children are fast asleep, i love lush very much and only use it to treat myself so when i do have it i enjoy it, alot!

  9. says: Rebecca Howells

    I love lush! But never treat myself, instead I buy bits as gifts for others! I would get some nice smelly bath bombs to relax in the bath with.

  10. says: Sheila Hill

    Looks good for people who need or like to travel light. Have always put off venturing into the stores – an asthma attack waiting to happen with just the smell from the entrance door! Maybe I’ll actually attempt it next time.

  11. says: Rebecca Hall

    What a great post, and I love how you balance the positive and what can be improved upon in Lush products…that makes me pay attention and take it seriously.
    As a frequent traveller, I’d love to try the shampoo as you say it lathers – maybe even a shower bar. Not sure about the conditioner from your feedback, but maybe I’d give that a go too. My next trip is on a glamping trip to Slovakia, so I’d find Lush products very useful for this, especially as I intend to take hand luggage (and try to use hand luggage as much as possible when travelling).

    1. says: Heather Cole

      Yeah, I think the negative is just as important as the positive when I do reviews. I’d say try the conditioner for a week or so BEFORE to go to Slovakia, then you’ll have a good idea whether it works for you or not! Have fun!

  12. says: Jay

    I use Lush products before going on holiday to make sure I look super good before travelling – Lush’s Ocean Salt is an absolute must for me before going away.

  13. says: Amanda

    I would use my products during one of my child-free pamper nights where I out on a hair and face mask and have a long soak in a bubble bath 🙂

  14. says: Jessica Smyth

    I love this sound of these! I always carry shed loads of products on my holidays, so having something smaller that lasts longer would be great! I’m going to Thailand in December so would be great to use it there.

  15. says: Jennifer Haden

    Thank you for such a great giveaway! I’d use the money towards a shampoo bar and conditioner I think, they sound so lovely.

  16. says: Rachel Craig

    I’d use them in the shower. I would consider taking them with me on holiday,as always a nice treat to use a new product. Planning on a visit to Blackpool, and would be nice to have a weekend away later in the year if possible, destination undecided as yet.