Get to know our new favorite beauty staple, made right here in the South.

southerlycourse/Getty Images

It all started with a mother-daughter duo and a small Florida storefront. In 2000, Shoshanna Walker recognized the potential of her mother’s soapmaking hobby and helped her open a small shop in their hometown of Melbourne, Florida. Today, Nourish Natural Bath Products has expanded into five locations across the South (and a bustling online marketplace with nationwide shipping). And it’s all headed by Walker and her husband, Corey. In addition to all-natural, environmentally-friendly bar soaps, moisturizers, and scrubs, Nourish offers a collection of shampoo and conditioner bars that might just rival your favorite drugstore brand.

Shampoo bars boast a whole slew of perks—they’re travel-friendly, environmentally-friendly, and wallet-friendly. If you’re on-the-go, bar shampoo is a great travel solution. Since it’s a solid, it can be safely stored in your carry-on luggage, and it can easily last your whole trip. For less than $2, you can even get a sleek metal travel tin to easily pack up your shampoo bar.

Not only does eliminating the plastic bottle from the equation make these bars environmentally friendly, but shampoo bars can actually be better for your hair than liquid shampoo. With liquid shampoos, it’s so easy to squeeze out more than you actually need, leading to a scrub that feels clean but actually causes product buildup. Since shampoo bars act like soap in the way that they create lather, it’s much easier to gauge proper portions and only use what your hair needs. Nourish advertises that one shampoo bar will last “60-100 uses depending on the length and texture of the hair.” By their estimations, that’s saving you around 3 bottles of shampoo.

This all sounds great to me. But does it actually work? I tested one of Nourish’s top-selling shampoo bars to find out.

I have a historically dry and dandruff-prone scalp (a weekly Head and Shoulders deep-scrub has been a part of my haircare routine since my teen years), and Nourish’s Peppermint & Charcoal Shampoo Bar promises to “regulate oil production which assist in alleviating dry scalp and dandruff.” Nourish touts that in addition to relieving a dry and itchy scalp, the bar “increases circulation, creates volume and promotes hair growth.” The deep-clean factor comes from the charcoal, which helps flush out any product buildup and reinvigorate your scalp. The bar has also received a promising amount of five-star reviews (and, at $8.95, it's quite affordable).

WATCH: Are You Washing Your Hair The Right Way?

My reservations with bar shampoo mainly stemmed from the fear that it wouldn’t really clean my hair. I only wash my hair every 2 to 3 days, which has really helped prevent buildup, but that also means that when I do wash my hair, I tend to go a bit overboard. I am certifiably guilty of using more than the recommended quarter-sized dollop of shampoo to replenish my mass of curls. The thought of using a few foamy bubbles rubbed off a palm-sized bar to fully shampoo my hair sounded impractical and primitive, like something dreamed up by a preteen boy who doesn’t know the difference between a bar of soap and shampoo.

Now here is where I admit that I was wrong. The Nourish Charcoal Shampoo Bar left my hair feeling shiny, bouncy, and light. After just one use, I noticed less flaky buildup clinging to my scalp.

To apply the shampoo, I rubbed the bar with a bit of water in my hands, creating a light foam. While the bar didn’t produce much lather, which I took as a bad sign, the bubbles instantly multiplied as I scrubbed the product into my hair, creating a voluminous tower of froth that genuinely rivaled the results of my liquid shampoo. I tend to judge my shampoo by the amount of bubbles it creates (more froth = deeper clean, right?) and this shampoo bar seriously showed up. I didn’t have to overdo it with the amount of shampoo I used to create a deep-cleaning scrub, and the bar left my hair feeling much lighter than usual.

If you’re shopping around for liquid shampoo at the drugstore, you may fall into the trap of judging a shampoo solely on its smell. Unlike liquid shampoos, which have ingredient lists that are practically illegible, Nourish’s shampoo bars are each made with a few ingredients that have a targeted purpose—each bar is designed for a specific hair type or ailment and ingredients are adjusted accordingly. The Rose & Beet Shampoo Bar incorporates follicle-strengthening rose essential oil and nutrient-rich beetroot powder to create a bar that’s great for fine hair; the Tea Tree Oil in the Tea Tree & Green Clay Shampoo Bar is meant to help ward off head lice (is this the new back-to-school essential?). From pure, delicate baby soap to moisturizing salt scrubs, Nourish offers products designed for the whole family.

While I’m hesitant to trade in my beloved Head & Shoulders, this bar worked wonders on my dry scalp. If you’re thinking of trying out a shampoo bar for yourself, you can’t beat the quality and care of this Southern-made, family-owned company. You can find their storefronts in Southern hotspots like Savannah, Georgia, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Melbourne, Florida, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Or you can shop online.

Our next test? Conditioner bars.

Advertisement