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Best Concentrated Shampoo for Travel: Pack a Lighter Toiletry Bag

best concentrated shampoos for travel

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Concentrated shampoo or soap is popular with hikers and long-distance backpackers, but the suds also have applications for casual travel.

Readers on our HPLWorld community wanted to know the best concentrated shampoo for travel- the brands and how many travelers use it. While picking up hotel shampoos as you go, filling up travel-sized bottles and not using shampoo at all are options, using concentrated shampoo is another you might want to consider for your next trip.

Have you used concentrated shampoo yourself? Leave your opinions in the comments below!

What is Concentrated Shampoo?

Just as it sounds, concentrated shampoo comes in a smaller bottle or package and creates lather when a tiny amount is mixed with water. It’s great for camping because you don’t need as much in the bottle.

If you don’t have picky or sensitive hair, concentrated shampoo can be used for long trips so you don’t have to restock constantly.

Wilderness Wash
Wilderness Wash can be used as shampoo, laundry detergent, dish soap, and so on.

Why Use Concentrated Shampoo?

So what’s the point in traveling with concentrated shampoo? The biggest reason is light packing, as it’s a smaller bottle. Standard shampoo bottles include a large amount of water, so you can cut down on the liquid itself while still getting all the benefits.

They last a long time and are better for the environment as most are biodegradable. Just remember, even biodegradable shampoo should not be used in natural bodies of water. 

Best Concentrated Liquid Shampoo: Brands to Try

Some companies market what they call camping shampoos and others sell soaps that you can use as shampoo like Wilderness Wash. While I don’t recommend this for everyone, especially those with sensitive hair like I have, it can be an easy way to pack one less item.

Sea to Summit Trek and Travel Shampoo with Conditioner, $5.50

best concentrated shampoo for travel
Sea to Summit Trek & Travel Shampoo

The biggest brand is by one of our favorite companies, Sea to Summit. Their two-in-one shampoo and conditioner comes concentrated in a leak-proof TSA-approved bottle. It’s paraben free, biodegradable and comes in a green tea fragrance.

You only need to fill a cap’s worth and mix with saltwater or freshwater. They also make a version in solid form called soap leaves.

  • Grab the Sea to Summit Trek and Travel Shampoo on: Amazon | REI

No Rinse Shampoo, $1.50

best concentrated shampoo for travel
No Rinse Shampoo

Another option is No Rinse Shampoo, which is used by backpackers, hunters and even NASA astronauts! This concentrated shampoo doesn’t require additional water and is left in the hair after massaging into the scalp and towel drying.

The biodegradable and pH-balanced shampoo doesn’t contain alcohol and doesn’t leave residue, so it’s better for those with sensitive scalps.


Yves Rocher Concentrated Shampoo, $14.95

Yves Rocher Concentrated Shampoo
Yves Rocher Concentrated Shampoo

For a more traditional shampoo, minus the extra water, Yves Rocher offers a concentrated shampoo in a light lemon scent. This biodegradable formula is triple-concentrated, meaning the travel size 100 ml bottle is enough for 30 shampoos!

The bottle includes a special valve cap that dispenses the correct amount of product each time. Plus, for every bottle purchased the Yves Rocher Foundation plants one tree! 


Earth Science Olive & Avocado Shampoo, $4.99

Earth Science Olive & Avocado Shampoo
Earth Science Olive & Avocado Shampoo

While the Olive & Avocado shampoo from Earth Science is not as concentrated as some others on the list, it’s still twice as concentrated as normal shampoo. It’s especially good for damaged, dry, or curly hair.

The formula includes silk protein for strength, as well as shea butter and argan oil for shine. It is paraben, sulfate, and cruelty free, and safe for colored hair.


Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps, $3.50

best concentrated shampoo for travel
Dr. Bonner’s liquid soap

Many people swear by Dr. Bronner’s as a way to wash your hair, body, clothes and dishes. It comes in liquid and non-liquid bar form, and many scents. While not concentrated shampoo, this all-natural soap doesn’t require much to get the job done and comes in a TSA-approved bottle size.

It leaves a residue for some people’s hair, but you can’t beat the many uses.

  • Grab Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps on: Amazon | REI

Best Concentrated Solid Shampoo Bars

Lush Shampoo Bars, $11.95+

best concentrated shampoo for travel
LUSH solid shampoo

Lush makes shampoo bars that are also concentrated, leaving behind the excess water and lasting as long as two to three bottles of shampoo. They’re made of natural ingredients and are vegan-friendly.

Lather them in your hands and massage into your hair like you would any other type of shampoo. They even claim to be good for 80 uses!

  • Grab a Lush shampoo bar on: LUSH

Ethique Shampoo Bars, $13.00+

Ethique shampoo bar
Ethique shampoo bar

Another popular brand for solid shampoos is Ethique. Each bar lasts as long as three liquid shampoo bottles! They have different formulas for various types of hair, including baby-safe options.

Ethique bars are soap free, sustainable, palm oil free, and vegan. They also have a variety of conditioner bars to choose from. They offer trial packs to sample several products at once, as well as mini versions that are perfect for travel!


Chagrin Valley Shampoo Bars, $8.95+

Chagrin Valley shampoo bar
Chagrin Valley shampoo bar

If you’re looking for a soap-based shampoo bar, Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Company has lots of great options. These natural bars clean and condition hair without stripping away the protective oils. They are organic, Rainforest Alliance certified and made in the USA.

Over time, using these shampoos helps to increase volume while reducing damage and frizz. Each bar is available in full and sample size. 


J.R. Liggett’s Shampoo Bars, $7.49+

J.R. Liggett’s shampoo bar
J.R. Liggett’s shampoo bar

J.R. Liggett’s vegetable oil formulated, hand-cut shampoo bars are detergent-free, which prevents drying but they still lather and clean well. The all natural, eco-friendly bars come in six different formulas. A sampler pack is available if you want to try them all!

Each bar lasts as long as most 24-ounce liquid shampoo bottles. These bars can also be used as body soap, for shaving, and even washing clothes and dishes!  We love multipurpose items like this! 


Wondering how to store your shampoo bar for travel?

Any soap case or plastic bag will work, as long as you let the bar dry out before storage. You can also wrap the dry bar in beeswax wrap. A handy, lightweight option that allows your solid shampoo to dry on the go is the Matador FlatPak Soap Bar Case. The special fabric lets the bar dry through the case while also preventing leaks. 

Best Concentrated Shampoo Alternatives for Travel

Salonsolids Shampoo Granules, $5.00

Salonsolids Shampoo Granules
Salonsolids Shampoo Granules

For an alternative to shampoo bars with the benefits of a leak-proof and lightweight product, try shampoo granules from Salonsolids. Simply mix the granules with hot water to create liquid shampoo on the go! They come in a variety of scents, as well as an unscented version.

The company also makes conditioner granules and styler granules for your other hair care needs. They’re made from natural ingredients and shipped without plastic. The packets are even compostable!


Awake Organics Plastic Free Shampoo, $14.50

Awake Organics Shampoo Powder
Awake Organics Shampoo Powder

This concentrated shampoo is a water-activated powder. Simply shake a small amount into your wet hands, rub together to form a paste, and massage into your hair before rinsing as normal. The pH-balanced formula uses only plant-based ingredients, and is free from sulphates, alcohol, and petroleum products.

The 55 gram bottle is good for up to 35 washes! It is great for dry, thinning, and color-treated hair.


Do you use concentrated shampoo when you travel?

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Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Kelsey Tuller says

    I’ve never heard of concentrated shampoo before but they seem really cool! I used Lush Lullabye solid shampoo as its super gentle and I have a finnicky scalp. My first bar lasted me 4 months, though it did break into pieces towards the end, I still used it down to the tiny nubs.

    • Brooke says

      If you have Lush bars, or round bars, Lush sells a travel tin for that. Just make sure you let your bar air dry before sealing it up. Another option that people use is the medium GoTubbs. Any soap case can work.

  2. Kristen says

    I checked into the solid shampoo bars but none of them are sulfate free (I have colour treated hair). Do you know of any that are sulfate free?

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