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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.
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
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.
No Rinse Shampoo, $1.50
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
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!
- Grab Yves Rocher Concentrated Shampoo: Yves Rocher
Earth Science Olive & Avocado Shampoo, $4.99
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
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.
Best Concentrated Solid Shampoo Bars
Lush Shampoo Bars, $11.95+
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+
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+
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 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
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
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.