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Shampoo liquid, bar or paste: which is best?

  • 4 min read

Hair care is getting more and more attention as people realise that it isn’t just their skin they need to look after – and we’re here for it! 

Often, the only love people’s hair gets is a blob of shampoo in the shower and if it’s lucky, some conditioner too. Sometimes little attention is paid to the ingredients in these products, and whether or not they might be doing more harm than good. 

There are options when it comes to shampoo: liquid, bar or paste – but which is the best choice for you? We explain the differences between shampoo bars, liquid shampoo and shampoo paste to help you choose the right fit.

All about liquid shampoo

Liquid shampoo needs little introduction as it’s the form of shampoo that most people are used to using. Typically, a person would squeeze liquid shampoo into the palm of their hand from a bottle, then massage it into the scalp to cleanse the hair and then rinse out the product.

Liquid shampoo astonishingly comprises up to 80% water, as water acts as the carrier for the hair care ingredients that cleanse the hair. 

However, this isn’t the only option available for shampoo: bars and pastes are increasingly being used in place of liquid shampoo to avoid the water content and be kinder to the planet. Find out all you need to know about shampoo bars and the newer shampoo pastes, as well as a sneak peek at one of UpCircle’s upcoming launches. 

What you need to know about shampoo bars

Over the last few years, shampoo bars have become increasingly popular, as big brands followed the small business lead by adding the more sustainable and packaging-free shampoo bar to their offerings. 

We’ve rounded up all you need to know about shampoo bars, including the difference between a classic bar of soap and a shampoo bar. 

What is a shampoo bar?

It does what it says on the tin: a shampoo bar is a solid form of liquid shampoo, taking away the need for unnecessary packaging. All the same hair-cleansing effects are there, but the shampoo bar is usually much more concentrated and made up of little to no water.

Sometimes shampoo bars are only suitable for certain hair types, so that’s definitely something to bear in mind before you purchase. 

Shampoo bars usually take on the form of a traditional block of soap, but that’s about where the similarities end. Find out the differences between soap and a shampoo bar.

What is the difference between a shampoo bar and soap?

Despite looking very similar and both being a form of cleanser, shampoo bars and soap are very different products with different cleansing properties. While soap does a great job at cleansing your body of dirt, it isn’t formulated to be used for your hair.

If you were to use a bar of soap or shower gel to wash your hair, you’d risk leaving soap scum behind in your hair even after rinsing. Soap also isn’t formulated with hair care ingredients, whereas shampoo bars are packed full of ingredients that your hair will love. 

An ultimate guide to shampoo paste

The least well-known of the shampoo products, shampoo paste is gaining popularity and momentum as people look for sustainable alternatives to their usual products amid the Climate Crisis. Find out all you need to know about this up-and-coming product.

What is shampoo paste?

Shampoo paste is essentially a hybrid of the traditional liquid shampoo and newer shampoo bar. It is a highly concentrated formula that typically uses 50% less water than the average liquid shampoo. 

While shampoo paste – not to be confused with dry shampoo paste – is still a relatively new concept, it is a sustainable alternative to traditional liquid shampoo. Its highly concentrated formula as a result of less water used, means that the product will go further and you’ll get more washes out of it. What’s not to love? 

Stay tuned for a vegan, cruelty free and refillable shampoo paste

Haven’t you heard? UpCircle is launching its first ever hair care product!

Those who got their hands on our 12 Days of Beauty advent calendar had the pleasure of trying out our all-new Shampoo Crème with Upcycled Pink Berry Extract. With all of the rave reviews, we simply had to make it a permanent product!

Our Shampoo Crème is a hybrid of liquid shampoo and bar shampoo, combining the best parts of each. This left us with a super concentrated formula that delivers three times the washes of liquid shampoo and less waste than a shampoo bar usually due to the last slithers of the shampoo bar being too fiddly to use!  

It’s suitable for all hair types; we took the time to carefully curate and test the formula, ensuring everyone could enjoy it. You also don’t need to worry about your water type, as our Shampoo Crème with Upcycled Pink Berry Extract works well in both soft and hard water. 

Co-founder Anna Brightman explains how the UpCircle Upcycled Shampoo Crème came to life: “With the increasing availability of new clean green ingredients, we have discovered a more novel, innovative, and user-friendly way to create a highly effective super luxe shampoo. Like all ‘best’ products, this has been some time in the making as we wanted to get the right feel, consistency, performance, and combination of the most effective hair care ingredients.”

What you can expect from the UpCircle Shampoo Crème

As a brand, we’ve always held our ethics close and made sure that they are reflected in every single product we make. Our Shampoo Crème is no different – housed in a glass bottle and a cardboard outer box, the natural and cruelty-free Shampoo Crème uses upcycled pink berry extract to cleanse and strengthen the hair without stripping it, unlike many chemical shampoos. 

Pink berry has been clinically proven to improve scalp conditions associated with redness, itching and the appearance of flakes and scales. Our refillable Shampoo Crème pairs pink berry extract with other natural ingredients such as calming cedarwood oil that reduces inflammation, tension and stress. 


Stay tuned for the launch of our very own Shampoo Crème with Upcycled Pink Berry Extract in March 2023! In the meantime, discover our full range of vegan and cruelty-free products.

NATURAL

VEGAN

PALM-OIL-FREE

FIGHTING-WASTE

CRUELTY-FREE

100% RECYCLABLE PACKAGING

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