This review is for Chagrin Valley as a whole and all their excellent products. First, their site is wonderful, full of information and things you probably didn't know about skin and soap. Second, their customer service is outstanding. They usually ship within 24 hours (and their site is up-to-date, telling you what is ready to ship and what isn't). And third, their products are marvelous. Rich, buttery bars of soap and shampoos that smell and feel so good. I order unscented products and a package arrives that smells like clean and laundry and linens.
With great prices and products and a wide variety of choices, this is going to be my go-to etailer for soaps.
This winter I have been battling a really bad breakout of seborrhoea. Oiling my hair does help some, but not all the way. And once I wash the flakes and itchiness will be there again.
I was going crazy, and depressed and so in desperate hope I sent for a few samples from Chagrin Valley. Ever since I used that first sample (Herb Garden) my scalp has been itch free, and the flakes have been kept at bay washing Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday followed with an ACV rinse (15 ml ACV in 1 litre water).
Not only have the shampoo bars solved the problem with flakes etc. Followed with the ACV rinse and a thumb nail amount of conditioner (as opposed to the handful I used before) my hair is also the easiest it has ever been to detangle. And the detangling effect keeps for the day after too. Honestly, I thought tangles was something you had to live with if you have waist long, thick and fine hair and didn't want to put a lot of product in it.
So far, the only bad thing about using CV bars seem to be the time it takes to wash the hair. Oh, and that one really has to do patch tests since Ida uses real ingredients in her soaps. Learnt that the hard way with her shea rose clay soap, since it really lit my face up badly because I'm apparently sensitive to roses. A pity, though, since it left the skin so soft! Much softer than the Winter Survival soap.
At the moment I'm waiting for a new batch of samples, since I just have to test all of her shampoo bars. Yes, I think I've become addicted. That is how good my hair feels right now. I just hope it's a lasting feeling since I have samples to last me probably at least until autumn!
I've stopped my shampoo bar experiment for the time being. Just too time consuming, since you have to do everything properly to get a good result.
I have been using CV soaps and shampoo bars for over year now. The soaps are great! They smell wonderful and the bars are huge. I have weirdly sensitive skin in that I will develop tiny little blackheads on my chest, back and shoulders from most soaps/body washes. I've tried almost all Ida's soaps and my favorite is the Java Spice. It shrinks pores, eradicates 95% of my acne (face and body!) and just gives a nice glow all around. My back, chest, and face are noticably less oily. I go through about a bar a month. (The Chocolate Almond was by far my favorite scent, but it broke me out. )
My hair was thin and oily before the shampoo bar. No matter what kind of shampoo/conditioner I used, (and I tried a lot,) my hair was just limp and straight. No amount of products could perk it up, well, too much for every day use, anyway. I've tried about half of the shampoo bars, and the Chamomile and Citrus bar is what I use 99% of the time. After a year of no SLS or silicones, my hair is thicker (I can't call it fine anymore) it's naturally wavy, and it just looks so good! The top growth that's never seen commercial shampoos is much shinier and feels stronger. I'm growing out my hair and with no trims/cuts since Oct 07, I have NO split ends. I never had a whole lot anyway, but now there are none! As has been mentioned, if you have hard water, you need a vinegar or citric acid rinse. I just splash some vinegar in plastic glass I leave in the bathroom, fill it to the top with water, and rinse. It takes out soap residue and my hair feels like silk. I just can't say enough how much I love this stuff, my hair is no longer weak and wimpy, it's strong and shiny! And I only wash it every other day, as opposed to a necessary every day wash previously. Those of you that have oily hair know what I mean!
After I spent a long time window shopping on Chagrin Valley, I finally broke down and tried some. I am so glad I did. Ida's soaps are absolutely wonderful. I don't have really dry skin so I can get away with just using her soap and only using body lotion on occasion. So far I have tried the Pumpkin Spice, Carrot Honey Complexion, Rhassoul Yogurt, and the Peppermint Twist. My fave by far is the Peppermint Twist, but that's probably just because I'm a peppermint junkie! The only bar I didn't like was the Rhassoul Yogurt. It dried out my face. The sample sizes are very generous and are a perfect size for facial bars. I'm not sure what everyone's preferred method of use is, but I usually just swipe the bar across parts of my body, then put it back on the rack, and just lather up the soap on my body. The soap lathers really well so there's no need to massage the bar of soap all over. The less you expose the bar to water, the longer the soap will last. Just be aware that the scents are not as strong as other soaps because they're all natural and don't contain fragrance oils. So if you want a soap with a strong, long-lasting scent you'll probably be disappointed. (But somehow the Pumpkin Spice soap always left my shower smelling pumpkiny.)
My skin has never looked healthier since I switched to washing with natural soaps. Seriously, after using these soaps I'll be hard-pressed...or maybe cold-pressed(?) haha...to go back to store-bought face washes. These soaps leave my skin always feeling baby soft and smooth, plus it leaves my skin healthy and not irritated and stripped of its protective lipid barrier. I do need a moisturizer afterward but it's to seal in moisture, not to repair damage from harsh cleansers.
The Honey Butter soap is wonderful for the face and great for sensitive skin types. It cleanses well, doesn't leave me dried out or itchy and the bar is HUGE for the price! It's the best soap I've used so far for gentle face and body cleansing. The Rhassoul Clay & Yogurt Complexion Soap is also excellent and would be a great soap for summertime because it really digs in deep and cleans well. I have a sample and it cleanses thoroughly and even seemed to clean out my pores a bit better than the Honey Butter. Highly recommended to anyone who likes soap cleansers or wants something more natural and simple. continued >>
I am obsessed with Chagrin Valley soaps, both face/body and shampoo bars!!!! If I can give you one piece of advice, TRY THEM!!! Samples are big and there is something for everyone. I am giving bars to everyone I know for Christmas. I tried some natural soaps from from a local soapmaker and while they are good, they just dont compare. And the website, oh man, dont even get me started there.....there is soooo much information on there, I have spent hours learning about homemade soaps. The owner is so knowledgable!! Also, try the Whipped Shea or Whipped Coco butter....I am in love...............
I read about this on one of the boards and tried several samples to ck it out.
I was very suprised when I got out of the shower and didn't feel the need for lotion (that was summer). I use lotion in the winter.
I have used Dove super oil whatever--the brown plastic container and have to use lotion summer and winter with it.
I am giving these in Lavender and Lemon for Christmas, along with the little "socks" to hold the bar and exfoliate the skin.
I gave them as a hostess gift to my college roomie when we stayed with them in Sept. She loved the fragrance and how the soap feels. Her husband enjoyed it as well, she said.
I used the castile soap on my baby and he broke out into a terrible rash which took weeks to clear. It gave me dry itchy skin, and I don't have dry skin to begin with! Off to the garbage all the remaining samples went!
Thanks to the reviewers before me I ordered several samples before I went back and bought the full size. These soaps are moisturizing and have improved my skin considerably. My skin likes the hemp based soaps best. The ones with clay are a bit drying. Because they are glycerin based they seem to dissolve quickly in my shower but I am going to cut the next bar in half (they are huge!) Should last longer that way. I like the fact that they are handmade and use lots of great natural ingredients.
I'm definitely addicted to these soaps, even though I swore off soaps as a pre-teen listening wide-eyed to a consultant at a sales "party" tell me that soaps were the worst thing for your skin.
These soaps are a far cry from whatever the sales lady was warning me about, let me tell you. They smell incredible. Incredible. I haven't smelled one I don't like. And they're not "scented", with perfumes and such, they're handmade with essential oils (each with a beneficial property in mind, not thoughtlessly thrown in) and all natural ingredients. They are creamy, lathery, luxurious. I was at first a little hesitant to use them on my face, but after seeing no consequences the first couple of times, I've been using any and all of my samples on my face. For use on my face, I actually like to mix in a little of LUSH's Herbalism... but that's another story. ;) They're gorgeous on the body - especially the Lavender Oatmeal Spice, my absolute favorite so far. That was the one I used where I noticed that I really, really didn't need lotion after my shower. My skin felt soft and smooth and lovely.
As far as the shampoo bars, the jury's still out on that. I will say that if you have hard water, success will only come with some significant extra work compared to other shampoos. The reason is that the soap molecules bind to the minerals in the water and become soap scum, which, as you may know from experience, is very difficult to rinse away from a non-porous surface like your bathtub. Just imagine trying to rinse that from your hair. Yeah. So far, a vinegar rinse is essential if I'm going to get it to work reasonably well, and conditioner is non-optional after the vinegar, because I find vinegar rather drying for my hair. Vinegar rinses don't have to be anything fancy, by the way - I just use big bowl of shower water with a splash of vinegar, and pour it over my head. Another thing that has helped me find success with the shampoo bars is to use a silicone free liquid shampoo (I used baby shampoo) as a clarifier first, but I had to shampoo a total of four times (twice with the liquid shampoo, twice with the bar) for that to work, so I'm not sure if it was worth it.
But enough about the shampoo bars. I won't take off a star for the inconvenience I've experienced trying to make them work for me, because I'm fairly certain that's due to my hard water, and not evidence of an inferior product. And I love, love, love the soaps and want them to have five stars. =)