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. =)
I'm very glad I found Chagrin Valley and I've been so impressed with everything I've tried so far. I had no idea soap could be so moisturizing and make my dry and sensitive skin calm down, although nothing does away with the need for a moisturizer. So far, my favorite facial soap is the Rhassoul Clay and Yogurt. I also really like the lotion bars. They're very long lasting and while they do take a few minutes to sink in, my skin feels satiny and smooth after use. They're great for dry hands and cuticles, too. Highly recommend!
Although, so far, I've tried only one of the several sample and full-size bars that I've ordered, I have to say that I'm very impressed with the one I've sampled (Rhassoul Clay & Yogurt Complexion Soap). Although I'm in my 40's, I have very oily skin, but with dry/rosacea patches, and this soap actually seems to calm my skin and reduce the redness. However, others have said that CV soaps are *so* moisturizing and not at all drying, but I find that this soap, while not overly drying, is still a soap, and so I do have to follow up w/ moisturizer. I love the earthy/natural scent, too. FWIW, I also ordered and tried the honey butter lip balm, which I like quite a bit -- the texture is a bit grainy, but it works just great -- and I also tried the "earth blend" whipped shea butter, which is a very nice shea butter, much better than my usual Palmer's for moisturizing. This stuff is great for feet, hands, knees and elbows. Like all shea butters, it works best if you apply it right after a shower, or after you've applied a more "watery" lotion. The scent is a bit overpowering w/ patchouli, but it does fade after a few minutes, so I can live with that.
EDIT: I'm upping my rating to 5 lippies, since I've now tried several soaps and they are simply the BEST -- they clean gently, smell fantastic, and are gently moisturizing. Will definitely repurchase!
I ordered samples of Chagrin Valley soaps when I was on a quest to find SLS free body care products. I'm SO glad I did. I was using Dr. Bonner's castille soap, but I felt like it was leaving a residue. Someone recommended the CV shampoo bars to me, so I ordered regular soap bar samples as well. They're wonderful!! The scent of many of these is rather earthy, but I'm fine with that. The soap rinses clean and leaves my skin incredibly moisturized. I haven't had to follow up with a moisturizer, although it is summer. I may find that I have to do so in the colder months. My skin definitely appears to be more hydrated and I even think the KP on the back of my arms is improving a bit.
The bars are very generous, especially for the price. Samples lasted me quite a few weeks, definitely long enough to formulate an opinion on whether or not to order full sizes, which was an emphatic yes! I've sampled a number of different body soaps and like all of them. I haven't gotten the hang of the shampoo bars yet, but that's a different review. I also haven't tried any of the facial soaps.
I use the castille soap for babies on my 22-month-old son and it works very well. He's never gotten a rash and he doesn't need to have lotion applied afterward. I use it on his hair, too. Note that it is NOT tear-free, so one has to use care when rinsing.
I also like the fact that the company is enviornmentally conscious and the packaging is very minimal - the soaps arrive in a little brown bag with a cute little sticker identifying the contents. Add in the fact that these are free of artificial fragrance and parabens and I can see myself using these for quite awhile. There are enough scents to keep me entertained. I get tired of having to order my products, but the shipping is reasonable, quick, and the prices are so good and the bars last so long that I don't foresee that being an issue.
I highly recommend these, especially if you're looking for something natural, SLS free, moisturizing and just generally yummy.
A friend of mine sent me a bunch of samples for my birthday this year to try since she was using them and having such great results. And I'm so glad she did. Let me just say that I haven't used "soap" on my face or body in nearly 20 years. I have always hated how dry, tight, and sticky my skin felt afterwards. I no longer have that problem!
These soaps are some of the most moisturizing products I have ever used on my skin. And it really is true that I don't have to use lotion after my daily shower because the soap did the trick for me. However, their lotion products are very nice as well. I'm a big fan of their Whipped Cocoa Butter and Lotion Bars - and even the Shea Butter. I use those products for my hands and feet and for when I want to add extra moisture to my body [like right before bed]. I have noticed that my dry and cracked feet are healing slowly.
My favorite body soaps are: Olive & Shea, Honey Butter, Chocolate & Almond, Chamomile & Calendula, and the Goatmilk, Oatmeal, & Honey soaps. They all have light to no scent and just make you feel good. They lather fantastically with my shower puff and leave my skin super silky smooth and soft. The Goatmilk is particularly soothing and calming if you have any skin rashes or fungus issues.
My favorite soaps for my face are: Carrot & Honey Complexion Soap [mature / sensitive skin], Goatmilk, Oatmeal & Honey soap [sensitive skin], and the Lavender, Oatmeal Spice soap [oily skin]. In particular the Carrot & Honey is FANTASTIC and my absolute fave. It is very creamy and it is for "mature" skin, as well as works well for sensitive skin. It is loaded with emollients and antioxidants that help with rejuvenating. I have noticed that my face is not normally as flushed in my tzone and cheek areas like it used to be [goatmilk is so good for that -and is also in the Carrot & Honey soap..] I do have combination skin as well as sensitive skin so it can be hard to find products that address both issues as well as what I've been experiencing. As much as I have loved my Olay Foaming Face Wash for sensitive skin - I haven't touched it since using these soaps!
I feel as if I'm truly pampering my skin. The packaging is great and simple - little paper bags. And the shipping is very reasonable esp. with the ability to get flat-rate. And the shipping is FAST. Customer Service rocks! I have turned a couple of friends onto this site and products and am slowly trying to get my mom to try as well.
I highly - HIGHLY - recommend these soaps. Ida is a GENIUS and I can't imagine myself ever using a different face or body cleanser.
I am so happy to have found this! Originally it wasthe shampoo bars that people were talking about on THE LONG HAIR COMMUNITY and other hair places. This is an amazing company run by a woman named Ida in Chcagrin Valley Iowa, website CHAGRIN VALLEY SOAP. I tired the shampoo bars, summer sunshine, nettle and got the honey butter body soap, chamomille and candula, and goatmilk, honey and oatmeal bars! LOVE THEM ALL. Fabulous scents, all natural, no fake ingredients including scents that are all natural. Might be a little earthy for some. So sad, i just can't get on the shampoo bar bandwagon. I used for two months with vinegar rinses, and tweaked this every wway i could. I think that the Lake Michigan Water is just too hard in Chicago. I even sent for a free water testing kit(its hard to believe i can find time to do that, but not all the laundry at once!) and Chicago water is at the low end of very hard! Maybe if i get a shower filter....sometimes my hair would look goo, but it is unpredictable and requires tons of rinsing. If your water isn't hard, try them. People love the shampoo bars. Well, a big huge thank you for that company for introducing me to the wonderful benefits of coldprocess 3 to four week cured homemade natural soap! Love the info on website and am already having fun figuring out which soaps at Farmers markets i would like to try. If you use cold process all natural soaps, you will never go back to the nasty chemical soap bars with sls foaming agents. Great gifts, 5 usd or so a bar. I never thought i would use anything except liquid body soaps, now i can't imagine using anything else. Skin is so soft you actually don't need lotion! I still use it but...i love the lotions and potions. One last thing, make sure to store your handmade soap on a wood draining dish or elevated plastic soap saver, they sell inserts at Merz and online cheap. This soap must dry completely and be kept away from shower steam etc. Or will melt because of high natural glycerin content. Not to be confused with glycerin soap, which is nothing like this. Your bathroom will smell wonderful, as well any closets or drawers you tuck these soaps into! I like that people are going green and that some people realize that the more natural, old fashioned way of doing things stand the test of time. In a crazy world, you need a little pampering and goodness to self! Hope this helps anyone who hasn't experienced handmade soaps!EDIT: Should have read other reveiws first, i repeated info...sorry about that!
I love Chagrin Valley soaps! They really are a skin saver, esp in winter as these are very moisturising. My favorites are Olive & Shea (HG for me), Grapeseed Shea for face and also the Goatsmilk Honey for face, Peppermint Twist is a very refreshing minty soap - perfect for summer! Herbal Mist is also a favorite. These bars are HUGE! I always cut them in half before using. Also, please note that these soaps have a natural, herbal, earthy scent - which I love! If you prefer fragrance oil scented soaps, these may not be for you.
These bars are called soap, but, of course, they have absolutely nothing in common with the stuff that is named soap that you can buy in drugstores or department stores and that strip your skin of its life.
These are really solid cleansers made of lots of vegetable and nuts butters, herbs, vitamins, natural oils, natural glycerin + sometimes honey, aloe, oatmeal, etc. Carrot & Honey Complexion soap, Rhassoul & Yogurt soap and Avocado Oats & Shea Soap are my favorites for the face. In the past, I used liquid cleansers for my face, but then found out that these bars are doing as good (if not better) job for a fraction of the price. They not only clean well and leather nicely, but leave my skin amazingly soft. At some point, I even wondered if I need moisturizer after using this type of cleansing.
The only thing I don't understand about Chagrin Valley soaps is how come they smell so delicious and yet don't contain any synthetic fragrances. Anyway these wonderful aromas let you know you're using one of the world's finest natural soaps. How she is doing it, I guess it's Ida's secret :)
For me, finding soaps that are so complex, with so many beneficial ingredients that don't contain any parables or sulfates is like finding a gem!
Now, about the price: to my calculations, it's 4 times more expensive then a regular Dove bar, but: 1 - it lasts at least 3 times longer then Dove, 2 - it is a lot gentler and more nourishing for your skin, 3 - it won’t leave even the most sensitive skin itchy or red. That comparison is only for body bars. As to facial cleansing, Chagrin Valley soaps win even price-wise, hands down.
If you've never used real soap before, try their samples. After that, you'll never go back to the chemical-toxic ones.
Absolutely incredible soaps. My skin has never felt this good after a shower. Nicely scented and so moisturizing! I don't think I'll even have to use a body lotion until winter sets in.
idas soaps are simply amazing! she ships fast and packages her items very nice too, thats a plus. i have tried scarborough fair, shea complexion and herbal mist. they smell wonderful! the first wash was also a bit sticky, but once you got a good lather, repeating uses are not sticky. my skin is very happy with me after using her soaps, and i am natural soap junkie! the scents linger just slightly so you dont go around smelling like rosemary mint or whatever all day (though some of us wouldnt mind that lol). i also got my chihuahua a shampooch bar- all natural dog shampoo. he has very sensitive skin and her pooch bars are what drew me to her soaps. his skin is soft, flake free and his fur is very shiny. she uses oils in her pooch bars to repell bugs and fleas. he doesnt have flea issues but mosquiots do bite in the morning when we walk. not anymore! try them youll like them- there are scents for everyone!
EDIT: I recently tried her solid lotion bar in "3 butter"-i love it! It takes a few seconds for the lotion to sink into the skin, but my skin stays soft even if I wash my hands. It has a heavnely cocoa scent from the cocoa butter. Will repurchase to try other soaps and lotion bars!