Review of Chagrin Valley All Products by EmmaAte
I understand why so many people rave about Chagrin Valley products -- they do not disappoint. I used to be completely oblivious to what was in my "sensitive skin" soaps and shampoos. I just trusted the popular brands -- I mean really, if everyone is using it, how could it really be bad, right? Then, a few years ago, I was diagnosed with a little-known, female pain condition called vulvodynia. At first, I was horrified to know that the condition had no real "cure" (and the name contained the word vulva, ugh), but the frustration quickly mobilized me into investigatory-mode in order to find not only a cure, but also a cause. One of the first things I started doing was reading labels on everything I used including soaps & shampoos. What I found was shocking. I've become cynical about our nation's investment in regulating all of the toxins found in commonly used, commonly assumed "safe" products. Who's to say exactly what my body is responding to with pain -- as an American consumer, I was drowning in chemicals! It didn't take long to discover that even so-called "organic", "all-natural", and "handmade" products are often no more wholesome than their commercial counterparts. I'm sure that CV has heard this before but I'll say it anyway -- it was refreshing to have found their site! The Chagrin Valley website is AWESOME because they not only give us the ingredient list for every product, they explain how and why they use those ingredients. I love that I'm not only buying a new soap, I am also learning a great deal of information about different oils and herbs, and how these will affect my body. It's been gratifying to know that I finally found a company that treats their customers so respectfully. I'm thankful to them for being so open, honest, and enthusiastic about sharing their products. I also appreciate their dedication to great service -- I ordered twice on a Friday and got my soaps on the following Wednesday without paying more for shipping than the products!
So far, my favorite soaps: the Aloe, Aloe, Aloe soap, and the Seabuckthorn & Tea Tree Oil soap. The first makes my skin freakishly soft. I say that because I didn't think it possible to go from damp, tight skin post-cleansing to velvety smooth once dry! This is a fantastic shaving soap. The Seakbuckthorn soap has been my facial wash. I've been using it for a little over a week and already my cystic acne-prone skin is looking fantastic. Something I've noted -- just like the shampoos, the soaps take a little longer to wash off your skin than commercial soap. With the Seabuckthorn soap, I've actually not tried so hard to scrub it all off before I go to bed. I think that "residue" is what is making my skin so much healthier -- it keeps nourishing while I sleep.
My sample for the whipped eye and face mousse just came in yesterday so I don't have much to say yet other than it feels really good here in West Texas. I plan to use it under my mineral make-up. I'm also trying the whipped butters -- they smell good enough to eat! They also held up well in the mail even though we were in the double-digits when I received my package. Of the three, the cocoa butter was the only one with noticeable shrinkage and it was minimal.
The shampoo has been a different experience. These don't rinse out as cleanly as a detergent shampoo making the "quick" hair wash something of the past (although it's cool to be forced to love my hair a little longer). So, for the last week I've had waxy, sort of oily-looking hair, even with the vinegar. (CV provides in-depth information about vinegar rinses and why you might need them -- as luck would have it, I live in one of the areas with really hard water.) But, my persistence has paid off -- today I finally achieved awesome hair status! For the first time in YEARS I'm going on 2 days without having to wash my hair because of oil and dandruff. It seems that I have a "normal" scalp after all! I've been using the Neem & Tea Tree Oil Body & Hair Shampoo, and the Ayurvedic bar. I know that a lot of people don't like the smell of tea tree oil but this bar, while very fragrant, doesn't make your hair smell antiseptic like a lot of other tea tree oil products. In fact, like the vinegar rinse, once my hair is dry I don't smell much of anything at all. The only product that hasn't worked for me yet is the Butter Bar Conditioning soap. I used it on Day 3 (hoping to combat the waxy texture) but it made my hair look and feel much worse. I will probably use it only on the ends of my hair as suggested.
I'm not pain-free yet but it feels good to know that I've eliminated more substances that might be helping to make me miserable. Vulvodynia is chronic vulvar pain without an identifiable cause.. In my case, it feels like I'm burning "down there"; sex is impossible. I've discovered that many women have this issue but go undiagnosed for a variety of reasons, including a lack of understanding by their treating physicians. If you, or anyone you know needs more information about vulvodynia you may contact me, or join the National Vulvodynia Association (NVA.org). It's been a blessing to connect with more people who choose not to "suffer" and who are actively trying to find solutions.