Review of Chagrin Valley All Products by jenna867
I have been using Chagrin Valley soaps for about 5 years now & have never used anything better! It is true that once you've used them you won't want to go back to regular soap or shampoo again (although it might take a while for you – and your hair – to get used to using them).
I first heard about Ida & Chagrin Valley soaps on the www.naturallycurly.com website. I have very thick, long (bra strap length), curly hair that tends to get dry & frizzy when I use commercial hair products. I was looking for a shampoo without sulfates and other damaging chemical ingredients but couldn't find anything in stores (even in the “natural foods” type stores), so I was very interested when I learned that Ida doesn't use any artificial or chemical ingredients (not even colors or fragrances). It's also nice to be supporting a small, family-run company.
The concept of using a shampoo bar is very eco-friendly since there is no bottle to go to a landfill. They are small, travel well, and you can use the same bar for your body and your hair so there is less to pack. Each bar comes in a small paper bag and is shipped in a cardboard envelope (both of which are recycleable).
Since my hair tends to be dry, I've found that I'm able to use both the soap and shampoo bars on my hair. According to their website, the difference between the two products is that the soaps are superfatted at a higer range than the shampoo bars so they actually have more oil to moisturize dry hair. My hair loves the extra moisture, although it may be too much for fine, thin, or oily hair. Don't worry though – they have many, many other shampoo types and there is bound to be several that are just right for your own hair type. They have a ton of different varieties to choose from – each formulated a little differently. Since everyone is different, the best way to find what works best for you is to just experiment – which is not only fun, but Chagrin Valley's sample-sized bars make it very inexpensive, too!
As for which soap bars work best on my hair, I've used the Avocado Oats & Shea, Castile & Calendula, Chamomile & Calendula, Cucumber Lime Yogurt, Dead Sea Spa, Marshmallow & Lemongrass, Olive & Shea, Orange Creamsicle, Rhassoul Clay & Yogurt, and Peppermint Twist soaps – all with great results. (Be careful not to get the Peppermint Twist lather in your eyes though – or other sensitive body parts! - as it can sting a bit!)
Of the shampoo bars, I've used the Babassu & Marshmallow, Chamomile & Citrus, Mud & Clay, Olive Babassu, and Summer Sunshine and love them all.
The only ones I didn't really care for were the Honey, Beer & Egg (I didn't like the smell & it didn't seem to be as moisturizing for my hair) and the Rosemary Mint (again I didn't care for that smell). I tend to like the fresh, citrus-y scents best, but everyone is different.
Today I just received an order including three of their newest bars – the Aloe, Aloe, Aloe! Soap and the Ayurvedic Herb shampoo bar and Butter Bar Conditioner shampoo bar (they describe it as having “double the extra oils and butters of even our shampoo bars” - a “buttery lotion bar hair conditioner and
shampoo combined into one super moisturizing bar”). I can't wait to try them!
As I said in the beginning, it may take you some time to get used to using a shampoo bar since they do leave your hair feeling differently when you first rinse out the lather. You won't have that “slip” feeling you get from regular shampoos (which are actually coating your hair shafts and causing build-up). Your hair might feel a bit tacky or waxy after first using a shampoo bar – don't worry, it won't feel that way when it dries. Some people report going through a breaking-in period in order for their hair to get rid of the build-up caused by the regular shampoos they had been using. I've heard either apple cider vinegar rinses or baking soda rinses help that (you can find recipes for those on the www.chagrinvalleysoapandcraft.com website). I never had that problem, though.
I've found the best way for me to use bar shampoo is to thoroughly wet my hair, using a plastic wide-tooth comb (the kind that hangs from your shower spout – I think mine is made by Goody) to gently comb out any tangles. Then I wet the shampoo bar and bend over slightly to the side, rubbing the bar directly on my wet hair from ear level through the ends (I bend to the other side to reach it when I'm done with the first side). Lastly I rub in own the crown area & scalp. Then I use my hands gently massage my scalp and finger-comb the lather down all the way to the ends. When I'm ready to rinse, I use the wide-tooth comb again to comb through my hair while the shower spray is directed down on my head. I comb until the rinse water runs clear and ta-da – I'm done. It may sound like it takes a long time, but once you get the hang of it, it goes very quickly and the end results are definitely worth it!
I hope Ida keeps making her soaps for a long time to come! :-)