Saturday, September 7, 2013

Skincare Saturday: Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Shampoo Bar Selection Reviews

In preparation for my month abroad, I decided I needed some shampoo bars. I didn't want to pay Lush prices, especially since their bars contain SLS, and a quick Google search led me to Chagrin Valley, purveyors of shampoo and soap bars, among many other bath and body products. I ordered a few generously-sized samples, decided on the shampoo bar I wanted to bring with me, and then evidently never hit the order button, leading to a frantic search for shampoo bars in Eugene. Fortunately, it's a hippie town, so I was able to find one without issue (Camanu Rosemary Nettle, if you're curious), but I really liked the Chagrin Valley stuff in general and thought I should review it! Starting with the shampoo bars today and the soaps I've tried next week.

Solid shampoo is a great choice when traveling, as it's not subject to the TSA's ridiculous 3 oz limit on liquids. It's also nice for hair that doesn't fare well with traditional shampoo ingredients like SLS (sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate) and coco betaine. I have fine, curly hair that I dye, so I try to steer clear of ingredients that strip my hair––there are a number of liquid shampoos/cleansing conditioners that I find work well for me (I can talk about those later if anyone's interested?), but I like shampoo bars for their ease of transport.

One thing to note about solid shampoos, and SLS-free shampoos in general, is that it takes some time for your hair to adjust to them. I started with As I Am Coconut Cleansing Conditioner, a cream from Sally Beauty, which was a nice in-between step, so my shift to shampoo bars was pretty painless, but if you're going straight from traditional shampoos to natural shampoo bars, it could take a couple of weeks before your hair stops being grouchy.

As with normal shampoo, you have to concentrate it at the roots of your hair; I like to rub it around my hairline (face and neck) and up the top of my head, then thoroughly massage it over my scalp, gently spreading it down to the ends of my hair, then thoroughly rinsing. It takes 2-3 minutes for the whole process, as I try to make really sure I've gotten it all out, and if you live in a place with very hard water, shampoo bars might not be the right thing for you, as such water can be ineffective at rinsing it out, leading to limp, coated hair (gross). I luckily live in an area with very soft water (PNW ftw!), but you can check yours here; see also Ida's (Chagrin Valley's founder) discussion and suggestions here. Even in areas with soft water, she suggests doing a baking soda/ACV rinse every month or so, but I'm too lazy for that; instead, I just use a shampoo with SLS every few weeks to get rid of any and all buildup.

Good lord, that's a lot of background. Now, to the reviews!

via Chagrin Valley
Neem and Tea Tree Body and Hair Shampoo: I'd initially ordered this for its anti-acne properties, only to be reminded that my skin does not get along with anything coconut-derived, so figured I should at least try it in my hair. I have very, very oily skin, so my first instinct is always to go for products that help with oil. Unfortunately, my hair isn't oily (though I do wash it every day, because I am OCD like that), so this guy, aimed at acne-prone complexions and people with dandruff or psoriasis, wasn't moisturizing enough. It also smells weird, as to be expected from anything with neem oil. Though it didn't work for me, lots of other reviews said it helped a lot with acne, so if you're not sensitive to coconut oil, you should give it a shot! $2.70 for 1 oz, $8.25 for 5.5 oz
Ingredients: Organic Coconut Oil; Organic Neem Oil; Organic Sunflower & Castor Oils Infused With Organic Botanicals (Elder Flower, Calendula, Dandelion Leaf, Black Walnut Leaf, Comfrey); Water; Organic Sustainable Palm Oil; Sodium Hydroxide*; Organic Jojoba Oil; Rice Bran Oil; Organic Essential Oils of Lavender, Tea Tree, Thyme, Peppermint; Organic Rosemary Oil Extract. *Used during the Saponification Process to turn oil into soap. None remains in the finished product.

via Chagrin Valley
Chamomile and Citrus Shampoo Bar: This one is designed for normal to oily hair, so needless to say, it didn't give me enough moisture. It smelled nice, though, and lathered well, and I'm sure works swimmingly for people who actually have normal to oily hair. It's certainly not Chagrin Valley's fault that I get my face and my hair confused. $2.70 for 1.5 oz, $7.75 for 7 oz

Ingredients: Sunflower And Olive Oils Infused With Organic Botanicals (Chamomile, Yarrow, Calendula); Coconut Oil; Castor Oil; Chamomile Tea With Soapnuts; Organic Sustainable Palm Oil; Sodium Hydroxide*; Jojoba Oil; Canola Oil (Non-Gmo); Essential Oils Of Pink Grapefruit, Bergamot, Litsea, Lime, Lemon, Sweet Orange; Rosemary Oil Extract. *Used during the Saponification Process to turn oil into soap. None remains in the finished product.

via Chagrin Valley
Rosemary Lavender Shampoo Bar: This bar is designed to nourish and revitalize, and the review (from another Amy with curly hair!) was very positive, so I figured I should try it. It's possible I just didn't use it long enough, but it also left my hair kind of scrinchy and dry. Pleasant smelling, though, and your mileage may vary! $2.70 for 1.5 oz, $7.75 for 7 oz

Ingredients: Coconut Oil; Sunflower And Rice Bran Oils Infused With Organic Botanicals (Rosemary, Lavender); Babassu Oil; Castor Bean Oil; Water; Organic Aloe Vera; Organic Sustainable Palm Oil; Sodium Hydroxide*; Jojoba Oil; Mango Butter; Essential Oils Of Rosemary, Lavender, Tea Tree; Rosemary Oil Extract. *Used during the Saponification Process to turn oil into soap. None remains in the finished product.

via Chagrin Valley
Summer Sunshine Shampoo Bar: As the name suggests, this one is aimed at summer hair, "when the scalp becomes more oily, but the hair more dry as it is exposed to sun and wind", and has a number of wonderfully moisturizing ingredients. It worked really well with my hair, and I had intended to order a full size bar of it before my trip. Now, I'm going to order more samples instead, since I have tons of space here at home, but I'm definitely remembering this one for the future! I think it would work well on a variety of hair types, and heartily recommend it. $2.70 for 1.5 oz, $7.75 for 7 oz
Ingredients: Coconut Oil; Sunflower Oil; Babassu Oil; Castor Oil; Wheat Germ Oil; Water; Organic Sustainable Palm Oil; Sodium Hydroxide*; Canola (Non-GMO); Organic Coconut Milk; Essential Oils Of Lavender, Sweet Orange, Pink Grapefruit, Lime, Rosemary, Ylang Ylang; Sea Kelp; Rosemary Oil Extract. *Used during the Saponification Process to turn oil into soap. None remains in the finished product.

You might notice that most of the bars are 1.5 oz for samples and 7 oz full size, with the exception of the Neem & Tea Tree. From what I can tell, it's those that have rare/expensive oils or extracts that are priced higher. On average, it seems that I use about 0.5 oz per week, so even the smaller samples are still plenty to determine efficacy (this average is based on 1 shampoo bar and 3 soap bar samples, so I'm not positive it's completely accurate!). It's $5.75 flat-rate priority shipping for orders under $50, which is quite reasonable. They have a staggering number of shampoos and soaps, but the website is full of information and suggestions based on skin/hair type, which helps one not feel too overwhelmed by the choices. I have 11 samples in my cart right now (several shampoo bars, many soap bars), and could easily add another 10, but I'm trying to exercise some restraint! We'll see how long that lasts.

Have you tried any shampoo bars, or anything from Chagrin Valley? How do you feel about "natural" haircare?

I purchased everything featured here with my own hard-earned cash. All opinions are my own, I wasn't compensated, I love Parks & Rec, blah blah blah.
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