Well hello, friends! It’s been a while! My adventures have taken me far and wide lately, and I find myself in Slovakia at the moment, braving monstrous downpours and scouting hilltop castles. (See Spissky Castle, above.) I’ve been traveling and am also relocating from Washington, DC, back to Denver. Hygiene, while usually pretty high on my list of priorities, has fallen to a, still honorable… lower place. I shouldn’t say hygiene, really, but more like pampering that is usually in my regular routine. I haven’t much had the time. Also, I ran out of my haircare godsend- Rahua Voluminous Shampoo– which is tragic from more than just the indulgence end. I’ve made do as best I could and sampled some of my cousin’s (not so organic) shampoo, but still felt like I had some kind of film on my hair.
So, I rediscovered instead one of my favorite companies! I keep soaps in my luggage to keep things smelling fresh (or you know, attempt to), and remembered that I’ve used one of my Chagrin Valley soaps to wash my hair before, with great success. I pulled out the Juniper Spearmint soap and used it all over to get squeaky clean, and I’m glad I did!
Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Company (CV) is one of those companies that one dreams of starting, (ok well, I dream of that). It’s a small, truly family-run soap company based in Ohio that has branched out into other products as well, like beautiful wooden soap dishes (handmade by founder Ida’s husband, I believe), facial oils, and scrubs. I have so far only tried their soap and shampoo bars, but I know that I will be ordering from them again. I’ve emailed the company about the products before, and a representative responded promptly with a thoughtful answer. I really appreciate the company’s transparency, with ingredients and even for posting an explanatory letter to customers prior to some price changes a year or two ago. On the website, founder Ida has “Ida’s Soapbox” (teehee) to share her thoughts on everything from tips on how to make herbal infusions with oils to use of CV products to the specifics on why CV uses the packaging and shipping materials they do. The packaging for the soaps is brown paper bags. I love this sort of simplicity, and this carries through to the products as well.
Despite being a diehard product junkie, I love that one soap can serve as shampoo, body wash, and even face wash if you’ve found just the one. Everything is made from beautiful plant oils and smells like an herb garden (which just so happens to be what I want to smell like as well). I love the super gentle Juniper Spearmint soap I got for Christmas one year, along with the moisturizing Winter Survival soap (in stock seasonally). The soaps nurture and clean your skin, and I like to keep the soap on for several minutes before rinsing off. All of the soaps do behave very differently, however, and since I have dry skin, I can’t, for example, use the Adzuki Bean soap in the winter time, because my skin will get dry. The website gives great product descriptions, so just be diligent and trust in Ida. The lady knows her oils.
Since the soaps are all so different, it takes a lot of experimentation to find the right one for your hair as well. CV offers (hefty) sample-sized shampoo and soap bars for around $2.70 each, which makes it easy to try lots of different soaps without having to through a full size. The company has dedicated “shampoo bars,” but I actually found the few that I tried to be a bit too drying in the long term. I had much better luck with using just the regular Juniper Spearmint bar. I tried the Ayurvedic Herb and Cafe Moreno shampoo bars. Of the two, I preferred Cafe Moreno since it made my hair very shiny. I still had better results with Juniper Spearmint, however, (like today, my hair is soft, clean (finally), fragrant (finally), and bouncy!). The CV website has great tips on how to wash hair with the shampoo or soap bars, and this Youtube review has lots of great information as well.
Since bar soap isn’t a liquid, this is a great product for traveling. I’ve been able to test this myself; it’s true. The soaps make awesome gifts too- I’ve gifted them before, and the soap fairy is sure to strike again. As for me, I’ve already got a to-buy list going for once I’m settled in Denver, including the Chamomile Calendula, Honey Butter, and Sweet Basil soap bars, and Whipped Squalane Face and Eye Mousse. Just let me know once you’re all ready to throw an Ida fan party; I’ll be ready.