Seasonal Skin Care
Parsley Sage Rosemary & Thyme
Infused with Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme--A True Love Of Mine! Unrefined hemp seed oil has been used since ancient times to heal problem skin. It contains the highest percentage of Essential Fatty Acids in the vegetable kingdom. It improves skin's elasticity, firmness, and tone and leaves skin smooth and moisturized.
The active agent in comfrey, allantoin, has been used for centuries as a natural way to heal rashes, inflammation, and other skin problems.
Kaolin, often used in fine face powders, is one of the mildest and purest of all natural clays and can be used on even the most sensitive skin. Kaolin is soothing, cleansing, and hydrating. When used in soap provides a smooth creamy lather.
- Organic hemp seed oil, rich in essential fatty acids, penetrates the skin to moisturize and soothe
- Organic virgin shea butter moisturizes and nourishes the skin
- Organic ground herbs add a touch of gentle exfoliation
- Cassia essential oil adds a hint of spice to the uplifting, yet soothing herbal essential oil scent
Formerly called "Scarborough Fair"
I began making natural soap in 2001 with ingredients that I believed in, for the people that I loved. After all these years, that goal has never changed.
Made with Certified Organic Oils, Shea Butter and Herbs
Certified Organic By OEFFA
A USDA Accredited Organic Certifying Agent
How to Use
What Should I Use With My Natural Soap to Clean My Body?
The purpose of soap is to combine with oil and dirt on the body, which allows water to wash it away, but you need to use something to get that soap onto your skin. The method you use to cleanse your skin is really a personal preference. We thought we would share just a few examples.
Bar Bathers rub the bar directly on their skin to create lather and wash. This is definitely the best way to use exfoliating soaps and some believe they get the best moisturizing using this direct bar method.
Hand Latherers create lather in their clean hands and uses the lather to wash. This gentle, mild cleansing method may be good for those with sensitive skin.
Washcloth Washers use a washcloth to lather up. Washcloths, made out of lots of different textile textures, from soft cotton to agave fibers, can provide very gentle to intense exfoliation. Be sure washcloths are laundered and dried often.
Puff Polishers use a mesh puff that works up a foamy, bubbly lather, even with hard water, to wash and gently exfoliate the skin. Poofs make natural soap last longer but can harbor bacteria, so rinse thoroughly after use and replace every few weeks or clean per manufacturer's instructions.
Loofah Latherers love their loofahs that exfoliate and help increase circulation. Whole loofahs can be breeding grounds for bacteria, so be sure they dry out properly after use and replace them every two months.
Soap Sackers place their soap into a nylon soap bag. The fibers can have a smooth texture for gentle cleansing, like cotton muslin, or a rougher texture for exfoliation, like sisal or ramie. Soap sacks can be used for whole bars of soap or scraps that would normally be thrown away.
There is a large variety of bathing accessories available. If using any accessory, never share them with others and replace or clean them often.
Regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says that for good hand hygiene all you need is plain soap and water.
Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community.
Five simple and effective steps can help reduce the spread of illness so you, your family, your friends and the general public can stay healthy.
Handwashing is a win for everyone . . . except for the germs!
CDC recommends cleaning hands in a specific way to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. The guidance for effective handwashing was developed based on data from a number of studies.
Wash often and follow these five steps every time you wash your hands!
1. Wet your hands with clean, warm running water and apply soap.
- When dealing with cold and flu viruses, as you wash your hands the soap molecule burrows its way into the fatty envelope of a virus and literally pulls the virus apart.
2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap.
- Soap and friction help lift dirt, grease, and microbes—including disease-causing germs—from the skin so they can be rinsed down the drain.
- Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Lathering and scrubbing hands creates friction, which helps lift dirt, grease, and microbes from skin.
- The entire hand should be scrubbed. Microbes are present on all of the wrinkly surfaces of the hand, especially under the nails.
- How long are 20 seconds? About the amount of time it takes to hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- The ideal length of time for handwashing can depend on other factors for example, if hands are very dirty or if you are caring for someone is ill.
- Evidence suggests that washing hands for about 15-30 seconds removes more germs from hands than washing for shorter periods.
4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- If you are using a public restroom use a paper towel to turn off the faucet after hands have been rinsed.
5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
To date, studies have shown that there is no added health benefit for consumers (this does not include professionals in the healthcare setting) using soaps containing antibacterial ingredients compared with using plain soap.
Information is taken from the CDC.gov website
Read our blog "Simple Soap Can Help Decrease the Spread Of Viruses"
Aren't all handmade natural soaps the same? . . .
The answer is NO!
Saying a soap is "handmade" says nothing about quality of the ingredients or the knowledge and skill of the soapmaker!
Chagrin Valley is not just another soap and skincare company. We are committed to healthy skin, healthy people and a healthy planet.
We are a USDA Certified Organic Company specializing in luxurious, organic, handmade natural soaps and shampoo bars rich in natural glycerin for healthier skin and hair.
It's all about the ingredients! Inspired by our love of nature, we use organic herbs, seeds, flowers, vegetables, fragrant spices, fruits, pure essential oils and purifying clays for their exceptional skincare benefits and to provide natural color, aromatherapy, texture, or gentle exfoliation. Nothing artificial, nothing synthetic, no GMO’s, just natural wholesome ingredients.
Chagrin Valley's Natural Soap & Shampoo Bars Are...
- all natural
- made with USDA Certified Organic ingredients
- handcrafted in small batches using the old-fashioned Cold Process Method
- made with sustainable and fair trade ingredients
- certified cruelty-free
- free of detergents
- free of synthetic fragrances
- free of synthetic colors
- free of artificial preservatives
- free of artificial foam boosters
- free of alcohol and petroleum products
- free of synthetic additives
- free of GMOs
- mild and nourishing
- rich in natural glycerin
- magnificent long-lasting lather
- cured for 8 to 10 weeks
Our soap making process uses only natural and organic ingredients. Why add artificial ingredients to a handmade product?
How long a natural soap bar will last depends on:
- how many people are using it
- how often you bathe or shower
- how you use the bar
For one person showering every day, a well-drained bar should last for about one month.
Natural soaps are normally softer than commercial soaps because they retain their natural glycerin (which is removed in commercial soap production) and contain no artificial hardening chemicals, synthetic waxes or free alkali.
We also superfat our soaps (add extra oils or butters) and use "softer" oils so that Chagrin Valley natural soaps are more emollient and soothe, soften and leave skin feeling moisturized.
Different oils impart different qualities to soap. Some add lathering qualities, some moisturizing, some hardness, and so on. Compared to other natural bars, we use a larger percentage of extra moisturizing and conditioning oils in our soaps and shampoo bars. These oils produce a bar that may not be as hard as bars with less conditioning oils.
How you use the bar will also affect its lifespan. For example, do you use a washcloth, an exfoliating accessory, or only the bar? Although exfoliating loofahs and sponges are great they will use up the soap much faster than a washcloth or the "only the bar" purists.
Our Natural Soap Will Last A Long Time With Proper Care
- Don't let your soap sit in water
- Store soap on a well-drained soap dish
- Allow soap plenty of fresh air to dry between uses
- Never place soap where shower water can continuously hit it
- If your bar ever gets waterlogged and becomes gooey, simply set it on a draining soap dish or stand it on its edge for a few days and let it dry out thoroughly
How long a bar will last depends on how many people are using it, how often you bathe or shower, and how you use the bar. For one person showering every day, a well-drained bar should last for about one month.
Cute Story: A customer called to say she loved our soaps but could not buy them anymore because they did not last as long as other soaps. A week later she called to place an order and apologize. Her husband, who would NEVER use her natural soaps before, fell in love with her new Scarborough Fair soap . . . and he showered twice a day!
To maximize the life of your soap, keep it in a well-drained soap dish so it can dry between uses.
We sell a handcrafted solid white oak soap dish. The deep ridges are perfect for keeping your all natural handcrafted soap dry between uses. White Oak is the wood used in shipbuilding.
A tip passed on by one of our customers whose kids always leave the soap in a water puddle: cut the large bars in halves. Then alternate the halves, allowing a longer drying time between uses.
The Short Answer
NO! Adding antibacterial chemicals to soap does not keep your family safe from germs.
I understand why folks (especially those with children) are choosing products labeled “Antibacterial,” hoping to keep their family safe in the war against germs.
"Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water," said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). “In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.”
Simply washing your hands with old-fashioned natural soap and water rids your skin of most fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Soap does not kill germs, it surrounds them and carries them away.
The Long Answer
Please read our blog: Antibacterials: More Harm Than Good!
What Are Pure Essential Oils?
Have you ever enjoyed the scent of a fragrant flower or herb? The fragrance comes from potent, aromatic compounds called essential oils.
These natural compounds are found in the flowers, stems, seeds, bark, roots, fruits, and other parts of plants. It often requires several pounds of a plant to produce a single bottle of essential oil.
Essential oils not only give plants their unique scents but also help lure plant pollinators and protect plants from insects and other predators.
The chemical composition of essential oils may provide valuable psychological and physical aromatherapeutic benefits for some people.
It is important to note that to be a true essential oil, the oil must be isolated from the plant material by physical means only.
Essential oils are NEVER extracted using solvents.
Although synthetic fragrances or "nature identical" oils are available at a much lower cost, only natural plant essential oils will provide the botanical benefits.
Be careful that the essential oil-containing products you purchase for topical use are mixed with the correct medium.
Essential oils are soluble (dissolve) in alcohol and carrier oils. However, they are insoluble (do not dissolve) in water or water-based liquids like hydrosols, milk, aloe, or even witch hazel (which contains a small amount of alcohol).
When mixed with a water-based ingredient the molecules of the essential oil will float in tiny droplets on the surface (think of oil droplets on the surface of water). Those droplets can behave like undiluted essential oils on your skin and cause irritation.
What Are Essential Oils? (Much more detail)
Go to our Blog Pages and click "Essential Oils" in the category section on the left to read a lot more information on essential oils.
If you are pregnant or under a doctor's care for any medical condition, please consult your healthcare provider before using essential oils.
Pregnancy & Children: We do not provide information on the safety of essential oils during Pregnancy or for use in Children because the available information is very ambiguous and often contradictory. If you’re interested in using essential oils during pregnancy or with young children please do your own research and consult your doctor, midwife, or health care professional before use.
Some people tell me that they would love to switch to a natural soap to get rid of the chemicals and the plastic bottles.
So what is stopping them? They often believe that bars of soap are less hygienic than liquid soap.
My answer, of course, is that liquid soaps are NOT more hygienic than solid soap bars!
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word hygienic means, "Conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, especially by being clean; sanitary."
It may seem like an odd question to ask whether something specifically created to help make you clean is hygienic, but actually, it is an excellent question that has actually been studied.
Human skin has a natural microbiome that contains thousands of different bacteria, fungi, and viruses that do not cause negative health consequences for those with an intact immune system because they are part of our bodies. As a matter of fact, this microbiome helps keeps our skin healthy.
It makes sense that the microbes of your natural microbiome plus the oils and dead skin cells on your hands will get passed on to everything you touch. Numerous studies have shown that we transfer this bacteria to our cell phones, keyboards, remote controls, doorknobs, faucets, liquid soap dispensers, light switches, showerheads, washcloths, towels and yes even our soap bars.
The bacteria on your soap bar are less of a problem than the bacteria you pick up from other places on your hands.
The germs on the bar of soap that you use in your home have no negative health effects because they are coming from you. Your body has adapted to live with its natural microbial environment.
Even if you are sharing a soap bar with a family member that lives in your home, your bodies have most likely adapted because you share many of the same microorganisms.
Numerous studies have shown that although bacteria levels on a used bar of soap are slightly higher than on unused soaps, there are no detectable levels of bacteria left on the skin's surface after using a bar of soap.
Bacteria do not like to live in the actual soap bar, they are attracted to water that sits on top of the soap after use. When using a bar of natural soap properly, creating a lather with a 30-second scrub and very warm water, the top layer, dirt, and germs are washed down the drain.
So if you are still concerned, doing a couple of simple things will help your bar soap harbor fewer germs.
- Allow Your Soap to Dry: Store soap out of the water and allow it to dry between uses to get rid of the moist environment that germs enjoy. If you take lots of showers consider using a couple of soap bars and alternating them to allow enough drying time between each use.
- Rinse Your Soap: If your soap is not dry, rinse it under running water before lathering up to get rid of the wet outer surface.
So it seems that when considering "soap" the choice is between a bar and a liquid in a bottle. So my question is . . . how hygienic is liquid soap? And how often do you clean the top of your liquid soap dispenser?
For a more detailed discussion (especially about liquid soap) please read our blog, "Are Bar Soaps Hygienic?"
The answer is, YES!
Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve is a USDA Certified Organic company.
The most important consideration in any business is its customers. Today's world of misleading claims, false advertising, and simple deception, often leaves consumers trying to discover the truth about personal products and their ingredients.
- We want our customers to know that we are committed to transparency in everything we do.
- We want our customers to know that when we say "organic," we mean it.
- We believe that in becoming a USDA Certified Organic company, our customers do not have to wonder if we really use certified organic ingredients or if our organic products are truly organic.
- So we choose to be a certified organic company and abide by the strict standards required for organic certification.
We use three different organic/natural symbols on our website.
Each symbol has a unique definition!
The "certified organic" labeling has been developed by the USDA and refers to organic claims and labeling on food and personal care products in the United States. The USDA has very strict guidelines for the percentage of organic ingredients necessary to receive organic certification. Other countries have their own certification procedures, requirements, and standards. Labeling criteria and allowable ingredients differ from those in the US.
The USDA Organic Logo Label can be used on products that meet the standards of the first two tiers of the organic labeling system in which 95 - 100% of the ingredients are certified organic.
Most of our non-soap products fall into this category and display the USDA logo!
The Certified Organic by OEFFA label is used in our company for two reasons . . .
Soaps and Shampoos: These products contain at least 8% of the sodium hydroxide due to the process of soapmaking. Our "organic" soap is about 87% to 92% organic, but the USDA standard states that a product must be made of 95-100% organic ingredients in order to bear the USDA Certified Organic seal shown above. We are also not allowed to use the words "organic soap" on the label.
Wildharvested Ingredients: When using any agricultural ingredient (any ingredient that has a biological origin) that is not certified organic the same labeling rules we use for soap apply.
The USDA rules for proper labeling state that the products may display the certifying agent's logo but not the USDA organic logo. Our USDA certifying agency is OEFFA (The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association). Their logo is displayed on our "organic" soaps and shampoos.
Why do some soap companies use the word "organic" on their labels--even though it is against the rules? Click Here to Read More about Rules for Organic Labeling of Soap!
An Unofficial Label
Although not official labels, we use the label on the left on our website and the label on the right on our packaging. We use them for products, like the Dead Sea Black Clay, Bamboo Charcoal, Rhassoul Clay & Yogurt and Loofah Pumice Foot Soaps and our Mud & Clay and Rosemary Mint Charcoal Shampoo Bars because although they are made with organic ingredients, they do not fit the criteria for either label category described above.
Organic certification is based on organic farming and agriculture standards. As a result, the list of allowable non-agricultural ingredients (like clay, salt, mud etc) is based on raw materials used in agriculture or food production. Unfortunately, ingredients like Rhassoul Clay, Pumice, Dead Sea Mud and Bamboo Charcoal are not used in farming or food production and thus do not appear on the list.
Although it may seem long, this is really a very brief description. For more detailed information please read, "What Do All Of The Organic Labels Mean?"
My natural soap bar doesn't smell the same as the last one
We sometimes receive emails that go like this:
- I just reordered [some soap]. It is my favorite bar but it does not smell the same. Did you change the recipe?
- This name of this bar is "lavender . . . " but I smell more of the other essential oils than lavender. Why do you call it lavender?
The good news is that when you purchase natural soap from an organic skincare company, it is scented with only pure essential oils.
The bad news is that when you purchase natural soap from an organic skincare company, it is scented with only pure essential oil.
The scent of an essential in any totally natural product can and will change over time and from batch to batch.
Essential Oils are a Natural Ingredient
Essential oils come from nature. The quality and scent of essential oils are affected by yearly weather conditions and varies from crop to crop and region to region.
This makes it very difficult to produce finished products in which the scents are always exactly the same.
Most commercial soaps (and skincare products), even the more "natural" ones that contain some essential oils, are made with at least some synthetic fragrances oils. Using fragrance oils ensures a more consistent scent.
Essential oils are temperamental to work under any circumstance. But while a natural essential oil scent blend may change a bit in a cream or oil, these blends are especially unpredictable when making cold processed natural soap.
After all my years of soapmaking in never ceases to amaze me just how much the actual soapmaking process changes the scent of an essential oil blend.
For more detailed information please read our blog, "Natural Soap and Essential Oils."
If you are asking the question:
Is there lye in a bar of Chagrin Valley natural soap or shampoo?
The answer is "No."
If you are asking the question:
Do you use lye (sodium hydroxide) to make Chagrin Valley natural soap?
The answer is -- of course.
No lye -- No soap!
All REAL soap is made with lye (sodium hydroxide mixed with liquid).
Any skin or hair cleansing product made without sodium hydroxide is not soap, it is detergent.
The chemical reaction of making soap, called saponification, is complete, the lye and oil molecules have combined and chemically changed into soap and glycerin.
If the soap is made properly, the lye is used up in the saponification process to turn oil into soap.
There is no lye present in the finished bars of soap or shampoo. While all real soap must be made with lye, no lye remains in our finished product after saponification (described below).
But, It Doesn't Say "Lye" on My Soap Ingredients
If it is real soap or contains read soap, it is made with lye!
Commercial "soap" bars and handmade soap bars are also made with lye even though the words "sodium hydroxide" or "lye" do not appear on the labels. Does your bar of "soap" contain ingredients such as...
- saponified oils: oils and butters are mixed with sodium hydroxide and a liquid (usually water).
- sodium cocoate: the generic name for the mixture of coconut oil with sodium hydroxide (lye).
- sodium palmate: the generic name for the mixture of palm oil with sodium hydroxide (lye).
- sodium palm kernelate: the generic name for the mixture of palm kernel oil with sodium hydroxide (lye).
- sodium tallowate: the generic name for the mixture of beef fat (tallow) with sodium hydroxide (lye).
- sodium olivate: the generic name for the mixture of olive oil with sodium hydroxide (lye).
These words are not usually used to deceive consumers. But soap makers know that consumers are afraid of the word "lye."
At Chagrin Valley we believe that today's consumers are pretty savvy and the best practice is to educate.
BLOG: "How We Make Soap"
Hi Ida, I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful products! Your site was recommended to me from someone else and I cannot be happier for the recommendation! I love your soaps. They are the first soaps that do not dry out my already terribly dry skin! Especially the Scarborough Fair. And I cannot rave on long enough about your body shower butter bars! I placed a new order for 4 more bars and cannot wait to get them! The dry patches on my skin have disappeared and the itchiness is finally gone! Thank you! You have earned a loyal customer! Jaqueline, Canada