I am mucho excited for these little bars! Can you tell? I have been obsessively checking my mail every day since Dec 14, 2012, when I placed my order online for 2 of Chagrin Valley’s shampoo bars. I read about them in an article on one of my favorite sites, http://www.xojane.com, and then of course went to their website, read about them, and immediately impulse purchased 2 of them! Ok it wasn’t that much of an “impulse buy” – I had been looking for quite some time for a different/better way to care for my hair. Something that didn’t leave it so dry and ratty, with greasy, oily roots and the lengths all puffy and frizzy. I have long battled with with hair. I have even been looking at pictures of pixie cuts you guys! That’s how bad it is – considering cutting it ALL OFF and starting over. But not before I give these guys a chance. The two bars that I ordered are Babassu Marshmallow and Babassu Olive Oil. In my previous Chagrin Valley post on here, I describe them both in more detail, ingredients etc.
After ripping them out of their packaging, I was quick to touch and smell and sniff each bar right away. The Babassu Marshmallow one, to my utter devastation, did not smell like marshmallows. Not one bit! However it did still smell really nice once I got over the initial shock and heartbreak. I really don’t see how, after re-reading the ingredients, I could have thought that it would smell marshmallow-y. It has a really light scent, just barely leaving your hair (and body because I also used it as a soap) smelling slightly of lemon and ginger. Quite nice. The Olive Oil Babassu one really doesn’t smell like anything. Which is just fine, it has only a few simple ingredients and seeing as I gave it away and let on that I chose the Babassu Marshmallow one to try first, I can’t say how it will smell once wet and used on my skin and hair. I suspect it will have little to no discernible scent.

To begin with, I thought myself quite clever, and cut a piece of the Babassu Marshmallow bar off to take into the shower with me. I did this because natural soaps dissolve in warm water, and I don’t want to waste the bar being worn away in the shower when I only need to use a little at a time. So the piece I cut was about 1″ x 3″. I find this also makes bars easier to handle because they are smaller and fit into my tiny lady-hands. Very excited, I hopped in the shower right away – what with the holidays and all I actually hadn’t washed my hair in 2.5 days so it was very greasy at the roots, and tangly and ratty in the lengths/ends. (in the summer I bleached allllll my hair white blonde, hence why the lengths/ends are in such bad shape. DO NOT BLEACH YOUR HAIR… it’s not worth it.) I wet my hair, and began to rub the shampoo bar from the roots back a few inches all around my scalp. This got a little lather going, but didn’t really penetrate all of my hair. So I rubbed the bar all over my hands like regular soap, and then rubbed that lather into my hair. That worked a bit better. I still didn’t feel like I was lathering ALL of my hair though, as these natural amazing bars don’t have harsh chemicals and salts that most people are used to with bottled store bought shampoos. I decided to be a little more methodical with this shampoo bar – I separated my hair into sections so I could properly cleanse each section of roots & scalp. First I did my bangs and the front of my hair, then I leaned my head forward and laid the portion I had lathered towards the front of my head. Then I took the crown section of my hair and lathered that and laid it forward as well. After that I leaned my whole head forward and did all the underside, nape of my neck, behind my ears kind of parts. And I took my fingers and rubbed the lather into all of my scalp and roots over and over to make sure that all of it was cleansed. Fortunately I have a removable shower head, so I took it and rinsed all over my head for about twice as long as I would have with a regular liquid shampoo. After which I did put some soy/shea based conditioner in the lengths of my hair because I could tell by feeling it in the shower that even though this was a very moisturizing, gentle shampoo, my hair was still in rough shape and I would not be able to get a comb through it without some slip from a conditioner. So, layer on some conditioner, and then soap up the body! In the few reviews/excerpts I could find about Chagrin Valley products, I have heard that you could use their shampoo bars as soap (Which is totally true because the bars are made of saponified oils – that is just a fancy word for “made into soap”, and you can use soap on your skin too y’all) as well as a shaving cream lather. So I tried both. And I am happy to report that I am clean and somewhat more hairless! The bar was great, so gentle and moisturizing but still left my skin and hair feeling clean. When I say clean I do not mean stripped – you could tell that some oils and moisture were left behind, and I think that’s a good thing. Also I lathered the heck out of the bar and put it on my legs and underarms, shaved with a good ol’ Venus razor, and it did a great job as a shaving lather also. My legs were smooth and not irritated, no little red bumps that I often get after shaving with commercial shave gel. I actually stopped using those not too long ago. My skin wasn’t dry and getting little cracks in it either. That used to happen a lot when I shaved my legs.
After doing all that, I rinsed my hair and my body, and then did an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse. (which will also be referred to as ACV rinse or just an ACV from this point forward). The Chagrin Valley website recommends doing an ACV rinse, especially during the first few times using a shampoo bar, as it helps to clarify the hair and rinse out leftover impurities from the previous shampoos, conditioners, styling products, etc. that you may have been using. Also recommended if you have hard water – and I have well water so it is high in mineral content, which = very hard water.

Once I had done the whole shower routine, I towel dried my hair, combed it (this was difficult, my hair was still dry and hard to manage, but that is nothing new, and not attributed to the use of the shampoo bar) and let it air dry. At first I noticed that my hair was a lot softer. It felt different. I don’t really know how to describe it. It felt more like hair, and less like straw. The roots felt clean, not greasy, but also not completely free of oil. I mean this in a good way, my hair definitely looked clean and refreshed but there was some natural oil left behind on the hair and scalp. Oh my scalp. Ever since bleaching my hair, no amount of conditioner or hair masques have been able to make the base of my scalp stop being so darn itchy and dry and tight feeling. It felt so good after using this shampoo bar just once. However this was not a miracle cure. My hair still had frizz and puffy-ness. It certainly didn’t dry into a beautifully coiffed mane as I had secretly hoped it would. That being said, there was definite improvement almost immediately. And since I have only used this shampoo bar once so far, this is not a full review. That will come Feb 1, 2013, once I have completed my one-month trial. I try to do this with all products to give it a fair review. It takes time for your skin, hair, and body in general to respond and adjust to different products. Most often it is recommended to try things for at least 2 weeks before giving up on them. I have high hopes for these shampoo bars and I like what I see so far. I will keep you posted!

Has anyone else tried shampoo bars of any kind? How did you like them? If not, are there any that you have been eyeing up?