Everything You Want To Know About Chagrin Valley Natural Shampoo Bars!


What Are Natural Shampoo Bars?

Shampoo bars, one of my favorite discoveries, are natural conditioning shampoos in a solid bar form. Although they may seem new to many, solid soap shampoos were commonly used before liquid detergent shampoos became popular in the 1940s. 

In the book Hints on Health, published in 1852, William Edward Coale writes, "To cleanse the hair, there is nothing better than soap and water . . . the soap, of course, should be mild, and well and plentifully rubbed in, and afterward thoroughly removed with an abundance of water.” 

The picture on right, taken from Duke University Libraries Digital Collection, is a 1920 advertisement for "shampoo" soap.

If you are not used to solid shampoo bars the concept may sound a bit strange, but they are WONDERFUL! Super rich with loads of fluffy lather, our natural shampoo bars are made in small batches using recipes meticulously developed to naturally clean and condition your scalp and leave hair soft, shiny, clean, and most of all healthy.


Why I Began Making Shampoo Bars?


For Me and You!

Organic Carrot Shampoo

Read the ingredients in a bottle of liquid shampoo—there is the answer. They are a "chemical soup" made with synthetic ingredients --preservatives, detergents, foam boosters, fragrance oils, and synthetic colors -- none of which I wanted on my hair! These ingredients strip moisture from the hair and scalp and cause dryness, brittleness, and scalp irritation.

Many of these ingredients are also linked to allergic reactions and more. Even in 1852, William Coale knew that “the habitual treatment of hair with cosmetics” was not good for hair.  ("Hints On Health" pg 109) 


For The EnvironmentChagrin River

Shampoo bars help decrease our environmental impact by getting rid of plastic bottles. According to an article written by Trevor Nace, a Ph.D. geologist, humans buy a million plastic bottles per minute and 91% of all plastic is not recycled. 

Eliminating products made from synthetic ingredients also helps to decrease groundwater contamination. Everything we send down the drain can end up in local waterways. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found chemicals from personal care products in nearly every water supply they have tested. For more information read,  "Why Use A Natural Shampoo Bars?”



What's The Difference Between Soap Bars And Shampoo Bars?

Nettle Shampoo Bar
While the process of making a shampoo bar is the same as making soap and the ingredients seem similar, a well-formulated shampoo bar is not your typical soap bar.

Yes, they are soap, but shampoo bars are formulated with carefully selected ingredients that promote a moisturized scalp and make them ideal for well-conditioned, shiny hair. 

Shampoo bar "recipes" are tweaked to use different proportions of conditioning oils and butters and to include botanicals, like nettles right, herb-infused oils, and essential oils that are known to help nourish the hair and scalp. 

Each of our shampoo bar selections contains a different blend of natural plant oils, essential oils, and herb-infused oils. Each shampoo bar recipe is different and unique.

Click here to read more about Soap vs Shampoo Bars.


The Best Things About Natural Shampoo Bars

Most people find benefits in switching to a shampoo bar such as increased volume, faster-growing hair, reduced dandruff, shinier hair, and less frizz. If you have curly hair, most people say that they have more defined curls with better control. Shampoo bars are good for all hair types and hair lengths.Natural-Chamomile-Shampoo-Bar

Really Truly Natural

Our shampoo bars are made with natural and organic ingredients

  • They contain no artificial fragrance, color, preservatives, detergents, foam boosters, alcohol, urea, formaldehyde, sodium lauryl sulfate SLS, DEA, propylene glycol - or any of the other synthetic hair care additives that can cause dry, itchy, and irritated scalp and contribute to hair loss, especially if you shampoo every day!

  • Our scented shampoo bars are made with natural botanical essential oils. The essential oil blends we use are formulated for their therapeutic value as well as for their lovely fragrance.

Ingredients Sourced from Nature

Our ingredients are sourced from nature, not simply derived from nature. Is there a difference? Quite simply, YES! 

Unfortunately, since there are no legal definitions for words such as "natural," "naturally sourced," "naturally derived,"  "derived from nature," "derived from natural . . .," etc., these words can be highly misleading for even the savviest consumer! As a result, shoppers often believe they are purchasing a natural product when it may actually be closer to, or even completely synthetic.

We believe in using ingredients that are found in nature, naturally occurring, rich in nutrients, and as close to their original form as possible. Ingredients like cold-pressed oils and butters, organic essential oils, dried herbs, and botanicals.

Words like "plant-derived" or "naturally derived" simply mean that the ingredient started out at some point as a whole plant, but these words do not account for how the plant is processed, how it is modified, or what is added before it reaches its final form. 


Our gentle shampoo bars do not strip hair of natural oils allowing hair to retain moisture while balancing hair oil production. Your hair and scalp will get a break from harmful synthetic ingredients that rob the scalp of natural moisture.

Environmentally Friendly

Biodegradable. No plastic bottles. No landfill impact. No synthetic chemicals going on your body or in our waterways. We are proud to offer a natural shampoo bar that comes in eco-friendly packaging and is made from ingredients that are sustainable, cruelty-free, fair-trade, and USDA organic whenever possible. 

Natural Organic Shampoo BarsCost-Effective

Natural shampoo bars last a long time and for many, there is no need to buy a separate conditioner. For most people, 1 bar of shampoo will last about as long as 2 to 3 bottles of liquid shampoo. 


They are great to keep in your gym locker and for camping.


A solid shampoo bar will simplify travel. They won't leak and can be packed in carry-on luggage while complying with TSA regulations.

Customer Feedback

After switching to a natural shampoo bar, customers reported . . .

  • more shine
  • increased volume
  • less frizz
  • less shedding
  • more defined curls
  • increased manageability
  • retained color longer
  • a decrease in dandruff and scalp irritation

How Do I Use a Shampoo Bar?

There are many ways to use a shampoo bar and what works for one person, may not work for another. You may want to try several methods to see which one works best for you.

Why Is A Shampooing Technique Important?

Our natural shampoo bars are a lot more concentrated than liquid shampoos. They are superfatted and thus contain extra oils and butters to nourish your hair. 


If you do not build a nice lather and rinse really well you will have areas that remain coated with the soap oils, which can make it look or feel “gummy.”

Notice that we do NOT recommend lathering up the length of your hair with the shampoo bar.

As you use your fingers to rinse the lather through the strands, there is enough shampoo to clean the length. This technique helps prevent coating your hair strands with shampoo residue. 

If you are new to shampoo bars please our blog, "How to Use a Natural Shampoo Bar" for more detailed information. 


Change Your Shampoo Technique: There are some small tweaks that could make a big difference. The purpose of shampooing your hair is to remove dirt and excess oils from the roots. You do NOT need to apply shampoo from roots to tips. Focus only on your scalp.

Our Favorite Technique

I think this is the best technique if you are new to shampoo bars, have adjustment issues, or have long or thick hair. 

This technique helps prevent pockets of soap residue in your hair that can make hair feel tacky.

  • One of the most important steps is, to begin with thoroughly wet hair--I mean a lot of water. Be sure that the water saturates your hair all the way down to the roots.
  • Rub the wet shampoo bar between your wet hands or puff to create a nice lather.
  • Massage the lather into your scalp at the roots of the hair until you work up a really good lather
    • It is very important to work the shampoo into your scalp with water and really build up a good lather so there are no patches of soap left on your hair.
    • Lathering up also allows the dirt and extra oils to be washed away.
    • If the lather is not foamy enough, add more water. 

  • Using your fingers like a comb, smooth the lather down the length of your hair as you rinse with water
  • To prevent tangles, be sure to always work from the top down, use your fingers like a comb, not a mixer, and don't pile your hair on your head, 
  • Rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse and rinse again. I cannot stress how important this step is to shampoo bar success. In order to remove excess shampoo, which can leave a filmy feeling and weigh hair down, do NOT rush this step!  The rinsing should take longer than washing and lathering time. 
  • If your hair is long or thick, lift up sections of your hair to ensure that all of the shampoo is rinsed clean. Don’t neglect parts of your head that are more difficult to reach, such as the nape of your neck or the back of the head. 
  • Repeat if desired but I found that as my hair adjusted I only needed one round of shampoo.

Alternate Technique: 

  • Thoroughly wet your hair.
  • Follow all of the steps above except rather than creating lather in your hands, gently rub wet the shampoo bar directly onto your scalp at the top of your head. Do not rub the bar on the length of your hair!
  • Gently massage the scalp adding more water as needed, until a foamy lather forms.


If you have long hair, please check out the FAQ on the left titled, "Ida's Shampoo Bar Technique for Long Hair."

If your hair has a residue before or after shampooing, use an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse or a baking soda clarifying rinse and please read the FAQs on the right.

 Read more about How To Use Natural Shampoo Bars

How Well Do They Lather?

Organic Skin Care Ingredients

Super rich with loads of fluffy lather, our natural shampoo bars are made in small batches using recipes meticulously developed to naturally clean and condition your scalp and leave hair soft, shiny, clean, and most of all healthy.

Although foamy lather is not necessary for cleaning, most people agree that a shampoo MUST have lots of lather.

Made with lathering oils like coconut, babassu, and castor bean, our solid shampoo bars have an absolutely fabulous, fluffy lather.


Which Shampoo Bar Is Best For My Hair?

Click here for help choosing a natural shampoo bar for your hair type!


How Long Will A Shampoo Bar Last?

White Oak Natural Wood Soap Dish

With the water removed, this concentrated shampoo bar can do the job of 4 to 5 bottles of commercial liquid shampoo and there is no plastic bottle to throw away afterward. How long a bar will last depends on how many people are using it and how often you wash your hair. Here are some tips:

  • Don't let your shampoo bar sit in a puddle of water
  • Store soap on a well-drained soap dish
  • Allow soap plenty of fresh air to dry between uses
  • If your bar ever gets waterlogged and becomes gooey, simply set it on a draining soap dish for a few days and let it dry out thoroughly

Also, since many don't need to use conditioner, that’s another plastic bottle saved and more money in your pocket!


Do I Still Need To Use Conditioner With A Shampoo Bar?


Some folks do, and some don't!

For Body & Luster

Natural Organic Coconut Shampoo

If you are using a conditioner because your hair is dull, lacks luster, and is dry--you may NOT need a conditioner--that's another plastic bottle saved! Since commercial shampoos contain petroleum products that are actually drying to your hair and scalp, conditioners are usually needed.

Our natural shampoo bars will not strip the natural oils from your hair, so you will not need the typical moisturizing conditioners that people use to replace the natural oils stripped by detergent shampoos.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) rinses are an excellent addition to any natural hair care routine and can help bring back body and shine to dull, lackluster hair.


For Tangly Hair

Natural Organic Hair CareHair tangles result when individual hairs go in different directions and intertwine.

The outer layer of the hair, the cuticle, is made of overlapping layers of long scales that lie along the surface of the hair like shingles on a roof.

The condition of the cuticle scales in part determines whether you are going to have tangly hair. When you shampoo or even wet your hair, the cuticle opens making it prone to tangling.

The way you shampoo and your hair type can affect hair tangles. I have long fine, thin hair that is very prone to tangling. Just imagine all of those little strands of hair as very thin strings—now put little burrs on the strings (the open cuticle) and you can see my problem.

When I used a commercial shampoo I would go through a 16-ounce bottle of conditioner every week—just to get a comb through my hair. Using my shampoo bars haNatural Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinses made a big difference.

I wish I could use an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse every day. Besides creating tangle-free locks, I also love the way it makes my hair look and feel. As I have gotten older my hair has become drier and I can only use an ACV rinse 2 or 3 times per week.

(Check out our selection of ACV Rinses)

Natural Herbal Hair Tea Rinse

I have perfected a washing technique that helps with my tangles, sometimes I need a tiny bit of conditioner on the ends or I use our Organic Herbal Hair Rinse Detangler blend.

I have also found that if I use a large-toothed comb to comb through the length of my hair while it is still lathered up and continue to comb as I rinse the tangles comb out easily.

We have been making shampoo bars for over 10 years and have received so many questions. Below are links to pages that may help answer your adjustment questions. 



Can I Use A Shampoo Bar With Color-Treated Hair?

Natural Coffee ShampooMost people find that shampoo bars are easier on color-treated hair than commercial shampoos.  

We have many customers who color their hair and use our gentle shampoo bars. One customer who "darkens" her hair wrote to tell us that she is now able to go one month longer before recoloring her hair.

Another customer who "lightens" her hair, wrote that the color stays "nicer" longer and she does not get that "brassy" blonde color anymore.

But since everyone's hair and coloring products are different, please do a strand test to judge for yourself. To do a strand test, shampoo a strand of hair in a non-conspicuous area and rinse. Notice if there are any changes. 

Natural-Organic-Hair-ConditionerPlease remember that since there are no silicones or synthetic coatings in our shampoo bars, a damaged hair shaft will not be covered with the chemical coatings you will get from a silicone shampoo or conditioner. If your hair is damaged from chemical color or other harsh treatments, your naked hair may be exposed.

If your hair is damaged try one of our hair oils or conditioners to help replenish the oils in damaged and colored hair. 

The good thing about the shampoo bars is that they actually prolong color - before I started using them, I'd have to dye my hair every 3 weeks, now it's every 5-6 weeks. Venessa, Indiana


Can I Use A Shampoo Bar With Permed Hair?

We have many customers who perm their hair and use our shampoo bars. Because they are simply soap, shampoo bars will not strip natural protective oils from your hair. One customer told us that her perms stay "fresher" longer since she started using shampoo bars. But since everyone's hair and perming products are different, please do a strand test to judge for yourself.

Again if your hair is damaged due to over-processing try one of our hair oils or conditioners to help replenish the oils in damaged hair. 


Is There An Adjustment Period?

Natural Organic Beer ShampooNatural and organic personal care products, including shampoo bars, offer a personal experience that is quite unique. While they may work wonders for one person,  for others they may offer some challenges. That is perfectly fine.

We use only natural ingredients in our shampoo bars and the chemicals in commercial shampoos make for quite a different shampoo experience. It is all about paying attention to and listening to your own body chemistry as you make the “transition” for the first time! 

While many folks have little problem with their hair adjusting to a new routine, some do.

The transition period can range from a few days to a few weeks or even a month. Hair length, hair damage, genetics, and the amount of residue or build-up from hair products can all impact the actual length of time.

When you first begin, your hair or scalp may become oily or dry or even switch between the two extremes. You may have increased tangles or frizz and the hair shafts may feel weird or waxy.

This is your hair, which has been addicted to chemical-laden shampoo, literally freaking out, going through withdrawal, and learning to live a chemical-free life. It's not easy!

It will go away! It may take some patience, but if you can persevere, your reward will be healthy, soft, and silky hair.

There isn't one common thread among people who have adjustment issues, but there are some common reasons your hair may feel different as you bring your hair back to its natural, healthy state and your hair literally has to learn how to live without the chemicals. Read "Tips Adjusting to Natural Shampoo Bars"

Technological advances have led to many wonderful discoveries. Unfortunately, in the personal care industry, this usually means the creation of another new synthetic ingredient.

For example, when consumers asked companies to stop using harsh sulfates in shampoo, the companies simply substitute one synthetic ingredient for another. In some cases, the new ingredient was found to be just as harmful as the original.
Natural Soapnuts Shampoo

Not all shampoo bars are free from synthetic surfactants or detergents. These "Syndet" (synthetic detergent) bars are made with ingredients similar to those in liquid shampoos.  

Companies who sell these bars state that the detergent surfactants they use are safer and milder than traditional surfactants like SLS. We don't know what research will tell us down the road about these surfactants and am not here to argue that point. The transition may be less with syndets than with natural shampoo bars, but these bars are not natural.

For skin and hair care I believe that back-to-basics is better.

Our natural ingredients harness the power and simplicity of nature to cleanse, soothe and protect your skin & hair while maintaining a respect for our planet.