Are All Handmade Soaps the Same?
The answer is NO!
Saying a soap is "handmade" says nothing about the quality of the ingredients or the knowledge and skill of the soapmaker!
We Are Different! And What Makes Us Different-- Makes Us Better!
Chagrin Valley is not just another soap and skincare company. We are on a mission to make our customers healthier and our Earth a little greener.
We are committed to healthy skin, healthy people, and a healthy planet.
How Our Natural Soaps Are Made
Chagrin Valley natural soaps and shampoo bars are handmade from scratch, using the cold processed method, one batch at a time -- to ensure freshness, consistency, and perfection--by our family for your family.
Making natural soap is not that difficult. But making awesome soap is a skill that matures with increased knowledge and experience.
We approach the art of soapmaking as a "science" rather than simply a craft. Ida's background in Chemistry and Biology, and hours and hours of research, results in recipes that are meticulously developed to produce a mild, rich, soothing soap that feels creamy in your hands, offers a magnificent long-lasting lather, and leaves your skin and hair feeling clean, soft, silky, and radiantly healthy.
The science of soap-making lies in the selection of the base oils and butters that lend unique properties to the finished soap. At Chagrin Valley a great deal of research and experimentation goes into finding just the right mixtures of oils and butters to create each of our moisturizing soaps and shampoos.
Every bath and shower will become a relaxing, enjoyable experience.
Some "handmade" soap companies purchase pre-made, mass-produced soap base, melt it down, toss in a bunch of botanicals and fragrance oils and call it handmade soap. This "melt & pour" soap is like making a cake from a box mix versus making a cake from scratch.
While I admit that I have made some interesting desserts using box mixes, nothing beats the quality of something truly handmade from scratch, where you know the quality, purity, and freshness of each ingredient.
Each bar of natural soap--made, cut, and trimmed by hand, and cured for 8 to 10 weeks--is unique.
The silky smoothness of our handmade natural soaps comes from the finest natural soap-making ingredients available.
To learn more about our soapmaking process read our blog, "How We Make Natural Soap At Chagrin Valley."
Handmade Soap vs Natural Soap
You often see words like "handmade," "handcrafted," or "homemade" on websites and packaging.
Be mindful of the fact that not every personal care product that is "handmade" is natural. Soap is a perfect example of this. Not all handmade soap is natural soap.
There are many soapmakers who make beautiful soaps with synthetic colors and fragrance oils--it can be a true art form. Now that's okay if that is what you are looking for. But if you want a natural soap for you and your family be sure to read all of the ingredients.
Compare Our Soap Ingredients
Skincare products are only as good as the ingredients used to create them.
Compare the ingredients in Chagrin Valley Handcrafted Natural Soaps to those of other soap companies. We pride ourselves on the quality of our ingredients!
At Chagrin Valley Soap we believe that natural is better.
It does not make sense to create "handmade" products with plant-based oils or butters that are grown using toxic pesticides, contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or that use solvents or other toxic chemicals in their processing. How is this "natural?"
We use minimally processed natural ingredients still bursting with nourishing nutrients that must be fresh, sustainable, cruelty-free, fair-trade, and organic whenever possible. We are a USDA Certified Organic Company! We use USDA Certified Organic ingredients whenever they are available.
Inspired by our love of nature and gardening, Chagrin Valley Natural Soaps are handmade with herbs, seeds, grains, flowers, vegetables, fruits, and natural botanical essential oils to provide natural color, aromatherapy, texture, and gentle exfoliation.
Many of our bars are enriched with natural emollients such as Shea, Mango, and Cocoa Butters.
We use more costly organic virgin, unrefined oils, and butters whenever possible because they are less refined preserving more of their inherent nutrients.
We use organic food-grade base oils, really good enough to eat, which cost a lot more than the cosmetic grade, lower quality oils.
All natural and organic ingredients are expensive. Compare the price of fresh orange juice to an orange-flavored drink. Which would you choose for your family?
Our natural soaps and shampoos, like all of our products, are free of synthetic ingredients.
Our rich, creamy lather is produced by natural oils like coconut, babassu, and castor bean, rather than synthetic foaming agents and detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate.
We produce great bath and body soap, facial soap, shaving soap, baby soap, and even soap for pets.
We are proud to list ALL of the ingredients in every one of our products!
Plug the words "Pumpkin Spice Soap" into Google or your favorite web browser. Are the soaps you find made with real pumpkin--or simply scented with synthetic pumpkin spice fragrance oil?
Our seasonal natural Pumpkin Spice soap is made with real organic pumpkin and organic ground spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. This natural soap, colored by pumpkin pulp and natural carrot juice, is loaded with beta-carotene.
We use real organic produce, real chocolate, coffee, beer, tomato juice, and spices. Our floral soaps are made with floral-infused oils and real flower petals!
Our natural herbal soaps contain herbal-infused oils and real herbs! Our fruit soaps contain real fruit, fruit juice, fibers, peels, and zest!
We do not skimp on the quality or quantity of ingredients used in our bars.
Many soap companies add botanicals, herbs, clays, and other beneficial ingredients to their soaps. These ingredients add texture, and color and have great skincare benefits. But a beneficial ingredient can offer little benefit if it is only present in small amounts.
We have seen Dead Sea Mud and Sea Buckthorn soaps that are almost white in color. Dead Sea Mud is a deep, dark, slate-gray color and unrefined sea buckthorn oil is a deep orange.
At Chagrin Valley Soap we also use herbs and botanicals for texture and color. But we also want our natural soaps and shampoos to provide your skin with the most benefit from these natural additives as possible.
That is why many of our soaps are made with infused oils. We take a generous helping of beneficial botanicals and herbs and slowly infuse them into our soapmaking oils.
Our soap-making process uses only natural and organic ingredients. There are no artificial fragrances or colors! Why add artificial ingredients to a handmade product?
Natural Colors and Scents
Although synthetic fragrances or "nature identical" oils are available in a wider selection and at a much lower cost, our scented soaps contain only pure plant, organic essential oils from nature's finest botanicals.
The natural colors in Chagrin Valley Handmade Natural Soap come from spices, juices, teas, herb-infused oils, and other natural ingredients that can be found in your food pantry--not from synthetic color additives.
At Chagrin Valley, we make our soaps with the best organic ingredients we can find. They may be more expensive, but we believe it makes a difference.
Chagrin Valley's Natural Soap & Shampoo Bars Are...
- certified organic
- 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
Compare Our Soap Bar Size
Our Bars are larger than most! Do a cost-per-ounce comparison. The soap bars of most companies weigh about 3.5 to 4 oz!
When our handmade soap is removed from the mold it is cut, weighed, and allowed to cure for 8 - 12 weeks. The curing time for each type of cold-process soap is dependent on the type of oils used and water content of the recipe.
The freshly cut bars are soft. During the 8 to 12 week curing time, excess moisture in the bars evaporates, the bars will shrink and lose a bit of weight, and the bar hardens.
While some soapmakers use a 4-week cure, we believe our longer, slower curing time ensures a milder, harder, longer-lasting bar, with a very rich lather.
A bar of handmade soap is actually safe to use after just a week or two. However, the bar will be a bit softer and will melt more quickly when exposed to water. Although as our soaps sit waiting for a new home they will continue to shrink in size, this longer curing time results in a bar of soap with exceptional mildness and luxurious lather.
We aim for each organic soap bar to weigh a generous 6.5 to 7.0 ounces at cutting. After 4 weeks the average weight is about 6 ounces. The bar weight is between 5.5 to 6.2 ounces (average size 5.6 oz.) after curing for 8 to 12 weeks. Some companies sell their soaps after only one month of curing.
Our end product is a wholesome, truly natural, handcrafted, large bar of soap.
A Note About Natural Soap: I received an email asking how I could call my soaps natural "since soap does not exist in nature and it is created by a chemical reaction."
I must admit that the gentleman has a point. There is no soap tree or waving field of soap plants. I too have a problem with the way in which the word "natural" is used today. Just Check out my Blog, "We Need To Do Away With The Word Natural" and you can see my concerns.
But, back to the question. I look at making soap like baking bread. Bread is the result of a chemical reaction. Bread does not exist in nature.
Now, I can make some great homemade bread from scratch with simple ingredients like organic whole wheat flour, water, yeast, oil, and salt.
Or, I can buy commercial bread made with: all-purpose flour (bleached with benzoyl peroxide and made from genetically modified wheat), dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate, mono- and diglycerides, calcium peroxide, calcium iodate, azodicarbonamide), artificial colors and artificial preservatives.
I feel very comfortable calling my homemade bread (and my handmade soap) "Natural."