Help Me Choose: Soap For My Skin Type


    We receive many questions from customers regarding specific natural soaps for skin type.

    Your skin type is genetically determined and unique to you! Your skin condition and needs can change depending on your . . .

    • diet
    • age
    • hormone cycles
    • exposure to irritants
    • stress
    • the weather
    • and other factors

    Begin with trial size samples.Make note of the natural soaps that YOUR skin likes or dislikes--remember no two recipes are the same! Read the ingredients and you will often find a pattern.

    Some skin likes soaps high in olive oil or shea butter. My skin especially likes soaps high in sunflower or grapeseed oil that are made with coconut milk.

    We have compiled recommendations based on information gathered from friends, family, and customers. We hope this will help you make your choices! You will notice product overlaps in the recommendations since everyone's skin is so unique, natural soap bars behave differently for different people.

    Please note--because a natural soap is listed under one skin type category does not mean it is bad for other skin types.For example, a number of customers have commented that our Dead Sea Spa soap has helped them with their oily skin problems, yet it is one of my favorite soaps for my dry (aging) facial skin!

    Unlike many other natural soap companies who use the same recipe for every soap selection and simply change the scent, each of our soap bars contains a different blend or different proportions of natural plant oils and butters. No two recipes are the same!

    One customer who asked for a natural soap recommendation described her skin this way:
    "My T zone (across the forehead, nose, and chin) is oily. The skin on my cheeks and around the eyes and neck is dry. My legs and arms are dry. My back is oily and front torso is just right."

    I guess most would call this combination skin!!

    Soap for Dry Skin

    Dry skin is a result of a decrease in sebum production, the natural skin oil necessary to keep the skin moist and lubricated. Since dry skin has a decreased oil barrier, water easily evaporates through the skin.

    Dry skin looks dry, feels tight, may flake, and is more prone to fine lines and wrinkles. Dry skin conditions are exacerbated by detergent soaps, alcohol-based products, chemical ingredients in cosmetic products, and change in seasons.

    We have learned from our research and our customers that some types of dry skin love the butters, like shea, mango, and cocoa. Other types love the oils rich in a fatty acid called linoleic acid, such as grapeseed, sunflower, safflower, and hemp. Still others like natural soaps rich in honey or coconut milk!

    Learn more about dry skin on our Help Me Choose: Dry Skin page


    Dry Skin


    Soap for Oily Skin

    Oily skin is the result of excessive secretions of sebum. It tends to attract more dirt and dust than dry skin and may be prone to blackheads and acne.

    Oily skin is made worse by skin-drying or alcohol-based products, and harsh soaps or body washes.

    The chemicals in these products dry out the skin, which then encourages the oil glands to produce more sebum. It becomes a vicious cycle.

    Comedogenic ingredients, such as mineral oil and other petroleum based ingredients, block pores and can lead to acne.

    If your skin is oily, you do not want a soap that will dry out your skin. You want a natural soap that will clean and help balance skin oils.

    How do we decide which soaps seem to work better for oily skin? Most of our recommendations are based on customer feedback.

    In general, natural soaps containing citrus essential oils, woodsy oils and rosemary seem to work well for oily skin and exfoliating soaps will help in the removal of bacteria and waxy oils from the pores. Everyone's skin is so unique, natural soap bars behave differently for different people. Try samples to find the best fit for you.

    Find out more about oily skin on our Help Me Choose Oily Skin and Acne page.


    Oily Skin


    Soap for Psoriasis & Eczema

    Eczema is a term for a chronic condition in which the skin becomes inflamed or irritated. The affected area is very dry, almost always itchy with a rash and can appear thickened or scaly. 

    Psoriasis is an inflammatory disorder that begins deep within the skin due to changes in the normal process of "skin cell turnover." There are numerous types of psoriasis and the symptoms vary from mild to severe, depending on the type. 

    We suggest that people with chronic skin problems begin with mild natural soaps that contain no essential oils. Soaps like the Goat Milk Oatmeal, Carrot & Honey, Marsh Mallow Chickweed, or any of the other soaps listed below that say “no added scent.” Some people have also found the Seabuckthorn and Neem and Tea Tree soaps to be very helpful.

    Sea Buckthorn has been used to treat skin disorders in Eastern medicine for centuries. It is also believed to be a natural remedy to help treat periodic flare-ups of psoriasis as well as eczema.

    Find out more about Eczema and Psoriasis skin on our Help Me Choose Eczema & Psoriasis page.


    Psoriasis & Eczema


    Soap for Rosacea

    Natural Organic Sea Buckthorn SoapRosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition which principally affects the face. Rosacea symptoms can vary greatly from one individual, but it often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people and is often characterized by flare-ups and remissions.

    As a skincare company we are not trying to treat the condition, the best we can hope for is to help ease some of the symptoms associated with rosacea.

    We recommend our Sea Buckthorn & Tea Tree Natural Soap to help control flare-ups. It contains many of the natural ingredients often recommended to help rosacea.

    Be gentle when you wash your skin, especially facial skin. Do not rub or scrub the skin. Using fingertips only, gently massage skin moving in a circular motion. (Save the washcloth for times you want to gently exfoliate only.) Rinse with lukewarm water and blot dry with a clean cotton towel.

    Check out "Help Me Choose Products For Rosacea."




    Soap for Sensitive Skin

    Natural Organic Castile Olive Oil SoapMany people tell us they have sensitive skin. The question is...sensitive to what?

    Some people truly have thin or fine-textured sensitive skin. Since it reacts quickly to both heat and cold, sensitive skin sunburns and windburns easily. It is often dry, delicate, and prone to allergic reactions.

    Other people have skin that is simply sensitive to the environment. Seasonal temperature and humidity changes, very hot water, detergent soaps, synthetic fragrances and colors, preservatives, alcohol (used on the skin), and other common artificial additives cause irritation, which leads to red, blotchy, and itchy skin.

    One customer with "sensitive skin" had great results with our Goat Milk Oatmeal natural soap and so decided to try some of the other bars she had bought for her husband. She had no problems with any of our natural soaps and wrote us a note saying... "I guess I am sensitive to every soap but yours!"

    To learn more about sensitive skin, see our Help Me Choose Sensitive Skin page.


    Sensitive Skin


    Soap for Exfoliating

    Natural Organic Loofah Adzuki Bean Exfoliating SoapOn average we generate a new layer of skin every two to four weeks. As we age there is a gradual decrease in the rate at which the old dead cells leave the surface of our skin.

    These dead skin cells accumulate on the skin surface and are responsible for the appearance of dull, lifeless skin. Although soap will remove dirt and excess oil, most soaps alone cannot remove all of the excess dead cells.

    The natural soaps shown below are the soaps we call "exfoliating" soaps, but we have many soaps that contain ingredients that provide gentle exfoliation.




    Complexion Soaps

    Natural Organic Shea Rose Clay Complexion SoapOur natural soaps are mild, gentle, and naturally moisturizing. So what makes a complexion soap? Complexion soaps are superfatted a bit more than body soaps to provide extra moisturization. They are unscented or very lightly scented with pure essential oils known to be good for facial skin.

    The natural soaps we recommend as complexion soaps are formulated with facial clays, extra butters, and skin moisturizing and nourishing ingredients that add new life to dull, sluggish complexions.

    That being said, I have used all of our natural soaps on my face. My face’s favorites often contain lots of coconut milk, like the Sage Mist and Lavender Rosemary, neither of which are considered complexion soaps. Try different samples, because, in the end, your choice of natural facial soap depends on your unique skin type.


    Complexion Soaps


    Soap With No Added Scent

    Natural Organic Soap Chocolate HoneyTo make a soap or any skincare item completely "unscented," commercial companies must add scent neutralizing chemicals.

    A natural soap bar with "no added scent" does not mean scent-free. It means that we have NOT added essential oils to that recipe.

    Our natural soaps with "no added scent" may still have natural aromas due to the unrefined oils and butters, honey, grains, flowers, spices, herbs, or herbal infused oils.

    For example, our Castile Soaps have a slight scent of extra virgin olive oil and our Chocolate & Honey soap has the scent of rich cocoa butter. These scents tend to be very mild.


    No Added Scent


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are natural soap bars hygienic

    Some people tell me that they would love to switch to a natural soap to get rid of the chemicals and the plastic bottles.

    Natural Organic Soap Bar Coconut Shea Butter LavenderSo what is stopping them? They often believe that bars of soap are less hygienic than liquid soap.

    My answer, of course, is that liquid soap is NOT more hygienic than solid soap bars!

    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.

    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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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?"

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    How Long Will A Bar of Natural Soap Last?

    Short Answer

    Natural Organic Soap Sweet BasilHow 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.

    Longer Answer

    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 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

    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 Juniper 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.

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    Biodegradable Soap? Are Chagrin Valley Natural Soaps and Shampoo Bars Biodegradable?


    Chagrin Valley Natural Soaps Are Made Using Natural & Organic Ingredients and Are Biodegradable!

    What Does Biodegradable Mean?

    By definition, biodegradable means capable of being broken down by the action of living things, like natural bacteria, into simple substances that are not harmful to the environment.


    If You Are A Camper Or Backpacker, Please Read On...

    Biodegradable Camping SoapThere are many soap makers out there with good intentions who are claiming that their biodegradable soap or shampoo is safe to use in rivers and streams.

    Bringing a natural biodegradable soap on your multi-day backpacking trip is a great way to keep yourself feeling refreshed. But, even biodegradable soap can eventually pollute lakes and streams if it is not used properly.

    The bacteria that break down natural soap are present mostly in the soil.

    That means that even with biodegradable ingredients, you want to use this soap bar away from freshwater sources like lakes, rivers, and streams. 

    So, please, do not bath, wash your face, or do your dishes, even with biodegradable soap, in any river, lake, or stream.

    Some suggestions

    • Use a bucket to bring your water to an area at least 200 feet away from all sources of fresh water.
    • Lather up sparingly.
    • Always dispose of the grey water into the soil (NOT the water source). It is also best not to pour the entire soap solution in one spot. So, you can:
      • Sprinkle small amounts of grey water in a wide arc (imagine slinging the water out of your pot, as opposed to pouring it).
      • Or dig a small hole (like a cathole) in which to pour the soapy water. The idea is to surround the soap with the organic soil compounds that not only helps speed up decomposition, but also helps prevent surface runoff when it rains.


    Is Natural Soap Really Better for Camping?

    Absolutely! Commercial soaps, body washes, shampoos, and dish soap contain synthetic ingredients. Many of these ingredients include artificial colors and scents, detergents, and chemical preservatives, such as parabens, phthalates, and petrochemicals. These chemicals do not break down quickly.

    Traces of these chemicals will remain in nature for many, many years and can have a potential negative impact on plants and animals.

    A biodegradable natural soap is made with natural, organic ingredients that break down efficiently when exposed to the bacteria found in the soil.

    There’s no substitute for nature. Together we can protect it from impacts like overuse, trash, and harming endangered wildlife by following the principles of "Leave No Trace."

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    Are Your Products and Ingredients Cruelty Free?

    All of Chagrin Valley's natural soap, shampoo bars, and personal care products are certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny.

     Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve has been Leaping Bunny Certified since 2013. 

    Natural Organic Skin Care Cruelty-Free Leaping Bunny LogoThe Leaping Bunny Program was developed in 1996, by The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC), to identify and support companies that are doing their part to help eliminate the unnecessary use and mistreatment of animals to test cosmetic products and ingredients. The CCIC is made up of eight animal protection groups including the Humane Society of the U.S., as well as groups from Canada and Europe.

    At Chagrin Valley we do not test our finished products on animals (other than human volunteers). But what about the raw materials, the ingredients we use?

    Many products display labels claiming that their finished product is ‘not tested on animals’ but this does not guarantee that the product ingredients are actually free from animal testing. 

    The CCIC Standard is a pledge that a company makes to remove animal testing from all stages of product development. Our pledge to buy ingredients that are cruelty-free is integrated into the purchase agreement for all of our suppliers.

    Personal care products displaying the “real” Leaping Bunny logo are certified ‘cruelty-free' using the internationally recognized Humane Cosmetics Standards. These rigorous standards require that no animal testing is performed or authorized for finished products or any of the ingredients in any stage of product development by the company, its laboratories or its suppliers after a fixed cut-off date. All Leaping Bunny companies are subject to independent audits and pledge commitments that are renewed on an annual basis.

    This annual renewal is a key requirement that sets the Leaping Bunny Program apart from other cruelty-free certification programs. Companies that manufacture products, as well as their ingredient suppliers, must annually recommit to upholding their promise to not conduct animal testing on any finished products, ingredients, or formulations.

    Why is this annual commitment renewal important? "Because product formulations change, suppliers come and go, and manufacturers develop innovative lines to meet consumer needs. But we know that compassionate consumers need to be confident that no animal testing is involved in the products they use."

    At Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve . . .

    • we do NOT test our products on animals
    • we do NOT use ingredients tested on animals
    • we do NOT sell into markets that require animal testing

    The Leaping Bunny Program provides
    the best assurance to consumers
    that they are making compassionate shopping choices
    by purchasing Cruelty-Free skin care!

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    Still Need Help

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    People with severe allergies—please note: If you have severe anaphylactic-type reactions to ANY of the ingredients in ANY of our products, please do not buy our products. We have dedicated soap rooms and product rooms that are kept meticulously clean, but we cannot guarantee against possible cross-contamination of individual ingredients.

    Chagrin Valley Soap & Craft is not responsible for any individual reaction to any particular ingredient. Each product description on our website includes a complete list of ingredients. People with sensitivities to any listed ingredient should not use the product. In case you are in doubt always try an allergy patch test and if at any time irritation occurs, discontinue use of the product.

    Medical Disclaimer

    The content and information on this website, provided by The Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Company, is for educational purposes only and is in no way intended and should not be construed as medical advice to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information regarding folklore or health-related benefits of certain ingredients is for educational purposes only. The information provided is not intended to prescribe or be taken as medical advice.

    The information provided is not meant to substitute the advice provided by your personal physician or other medical professionals. Do not use the information found on this website to self-diagnose any medical conditions or treat any health problems or diseases. If you have medical concerns regarding yourself or your family you should seek the advice of qualified, licensed health professionals. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

    This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

    Read our Full Medical Disclaimer.