Activated Bamboo Charcoal
A great deep cleansing activated charcoal body and complexion soap made with bamboo charcoal, sea salt, bentonite clay and tea tree oil. Charcoal cleans dirt and debris from pores.
A great deep cleansing natural body and complexion soap made with bamboo charcoal, sea salt, bentonite clay and tea tree oil. Charcoal adsorbs (yes, adsorbs) dirt and debris from pores leaving skin clean, soft and smooth and black clay helps replenish depleted minerals.
- Tea tree's antibacterial properties help fight acne without drying skin
- Mineral-rich sea salt helps cleanse and tone
- Bentonite clay deep cleans pores and helps treat problem skin
- Gentle exfoliation removes dead skin cells, leaving skin ultra-clean and very smooth
- Organic virgin hemp seed oil, rich in vitamin E, penetrates skin to moisturize and soothe
- Great for acne prone skin--naturally deep cleans without drying
- Read about Bamboo Charcoal
I began making soap in 2001 with ingredients that I believed in, for the people that I loved. After all these years, that goal has never changed.
Please Note: We don't skimp on the charcoal. The deep color may cause staining on light colored washcloths. Stains should disappear after laundering, but we make no promises.
How to Use
How Should I Use Natural Soap to Clean My Face?
We believe in simple, effective cleansing for your complexion and that is accomplished with natural soap and water. The purpose of soap is to combine with oil and dirt on the body, which allows water to wash it away. The method you use to cleanse your skin, especially your face, is really personal preference. We thought we would share just a few examples.
Hand Lathering is usually the suggested method for cleansing delicate facial skin.
- Use lukewarm water to create a creamy lather in your clean hands.
- Gently massage the lather over your face using circular motions with your fingers.
- Rinse with cool water and pat dry.
Washcloth Washers: A washcloth can help remove dead cells and invigorate your skin. A gentle massage with a soft washcloth can help keep facial skin smooth and clean.
- Rub the bar on a soft, clean, wet cloth to create a creamy lather.
- Apply to your face by a gentle massage using circular motions.
- Rinse with cool water and pat dry.
If you are using a washcloth:
- Exfoliating or scrubbing too hard may cause the skin to become red and irritated.
- Use a clean washcloth, especially if you are prone to acne. Washcloths can re-deposit dirt and grime right back onto your skin.
- Washcloths can have soft or rough fibers. You want to use soft, NOT rough fibers on your face.
Never share washcloths or other accessories and replace or clean them often.
A Few Other Pointers:
- Use warm, not hot, water to wash your face.
- Use cool water as a final rinse to close your pores.
- Avoid products made with synthetic ingredients that can irritate facial skin.
- Avoid products that contain alcohol which can cause skin to become tight and dry.
- Apply a moisturizer immediately after washing your face while skin is still damp.
Aren't all handmade 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 skin care 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 soaps rich in natural glycerin for healthier skin.
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 skin care 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?
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 a very good question.
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. 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?"
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 the USDA Certified Organic Label.
The USDA standard states that a product must be made of 95-100% organic ingredients in order to bear the USDA Certified Organic seal. The remaining 5% must be nonagricultural ingredients that are on the NOP (National Organic Products) list. Since this list was devised solely for the food industry, there are ingredients like Bamboo Charcoal, Rhassoul Clay, etc. that do not appear on this list.
Even though we can't label this product organic, if you read the ingredient list you will see that we still use USDA Certified Organic ingredients whenever possible.
For more detailed information, please read our blog, "What Do All of the Organic Labels Mean?"
How long a 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!
The Short Answer
Yes And No!
Although handmade soaps usually get better with age, we recommend using our soaps within 12 months of purchase. Our scented soaps should be used within 3 months after removing them from the box.
Although the soaps will not be "spoiled" after that time, you may notice some changes as natural soap ages.
- some natural colors may fade over time
- the scents from pure natural essential oil scents will fade over time
The changes in color and scent happen even more quickly in our sample size bars.
These bars have a much greater surface area to volume ratio which allows essential oils to evaporate from the surface more quickly. However, the scent may still be there when you lather up.
I have found some ancient bars hiding in my closet that years old. The scents were gone, but the lather was incredible!
The Long Answer
For a more detailed discussion please read our blog, "The Shelf Life, Color & Scent of an All Natural Soap."
How You Can Help Prolong Shelf-Life
- Natural soaps need to breathe. Exposure to air promotes hardening of your soap and contributes to longer-lasting quality. Soap should be left unwrapped in their boxes or wrapped with breathable materials. Tight wrappers cause humid conditions by preventing evaporation of moisture.
- Our soaps are packaged in breathable, recyclable, sustainable packaging! Keep your natural handmade soaps in a dry, cool place away from sunlight, excessive heat and humidity.
- Our scented soaps, like Lavender Rosemary, can be placed in a muslin bag or wrapped in a piece of cloth and put in your linen closet or dresser drawer to give a delightful fragrance to your linens and clothes while waiting to be used.
If you are asking the question:
Is there lye in a bar of Chagrin Valley soap or shampoo?
The answer is "No."
If you are asking the question:
Do you use lye (sodium hydroxide) to make Chagrin Valley 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"
We often receive emails from concerned customers that have read about the devastating effects that palm plantations can have on tropical forests.
At Chagrin Valley Soap we treasure our planet and its inhabitants. We know that although we play a very small part, we must always make choices that are ecologically and socially responsible.
As the global demand for palm oil continues to increase we want to be part of the global initiative that changes how that palm oil tree is grown.
Our Palm Oil is grown and manufactured according to standards for sustainable practices set forth by Rainforest Alliance.
Chagrin Valley’s Palm Oil
Over 30 years ago large tracts of rainforest in South America were cleared via “slash and burn” with a promise to indigenous people that they would have fresh farm and grazing lands.
The top soil in the rainforest is very thin and with the trees gone there were no roots to serve as temporary water storage and no protection from the tree canopies to prevent soil runoff. As a result, all of the soil nutrients were washed away creating areas of barren land. (Picture to the right from Wikipedia)
The palm oil that we purchase comes from plantations that have been grown on these once barren lands in a region of the Amazon that was cleared 30-40 years ago. The palm plantation has reintroduced a new forest crop which has brought back many species of birds and other plants and animals and preserves forests surrounding the plantation. While not as diverse as native Rainforest, it is a huge improvement over barren grasslands.
As the global demand for palm oil continues to increase, we believe that if both manufacturers and consumers demand Certified Sustainable palm oil, producers will grow Certified Sustainable palm oil. That is the only way to really protect our rainforests.
If there is no demand, growers will continue the cheaper unsustainable practices, because no one is paying them for a sustainable product. (If you build it, they will come!)
So instead of eliminating palm oil, at Chagrin Valley we use certified organic, certified sustainable palm oil. Our palm oil is either Rainforest Alliance certified sustainable or Friend of the Earth certified sustainable.
Please read our blog, "Will A Palm Oil Boycott Really Help?"
Thank you, your bamboo charcoal soap has changed my life. I have always had terrible acne on my back. I tried medicated soaps, drying soaps, acne skin washes and even soaps for sensitive skin. Nothing worked. Most of the products made my skin much worse. The strong acne washes made it slightly better, but made my skin soooooo dry that it just looked and felt awful. I had to wear a shirt over my bathing suit because I was embarrassed about my back. A friend recommended your company and I ordered the charcoal soap hoping it would help and it did. I saw a noticeable difference after a few days because I was not getting a new zit on my back every day. After a few weeks I was amazed. It did not clear up every zit, but a few here and there is much better than field of acne. The proof came when I ran out of the soap and my back stayed clear for a little while but soon the acne started coming back full force. I will never run out again! The soap leaves my skin feeling very clean and my skin does not feel tight and dry. I highly recommend this soap for anyone acne problems. Mindy, Florida