Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chagrin Valley Shampoo Bars Review

Some time ago, I stopped using shampoo. Now that doesn't mean no bathing, or washing my hair. I just don't use "traditional" shampoos. I've tried the baking soda and vinegar method, and eventually found a natural shampoo that seemed to work pretty well, but I was still looking for something better. So, I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to test out a couple of Chagrin Valley's shampoo bars. (It didn't hurt that they're also midwesterners!)
*I received samples of three bars for review. As always the opinions stated in this review are my own. You can read my full disclosure here

I've tried shampoo bars before, with mixed results. Most of the time I liked the idea of the product more than the actual results. I had nearly given up on the idea when I found Chagrin Valley. They have so many different bars! This is important, because finding one that works for you may take a few tries.

The bars pictured are sample sizes, which arrived in paper bags in a cardboard mailer, which means no plastic! Everything was recyclable.

The three bars I tried were Cafe Moreno, Coconut Milk, and Babassu and Marshmallow

Sam of Chagrin Valley recommended coconut milk, which is on the "I'm new to shampoo bars" list. I'm not sure how I feel about the coconut milk bar, even though it is many users favorite. I loved how it made my hair look, but it left my locks feeling a little oily. The coconut milk bar lathers nicely. It also has relatively no scent, and would be a great one to try for those with sensitivities to scent. 

The Babassu and Marshmallow bar had a very similar effect on my hair as the coconut milk. It also has very similar ingredients, so the effect makes sense. The Babassu bar has a little more distinct scent than the coconut milk, but is still relatively unscented.

Cafe Moreno was by far my favorite of the three I tried. It left my hair feeling nicer than the other two, but gave the same nice style to my hair. It did still leave my hair feeling a little like it wasn't all washed out. It was also my favorite scent. It is a warm and a little spicy, perfect for fall. Cafe moreno is also marketed for brown hair, to deepen the color. I haven't used it long enough to notice a change, but I've heard great things about it!

Now, I mentioned the bars left my hair feeling a little oily. Part of this is that we have the absolute worst hard water (hard water is full of minerals and such, and leaves a white film on everything). The other part is that you really do have to find the bar that works with your hair. The cafe moreno was on the right track, but I'm still looking for the formula for me!

Chagrin Valley recommends a vinegar rinse after shampooing if you have hard water. When I tried this, it helped, but wasn't a complete "fix". I've heard you can use coffee, lemon juice, or an herbal tea blend as a rinse as well, but I haven't tried any of these methods. 

Shampoo bars are one of those things you that you have to try a few of before you find one that is right for you. Chagrin Valley makes this easy by offering a great selection, great quality, different types, and generous sized samples. When you're looking for the right bar, I'd recommend trying a few with different oils and butters, then narrow it down from there. Cafe moreno first ingredient is olive oil, while coconut milk is almond oil and babassu is babassu oil. Once you get a general idea of which ingredients work for you, you can narrow it down from there. 

I was a little down, thinking shampoo bars just weren't for me, until I tried cafe moreno. It wasn't the one, but I was on the right track. I'm excited to try some more of Chagrin Valley's bars, and hopefully find that perfect match!

Which bar will you try? What is your motivation for trying shampoo bars? 
Ease of travel? Plastic free? Natural? 


  1. Very pretty and classy, love the look :)
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    love you dear :)

  2. Cafe Moreno for sure. Not sure why, other than the fact that I like the word "Cafe". :) Oh and I would always be the first to go for anything that says "natural".

    1. Cafe Moreno is my favorite, and the ingredient list is truly impressive! I can pronounce (and even recognize) all of the ingredients!

  3. Great post - I have never tried these before, but they sound good!

    1. Thanks Sophie! They take some getting used to but they're great.

  4. Oh goodness... hair is always a concern of mine. I will be posting soon about my own hair trials. I used to bleach the crap out of it. Now I have a healthy hair color, but I'm concerned about what I wash my hair with. I don't know if it is necessary to use bottles of $80 conditioner. But cheap conditioners consist mainly of wax and crap. I will definately look into what you are using. But a conditioner is key for me. My hair is thin, but I have so much of it and it gets tangled. Oh, hair.

    1. These bars are great for chemical free shampoos, I rinse with apple cider vinegar (diluted!) and don't need a conditioner. I always used to think my hair was dry, but it was really just my shampoo drying it out. Once I switched to natural products, my hairs so different!

  5. Great review! I never tried these before but they look good. :)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Keep in touch!!

    xo - Sheila

  6. Cool blog! I commented on your smiles post! I love that idea and plan on spreading smiles because of your inspiration! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting!

  7. Thank you for your lovely words, Renay! I'm glad you liked the smiles, they're fun to give out!

  8. Interesting I've never seen shampoo in the form of a bar!