Sunday, October 25, 2009

Review: Virginia Soaps & Scents

It is been a long and busy day with the kids. The temperatures are dropping outside and nothing sounds better than a nice, long, relaxing bath. You start the water, grab your detergent coated towel, a fresh bar of phosphate-laden soap and some bottled chemicals for your hair. Sounds great, doesn't it? It may not sound like the products of choice for relaxing, but if you are like most households, these are the types of ingredients you may be using on a daily basis. If you are going to pamper yourself, treat your skin and body to all-natural products it can recognize.

Virginia Soaps & Scents (VSS) is a supplier of all natural soap and body products. The company was founded in 2008 by the Spargurs, a homeschooling family of 11, as the result of a history project. They have since grown to offer a variety of different soap scents, all-in-one bars, shampoo bars, lip balm, powders, creams, and even dog shampoo. All products are handcrafted and made with only natural products, e.g. coconut oil, natural scents, olive oil, soy, animal fats and oil-based fragrances. They even have a holiday bar made with pumpkin and cinnamon!

When my review package arrived, I could tell immediately that this was not a math curriculum, writing program or educational product being sent my way. The package smelled entirely too heavenly for any of that! The Crew was sent a sampler that included three different soap scents, a shampoo bar, and a laundry soap kit. The soap scents were Fresh Orange, Oatmeal, Milk & Honey and Coconut Lemongrass. Ok, I'm familiar with soap, but what was this Ginger Lime shampoo bar and this curious bag of soap flakes and powder?

I started with the most familiar product – soap. It smelled great, lathered thick and left the skin soft. What more do you want in a soap? Homemade soaps always make me feel a bit pampered and the bars from VSS were no exception. My daughter tried out the orange-scented bar. Her first comment was that it felt like her skin was coated after her shower. She was correct; these soaps don't dry the skin and are made with oils to keep it soft. Since my daughter is very prone to eczema in the winter, I'm hopeful that these soaps will keep flair ups under control.

The next item to try was the curious item labeled a shampoo bar. The recipe for this item was developed by VSS by request of family friends involved in Civil War reenactments. The instructions suggest rubbing the bar directly on the head; I was surprised at the wonderful lather this produced. I skipped my normal conditioner to see how my hair reacted to the product solo. I first noticed how literally squeaky clean my hair was. It was a little more difficult to brush without conditioner, but after drying I was surprised that my hair still felt rather soft. Even more surprising was the shine and fullness it had. It was similar to the results I get with an occasional use of clarifying shampoo. My hair is fine, straight and just past my chin. I've found that I can get away with conditioning only every few days with no problems. After my trial, I convinced the rest of my family to try the shampoo bar.

Surprisingly, my husband became quite attached to this product. His hair is so short that the results didn't matter much, but it was all about the process. Efficiency is an aspiration of every man, right? The shampoo bar eliminates the fumble of bottles and lathering in hands. My husband just shaved 10 seconds off his morning routine. He's a happy guy.

My daughter gave it a try next. She has the same hair type as I do, but it is about a foot longer. I was a bit worried about tangles and suggested she condition the ends. After a couple of uses, she started sneaking the shampoo bar out of our bathroom. She likes how clean it makes her very long hair that tends to get oily. My 10-year-old boy took some convincing to give it a try. I suppose 10-year-old boys and soap don't always mix. He has a head of coarse, thick, shaggy hair that never really smells truly clean. After using the shampoo bar, my husband said, “What happened to his hair?” It looked and smelled clean.

Last on the list to try was the Laundry Soap Kit. I've heard of making laundry soap but never tried it because it seemed too involved and I wasn't sure I wanted to make the commitment of purchasing the items. This is exactly why VSS developed the Laundry Soap Kit. Purchasing the kit, which yeilds 2 ½ gallons of a heavy gel that should last for about 64-72 loads of laundry, gives you enough experience with homemade laundry soap to determine if you'd like to make a permanent switch. Included in the kit are premeasured grated laundry bar, Borax, washing soda, and instructions for making your soap. The process of making the soap was much easier than I expected and it cleaned as well as my normal detergent. I'm now inspired to make my own and save money in the process.

I really loved Virginia Soaps & Scents, so much so that I became a customer before the review process was even over. The shampoo bar was a favorite among my whole family and I'm happy to find a natural shampoo that is healthier for not only our bodies, but the water supply. I also ordered some more soap bars for myself and for gifts. The service was great and the shipment quick. I loved that I was helping to support another homeschooling family. The soap is $4.50/bar, $12/3 bars or buy 4 get 1 free. Shampoo bars run for $5.50/bar and the Laundry Soap Kit is $4.95. Be sure to check out their Christmas Scents for stocking stuffers and teacher gifts. Any of the products from Virginia Soaps and Scents will make excellent gifts, or a treat for yourself!

Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew's blog to read more reviews on this product and others.

Disclaimer: This review was provided as a result in my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Crew, a team of 100+ homeschooling parents. While the product was provided at no expense to me in order to provide this review, I have not received any other compensation. Furthermore, receipt of the product does not guarantee a positive review. I strive to give a balanced overview of each product, detailing my opinion of both pros and cons and how the product worked for my family. What works for one family may not work for another. I encourage you to read reviews of other Crew members and research sufficiently to determine if any product will be a benefit to your homeschool.

1 comment:

Debra said...

Oh, wow... if I wasn't already convinced that their products were wonderful, your review would certainly do it. Only so far, I've only been willing to share the shampoo bar with my husband. I didn't let the kids near it. When I buy full-sized ones. Maybe. :)