Friday, October 30, 2009
TOS Review: Virginia Soaps and Scents
I love handmade soaps, especially those brewed up by folks with a careful eye to natural ingredients and a careful nose to the issue of potentially overpowering perfumes.
So I say, whenever you can get yourself a nice, handmade soap ... go for it. I got several free samples from Virginia Soaps and Scents and yes, they are delightful. Nicely balanced in the texture and scent department. A pleasing lather. A clean rinse. Lovely appearance in my soap dish.
But, tucked into the sweet little review package I received were two items that really caught my eye. The first was notable because I'd had no idea that anyone bothered to market such a thing. And the second because, well ... I was just curious. 'Nuff said.
The "Huh?" item was a Laundry Soap Kit. Yes, all of the makings of a batch of homemade laundry soap, collected in an attractive little pouch. Now, I've been mixing up batches of my own homemade laundry detergent since the days when Mr. Blandings was raking in well less than $15,000 per year to support our family. I've never considered it glamorous, saintly, or even green. In my house, it was called necessity for years. Now it's called habit.
But I guess it's novel enough/country enough/gifty enough to package and sell. For $4.95, Virginia Soaps and Scents offers a package that will make a nice sized tub of the stuff. You could easily plop it in a decorative tub, add some towels and washcloths, and call it a very nice Housewarming gift, if you were so inclined. I wouldn't buy it for myself, though, because $4.95 buys you enough borax, washing soda, and laundry soap to churn out gobs of the stuff.
The curiosity item was a Shampoo Bar. Now, I've read all of the "No 'Poo" literature out there, but I am not brave enough to give it a go. The truth is, I just don't believe what I've read about people with oily hair (ie, me) being able to ditch the daily washing and still maintain some semblance of non-greasiness that will allow me to have the kind of stain-free pillow cases that I've come to know and love. Add to that the whole curly hair/frizziness thing ... and you know, I'm just not ready to go there.
But a shampoo bar? Something that eliminates the whole idea of bathing my scalp in chemicals every morning? $5.50 for the equivalent of a big old bottle of shampoo? Count me in!
Day one with the shampoo bar was more than a little unnerving, I'm not going to lie. Standing in the shower, I realized right off the bat that my normal habit of running my fingers through my curls to separate them while still under the spray was just not. going. to happen. I stepped out, grabbed my t-shirt towel, and proceeded to blot and scrunch. Once again--my curls stayed stubbornly knotted, as if I had washed the whole thing several times, stripping away the natural oils.
I was pretty scared of what the final result would look like. I had thought I'd go without any product (ie, the stuff we curly-haired people rub in our said curly hair to keep it more curl than frizz), but I decided that was a bad idea. I worked a dime-sized dollop of my favorite stuff into my hair, scrunched a few times, then waited to see what the outcome would be.
About two hours later, I passed by a mirror and frowned. Yep. Those were my curls alright. But boy ... did they look scary. Normally I have nice, fat twists that just wind their way down my head. After the shampoo bar, however, I found that things were matted, tangled and otherwise not very pretty.
This is when it occurred to me to do something I never, ever do: run my fingers through my hair, starting at the top and working my way down. When you have the kinds of curls that I do, you normally just leave them alone--the less you mess with them, the better. But this day I figured, hey, I couldn't do any worse. So I began raking my fingers through. And do you know what happened?
Perfect, soft, bouncy curls. SPROING!
I was shocked. Turns out, the shampoo bar worked.
I have since fallen in love with the shampoo bar. It does exactly what I want it to do: cleans my hair, and leaves it manageable. Yes, I'm still putting goop in my hair. And no, I'm not washing less often that I was before. But I like the outcome, and I think that the price is right. I'm hooked.
Virginia Soaps and Scents sells all kinds of products, including a scent-free line that looks particularly appealing. The company is run by a homeschooling family with an amazing story about turning a unit study into a business. Their products are packaged beautifully (think: gifts!) and their ingredients are top-notch. Check them out!