Avocado Oatmeal soap

What makes natural soaps better?

From its composition, to its benefits for the skin and health, to its impact on the environment, natural soap is very different from commercial soap. 

Here’s a summary of the most relevant reasons why we chose to stock only Chagrin Valley organic facial soaps.


  1. Handmade Natural Soap is Actually Soap

 As you stroll down the aisles of the supermarket or drug store you will see an assortment of body cleansers to choose from that are labeled as body bars, body washes, cleansing bars, skincare bars, deodorant soaps, and even beauty bars. They are nothing more than detergents in disguise.

Most of the soap you purchase today is a commercially manufactured chemical cocktail of ingredients. It is not natural and is not even really “soap.” 

Here is what the FDA has to say:

“Today there are very few true soaps on the market. Most body cleansers, both liquid and solid, are actually synthetic detergent products. Detergent cleansers are popular because they make suds easily in water and don't form gummy deposits. Some of these detergent products are actually marketed as "soap" but are not true soap according to the regulatory definition of the word.” 

At one time all soap was handmade. The traditional soapmaking method was and still is, called the cold process method and it’s what Chagrin Valley follows to make all their soaps.  



Calendula soap
  1. Natural Soap is Made With Natural Ingredients

The very best reason to use natural soap is the ingredients.  A product is only as good as the ingredients used to make it.

Chagrin Valley skin-nourishing ingredients are USDA Certified Organic, sustainably produced, cruelty-free, and ethically traded, but most commercial "soaps" are actually synthetic detergents that offer no natural benefits to the skin.

Each of our soap bar recipes begins with a special blend of nutrient-rich, skin-nourishing certified organic oils, unrefined, virgin oils whenever possible. 

Then each soap bar is made unique by adding a variety of organic butters, purifying natural clays, organic botanicals and spices, and other wholesome organic additives that promote naturally clean and healthy skin.

The scented soaps are made with only pure essential oils to produce fresh and clean natural aromatic scents.

The result of this painstakingly, meticulous soap making process is a mild, rich, moisturizing soap that feels creamy in your hands, offers a magnificent long-lasting lather, and leaves your skin clean, soft, silky, and radiantly healthy.

These handmade natural soaps are made in small batches with materials found in nature, like pure plant-based oils, oats, honey, and goat milk.

The end result is a safe and gentle product that is perfect for your skin.

Your skin will notice the difference!

Honey Butter Soap


  1. Natural Soap Is NOT Made With  . . .

Chagrin Valley soap bars contain only the ingredients that they need—no extra preservatives that liquid body washes or commercial bar "soaps" require to increase their shelf life to years, and no foam boosters to make them lather.

Natural soaps contain:

  • nosynthetic ingredients
  • noartificial fragrances or perfumes
  • noartificial colors
  • nodetergents
  • nosynthetic preservatives

Gentle, skin safe ingredients mean that natural soap will not dry out skin or lead to the skin irritation often seen with synthetic ingredients.

If commercial "soaps" add oils and butters to their bars, they are often ultra-refined.

Unrefined, virgin oils and butters are much more expensive, and due to their natural scents and rich profiles, they are much more difficult to work with when formulating soap and other skincare products. 

Thus, while a product will advertise that it is made with shea butter, olive, or natural plant oils, these ingredients have been so refined that they no longer provide the "advertised" skincare benefits.   


  1. Natural Soaps Are Moisturizing

Sadly many people have the misguided perception that all bar soaps will dry your skin. The problem is that most commercial bar “soaps” do that because they are detergents and not real soap.

There are three main reasons why natural soaps are moisturizing.

Natural Soaps are made with Plant Oils and Butters

Natural soap made of pure ingredients derived directly from nature is a rare find these days.

The strong detergents in commercial soaps may be great for dishes and laundry, but they strip natural skin oils which dry the skin and may contribute to irritated skin conditions like eczema.

Natural Soaps are Superfatted

Chagrin Valley soap bars are formulated with lots of extra plant oils and butters in a process called "superfatting." 

Superfatting is the process of adding extra fats (oils or butters) when formulating a soap recipe, so there is more fat in the mixture than the lye can react with during the chemical reaction.

This process leaves a portion of unincorporated oils in the finished soap, which ensures that these natural soap bars have superior moisturizing and emollient qualities.

Since adding extra oils and butters can decrease the shelf-life of a soap bar, commercial soaps sacrifice the moisturizing properties in favor of their "forever" shelf-life.  

Natural Soaps retain their natural Glycerin

Glycerin is not added to a natural handmade soap recipe – it is created during the natural soap making process!  The chemical reaction of making soap is called saponification.  Once saponification is complete, the ingredients have combined and chemically changed into soap, glycerin, and a bit of water.

Glycerin, a precious and gentle emollient, is a humectant that draws moisture from the air to the skin creating a moisturizing protective layer.

Commercial soap manufacturers remove the glycerin from their soaps for two reasons. (1) Excess glycerin decreases the shelf-life of soap and (2) they can sell it or use it in products that command a higher price like the lotion your skin needs after using their glycerin-free detergent "soap."

Soaps without glycerin can be drying and often contribute to itchy skin. Handmade soap retains all the moisturizing natural glycerin which also helps produce a rich luxurious lather.

Thus skin-nourishing ingredients, plus superfatting and natural saponification create a soap bar full of moisturizing, natural oils, and natural glycerin.


Chocolate soap


  1. Scented Natural Soap Provides Aromatherapy

Scented natural soaps are made with pure essential oils, not fragrance oils, and offer aromatherapeutic benefits.

Essential oils have benefits beyond just scent. Step into the bath or shower and breathe deeply. The benefits of aromatherapy can help with everything from easing stress to invigorating your spirit 

The chemical composition of essential oils cannot be recreated in a laboratory.

Fragrance oils are artificially created and, even those that are derived from natural components, do not offer the therapeutic advantages of essential oils. 

Only natural botanical essential oils can cause various neurochemicals to be released in the brain which can affect the body, mind, and spirit. 

Synthetic fragrance oils may duplicate the smell of a flower or herb, but they have no aromatherapeutic value. Furthermore, the generic term, “fragrance” or “parfum” on a label can indicate the presence of up to 3,000 separate ingredients and the FDA does not require companies to disclose what is in a “fragrance,” because it is considered a “trade secret.”


Shea Rose soap
  1. Natural Soap Helps Maintain Healthy Skin

The body’s largest organ, our skin, is incredibly porous and absorbent. How we treat our skin can have a major impact on our overall health as well as the look and feel of our skin.

Some people with sensitive skin really do not have sensitive skin at all.

Their skin is simply reacting to some chemical irritant in their soap or other skincare product. Simple natural soaps tend to be more soothing for many skin types.

Everyone wants healthy skin and your skin is not a fan of synthetic chemicals. If you struggle to find a soap that does not irritate your skin, switching to the daily use of a simple natural soap is an easy place to start. Your skin can tell the difference.


  1. Natural Soap Provides Rich Lather Without Synthetic Foam Boosters

People absolutely love bubbly lather. Although we have come to associate the cleansing properties of our soap with the amount of lather it produces, this is a misconception. Soap does not need to create a lot of lather to do its job. 

Since commercial brands make money by catering to customer demands, lots of foamy lather is an important property of any commercial cleansing personal care product.

The foam, bubbles, and lather we know and love from commercial soaps are produced by surfactants--synthetic foam boosters, lathering agents, and detergents.

These chemicals are often petroleum by-products like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), are very inexpensive to add to body cleansing products, and are also quite drying for the skin.

A properly formulated and cured bar of natural soap needs no synthetic additives to create a lather or to clean because natural soap is a natural surfactant. So it not only makes great bubbles and lather, but it also helps clean oily dirt from your skin--naturally!

Nature’s ingredients like coconut oil, castor oil as well as the retained natural glycerin also help create a rich silky lather. The creamy silky lather from a natural soap is much richer than commercial soap.


  1. Natural Soap is Economical

Some consumers are put off by the cost of handmade soap. You probably look at a bar of natural soap and wonder why it costs more. I mean, soap is soap, right? Both bars clean your skin, right?

While both bars clean the skin, the similarity goes no further. Simply put, commercial soaps contain synthetic ingredients that are very cheap to produce in a lab.

But here are some things to think about!

Commercial soap companies do not want extra oils or glycerin in their soaps because they decrease shelf-life. Without these extra oils to moisturize your skin, you must reach for that bottle of lotion!

So, although a bar of commercial soap may cost less, what happens to the cost once you add in the price of all of that cream and lotion (which is also filled with chemicals) that you need to slather all over your dry, itchy skin?

Also, many of the synthetic ingredients needed to create lather, colors, scent, and years of shelf-life are known to be skin irritants. If your soap is causing irritated skin conditions, the simple change to a natural soap may decrease a trip to the dermatologist or the prescription cream to help clear the irritation.

If you use a liquid body wash the main ingredient is water. You pay for water. A properly cured soap bar has very little water remaining, meaning you are getting exactly what you pay for.

Natural handmade soaps may come with a higher price tag, but they provide a host of benefits when it comes to your skin. Natural soaps are made with higher quality ingredients:

  • Starting with natural and organic oils and butters
  • The scentsadded to natural soaps are pure plant essential oils, NOT fragrance oils or "nature identical" oils
  • Natural soap colorscome from natural juices, teas, spices, botanicals, or clays, NOT synthetic micas or colorants.

Have a look at the labels on your favorite bar soaps in order to learn what you are actually paying for as well as what you are putting on your skin. 


Grapeseed Tomato soap


  1. Natural Soap Has a Smaller Environmental Impact

Knowing that our actions have a profound impact on the world around us, Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve has always strived to be different. 

As we take a bath or shower with commercial "soap" bars or washes, we coat our skin with synthetic compounds like fragrances, dyes, preservatives, and detergents which then wash down our drains. 

Now imagine the millions of people who use commercial soap each day. All of these chemicals, many of which do not naturally break down, have to go somewhere. They often end up in our water systems and accumulate in our ecosystems. These chemicals affect wildlife--from fish to birds and natural foliage to flowers.

Chagrin Valley soaps are made with organic ingredients. Organic ingredients mean organic farming and organic farming is better for the environment. It improves the quality of our environment by protecting our land and groundwater from contamination and by promoting the use of sustainable resources and the conservation of soil and water.

When it comes to the environment, there are other benefits when choosing a natural bar of soap. Packaging! 

Natural soap companies like ours tend to use eco-friendly materials for packaging and shipping.

Chagrin Valley natural soap bars are sold in recyclable cardboard boxes made with recycled materials. 

Also, if you use a liquid body wash, how many plastic bottles and pumps do you dispose of in a single year?

Furthermore, because liquid body wash is mostly water, it is heavier to transport and therefore creates a larger carbon footprint.


Carrot Honey soap


  1. Natural Soaps are Unique

Chagrin Valley natural soap is made in small batches by people who have a passion as well as a mission for making natural products that do not sacrifice beauty or scent while incorporating amazing natural and organic ingredients.

Commercial soaps are typically mass-produced by companies that focus on maximizing profits at the expense of individual skin needs. There is nothing unique about them. 

At Chagrin Valley, the formulas created for each type of bar are unique, designed in-house using research and ingredients from nature.

Colors, scents, and textures come from nature: certified organic ingredients--herbs and flowers, vegetables and fruits, sustainable oils and butters, and pure essential oils to create awesome soaps that will nourish your skin and be kind to our planet. 

No matter your skin type or personal preferences, there is one of our natural soap bars out there just waiting for you.

If you love variety then handmade soap will not disappoint you. Considering that your skin is the largest organ on your body, there is a real delight in discovering the right soap that treats it gently.


  1. A Natural Soap Company Has Social Consciousness

While I am sure there are some large commercial soap companies with a social conscience, natural soapmakers tend to have the utmost respect for the earth and all its creatures.

Environmental stewardship is not a buzzword for them. It is not a talking point, not a political stance nor is it about optics!

At Chagrin Valley raw materials are sourced in an environmentally and ethically responsible manner.

  • Organicingredients which supports organic farming
  • Leaping Bunny Certified--Cruelty-Free
  • Palm oil and other ingredients are certified sustainable
  • Fair Tradewhenever possible
  • Biodegradable and minimally packaged with recycled and recyclable materials
  • Packaging is over 99% plastic-free
  • Natural ingredients will not add synthetic chemicals to our ecosystems

The hallmark of Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve is a love and respect for all things natural. 


  1. You Are Supporting A Small Business

If you are reading this blog I do not have to convince you that shopping small business is important. Your purchase really does make a difference.

When you buy a handmade bar of natural soap, you are supporting a small business that truly cares about and believes in the products they make.

Small businesses are run by people - not by boards or stockholders.

They are often entrepreneurs who bring a creative freshness into an otherwise regimented world.  



The level of care and attention that goes into producing a batch of cold process natural soap is unparalleled in commercial soaps. The goals and mission of a small business are also quite different from those of a large corporation.

Natural soaps are really soap. The recipes use sustainable, environmentally friendly natural and organic ingredients in an age-old process to produce a great lathering mild soap that promotes healthy skin.  

Indulge your senses in natural aromatherapy, moisturize your skin, and feel good about what you put on your skin. Embrace a very simple pleasure of life by using a bar of handmade natural soap.

Your skin will notice the difference and your skin will thank you!


Chagrin Valley Team Picture

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