Thursday, October 29, 2009

TOS Crew Review -- Virginia Soap and Scents

As homeschool moms we care for our children and families on so many levels. We teach them academically, nurture them spiritually, cultivate their curiosity, protect their purity, and feed and clothe them. While this review falls outside the realm of homeschooling directly, it falls well within our role as homeschool parents.


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You have to appreciate the story behind the starting of this wonderful family based company. While exploring a unit on colonial history, they attempted a project in soapmaking. We all know how hands on learning brings a subject to life.


Well, they ended up not stopping after that one unit.It didn't take long for this project to take on a life of its own and become a family business. They offer shampoo bars, bath bars, laundry soap, pet care products, lip balm and more. Each product they handcraft personally and wrap in packaging of their designing. We received a wonderful little sampler of their products for our review.


Product: Shampoo bar
Details: A sample size of their regular shampoo bar (5.5 oz) that takes the place of regular shampoo
Price: $5.50 each or 2/$10

Product: Soaps
Details: I received the following three scents: Coconut Lemongrass, Fresh Orange, and Oatmeal, Milk and Honey. Their regular size bars are 4.5 oz and available in a variety of other scents as well. All products are available fragrance free as well.
Price: $4.50 each, 3/$12, or 10/$35

Product: Homemade laundry soap Kit
Details: A sample product which requires some preparation for use (dissolving together on the stove). Their full size kit makes two gallons which should wash 64-72 loads at roughly seven cents a load.
Price: $4.95 for the kit or $3.95 for just the bar


I have not read up on it thoroughly, but know that many ingredients found in our everyday hygiene products carry side effects with them. Most shampoos contain alcohol based and petroleum based ingredients, which should really be avoided if possible. These products have brought this to mind once again, and prompted me to explore more natural alternatives.


In comparing other products out there, I was pleasantly surprised that Virginia Soaps and Scents have some of the best prices out there on similar products. So, from a price point, I gladly promote this product.

Secondly, I compared their cost to buying the ingredients and trying to figure out how to make it on my own. Let me just say, the cost involved in starting that, not to mention the time it would take to figure it all out and the care required in handling some potentially hazardous materials in the process, and my poor skill at creating something . . . It is definitely better for me to leave this to the experts.

Now, let's talk performance. At times I have tried natural hygiene products and have realized that part of the reason people don't use them is because they don't work as well. I did not find that to be the case this time around. The shampoo bar took some adjusting, and results may vary based on your hair type and maybe even your water, but I am sold! My hair is clean without all the chemicals I used to use. A quick lather with the shampoo bar and a rinse with vinegar water and my hair is soft, clean, and comb-able.

The bar soaps are wonderful. Moisturizing, but cleansing. My absolute over-the-top favorite is the Oatmeal, Milk and Honey scent. It even has the little bits of oatmeal and I am so sad that I am down to my last crumbs of the bar already.

And, the laundry soap . . . I had heard mixed reveiws about homemade soap, so I wasn't sure if I could swing it. But, it was really easy to make. I put on an extra pot while I made my family's oatmeal one morning, and mixed it up while breakfast cooked. It cools into a very thick gel, almost like slightly runny jello. We scoop in a half cup with each load and have wonderfully clean clothes without all the fragrance and chemicals I usually dump in. And, at around seven cents a load, this is WAY cheaper than any other detergent out there.

So,
What we loved . . .
  • EVERYTHING!
  • Pure, natural ingredients (they do use animal products
  • Quality products
  • Reasonable prices
  • Great gift ideas, check out their Christmas scents, too.
  • Beautiful soaps. Even if you aren't interested, go look at their website, their soap is beautiful on top of everything else. Almost looks edible!
  • They are a wonderful company to work with and enthusiastically share their passion for what they do.
Challenges . . .
  • I did procrastinate about making the laundry soap at first, but once I got it on the stove it was really no trouble at all.
  • Some of the soap seemed to have a strong smell at first (think about walking down the detergent aisle in the grocery store), but once out of the package for a day, each bar had a pleasant fragrance.
  • There was an adjustment phase with the shampoo bar. Sometimes my hair seemed greasy, or dirty. It always looked fine, but felt a little funny. I found the vinegar rinse (1/4 cup vinegar mixed with a few cups of water) resolved this and I have no more problems.


Some products that I have had the opportunity to review I hesitate to support, but these soaps I can definitely encourage you to enjoy. They would be great additions or alterations to almost any household cleaning and hygiene routine, and produced by a fellow homeschool family! What more could you ask for?

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.


Disclaimer: These products were provided to me free of charge from Virginia Soap and Scents as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

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