Archive for » November, 2008 «

Sunday, November 30th, 2008 | Author:

First off, you should read the ‘About me’ page for this store — what a great story. I love how entire businesses can grow off of chance occurrences. Your child takes piano lessons at a goat farm and next thing you know, bam!, you’re running your own soap-making business :)

So our next shampoo bar is the beer shampoo bar from Country Soaps by Marlene . Let me start off by apologizing for reviewing another sold-out shampoo, but the good news is that Marlene does have a few other shampoo bars listed.

Ingredients : Olive, Castor, Almond, Jojoba, coconut, almond butter, palm, wheat & silk proteins, beer & NaOH

This bar has some of the ingredients I’ve learned to love in shampoo bars, including jojoba oil, wheat and silk proteins, and, of course, beer.

Smell: This soap is basically unscented, but the almost oil/butter gives it that almond-y smell I tend to associate with maraschino cherries. It’s very soft and subtle.

Texture : This is a slightly softer bar than some, rubs on easily and lathers up really well.

Did it clean my hair and scalp? Yes, it did. It seems to have a slight bit of waxiness right up against my scalp, but nothing that affected the look and feel of my hair.

How does my hair look and feel? Very nice — this one leaves my hair slightly on the squeaky side so I think it would work best for fine hair.

Verdict: Thumbs up :)

Thursday, November 20th, 2008 | Author:

A Scentsible World (BJRussell) offers several yummy sounding shampoo bars (the Herbal Silk bar I’m reviewing today is shown on top in the picture, the Peppermint Tea Tree I’ll save for another day, but that’s the one sitting below).

Ingredients: coconut oil, babassu oil, palm oil, castor oil, rice bran oil infused with marshmallow root, chickweed, nettle leaf, Horsetail and Chamomile, shea butter, cocoa butter, hydrolyzed silk proteins

I’ve heard lots of good things about marshmallow root in shampoo bars, horsetail is one of the ingredients in the Giovanni leave-in conditioner I like so much, so I’m happy to see that in here, and the silk proteins I’m finding are great for giving me that silky, glide-y feeling.

Smell: This bar has a surprisingly earthy smell (surprising to me, based on the ingredients — I’m not sure what is imparting the most fragrance). I find it quite pleasant, but it is on the stronger side compared to most of the other bars I am reviewing.

Texture: This is, again, a nice, hard bar of soap which glides very easily over my hair, forming a nice, long-lasting lather.

Did it clean my hair and scalp? Yes, very well indeed.

How does my hair look and feel? Really nice — soft and silky, and not weighed-down at all. I’m really happy with the results of this one.

Price plus shipping: $6.95 + $2.95 for a 4-5 oz bar

Verdict: Big thumbs up! Barbara also offers herbal hair rinses in her store, which might interest those of you looking for something a bit more special than plain old vinegar.

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 | Author:

I debated on whether to delay my review on this soap, as it seems that Dragon’s Den is temporarily shut down due to a family emergency (hope everything’s okay, Amanda!). But I’ve decided to go ahead and write my review now, while the experience is still fresh in my mind.

Ingredients: Olive, palm kernel, and castor oils, water, lye, cocoa butter and hemp oil, honey, grapefruit seed extract, essential oil blend (Lemon, Lavender, Bitter Almond, and Ginger)

Smell: This soap has a light, slightly earthy smell which is really only detectable if you hold the soap right up to your nose. Afterwards, the only smell I noticed on my hair was the comforting smell of soap.

Texture: This is a nice, hard shampoo bar that glides well over my hair and lathers up really nicely. The bubbles are really slippery and long lasting (as opposed to some soaps which seem to break down faster and don’t give that slippery / lather-y feel).

Did it clean my hair and scalp? Yes, in a wonderful way. Both hair and scalp were left feeling light and clean.

How does my hair look and feel? I loved the way this bar made my hair feel — it was really light, yet silky, so I’m thinking it left something behind to condition my hair, but in a very non-greasy, non-heavy way. I had thought the only way to get this effect was with silk proteins, but maybe it’s the honey or something, working its magic here.

Price plus shipping: $6.00 + $2.50 for a 5 oz bar

Verdict: Two big thumbs up! I’ll be visiting again in January when Amanda opens back up.

Monday, November 10th, 2008 | Author:

Here’s another lovely beer shampoo bar, this one from CCrafters. In addition to this one, there is also a Botanical shampoo bar that sounds yummy as well.

Ingredients: Saponified oils of olive, coconut, palm avocado, hemp-seed, castor and shea butter, beer, purified water infusion of rosemary, burdock, nettle and chamomile, essential oils of pink grapefruit, lemongrass, rosemary

There’s that beer again, and rosemary and nettle, both of which are supposed to be excellent for promoting healthy hair.

Smell: This shampoo bar has a delightful citrusy note to it, but it’s very light, not overpowering in the least. I think it’s probably the grapefruit and the lemongrass I smell. When lathering up, I also detected a little bit of hoppiness.

Texture: This is another slightly grabby soap, but it lathers up very well. The bubbles to break down a little sooner than other soaps I’ve tried, but they are definitely sufficient to get a nice head full of clean hair.

Did it clean my hair and scalp? Yes, definitely!

How does my hair look and feel? Wonderful! This is another bar that leaves a little something behind to condition my hair and help it feel soft and silky. I haven’t tried it, but I would definitely experiment with skipping the vinegar and / or leave-in conditioner with this one.

Price plus shipping: $5.00 + $3.00 for a 4.5 oz bar

Verdict: Definite thumbs up. I can see this one becoming one of my regulars.

Friday, November 07th, 2008 | Author:

Shampoo bar number four is Hot Summer Nights by Baby Bird Bath Works. This was actually the first shampoo bar I ever tried. I’ve been holding off on reviewing it because I’ve been waiting for Merna, the shop owner, to make some unscented soap. Although I really like the fragrance, I’ve found that I’m more sensitive to smells these days and anything that has a fragrance tends to distract me. However, I was in the mood for fragrance this morning, so I decided to use my Hot Summer Nights and see if it’s as good as I remembered, after having sampled all these other shampoo bars… It is!

Ingredients: Beer, saponified oils of (olive, coconut, palm, cocoa butter, castor) fragrance

This is one of the simplest soaps I’ll be reviewing, ingredients-wise. But I think this soap demonstrates that you don’t actually need a lot of additives to make an exceptional product. Must be in the technique of how it’s made. I’m starting to realize that soapmaking is a lot like baking. Two bars can have the same exact ingredients, just like two cookies can, but the end result is just as dependent on the proportions of the ingredients and skills of the soapmaker / baker.

Smell: This will be the only bar I review that has fragrance oils added. As I mentioned, I prefer light or no scents. As fragrances go though, this is a really pleasant one — fresh and fruity. Here’s a quote from Merna’s listing, since I’m not that great at describing fragrances: “Then we fragranced it with a wonderful blend of summery scents including melon, kiwi, citrus fruits and lime. It smells like a sweet breeze on a hot night without being overwhelmingly fruity.” I know Merna’s working on some specially formulated shampoo bars that will be unscented, and I am really looking forward to picking some up.

Texture: This has been the yardstick that I’ve measured my shampoo bar testing against. This bar glides over my hair like butter on hot corn on the cob. Then it lathers up beautifully with rich, long lasting bubbles.

Did it clean my hair and scalp? Yes, absolutely. Both hair and scalp come out squeaky clean.

How does my hair look and feel? This bar somehow manages to find that rare balance between cleaning well and leaving my hair conditioned at the same time. I think I could easily skip the leave-in conditioner. The comb glides effortlessly through my hair, and even when soaking wet, my hair has that glide-y feeling I was talking about earlier. Once it’s dry, it feels super soft and glossy. I should probably mention that this might be a soap that is too heavy for those with really fine hair.

Price plus shipping: $4.50 + $2.80 for a 4 oz bar. She’s sold out now, but I happen to know there’s an unscented batch on the way.

Verdict: Total thumbs up. This is one of my absolute favorites!

Thursday, November 06th, 2008 | Author:

OK — let’s talk about Bar Naked from Soapalaya. First of all, I love the name of this store — it’s a combination of “soap” and “jamabalaya.” That makes me happy for some reason :) This is both a soap and shampoo, and has tons of raves in Etsy feedback.

Ingredients: Saponified oils of coconut, palm kernel, avocado, rice bran, hemp oil, shea butter, and castor

As you can see, this bar is filled with gentle and moisturizing ingredients.

Smell: This bar is unscented and has no essential oils, so it’s really the smell of the base oils themselves that come through. You have to hold the soap or lather right up to your nose to smell it, and then you’re rewarded with this soft, milky, cake batter smell. I’m thinking it’s the shea butter talking. And although this is not a strong fragrance in any sense, my hair retains that smell and it’s very soothing.

Texture: This is interesting. First of all, I think I’ve learned the trick of how to reduce the gripping or friction between shampoo bar and hair. It’s to first wet the bar and lather it up somewhat before rubbing it across your hair. Makes a big difference. OK — so what’s interesting is that this soap lathers very well, with nice creamy bubbles. But the bubbles and soap seem to disappear when I try to work them across my scalp. So my hair is lathered well, but I seem to have more trouble getting a really clean feeling on my skin.

Did it clean my hair and scalp? Yes, but I would definitely classify this as more of a moisturizing bar, at least skin-wise. My hair had the same squeaky-clean feeling I am now associated with all shampoo bars, but my scalp ended up with less of that squeaky feeling. This would probably be great for anyone who has dry skin on their head.

How does my hair look and feel? With the vinegar and leave-in routine, it feels quite good. By the end of the day, however, it was starting to feel a bit oily.

Price plus shipping: $5.50 + $2.85 for a 5 oz bar.

Verdict: Thumbs up — I think this would be a particular good shampoo bar with someone with super-sensitive and/or dry skin.

Tuesday, November 04th, 2008 | Author:

In case you’re interested, I thought I’d post a pic of the testing ground for this experiment:

As you can see, it needs to be frizz-free and sleek to look it’s best. You can also see where the wave’s coming back in towards the top (I had it straightened last spring).

The other thing to note is that my hair is very thick, both in the sense that I have lots of it, and the fact that each individual hair is thick as well (my husband calls them cables). So what works for me is a shampoo bar that leaves a little bit of something behind, to keep my hairs smoothed down. Someone with really fine hair, or hair that needs to be bouncy, might tend to find my favorite bars to be too heavy. I have tried to note when I think different bars might not work for me, but could be ideal for you, depending on your hair type.

Saturday, November 01st, 2008 | Author:

OK, next up we have a gem of a shampoo bar from BathLife. She has several shampoo bars listed, but Hush is the only unscented one.

Ingredients: Beer, wheat germ oil, jojoba oil, kukui nut oil, macadamia nut oil, orchid extract, castor oil, olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, vitamin e

I’ve been fascinated with the idea of beer in a shampoo bar. The premise is that the protein in the hops and malt coat and repair damaged hair. Does this work? I have no idea, but people have been rinsing their hair with beer… probably since the advent of beer.

Beyond the beer, the kukui nut oil and macadamia oil sound luscious, don’t they?

Smell: This soap has a very light flowery / hoppy smell. It is very pleasant, and subtle.

Texture: Again, this bar has some grab as I rub it across my hair, and again, I don’t think this is a big deal, but am just making a note of it. It does lather up nicely and the bubbles stick around for a nice, long time as I work them through the crown of my head.

Did it clean my hair and scalp? Yes, it really did. I think this will probably be consistent through all the shampoo bars that I test. They just plain clean my hair, and especially my scalp, better than regular shampoo. The thing that feels so wonderful is, that after my shower, as I run my fingers back from my forehead and through my hair, my scalp feels like skin. Of course, it is skin, but when I was using shampoo, it always had a different texture than the rest of my skin. Like it had a coating on it or something. Now it feels like fresh, clean skin, and it’s wonderful.

I would say with the Hush bar, that my hair got squeakier clean than it does with some other bars I’ve been testing. For me, this is not necessarily what I want, because I like my hair to have that silky, glide-y feel, where the hairs can just slide right by each other. If it’s too squeaky clean, they kind of get caught on each other. But if you’re looking for that super-squeaky-clean feeling, then this could be the perfect shampoo bar for you.

How does my hair look and feel? Like I said, a smidge on the squeaky side, but I used some extra leave-in to counteract this, and then my hair felt great. I don’t think I could skip the rinse or the conditioner with this bar, though.

Price plus shipping: $9.00 plus $2.00 shipping for a 5 oz bar.

Verdict: Thumbs up — I think this would be best for someone with oily or fine hair. It might work as a clarifying bar too, I will probaby experiment with it if I feel like I’m getting build-up from my other shampoo bars.