At the end of May, I had the opportunity to attend the NCHE conference in Winston-Salem, NC. It was my first conference, and I admit, the vendor hall was my absolute favorite part of the event. Among the many curriculum vendors I came across the booth for Virginia Soap and Scents. (I know, I know. I was there for homeschool goodies, but there’s nothing wrong with a little mommy time too.) At the booth, I met the fabulous owner, Richelle, who told me the story of the company’s beginnings, which was actually the result of a homeschool history project. Now, she and her talented family, have turned a simple history lesson into an extremely successful family business.
I will start by saying that I have extremely sensitive skin, so I am always a bit nervous about trying new skin care products. After so many trials and failures as far as products go, I am so excited to finally be able to say that I have found a company whose products ALL work so amazingly well for me, that I simply have to share my experiences with these wonderful products.
The stars of the show are, of course, the handmade soaps. All of the soaps at Virginia Soap and Scents are made from a blend of palm, coconut, soy, olive, and castor oils, plus colrant and scent. That’s it. No strange or harmful chemicals, just good quality ingredients go in to making these soaps. (For more information on how these soaps differ from commercial soaps, which are actually detergents, please read THIS.)
These soaps truly won me over from the first lather. Luxurious is definitely a word I would use to describe it. Not only do they lather well, even in my hard water, but the lather itself is light and moisturizing, not drying like commercial soaps. And the scent is simply divine. (The Lemon Verbena is my favorite!) The fragrances are light and natural smelling, not obvious chemical imposters.
I could tell a huge difference in my skin after using these soaps. Moisture loss is always an issue with commercial products, but these soaps leave my skin feeling clean, yet still hydrated. I have noticed that I need less lotions or moisturizers following my showers, because my skin is already receiving plenty of moisturizers from the soaps!
Another interesting thing to note about these soaps is that they can all be used as a solid shampoo. All those fabulous oils that are so good for skin are equally as good for hair! I have tried numerous shampoo bars in the past, but these are the absolute best, by far. You can rub the bar in your hands first, or rub it directly onto the hair and work it into a thick lather, then rinse as normal. I find that one lather is plenty to remove daily grime, hair products, and all, so I don’t bother with repeating. I would recommend following the hair washing with one of two things. Especially for those who have hard water, the first thing I recommend is a VERY diluted vinegar rinse. A spoonful of vinegar in a big cup of water will make sure the soap rinses completely, and return your scalp to its normal pH. The other option is to follow the shampooing with Virginia Soaps and Scents’ Honeysilk Hair Conditioner bar.
Honeysilk Hair Conditioner
Because these soaps work so great for the hair, I was so excited to be able to try out the Honeysilk Hair Conditioner, which is actually a solid conditioner bar. The bar is actually very easy to use, and is definitely convenient for traveling purposes. Because this is not a soap, and thus does not lather, I apply it directly to my hair, in a downward motion along the strands. Then, I gently work it through and rinse.
I will note that for those interested in this product, but still prefer a liquid conditioner, there are instructions at the bottom of THIS page for turning your solid bar into liquid conditioner. Note this does NOT work with the soap bars, only the conditioner.
Facial Cleansing and Skin Repair Oil
After the soaps, this was the next product that I used that I absolutely fell in love with. It is an oil-based facial cleanser. I know what you’re thinking – “oil is what I want OFF my face, not ON it!” But this product uses what is known as the oil cleansing method, which THIS brochure explains. It basically states that oils break down other oils. So instead of drying out your skin by removing every single bit of moisture from it, this oil-based product breaks down unwanted facial oils, while still leaving the skin moisturized.
You apply this creamy oil to the face, and massage in. Then, you simply remove it with a hot, wet washcloth. The dirt and unwanted oils are washed away, and clean, moisturized skin is left behind. It even works as a makeup remover as well. AND, as if that wasn’t amazing enough, you can also use this as an everyday moisturizer, particularly if you have any areas of excessively dry skin. This oil does it all, and I have found that it has dramatically improved the quality of my skin, especially on my face and neck. This is officially my new favorite facial product.
Apricot Facial Scrub
I am a big believer in exfoliating regularly. The problem with a lot of commercial exfoliators, however, is all the harsh chemicals, which can severely irritate the fresh layer of skin. And then some exfoliators are simply much too rough. I don’t exactly want to feel like I took coarse grit sandpaper to my face.
The Apricot Facial Scrub, however, is a wonderful alternative. It is creamy, but light and easy to spread. Its apricot seeds are ground very finely, so that they exfoliate gently, without harming the delicate new skin. The smell is nothing short of delicious.
I will say that the first time I used this product, I was a little worried. I loved how it went on, how well it scrubbed, but then when I rinsed, I didn’t feel the typical “squeaky clean” feeling. I thought for a moment that it had left some sort of residue behind. But once I finished rinsing and patted dry, I realized that what was left behind were wonderful moisturizers that were quickly absorbed right into my skin. Immediately, I touched my face and could not believe how smooth and soft my skin felt. This is definitely the best exfoliator ever.
Whipped Shea Moisture Cream
This is what I would consider your everyday lotion. It is smooth and soft, and extremely light. It absorbs into the skin very quickly and does not leave behind any sort of thick, coated feeling on the skin. But don’t let the lightness fool you! This is an intensely moisturizing cream, and it leaves my skin feeling super soft. It is gentle enough to be used as a facial moisturizer, yet potent enough for all-over moisturizing. The scent is lovely and light, and not at all overpowering. But, for those who prefer unscented versions, that option is available as well. This is definitely the best everyday moisturizer I have EVER used.
Honey Bee Lotion Bar
For those who need a heavier, more intense moisturizer, the honey bee lotion bar is just the thing. I have found that this bar works especially well for problem areas such as super dry knees or elbows, or dry, cracked feet. With this tube, you can dab your fingers onto it, or apply to the skin directly from the tube. It feels a bit thicker initially, but much like the whipped shea moisture cream, it absorbs very easily into the skin, and gets to work right away. Even though I have only been using this for a short time, a couple of my problem areas have almost completely disappeared.
Another unique way I use this product is on my hair. I have very long hair, and my ends get very dry in the heat of summer. At night, I work some of this into my ends, and then twist my hair into a bun. When I take my hair back down in the morning, my ends are soft and smooth. I absolutely LOVE this lotion bar.
Himalayan Salt Deodorant Spray
I admit, I was a bit skeptical about this one. I have tried other natural deodorant alternatives, and either hate the scent, or they simply fail as far as odor and sweat protection. I had never tried a salt deodorant, however, and have never seen it available in a spray form.
Well, call me convinced, because this stuff is pretty awesome. Just a couple of quick spritzes under each arm keeps me protected all day long. I also find it incredibly gentle. I even tried it on my 12 year old son, who needs a good deodorant, but is having a problem finding something that does not irritate his skin. This definitely fit the bill for him. And with the convenience of a spray bottle, it is very easy for him to reapply as needed throughout the day (like after football practice!) In short, we are both pleasantly surprised by this product and plan on getting more for the whole family. Definitely a wonderful, safe alternative to commercial deodorants!
Sunscreen SPF 30
The last fabulous product I want to mention is the SPF 30 sunscreen. I am extremely fair complected, and sunscreen is definitely a necessity. As we all know, though, many sunscreens are thick and goopy, and quite frankly, a pain to apply. Furthermore, the thick creams and harsh chemicals can often clog pores and cause breakouts.
This natural sunscreen is so light and gentle that it glides right onto the skin. The tube makes it easy to apply either directly onto the face, or with your fingertips to rub in to arms, shoulders, etc. I can literally barely feel that I even have it on. That is, of course, until I spend time in the sun and come in without a hint of sunburn. This sunscreen protects my skin completely and perfectly. I have had no sunburn since I have begun using it, and have had no breakouts regardless of length or frequency of use. And yes, it is definitely gentle enough to use on children’s skin! The whole family is definitely benefiting from this product. We just love it!
These products have been nothing short of amazing for me and my family. Especially considering all of my sensitivities, and the number of ingredients I have to avoid because of them, finding something that works is no small feat. Virginia Soaps and Scents, however, has definitely been a blessing! All of their products are well made, and of the highest quality ingredients. You can just tell that the family behind them has put so much thought and care into developing each product. This is a small sampling of all the amazing things that Virginia Soaps and Scents has to offer. I am so glad to have come across this company, and I hope you all will take the time to try some of their wonderful products!
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