Shiny Hair Miracle


I received a very kind care package from a friend (hi Ruth!) filled with tea, fudge, (best of all) a great pages-long letter (ultimate luxury!), and a shampoo and conditioner bar sample from Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve. It smelled so good that I was instantly intrigued! I used it the very next day in my bath.

It was wonderful to use. My skin and hair felt great. I did my usual walking around with wet hair until it dried all morning and I happened to glance in the mirror. Was that my hair? That shiny, manageable, flowing stuff – mine? Did I mention shiny? Even my husband commented about how shiny my hair was! I was astonished! Sorry about all of the exclamation points, but my hair doesn’t do shiny. It’s always been coarse and prone to frizz — to have it be mirror-shiny was a minor miracle.

I pretty much ran to the computer and placed an order for another one 🙂 I was so pleased to order from a tiny business run by family and friends, just a few states over in Ohio. They seemed very resource-aware and just as into natural ingredients and low/reusable packaging as I am. When I got my beautifully full-sized shampoo and conditioner bar (just a few days later!) it was packaged in only a little brown paper with a label. No plastic anywhere!



Another little brown parcel revealed a generous sample of another soap.

I started thinking about the liquid soap I use — although I love it, I do not like the big plastic bottle it comes in. I think I am going to switch over to bar soap for my household as I run out of liquid soap, and Chagrin Valley is going to be my purveyor. My husband has already been asking me about ordering him a bath soap for his eczema-prone skin. I also like that they make and sell little wood soap racks that drain the soap so that it lasts as long as possible. I’d like to invest in a few of those, too.

Another thing I wanted to mention is that Chagrin Valley recommends an apple cider vinegar rinse after using their shampoo bars. This was no problem for me, because I already use one! But the really neat thing I wanted to tell you about is that I’ve begun making my own apple scrap cider vinegar! It couldn’t be easier: use your apple peelings and cores after you have enjoyed your apple. Place in a sterilized jar, and fill with water so that it is just covering your apple scraps. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar (I use raw). Put another smaller jar inside that jar so that all the apple bits are kept under water. Keep in a cool dark place for 10 days. Peek at it every few days and stir — you’ll see bubbles. That’s the fermentation happening!

After 10 days strain into another sterilized jar and cover with a clean cotton cloth — I used unbleached organic muslin — fastened on the jar rim with a rubber band. Wait about 6 weeks. Smell it — taste it — you should have a delightful vinegar!


Here is the tutorial I used for more thorough directions and photos.

Best of all, I see the white ghostly vinegar mother floating about in my vinegar, which means I can use some to make other kinds of vinegar! I keep wanting to try red or white wine vinegar, but every time we open a bottle, we’ve wound up enjoying the whole thing. A good problem to have! I’m sure a cup of wine will eventually be mine for more kitchen experiments! I’ll let you know what happens!


Clothing: 66 out of 66
Soap: 11 out of 12
Tea: 28 out of 30


  1. Not just super on the hair & plastic free but also palm oil free! It is so hard to find products, even soap, that does not contain palm oil.

    Thanks for sharing the scrap vinegar recipe. I tend to eat apple peal but I guess it would work with cores only, or is it the chemicals in/under the skin that are critical for fermentation?

    1. I usually eat peels too, but I happened to be making an apple cake for work which required peeling the apples. I bet just cores would work! I made another batch after making an apple tart as well.

      Soapmaking is something I’d love to try but I’m a little afraid of the lye. We have a craft guild in my town, and one of the meetings was supposed to consist of soapmaking, but not enough of the members were interested — which made me so sad! It seems like a perfect thing to do every once in awhile in a group and split the finished soap.

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