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Virginia Soaps & Scents

Virginia Soaps & Scents

PO Box 8212
Suffolk, VA 23438

Virginia Soaps & Scents is the home-based business of the Spargur family in Suffolk, Virginia. They are a homeschooling family with nine children. Their soap-making adventure started off as a “history lesson and developed into an artistic passion”. I received a large gift box filled with a variety of products from Virginia Soaps & Scents. I feel like I was a perfect reviewer for these products, as, I must admit, I went into this review with a bit of a skeptical attitude. I like trying new things, but I’m often resistant toward replacing the products I have come to love and trust. With that being said, I’d like to tell you about the variety of products that I received for review, why I’ve come to have a new attitude about them, and why I think you should try them too.
With a purchase of products from Virginia Soaps & Scents, you will receive a tri-fold flier explaining their products and the benefits of using them. I found this handy flier very useful. I learned that the products we often use and refer to as “soap” are not truly soap; rather, these products are actually “detergent.” The soaps made by Virginia Soap & Scents are true soaps--made from a combination of oil and water bound together with sodium hydroxide. They are all natural and are actually good for your skin, leaving you feeling both clean and moisturized. Almost all soaps made by Virginia Soaps & Scents contain olive oil and coconut oil, sometimes in combination with other oils (such as lard, cocoa butter, safflower, sunflower, canola, peanut, palm, or soybean oils).
Each soap bar is a generous 4.5 oz. rectangular bar. The bars I received to review are the Oatmeal, Milk & Honey, English Lavender, and Fresh Orange. I have been using the Oatmeal, Milk & Honey bar exclusively and have been very pleased with it. It leaves my skin feeling clean and soft, which is more than I can say for many store-bought soaps that I have tried. Virginia Soaps & Scents recently added a new scent to their soap collection--Pumpkin Spice--which smells good enough to eat! I can’t wait to try it! These soap bars sell for $4.50 per bar, 3 bars for $12, or Buy 4, Get 1 FREE. If properly cared for (kept on a soap dish with some drainage), these bars have a very long life, making them well worth the price.
In addition to the bar soaps, Virginia Soaps & Scents also makes soap balls. These are approximately 2.25 oz. soap balls that sell for $1.95 each and are available in a variety of scents. These soap balls are not only a lot of fun, but they are ideal for younger children, as they are much easier to handle than a large bar of soap.
The item I was most skeptical about is probably the shampoo bar. Seriously, who has ever heard of a “shampoo bar”? I had no idea what to expect from this product. I enjoyed reading the “story behind the shampoo bar” in the informational flier (also on the company’s website). In a nutshell, the Spargur family was asked by some Civil War re-enactor friends if they could create a shampoo bar. They took the challenge, and the rest, as they say, is history. Richelle Spargur says that the shampoo bar leaves her “50-year-old color-treated hair” feeling as though she’s just used an expensive conditioner.
I decided to “test” the shampoo bar by using it exclusively for several weeks. I have short hair and don’t normally use conditioner, but I wouldn’t describe the feeling I got as a “just conditioned” feeling. I would compare it to the feeling I get when I use a deep cleansing shampoo (the kind I would normally only use once a week to deep clean). In other words, this shampoo bar really works--it will strip your hair of any impurities (build-up from styling products) and leave you with a clean, manageable feeling hair. The shampoo bar is a bit larger than the soap bar (5.5 oz) and sells for $5.50 each or 2 for $10. Again, like the soap bar, the shampoo bar is very long-lasting if properly stored. It is available in 3 scents: Ginger Lime, Coconut Lemongrass (the one I tried), and Cherry Almond (my personal preference).
Next up is the Waltzing Matilda bar. This interesting variation of the soap bar is the equivalent of having three bars rolled into one. It can be used for shampoo, shower, and shave. Because I already had both shampoo and soap bars to try, I decided to use this bar exclusively for shaving. I generally prefer shaving cream over soap. Soap tends to make the razor pull and leaves my skin feeling dry. Not so with the Waltzing Matilda bar. After using it a few times, I was hooked! I just wish I’d had this bar in the early summer when I was packing my girls to send them off to camp. One bar to wash, shampoo, and shave--what a great idea! Waltzing Matilda (Strawberries & Champagne scent) is specifically for women, while the men’s all-in-one soap bar is called Outback (Wild Bayberry fragrance with notes of pine, cypress and spruce). There is also an all-in-one bar just for children--the Kiddiwink bar (a confetti soap bar with no additional fragrances added). These bars sell for $4.50 each and, again, are ideal for travel.
Virginia Soaps & Scents also makes body butter. I love having a nice lotion to use, especially in the winter when my skin tends to be drier. I also have two children with extremely dry winter skin, so I’m always looking for new lotions to try. I received the body butter in the Peaches and Cream scent and have been very pleased with it. Not only does it smell fabulous, but it leaves my skin feeling nourished and smooth. These body butters come in a variety of yummy fragrances and are packaged in 2.2 oz. containers. It is suggested to be used as an under-makeup moisturizer, but it can certainly be an all-over body lotion as well. At only $3.95 per container, these are very reasonably priced.
One of my addictions when it comes to body products is definitely lip balm. The lip balms from Virginia Soaps & Scents come in .33 oz. metal tins, rather than as a stick. I received my lip balm in the mint flavor and was very pleased with it. I’d probably prefer a stick-style lip balm, but this one definitely did the trick of making my lips feel smooth, soft, and healthy. The lip balm products are made from a combination of beeswax and oils and sell for only $1.95 each.
Not only have I come to love these products by Virginia Soaps & Scents, but I have also been very impressed with the service of this company. During my review process, I was contacted by Richelle from Virginia Soaps & Scents, telling me that they had created a “new and improved” body powder. I had not yet tried the powder that I had received, so I waited while she quickly sent out the new version of their powder. Here was another item that I was not sure I would like. I guess you could say I’m a “powder snob” who always uses the name brand powders. Virginia Soaps & Scents has created the best powder I have ever tried! True, I found that the little holes were not adequate to shake the powder through, so I’ve been using the single, larger round hole. The powder itself, though, is just wonderful. I need less of it than my regular powder of choice, its smell is nice (yet not overpowering) and it is long-lasting and doesn’t clump like other powders I have tried. It leaves my skin feeling silky and smooth. These powders are made from a talc-free blend of arrowroot and tapioca powders. They come beautifully packaged in 4 oz. containers and cost only $4.95 each (or you can buy a combo set of powder and body butter for only $7.95).
The last product I received to review is the laundry soap kit. Homemade laundry soap is something I’ve often wondered about (as I have friends who use it), but I questioned how well it would clean my clothes or whether it would really be a value compared to store-bought detergents. I never had the nerve to try it, because purchasing the items to make laundry soap would yield enough for many, many loads, and I wasn’t ready for that kind of commitment. Apparently, the other customers of Virginia Soaps & Scents felt the same. So this company listened and created the laundry soap kit, which is exactly what you need to make one large batch of homemade laundry soap (2½ gallons, or enough for 64-72 loads of laundry). I made the batch almost immediately after receiving the kit and have been using it exclusively for weeks now. Not only are our clothes clean, but I’m now confident in the value of making my own laundry soap. If this is something that you’ve been considering, I would highly recommend purchasing this kit. It sells for only $4.95, which works out to about 7 cents for each load of laundry! You can also purchase just the cleaning bar for $3.95 and add your own borax and washing soda, making the value even greater!

I may have started out a skeptic, but I’m now a fan of homemade bath and body products, and especially Virginia Soaps & Scents. I would highly recommend purchasing some items for yourself; and while you’re at it, be sure to pick up products for all of your gift-giving needs. Your friends and family will thank you!

Product review by Heidi Strawser, Special Projects Manager & E-Book Reviews Specialist,
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2008

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