As I mentioned, the first few time they leave a squeaky clean afterfeel typical of soaps but after towelling dry, the feeling goes away and you'll get used to it. The afterfeel is probably due to the layer of glycerin left on your skin after washing. The glycerin is emollient and helps attract moisture to your skin. My skin gets so soft after prolonged use, it's amazing! (And contrary to what I thought, glycerin is not comedogenic at all.) These are better than even the Crabtree and Evelyn soaps I used to use.
Here's the review for 3 of the body bars - next up will be the complexion bars. I won't go into too much detail - you can find really good detailed descriptions on the websites with listings of ingredients which make them so tempting.
Chamomile and Calendula
This is what a new, never before used sample size looks like. They are rather roughly cut with some chunks in the bag but that lends a home-made feel to it and I guess it keeps costs down. It smells really nice and lathers the best out of all the bars I've tried - I'm guessing that's because it doesn't contain either coconut milk or goatmilk. Very moisturizing! It also liquefies very easily which is why it lathers more easily, but in humid Singapore, it makes the bar shrink faster too. I always air my soapbars out of the bathroom when not in use to prevent melting.
Lavender Oatmeal Spice
It's a coconut milk soap and smells like lavender with an earthy undertone. I really like the gentle exfoliation of the oats in it. It lathers slightly less well than the Chamomile and Calendula, but better than the Goatmilk Honey Oatmeal. It's also a slightly firmer bar than the Chamomile because it doesn't melt as easily.
Goatmilk Honey Oatmeal
It's a goatmilk unscented soap, with oats for exfoliation. I find it's the most moisturizing of the lot but because of the goatmilk in it, it's not as easy to lather - the lather is fine and silky. It gives me the feeling that it would be really great for sensitive skin.
Similarities I found for all bars were that they all have this natural earthy scent to them, even the unscented ones - it's not very strong but just an undertone. After inhaling natural scents for so long, it makes me a little uncomfortable to use artificial body sprays and such. It just makes me so much happier having natural products around, and they leave less toxins in your body - imagine all the chemicals in your body wash.
Basically I really really love all of the soaps, I won't even bother rating them. One thing is that some people might not really get used to how the soap lathers - I basically rub it all over, splash with lots of water and lather. They work better with body sponges or puffs because they help to lather. And I find that the soaps make the bathroom floor really slippery as compared to bath gels. They also need to be kept well-drained in humid climates.
I think Chagrin Valley is a really great company - what makes them different from other soapmakers is that while their bars may not be pretty, and the packaging is just brown paper, the product is really unique cos all the different bars have different ingredients with no artificial colourings. I've been to other soapmakers' websites where the soaps look so amazing and pretty, but they all use the same base or use mica to colour the soap or use preservatives and artificial scents.
The sample sizes last about a week for me and I expect a full bar to last about a month. I've already placed more orders! ^^ Can't wait. Complexion bar reviews coming up!