Beer Rinse For Your Hair: Does it Work???

Beer = Perfect Hair?

I wish my hair was this long!

Is rinsing your hair with beer the long awaited miracle secret to long, shiny hair? Or just a hoax-y trend with no real results? I guess we’ll find out because I tried rinsing my hair with beer to see if it would truly improve my naturally textured hair (before and after pictures included). 

I’m pretty fearless when it comes to hair-related DIYs. I’ve cut my hair, I’ve highlighted my hair, I’ve even rubbed all kinds of mashed up fruits and veggies into my hair (DIY banana avocado hair mask…anyone?) but when I came across a DIY recipe for a beer rinse my first thought was, “um, ew.”

What Are The Benefits of Rinsing Your Hair With Beer?

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I have never understood the appeal of beer and the thought of saturating my curly hair with it seemed even less appealing. However, I couldn’t help my curiosity…if people are willing to risk having hair that smells like beer, the benefits of a beer soak must be pretty amazing and totally worth-while. So what are the supposed benefits of rinsing your hair with beer?

From what I’ve found, beer is the secret hair tonic we’ve all been searching for. Apparently, rinsing your hair with beer will make it: thicker, stronger, healthier, shinier, curlier (if you have curly hair), and can promote hair growth…phew…that is a lonnnng list. But what’s the science backing all of these amazing benefits?

Malts and Hops for Hair

Most of the sites promoting beer rinses credit the malt and hops in beer as an intense source of protein. While it’s definitely true that properly protein balanced hair is just as important as properly moisturized hair, if you’re like me you’re probably wondering what ice cream drinks and a bunny’s preferred method of movement have to do with beer or great hair.

Malt and hops are actually two important components of a beer’s structure. Many of the sites with DIY beer rinse recipes are a bit lacking in detail, when it comes to why a beer rinse is effective, but thankfully artisan beer brewers passionate about the craft are abundant online. 

What is Malt?

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I’d like to start by thanking The Brew Enthusiast for this detailed definition of Malt

“Malt is essentially the toasted version of any cereal grain. This includes barley, wheat, oat, rye, etc. The full name would be “Malted Barley” or “Malted Wheat”, if we chose to say it that way. We don’t choose to say it that way, so in beer vernacular we just say “Malt”. In most beer styles, the “malt” is barley, because it’s relatively high enzyme content makes it conducive for brewing. Pretty easy so far.

 We toast the cereal grain because we need to access the lovely sugars and enzymes within the grain. These sugars and enzymes form the sugary, substantive backbone of all beer. In their raw version (picked straight from the field), the starches in these cereal grains are not very accessible. Brewers sometimes use unmalted grain in their beer, but it’s a small percentage of the total grain used. We won’t get too far into the specific enzymes and chemicals we’re trying to create in this process, but suffice it to say that it’s important.”

– The Brew Enthusiast

If you’re still curious about malt I would highly recommend reading the rest of the article.

Why is Malt Good For Hair?

Even after knowing what malt was, I still didn’t understand how malt’s protein contribution worked so I had to spend some time on Brew Chatter to figure it out. To the best of my understanding, protein in grain aids the enzyme process during malting. As proteins break down during this process they become part of the malt base solution (the malt factor in beer). When protein interacts with hair it bonds to the hair shaft and fills in gaps, leaving hair strong and able to maintain its shape.

Did you know that some of our natural shampoo bars have natural sources of protein from grain? It’s true! Our Wheat and Honey Almond Shampoo Bar contains wheat germ (this bar also smells absolutely heavenly)

What are Hops?

“Hops are the flowers (also called seed cones or strobiles) of the hop plant Humulus lupulus,[1] a member of the Cannabaceae family of flowering plants.[2] They are used primarily as a bittering, flavouring, and stability agent in beer, to which, in addition to bitterness, they impart floral, fruity, or citrus flavours and aromas.[3] Hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine.”

Wikipedia

Hops have an astringent property that acts similarly to how apple cider vinegar or a citric acid hair rinse works and supposedly produces the same benefits of fighting dandruff and promoting shine. Hops do have a protein content, which means they could potentially strengthen the hair shaft while also smoothing it down (what makes hair shiny). 

Putting The Beer Rinse To The Test

I knew a beer rinse was too crazy not to write about, but it was so outlandish that I decided I wouldn’t write about it without giving it a go first. A couple of recipes called for non-alcoholic beer, claiming any alcohol content would simply overpower any results by drying the hair out. I decided not to follow this instruction, why? I honestly feel like most DIY adventures happen on a whim, so unless you already have non-alcoholic beer on hand, you’re not going to drive all the way to the store when you’ve got alcoholic beer in the fridge (C’mon people, we want results and we want them now!)

Letting my beer get flat.

I happened to have a bottle of Leinenkiugel’s Toasted Bock (a name I would never remember or be able to spell if I wasn’t holding the bottle in front of my face) left over from when I made Corned Beef. I did pour the beer into a container and let it sit for a couple of hours to flatten in. Apparently when the carbon dioxide in beer mixes with water it makes it hard…and as we all know…hard water makes hair washing…hard. 

There are many different methods for beer rinses online. Some say the rinse should be after shampoo, some call for leaving the beer in the hair, I found another experiment in which beer was the shampoo! With so many methods, I decided that coming up with my own wouldn’t mess too much with any results. I wet my hair with water, soaked my hair (scalp to ends) in beer, waited a couple minutes, rinsed with water, and then shampooed and conditioned as usual. Just as I did with my Winter Skin Saver Bar experiment, I did not use additional product in my hair because I wanted few variables for a clear outcome.

Results of my Beer Hair Rinse

My second day hair before the beer rinse (natural lighting)

I was disappointed. As my hair dried not only was it frizzy, but my curls were limp. Limp, frizzy curls were far from the bouncy, shiny ones I’d been hoping for. On the plus side, there was no lingering smell because I rinsed before I shampooed.

The first photo is my hair before the rinse. My curls don’t hold up past wash day even with a sleep with my hair in a loose bun my curls still get pulled out which is what you can see from this photo.

My hair after the beer rinse (artificial lighting)

As you can see, the results of the beer rinse look dramatic compared to my second day hair. It makes it seem as though the beer rinse made my hair go from wavy to curly when in reality this happens every time I wash my hair. What I was really focusing on was the quality of my curls.

If you look at the second picture, you can see how the curls start as waves, you can also see how loose the ends of my hair are. In order to call it a good wash day, I’m looking for more curl at the top and bottom and less “floofy” curls. To see what my hair looks like on a good wash day you can check out my blog on how I discovered my naturally curly hair, or my popular blog on the benefits of natural oils for your hair.

My hair after the beer rinse (used camera flash)

I took one last picture with flash because sometimes indoor lighting makes for grainier photos. Yes, my hair looks shinier, but that is simply because of the lighting. You can still see how loose the curls are.

Would the results have been different if I had used non-alcoholic beer, followed a recipe more closely, or used a styling product? Maybe. One thing’s for sure, a beer rinse will not be replacing my weekly Herbal Hair Rinse.

Much Love,

Nora


The Secret in Our Winter Skin Saver Bar: Lanolin

How to Get Rid of Dry Skin?

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Finding products that keep dry skin moisturized can be a huge challenge. Our Winter Skin Saver Bar is easily one of our most popular limited edition natural soaps…how do I know this? Because each batch we put out sells out within a day or two. But what makes this bar so wildly popular? This bar is a fan favorite because it has the amazing ability to help eliminate dry skin, even in the harshest winter weather conditions. While the most we can hope for with many soaps is that they won’t dry out our skin, while our natural soaps certainly won’t dry out your skin the Winter Skin Saver Bar actually works to enforce your skin with extra extra added moisture and protection. How does it do this? Well, that’s what we will be talking about today and it all boils down to a little secret ingredient called lanolin.

What is Lanolin? 

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Lanolin, sometimes known as wool wax, is a natural wax produced by animals with wool. While humans secrete sebum from their sebaceous glands, sheep secrete lanolin. Because of its wax-like structure, lanolin acts as a waterproofing agent for a sheep’s coat. Why is this important or necessary? Imagine wearing a thick fuzzy coat that absorbs water like a sponge versus a thick fuzzy coat that water rolls off of like a piece of plastic…which one is going to be warmer and more comfortable in a snowstorm?

What is Lanolin Used For?

While I suppose technically sheep were the first to discover and benefit from the incredible properties of lanolin, they were probably too busy chewing their cud to actually realize what fortune they had stumbled upon. Luckily, farmers recognized lanolin’s potential and today lanolin has countless uses.

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Lanolizing Wool and Cashmere

Since Lanolin and wool naturally coexist in harmony, lanolin can be used to restore and cleanse wool and cashmere products! Besides its waterproofing ability, pure lanolin is also antimicrobial and antifungal. When introduced to water, these properties will activate and self-clean and deodorize wool.

Lanolin Oil for Breastfeeding Mothers

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Perhaps considered the “breast” use of lanolin oil by mothers with infants, lanolin oil is well known for its ability to effectively soothe cracked and dry nipples. Because 100% pure lanolin is a natural product, it is safe to use on the most sensitive parts of the body. It is important to use purified lanolin though, because anything less could be harmful if ingested by newborns.

Lanolin for Chapped Lips

As you can imagine, Lanolin is a goldmine for chapped and cracked lips. Which is why we knew we had to include it in our lip balm.

This lip balm was developed for lips in serious need of serious help. Chock full of lanolin, one of nature’s ultimate moisturizers, lanolin not only drenches your lips in rich moisture it also locks it in for the toughest winter days. Lanolin along with the essential oil blend of eucalyptus, tea tree, rosemary, and peppermint which offers cooling, soothing help for sore, chapped lips can also help your lips recover from too much sun exposure no matter the season. 

This balm is also great choice for sore, chapped noses suffering from colds and allergies as well as cheeks suffering from outdoor exposure.

Lanolin for Hair and Skin

Lanolin is revered in the beauty community for its super hydrating abilities. Hey, if it’s good enough for cashmere then it is certainly good enough for my skin. What makes it so good? According to a Healthline article, lanolin can hold “twice its weight in water” which means a little can go a long way and retaining all that water in your skin keeps it supple and plump…helping to erase fine lines and wrinkles. 

Our Winter Skin Saver Bar Made With Lanolin

Remember the analogy I made earlier about the two coats? Well, using our winter skin saver bar will give you similar results to the water-proof coat…okay, so it won’t make your skin waterproof, but if you use it in the shower it will help your skin retain a ton of water. This bar is superfatted with oodles of thick, rich lanolin so that when you are done washing up, you’ll have this soft, invisible layer of protection all over your skin that keeps water in. 

I tried this bar because it was a limited edition. After one use I was CRAZY for it. It was sold out when I went to get more so I waited weeks for the next batch. I even emailed a few times because I couldn’t live without it. When it went on sale again on February 8th I added some to my cart but was distracted at work and didn’t complete the order. AND IT SOLD OUT THAT DAY. NOOOOOO! I have dry skin and have a tendency to not drink enough during the day. This bar soothes my dry skin without having to slather oil or lotion all over before bed. The smell is gentle and the lather is great. Soon it will be gone for the summer so I’m stocking up now.

-customer

Winter isn’t the only season that brings dry skin, skin suffers under intense heat as well which is why we put lanolin in our Summer Skin Saver Bar too!

When Can I Get The Winter Skin Saver Bar?

This bar is currently not in stock, but you’ll have one more chance to snatch one up at the end of January. In the meantime, you can still try a sample!

Can you use this natural soap bar on your hair?

It is called the Winter Skin Saver Bar, but could it be used on hair? According to an article written for Naturally Curly, Lanolin is a powerful humectant, which could potentially be helpful if used on extremely dry or curly hair. However, because it is so powerful, there is a big chance that using lanolin oil or this bar on your hair would result in an overly waxy finish, making your hair appear stringy or greasy. I did not find any reviews of this bar that mentioned using it as a hair product. 

So guess what.

I decided to go ahead and try it myself.

I used the Winter Skin Saver Bar as shampoo and followed with an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse (I would say this is a must if you plan on using this bar in your hair)

You can see my results on the right! My hair was about halfway dry. Because I have curly hair, I usually dry with a cotton t-shirt and add gel to minimize frizz, however, I wanted to see how the Winter Skin Saver bar interacted with my hair on its most natural level, so for this test I did not use any additional styling products or hacks. As you can see, I do have a bit of “fluffiness” within the curls, but my hair is soft and shiny and my ringlets were not weighed down. I would not use this bar for every wash, but it seems promising as a deep condition for dry hair. I am very curious to know if anyone else has tried this bar in their hair and if it worked for them???

Much Love,

Nora


Wary Welcoming: A Reflection on The Past Year

I’ve been thinking long and hard about how to properly reflect on the past year, and how to prepare myself for the year to come. Every once in a while I like to write about life’s journey because it gives me a chance to slow down and connect with everyone who reads the AVNS blog.

I am thankful for beautiful sunsets.

I think the entire world must have let out a sigh of relief on New Year’s Eve as it felt the immense tension accumulated over the course of this infamous year finally giving way to the anticipation of a new start, but did anyone else have doubts that 2021 is truly the cure we’ve been waiting for?

I’ve seen the New Year’s Eve Instagram posts of my friends, their captions roughly shove 2020 out the door, personifying it as though it was an unpleasant houseguest who overstayed its welcome. While I admire and envy this bold and enthusiastic display of spirit, I’m a bit ashamed to admit I’m far too weary to join in and even more than that…I’m wary.

Wasn’t it just a year ago that we believed that 2020 would be our banner year? If 2020 let us down, who is to say 2021 will be any better?

Yikes, what a debbie downer, right? I’m kind of bumming myself out with all the cynicism, but bear with me and I think we can reach a brighter outlook.

I value storytelling because it allows people from all different backgrounds to find common ground amongst many differences. The experience I’d like to share with you is a Christian experience, and before you stop reading because you feel you may not be able to relate, I’d also like to emphasize that this experience is also wholly human and worth reading if you relate to attempting to navigate a world that contains both unbearable loss and overwhelming joy. 

During a New Year’s Eve church service I attended (virtually) the speaker had asked the congregation to consider a perfect gift God had given them over the course of the 2020 year. As I thought about all the beautiful things I was grateful for (including my boyfriend of five years who was sitting next to me at the time) I realized I could not think of all the perfect things God had given me without also thinking about all the perfect things God had taken away. 

This thought unsettled me, not just because of its bitter nature, but because of how inaccurate my understanding of God was in this moment. I gently reminded myself that God does not purposefully take things away from us and that loss and chaos are side effects of living in a broken world, but the entire incident had shaken me and I spent a great deal of time in thoughtful contemplation trying to reconcile my strange anger with my love for God. 

I am thankful for snuggly puppies.

As I write this blog, I reflect on 2020. I celebrate the fact that this blog marks a full year of writing weekly blogs for this beautiful company under the undeniably kind, creative, and giving guidance of Marianne. I mourn the fact that there are people who read this blog or love AVNS products who have lost loved ones this year due to COVID-19 and other causes. I think about all my friends who got engaged, planned their weddings, and started their lives while I moved back home with my parents. I think about how so many of those weddings were postponed or felt incomplete because of COVID while I rejoiced over reconnecting with my family after four years of being away at college. 

What I understood from that moment during the service and what I understand now as I write is this: humankind relies too often on rhyme and reason. If there is anything we can agree on after this year it is how little the world actually adheres to a model of rhyme and reason.

As I said to my boyfriend after the service, “I think my greatest struggle as a human being is forgetting that there is a bigger picture and also my inability to fully reconcile myself with the idea that there is no way for me to know or understand exactly how that bigger picture works.” I continue to practice recognizing the gifts in live while simultaneously working through the difficulties.

That strange anger I felt, that instant need to blame God for the earthly occasions that caused me grief was my own humanity getting in the way of my love for God. My earthly compulsion to apply rhyme and reason to a world plan that defied earthly limitations set me up for heart ache and exhaustion. So what do I do to avoid feeling this way this year?

If you are weary.

If you are wary.

Consider this: 2021 is a new houseguest. Not an old friend, but a complete stranger. Instead of trying to control this year, let it pull up a chair and introduce itself. Don’t worry too much about how the house looks, or making some elaborate dinner. Simply focus on the basics. Be kind and be hospitable to others, and yourself. Welcome, 2021.

Much Love,

Nora


3 DIY Tea Bath ideas

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Look out bubble baths, these three DIY tea bath ideas are looking like huge game changers. Why try a tea bath or tea soak? Because teas have so many amazing topical benefits from detoxifying to skin-softening. I’m bringing you three different tea bath ideas each targeting a certain area of skincare that will prove for a relaxing and effective bath (plus if you get thirsty in the bathtub you’ve got the biggest cup of tea right there…just kidding…ew…

Chamomile Tea Facial With Honey

Chamomile is extremely gentle, making it the perfect tea for sensitive facial skin. Chamomile is known for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, making it useful as a natural remedy for acne. Brew a pot of Chamomile Tea and let it steep for 10-15 minutes. Why steep? Steeping allows the hot water to extract not only the flavor, but any nutrients still contained in the plant material. Stir in a tablespoon of raw honey. Why raw? Raw honey contains antibacterial properties which could help fight acne, Manuka honey is highly recommended as a high grade honey and you can read more about its benefits in Marianne’s blog on Glycolic Peels . Honey is also a humectant, meaning it draws in moisture without making your skin oily. We use honey in a few of our soaps for this exact reason! Once your tea is ready, soak a face cloth or small towel in the brew and then let it sit on your face for 5-10 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry. Your skin should feel soft and fresh! Check out this list of best chamomile teas for 2020 by Sleepopolis!

Green Tea Bath with Lavender

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Drinking green tea is known in the health community as a phenomenal health-promoting drink with countless benefits including weight loss, but did you know that a full body soak in a green tea bath is a phenomenal way to deeply rejuvenate your skin? Green tea contains catechins, a powerful antioxidant that promotes beautiful, youthful skin. You can either prepare a strong pot of green tea, or if you like taking shortcuts like me, just toss 5-6 bags of green tea right into a hot bath like one giant cup of tea. You can wait a while and take the tea bags out, or if you’re impatient like me you can just climb on in and steep with the bags (for a list of the best green tea brands check out this list by Delish) ! There are so many topical benefits when it comes to green tea including its performance as a natural anti-aging remedy to helping with skin conditions such as acne and rosacea. For more information on the topical benefits of green tea check out this extensive Healthline article that provided me with the info mentioned above! Adding a couple drops of Lavender essential oil will give this bath a relaxing aroma; earthy and herbal. As you detoxify, don’t forget to keep a cold glass of water next to you so you can stay hydrated! Why is this important? As your body sweats out waste and toxins you are helping it by replenishing it with a pure substance. To read more about the importance of drinking water check out this blog!

Black Tea Foot Soak with Epsom Salts

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Black Tea has many of the same benefits as green tea, including its ability to improve skin conditions (including those caused by bacteria). For a foot bath you’ll need a container that fits both feet (or at least one). Make sure you have enough water to cover those footsies and then turn that water into tea! Add about a cup of Epsom salts and let it dissolve into the water. You can soak your feet as long as you want to. This is the perfect soak for feet that have been on the move all day long and are sore, this soak is also great for stinky feet that need a little cleanse because Epsom salts are also antibacterial and anti-fungal

Any of these tea soaks can be full body baths if you want them to be, or, if you want the tea experience but not the hassle you can try our Green Tea and Nettles Bar or Masala Chai Shampoo Bar. Both are rich in scent and amazing ingredients for your skin/hair!

What’s your favorite kind of tea?

Much Love,

Nora


I Tried Drinking a Gallon of Water a Day

Should you drink a gallon of water a day? Can you drink a gallon of water every day? Does drinking a gallon of water a day improve your skin? Will drinking a gallon of water a day improve your health? Can you drink a gallon of water to lose weight? Well, I’ve been drinking water all week in order to find out.

Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day?

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I’m sure we’ve all heard “drink eight glasses of water a day.” But has anyone else ever struggled with the ambiguity of that phrase? What size glass are we talking about? Does it have to be water, or will any liquid count? And why 8? With so many variables to consider, I decided to settle on a more concrete goal: drink one gallon of water a day for a week. I was hoping it would get rid of acne and improve my skin complexion. What happened was not what I expected, but before I get into that adventure let’s see what the pros have to say about drinking water.

What The CDC Has to Say About Drinking Water

As a natural soap company, we know how much water matters. Water is what activates our beautiful bars of soap. Have you ever tried rubbing a dry bar of soap on dry skin? It just isn’t as much fun. We also know how important water is for the human body. 

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Benefits of Drinking Water According to the CDC:

  • Water helps regulate your body temperature.
  • Water “lubricates and cushions joints.”
  • Water “Protect(s) your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues.”
  • Water flushes out toxins and waste in the body.

Situations in Which Your Body Needs More Water According to the CDC:

  • When you are “in hot climates.”
  • When you are “more physically active.”
  • When you are “running a fever.”
  • When you are “having diarrhea or vomiting.”

What Mayo Clinic Has to say about Drinking Water

How Much Water Do We Need to Drink Daily?

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According to Mayo Clinic, our bodies are constantly losing water through typical bodily functions. It’s our job to make up for this loss with consistent water intake.

Mayo Clinic asks, “So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need?”

Their answer comes from The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which “determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 3.7 liters of fluid a day for men and 2.7 liters of fluids a day for women.” There are about 3.7 liters in a US gallon. 

Although your daily fluids aren’t all depending on how much water you chug, “These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20% of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.”

What Kind of Fluids are Best for Your Body?

I was surprised to learn that a considerable amount of fluid intake can actually come from the vegetables and fruits that you eat (it’s called “water”melon for a reason). When it comes to beverages specifically, the CDC recommends low calorie beverages like plain tea or sparkling water or drinks with calories and important nutrients like milk or vegetable juice. 

The CDC cautions that sugary drinks, alcoholic drinks, caffeinated drinks and sports drinks should be consumed in moderation and are not substitutes for water.

What kind of Water is Best for Your Body?

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When it comes to shampoo bars, soft water is the only way to go. But for drinking water, it is generally agreed that type matters less than quantity. So cheers to spring, mineral, purified and pH balanced!

Drinking a Gallon of Water a Day For a Week

I thought this experiment would look a lot like my Power Posing Challenge (check out my blog here if you’re curious). I thought I’d drink my gallon, assess my results, and jot them down in a daily journal. This was not what happened.

A lot of Youtubers have tried the Gallon of Water a Day Challenge. You are welcome to watch them here. However, if you want to hear it straight from the mouth of the average person who doesn’t always find time to exercise and enjoys the occasional midnight potato-chip snack then keep reading because my account is nothing but honest.

I struggled through this challenge, and so instead of keeping a daily journal I have compiled my research into two categories: dilemmas, and what I learned.

Dilemma

I actually started trying to drink a gallon of water a day three weeks ago. I knew I needed a week to conduct my experiment, but when I failed to empty my gallon for the first three days of the challenge I actually re-evaluated my process. I decided to spend one week practicing and building up my water drinking stamina, and then pushed this blog back an extra week to fit in an additional Christmas-related blog I felt was much needed for the holidays. So I’ve actually been doing this challenge for three weeks now.

What I learned

Because this challenge ended up running much longer than I originally intended, drinking a gallon of water a day has actually become a habit…and one I don’t plan on breaking! I’ve never been the water bottle carrying type, but I take my gallon with me everywhere (yes, I affectionately refer to it as “my gallon”). Having water on hand at all times is extremely handy. I am much more intentional about my water drinking because my gallon is a visual reminder. Some people love water, some people don’t. If I didn’t remind myself to drink water I probably wouldn’t drink any…so the fact that my gallon reminds me is extremely helpful.

Dilemma

I realized that in order to drink that much water I’d have to be drinking constantly throughout the day which meant I’d have to bring my gallon with me everywhere. I thought this would be inconvenient and embarrassing.

What I learned

My gallon became a fantastic topic of conversation. Not only did my gallon inspire conversations about health, it also brought smiles to people’s faces because…yes…I did look pretty goofy carrying around that giant gallon. I think in a weird way my gallon taught me not to care too much about what other people thought of me. If you’re doing something that positively benefits you, you should do it with pride.

Dilemma

Okay, here’s the big one. I have yet to empty an entire gallon in a single, 24 hour day.

What I learned

While this dilemma might seem like enough to render my experiment a total failure, it actually stretched me as a person and taught me a lot about how my body functions. Now that I measure my water intake by referencing my gallon, I usually drink half a gallon at night, and half a gallon from morning to afternoon. This might be confusing, but because I was refilling my gallon every morning it made it seem as though I was only drinking half a gallon every day. I felt really down about this for a while until I adjusted my concept of time and realized I was technically drinking a gallon over a 24 hour time period. This blew my mind. The fact that my body let me know when it was thirsty and that it seemed to have specific times during which it needed water also fascinated me. At the beginning of this experiment I was under the impression that I knew what was best for my body, what I learned is that I needed to listen to what my body said was best for me!

In Conclusion: I Drank a Gallon Of Water a Day Challenge

I tried this challenge in the first place because I was really hoping it would improve the quality of my skin. Do I feel like it worked? I personally feel as though my skin has been clearer and brighter, especially as I hit week four of drinking a gallon a day. In the past week I have had no new acne. I also feel as though my hormonal acne has been more manageable and that my skin is able to heal faster when acne does occur. If I could, I would run an extended version of this experiment by keeping a daily log of my skin over the course of three months. I would keep track of water intake, nutritional intake, weight and skin condition. Then I would repeat this challenge and keep track of any differences I noticed. Sounds like a project for the new year!

Much Love,

Nora


Do Your Christmas Shopping In One Day

Say it with me. Holidays can be hectic. 

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With all the planning and all the prepping you probably feel like your head is minutes from exploding (cue festive silver tinsel bursting out of my ears) which is why I’ve been focusing my blogs for the past several weeks less on the science of beauty and healthcare and more on little ways to make this busy season just an itty bitty less stressful. I promise we’ll get back to the DIY Beer Hair Rinses, The Benefit of Tea Soaks, and all the other fun ideas I can’t wait to explore.

But not this week. This week I want you to take a moment to relax, enjoy some amazing soap, and get your Christmas shopping done with time to spare. Which is why I’m about to leak my Super Top Secret Christmas List for Friends and Family 2020. I hope you’ve got a pencil and paper.

Easy Christmas Shopping: does it exist?

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It’s the night before all the big festivities, you should be home baking cookies, reading your favorite Christmas stories, and decorating the tree, but you’re not. Instead you’re racing through your local mall, getting sucked into overpriced boutique stores and paying waaaaaay too much for a set of wooden serving utensils your sister-in-law probably already has. Does your brother actually want his own popcorn popper set with 20 gourmet seasonings? Probably not…but oh well. Next year you’ll plan ahead…right?

This scenario is what many would identify as Last Minute Christmas Shopping, and I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has experienced it. 

But this year I put my foot down. No Last Minute Christmas Shopping for me…and guess what…all my gifts are already wrapped and under the tree…and I’m about to tell you how.

SPOILER ALERT

If you are reading this blog and think you might be related and or receiving a gift from me, you probably want to go read a different blog instead…unless you hate surprises in which case…I warned you.

Do Your Christmas Shopping in One Day

Without leaving the comfort of your bed. This year I handpicked a beautiful bar of Apple Valley Natural Soap for almost every friend and family member of mine. Apple Valley Natural Soap made this process incredibly easy because

  1. AVNS has a huge selection of not only soaps, but other high end beauty products as well making it easy to find not just something but the perfect something for everyone.
  2. Has an awesome deal that gets you a free bar of soap with every seven bars purchased (limited edition or already discounted bars do not apply).
  3. Has a Rewards Program that earns you points towards more free products.
  4. Allows you to support a small business while not sacrificing variety or quality.
  5. Ships quickly or makes free pick-up a breeze.

Find The Perfect Gift For Everyone

We’ve already established that our Christmas Soaps make the perfect hostess gifts, but what about all the other amazing people in your life?

Of course, I understand that one bar of soap might not cut it for that extra special someone in your life…but four might…or how about an entire box of skin care and hair care products, customized and pre-packaged in a beautiful Christmas box? You could even let the soap be the stocking stuffer that inspired the gift waiting under the tree!

One note: I listed as many relationships as I could think of for this blog, but there are tons of very important, unique relationships I probably didn’t cover as well. I understand this and I honor those relationships, which is why I want you to look at this list as an inspiration rather than something set in concrete. If you’re facing the holiday season without a mom, think about mother-figures instead. Have a biological dad and a step-dad but don’t differentiate? Awesome, me too! Christmas is the time to celebrate family of all kinds. The first Christmas started with the unlikeliest, most unique of families. A mother gave birth to the son of God and the entire world changed forever, a truly beautiful reason to celebrate.

The Perfect Gift For Your Mom

She’s sacrificed so much for you, so give something back this year.

It’s why I’m parting with one of the Black Licorice Hand Foot and Body Bars I stocked up on back in October. My mom loves black licorice as much as I do and I can’t wait to see the look on her face when she receives her own full sized bar. I went the extra mile for her and paired the bar with a bottle of Organic Jojoba customized to smell just like the Black Licorice bar!

The Perfect Gift For Your Dad(s)

He’s supported you, so show him how excited you are to support him.

or

Get him something that means something to you

One of my dads grows an awesome beard during hunting season, and this year I was so excited about our new Natural Beard Shampoo Bar that I actually gave him his gift early!

p.s. He loves it!

I got my other dad the Honey Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar because it is one of my favorite bars (and a TOP FIVE FAVORITE) and I want to share it with him!

The Perfect Gift For Your Brother

Find something he’ll love regardless of whether he enjoys getting his hands dirty or prefers keeping them clean.

My brother is an avid outdoorsman, so I got him the Wild North Shampoo Bar… a bar that will bring the subtle scents of the outdoors…in. Sometimes brothers can also be a bit forgetful, so I’m pairing his soap with a mat so his bar doesn’t accidentally glom to the rim of the tub.

The Perfect Gift For Your Sister

For all the times she was sweet to you…or maybe to make up for the times you weren’t so sweet with her.

I don’t have a sister, but if I did I would make sure she had a bar of our Wheat and Honey Almond Shampoo Bar or Chamomile and Orange Blossom Shampoo Bar. These bars are perfect for pairing with a sweet treat like Baking Betty’s Cookies! They make tons of unique and delicious cookies, are located in the Mall of America, and have a very similar, God-centered mission to AVNS!

The Perfect Gift For Your Aunt

Why do you look up to your aunt? Her Style? Authenticity? Work Ethic? Get her a bar that tells her what you appreciate most about her!

I have three aunts.

A Trendy Pumpkin Spice Bar for my trendy aunt.

An Unscented Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Bean Facial Bar for my down-to-earth aunt with sensitive skin (runs in the family)

The Sweet Rosehips Body Polish for my aunt so she can let those sweet, exfoliating sugar crystals do all the hard work for her!

The Perfect Gift For Your Uncle

This one is tricky. How do you pick a gift for a man with refined tastes who probably already has everything he needs? An equally refined bar of soap.

I got the Cowboy Shampoo Bar with my uncle in mind and as soon as I smelled it I knew I made the perfect choice. My uncle has a knack for coordination and a practicality that makes him an amazing chef and fantastic interior designer so I got him a bar with a unique and masculine scent profile I know he’ll appreciate. 

The Perfect Gift For Your Niece

I don’t have a niece yet, but I imagine she looks up to you just like I look up to my aunts and uncle, so get her something that makes her feel like she’s following in your footsteps!

I have a little cousin who is more of a little sister to me and she already tried a lot of AVNS products during my summer photoshoot blog…so I’m making her another gift instead, but pairing it with my all time favorite: Vanilla Latte Lip Balm.

The Perfect Gift For Your Nephew

I don’t have a nephew, but getting something you know he’ll use is always a safe bet.

Our Lotion Bar packs as a solid and is perfect for the nephew who loves to travel.

or

If he’s an athlete, our Extra Strength Balm is a hemp oil product that can be used by serious athletes to help relieve muscle aches and pains.

The Perfect Gift For Your In-Laws

Show them how much you care

Yes, it may mean letting go of another Black Licorice Hand Foot and Body Bar, but you know they’ll love it and that makes it so worth it.

The Perfect Gift For Your Grandfather

Give them something practical that shows them their hard work does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. 

All of my grandfathers are shining examples of what it means to be a hard worker. My grandpas are always on the move. Whether it’s mowing the lawn, doing handiwork around the house, or plowing snow, they show their love through practical acts of service. So I got them bars they could get on board with: the multipurpose Man 2.0 Body, Shampoo and Shaving Bar and our Rugged Shaving Soap, a shaving soap to protect against the elements when my Papa is out and about!

The Perfect Gift For Your Grandmother

Spoil her as much as she’s spoiled you. 

Both of my grandmothers exude tranquility and gentleness, so I looked for bars that would fit their vibes. One grandma is a beauty guru and I can’t wait for her to try her Antioxidant Beauty Facial Bar, full of pampering ingredients. My other grandma enjoys the soothing scent of lavender, so I got her the Oatmeal Lavender Body Bar made with oats to calm and soothe her skin.

The Perfect Gift Spouse/Partner

Nothing says I love you like a gift that shows them how well you know them.

Sigh, there goes another Black Licorice Hand Foot and Body Bar. I made the mistake of letting my boyfriend wash his hands with my coveted bar and ever since he’s been hinting about getting one of his own for Christmas.

The Perfect Gift For Your Co-workers

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Give them something unique to mix it up this year.

Don’t get me wrong, you can never go wrong with leaving a box of adorable cupcakes in the office with a little note saying “help yourself and happy holidays!” But how would you like to stand out this holiday season? I did. So I bought the Shampoo Bar Sampler Pack and put each sample in a plastic reindeer baggy with a little label and I am so excited for my coworkers to try them!

I hope your Christmas shopping just got a little easier!

Much Love,

Nora


The Inside Scoop On Our Christmas Soaps

Blast the Christmas music, put up the tree, December is here! Most of our Christmas soaps are still in stock, but they won’t be for long. These decorative bars are generously scented and make the perfect hostess gift, but that isn’t where the benefits end! Today we’ll be looking at the ingredient lists of our Christmas soaps so we can unpack all the amazing benefits these bars were designed to include. I’ll also be giving my personal thoughts on some of the bars, we’ll look at what customers have to say, and we’ll even hear from Marianne herself!

Our Christmas Soaps: a welcoming of the season

“I love Christmas, everything about it! And when it comes to our Christmas soaps, I LOVE each and every one of them as they all contain an essence of Christmas spirit. From the warmth of a cozy fire decorated with fresh evergreens, to a walk in a snow covered forest and minty candy canes, they transport the senses.”

-Marianne

Beneficial Ingredients in Our Christmas Soap Bars

Each of our Christmas soaps has a unique recipe and scent profile, but these benefits are so fantastic that we had to include them in every bar!

  • Lots of Olive oil which is packed with anti-aging antioxidants and hydrating squalene, making it superb for hair, skin, and nails.
  • Coconut oil which is a super-oil full of naturally present antioxidants, it is an excellent anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. 
  • Shea butter strengthens your skin by stimulating the production of collagen, it helps make your skin more supple, more alive, nourished and radiant.

Natural Body Bars

Chocolate Orange Body Bar

Description

Loads of organic cocoa butter (almost 50%!) give this bar its dreamy, creamy feel on the skin and its rich, chocolatey scent. Sweet orange essential oil adds that luscious twist of heaven. Don’t miss this special edition bar.

Special Ingredient

Cocoa Butter is readily absorbed by your skin for superb moisturizing, as well as a great antioxidant to protect the health and youthful appearance of skin.

My First Impression

What I love most about this bar is the scent journey it takes me on. The first time I smelled the Chocolate Orange bar I expected to smell both the chocolate and orange at the same time, but I actually smelled them in order. First the warm cocoa-y scent filled the entire space and then a zesty orange scent snuck up from behind as a fun surprise. Did anyone else have this experience? Or was it just me???

Customers Say

“I love this soap! The lather is rich and creamy, smells yummy and love how my skin feels. The vanilla-tangerine-body-butter follows nicely with tangerine scent too.”

“I like the Chocolate Orange Body Bar. Great smell & it kind of reminds me of Tootsie-pops!”

Peppermint Body Bar (Out of Stock for 2020)

Description

Crisp, cool, candy mint. The perfect wake-me-upper on an early dark winter morning!

Like our other seasonal Body bars, this bar was created to be super moisturizing due to a higher fat content that has not been saponified. Body bars are especially great for dry skin, and here in the north we’ll take all the help we can get during the winter months!

This bar is currently out of stock for the season, but if you’re looking for your fix of peppermint try these!

Special ingredients

Peppermint Essential Oil provides a cooling sense of relief on skin

Natural Australian Red Reef Clay creates the creamy swirls of soap in festive ribbons. Australian Red Clay is wonderful for all skin types it has a gentle absorbent action that hydrates and restores vitality to the skin.

My First Impression

this bar is pure peppermint, absolutely delicious. A huge crowd pleaser, I had about five people smell this bar and they all loved it immediately. You can’t go wrong with this bar.

Customers Say

“I love peppermint and this smells wonderful!”

Merry Mistletoe Body Bar (Out of Stock for 2020)

Description

The delicious chill of soft swirling snow, the comforting scent of evergreen and warm cider, and the happy jingle of bells in the distance. That’s what this bar conjures up. Pamper your senses this Christmas season with our Merry Mistletoe body bar.

Special Ingredient

Chlorella is a type of algae found in freshwater. It’s a superfood for your skin and is known for improving skin tone skin health.

My First Impression

Where the peppermint bar is more minty, this bar has a gentler crispness because of the essential oils of fir needle and scotch pine. 

Customers Say

“The oil of fir tree makes this soap smell just like Christmas. Love it!”

“I enjoy giving this particular bar of soap as a gift. I tuck one in w/a gift card for my hair stylist, I add one to my hostess gifts, and always save one for myself.”

Three Kings Body Bar

Description

Our beautifully swirled Three Kings bar has a regal, sophisticated, warm scent.

“I love the scent profile and meaning behind our Three Kings Body bar. The beautiful swirling within the bar and sprinkling of gold mica on top compliments the regal, sophisticated warmth of the soap itself. The name and fragrance of the bar were inspired by the Wise Men who traveled to see the new born king that first Christmas night. Following the star in the sky which was given as a sign, the Kings presented Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Our Three Kings Body bar is one way we point to the Christmas message of hope, joy & peace.”

-Marianne

Special Ingredient

Frankincense Essential Oils are said to contain properties that help reduce joint inflammation (Healthline).

Customers Say

“The fragrance of this soap is like nothing I have ever experienced. The frankincense, sweet orange, and cedarwood make me feel fresh and pampered!”

Shampoo Bars

While I long for the day AVNS makes a black licorice shampoo bar, I love that our limited edition christmas soaps include not one but two shampoo bars!

Winter Wonderland Shampoo Bar

Description

Enjoy wandering through a snow covered forest of evergreens, while capturing the warmth of the season with aromatic sweet orange, a whisper of cozy cinnamon and a dusting of nutmeg. As this nourishing shampoo bar has an amazing scent profile along with wonderful moisturizing properties for both skin and hair, this bar may just become one of your favorites, it’s definitely Marianne’s!

“My favorite Christmas bar, if I had to choose, is the Winter Wonderland Shampoo & Body bar, not only because it’s a nourishing shampoo bar with a thick sudsy lather, but because the scent profile transports me into my Christmas happy place. It captures the warmth of the Christmas with the subtle fragrance of evergreens along with sweet orange, cinnamon and nutmeg, I think we need to make a candle from this essential oil blend!!!”

-Marianne

Special Ingredient

Sweet Almond oil not only helps soften rough or dry skin, it also helps eradicate irritation, inflammation, skin rashes and effectively delays aging.

Customers Say

“I love it! Even came back and bought 3 more for gifts.”

Christmas Spice Shampoo Bar

Description

Relax into the aroma of Christmas, with warm spice notes from classic cedarwood, cozy cinnamon and clove, infused with a touch of sweet orange and vanilla. This shampoo bar will nourish and moisturize both hair and body, as well as enrich your bathing experience with warm holiday scents.

Special Ingredient

Wheat Germ is excellent for hair because it works by creating a type of protective barrier around the hair shaft. It holds in moisture and protein all while also protecting the hair from heat damage and UV rays.

Customers Say

“So LOVE this smell, and it’s the first shampoo bar I’ve tried. I love the extra lather!”

Which Bar Will You Choose?

No matter which bar you pick, you’re sure to benefit! There’s no better way to get into the spirit of Christmas than through the fantastic smells that remind us of this time of year’s seasonal cheer. Now I’m off to make some hot cocoa, but I’ll leave you with this cute little holiday joke before I go!

One night a Viking named Rudolph the Red was looking out the window when he said, “It’s going to rain.”

His wife asked, “How do you know?”

“Because Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear.”

by Jorgen R., Prunedale, Calif.

Much Love,

Nora


What You Need To Know About Burning Candles

Get out your lighters, folks, it’s candle burning season! I’m often in awe of the fact that a tiny flame and a bit of wax can envelope your whole house in the delightful aroma of baked goods or crisp pine…but did you know that the type of candle you burn matters? That’s right. Today’s blog is an important read, one that could change the way you light candles forever.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The Burning Question: are candles toxic?

People have always debated over the possible impact burning candles can have on your health. Some say burning candles can release harmful toxins into the air while others argue that the amount of toxins released through candle fumes are too minimal to do any real damage. So what’s the truth? 

Candle Wicks Matter

Lead in Candle Wicks

According to Healthline’s article on candle burning, we don’t need to be concerned about lead in our candle wicks unless our candles are manufactured outside of the United States. The article claims, “In 2003, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted to ban the sale and manufacture of candles with lead wicks. They also banned the import of lead-containing candles from other countries.”

Although the import of candles containing lead from other countries was banned, I would be careful when making any online purchases from companies whose credentials are questionable. This includes buying candles off of sites like Wish or even Amazon, where items are cheap, but quality is questionable. If a company is already trying to scam you into buying low quality products, they probably aren’t above bending other rules…ones that could potentially jeopardize your safety. 

Cotton Candle Wicks

Our soy and beeswax candles have cotton wicks, which is the wick with the lowest risk of emitting toxins since cotton is a natural material. The soy candles have a traditional cotton wick, while the beeswax candles have a cotton ribbon wick which is a beautiful unique design, giving a wider flame with excellent scent throw.

Fragrance in Candles

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Story time: once upon a time I came home with a name-brand candle and lit it right away because it was one of my favorite scents. That very night my younger brother just happened to have a case of extremely bloodshot eyes. What did my mother do? She instantly blamed my candle, blew it out and said, “These name brand candles smell good because they’re made to deodorize by covering up other smells, but that also means they’re loaded with toxins and allergens from paraffin wax and all the harsh chemical fragrances used.” This is the woman who told me peppermint essential oil could get rid of spiders, was she right about this too?

Well, she wasn’t right about my candle being the cause…turns out my brother had been using a popular mass-produced soap bar to wash his face and those harsh cleaning chemicals were doing the damage (obviously I need to introduce him to AVNS facial bars) but she still had a point…burning a candle made with fragrance that contains phthalates is not a great idea, no matter how good it smells.

What are Phthalates?

“Phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates) are a common class of chemicals used in consumer products. They’re used as a plasticizer to make plastic more flexible in products like toys, vinyl flooring, wall covering, vinyl mattress covers, shower curtains, and plastic food packaging. They’re used as solvents or dissolving agents in things like detergents and lubricating oils.”

-madesafe.org

Phthalates are also used as a scent carrier to make a scent last longer and are found in many beauty products. Unfortunately, when these chemicals come in contact with our bodies they can do damage to our internal organs. For this reason, all of our fragrance is phthalate-free.

What Are Types of Candle Wax and How Safe are They?

Paraffin Wax

Paraffin wax (or petroleum wax) is a soft colorless solid derived from petroleum, coal or shale oil that consists of a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules containing between twenty and forty carbon atoms.”

-Wikipedia

Paraffin Candles vs. Soy Candles

According to the same Healthline article, while there is little to no evidence that burning paraffin wax releases large enough amounts of chemicals to pose a threat to human health, it is true that soy candles produce less soot and fewer chemicals making them a great alternative and just an awesome choice in general.

Is Smoke From Candles Harmful?

Photo by Mitchell Henderson on Pexels.com

According to another Healthline article on the risks of smoke inhalation, “Inhaling harmful smoke can inflame your lungs and airway, causing them to swell and block oxygen. This can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome and respiratory failure.” Of course, inhaling a little smoke may not have this effect, but limiting how much smoke you inhale is always a good idea even when it comes to candles.

Fun fact: The European Candle Association recommends using a candle snugger or dipping the wick in wax to extinguish a candle instead of blowing it out. They also say you should ventilate a room in which you have extinguished a candle for 10-15 minutes afterwards.

Are Natural Candles Better?

Ditch Paraffin forever because there are two fantastic alternatives to consider!

Soy Candles

Yes! I already talked a bit about the benefits of soy candles as opposed to paraffin. Soy candles are a great cost effective option for a clean burning candle which emits no toxins, carcinogens or pollutants, making it less likely to trigger allergies. Soy wax is water soluble which makes spills an easy clean-up with soap & water. We use only Non-GMO soy wax in our soy candles to ensure they are as safe as possible!

Beeswax Candles

Did you know that beeswax candles are actually a natural air-purifier? Beeswax is a fuel which produces negative ions when burned. These negative ions negate the positive charge of air contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, and allergens like dust and pollen, and the neutralized ions are sucked back into the burning candle or fall to the ground where they can be swept or vacuumed. 

Our Soy and Beeswax candles are my-mom approved because they are safely scented with essential oils and phthalate free fragrances, and won’t make your younger brother’s eyes red…plus they smell amazing and burn slower and longer!

Much Love,

Nora


Men and Women: Get Involved With No Shave November!

What is No Shave November?

Photo by Yogendra Singh on Pexels.com

For those who aren’t familiar with the origin of No Shave November, it’s just a month of the year dedicated to men growing their beards. However, No Shave November is more than just a month-long beard-growing fest, it’s actually an awesome movement designed to draw attention to and raise money for cancer-related causes. Getting involved is super simple, you don’t even have to have a beard, you just have to read this blog!

Meaning Behind No Shave November

Because cancer patients often experience hair loss during cancer treatments, No Shave November is about growing awareness by embracing hairiness and then donating money that would’ve been spent on hair removal/grooming to cancer-fighting efforts.

Rules of No Shave November

Straight from the official No Shave November website, “The rules of No-Shave November are simple: put down your razor for 30 days and donate your monthly hair-maintenance expenses to the cause.”

Who Can Participate in No Shave November?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

No Shave November was originally started to raise awareness for men’s health. Despite their logo of a mustache and beard, the official NSN website does not specify who can and can’t participate, but encourages participation at any and all levels (so let’s get to it, ladies!) While most women may not have bushy beards to maintain, the cost of hair removal methods for legs and eyebrows adds up.

How Much Could I Save During No Shave November?

  • Razors (cost $1-$14 for a four pack, and I’m sure they can be even more expensive depending on the quality)
  • Shaving Cream (cost $1-$60)
  • Waxing Services (costs $10-$500)
  • Hair Removal Cream (costs $5-$50)
  • Tweezers (costs $1-$30)
  • Haircuts/Dying/Treatments (costs $10-the most expensive haircut ever cost over $16,000!)
  • Laser Hair Removal (costs $50-$300)

Using Safe Products During the Rest of the Year

So what happens after No Shave November? While you might prefer your new long-hair-everywhere-don’t-care lifestyle, many people will happily go back to shaving. You can never be too careful when it comes to cancer prevention and the products you use in your daily grooming matter more than you think. Just a few days ago I listened to yet another radio announcement warning against the use of a once trusted beauty brand and offering potential compensation to those whose cancer may have been related to use of that product. Going natural with your products will help reduce the risks of this ever happening to you. 

AVNS Wants You to Be Safe

Our entire men’s line, including shaving soaps, and moisturizers will all be on sale during Black Friday. We want you to have safe, affordable options when you start shaving again. 

Shea Butter Skin Therapy

New to our collection of butters, experience Intense nutrition for skin with Shea Butter Skin Therapy, this butter is a super food for your skin! Organic, unrefined African shea butter is intensely moisturizing and can not only help relieve dry itchy skin, but can help eliminate greasy scalp and hair issues, as well as balance oil production which makes it also great for oily complexions. We have chosen to use only USDA CERTIFIED Organic Raw Unrefined African Shea butter, this pure and natural organic shea butter packaged in violet glass is the only way to go in order to reap all the benefits. 


What makes Organic Shea Butter so good for the skin? It has a high content of fatty acids which gives it the ability to deeply moisturize and retain the elasticity of the skin, it is also a great ingredient for those with inflammatory skin conditions, like eczema and dermatitis. Unrefined Shea Butter is loaded with natural vitamins A, E, natural antioxidants and fatty acids for maximum natural moisturizing power, it is an amazing body healer. Try it to help treating skin conditions such as dry skin, eczema, rashes, stretch marks, and burns. It may also help lessen the irritation of psoriasis and eczema, help diminish wrinkles, clear blemishes, and heal wounds, scars & skin discolorations. 

Classic and Rugged Shaving Soaps

These nourishing Shaving Soaps are handcrafted with natural and organic ingredients and are created to build a luxurious and satisfying lather during a traditional wet shave. 

The key to a good shaving soap is a high fat content so skin is protected during the shave, it will also nourish your skin so it doesn’t become dry and irritated. A good shaving soap is economically a great choice as it lasts a long time, and it is a wonderful option for your skin because it adds, not detracts, moisture. Ingredients such as olive oil, shea butter and avocado will do just that, nourish and protect skin during and after the shave. We’ve also added bentonite clay which brings slip to help the razor glide over the skin, and colloidal oats which help protect and soothe.

Beard Care

For those of you who want to keep rocking the beard, we have some unique beard care options to keep your beard looking its absolute best all year long.

Nourishing Beard Oil

Help prevent dry, itchy skin and enjoy a conditioned, healthy-looking beard!

Our Nourishing Beard Oil contains seven beneficial premium oils as well as four essential oils which target hair growth and conditioning, as well as beard and skin health.  Full of powerful antioxidants to help nourish your beard and facial skin, this oil may help relieve any irritation of new growth, soften and hydrate dry, brittle facial hair for more control, and rejuvenate facial skin.The unique blend of lipid rich, healing, astringent plant oils make this light weight and residue free oil great tool in tackling dandruff and flakey skin patches. Your facial hair will have just the right amount of control, while toned and moisturized facial skin is soft and clear. Nourishing Beard Oil is safe and effective for daily use and is best when applied after showering while hair is damp and soft. 

Natural Beard Shampoo & Body Bar

Made with premium natural and organic ingredients such as organic unrefined beeswax, organic unrefined raw shea butter & organic olive oil, our Natural Beard Shampoo will gently cleanse and condition for a healthy beard. Apple Valley Natural Soap’s Beard shampoo is a one stop beard care and body grooming solution, a 100% natural shampoo for beard hair, face & body. This shampoo will cleanse, soften & condition beard hair, soothe skin & help with healthy hair growth. Remove harsh synthetic chemicals, sulfates, fragrances & parabens from your cleansing routine and use our eco-friendly, biodegradable beard shampoo for all your cleansing needs. If you love the scent of our Rugged Men’s Shaving Soap, you’ll love this Beard Shampoo as well as our Beard Oil. Present but not overpowering, Apple Valley Natural Soap’s Natural Beard Shampoo has a light and fresh outdoors scent, a touch of citrus and a hint of woodsy spice.

Where Can I Donate for No Shave November?

The NSN organization partners with three cancer prevention programs

  1. Prevent Cancer Foundation

“The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is one of the nation’s leading voluntary health organizations and the only U.S. nonprofit organization focused solely on cancer prevention and early detection. Founded in 1985, it has catapulted cancer prevention to prominence and fulfills its mission through research, education, outreach and advocacy. The Foundation has played a pivotal role in developing a body of knowledge that is the basis for important prevention and early detection strategies. Its vision is to Stop Cancer Before It Starts!® For more information, please visit www.preventcancer.org.”

  1. Fight Colorectal Cancer

“Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) is a leading patient-empowerment and advocacy organization in the United States, providing balanced and objective information on colon and rectal cancer research, treatment, and policy. We are relentless champions of hope, focused on funding promising, high- impact research endeavors while equipping advocates to influence legislation and policy for the collective good. Learn more at fightcrc.org.”

  1. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. St. Jude is where doctors often send their toughest cases, because St. Jude has the world’s best survival rates for some of the most aggressive forms of childhood cancer. St. freely shares the breakthroughs we make, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.”

Because cancer is so common, it is likely you or a loved one has fought or is currently fighting the battle against cancer. If you are already affiliated with a Cancer Prevention Program that takes donations let us and other readers know in the comments. The AVNS community wants to support you!

Much Love,

Nora


5 DIY Ways to Relax During the Holiday Season

New Hemp Oil Products Just Released!

Our new Pain Relief Cooling Cream and Rebalance Facial Moisturizer are hot off the…I mean cool off the press and just in time to ease your stress. You can check these two products out and read all about the uses and benefits of CBD in this blog to help you decide if these products are exactly what you’ve been looking for!

Feeling Stressed this Year?

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Spending quality time with family, honoring important historical and religious events, participating in the season of giving, and eating delicious food are all reasons to look forward to the holidays in November and December. Unfortunately, the holiday season(s) is also a sad and stressful time for many. It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle, so this week I’m reminding you to take a step back when you feel overwhelmed: when the turkey isn’t done in time, when you remember those who are no longer with you, when your kids decide they’d rather kick and scream than participate in the annual family Christmas photo, and all those little stressors that build-up over time and make you want to lock yourself in the closet with all the christmas presents that still need to be wrapped…

Take a step back? When there’s so much to be done? Easier said than done, right? I totally understand. Which is why I’ve got 5 simple, natural relaxation ideas for you to pick from or, golly, why not try them all? Seriously. Aunt Ruth and Uncle Phil are arriving in two days and the guest-room is still a mess from being turned into a work-from-home office, not to mention the bake sale coming up…whoa, deep breath. You’ve got this.

1) Breathe

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(Like I just said, right?) It seems too simple to be so effective, but focused breathing is actually the first technique listed in an article published in Harvard Health Publishing on relaxation techniques. Deep, even breaths will help calm and regulate your body and mind. You want to take deep breaths that draw all the way into your stomach. If you place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach as you breathe you can feel where the breath is engaging. Movement should be in your stomach and not in your chest in order to provide the benefits breathing offers. To stay focused, you can use a visual to time your breath like this Youtube Video.

2) Exercise

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Exercise is awesome. Why? According to Mayo Clinic, “Physical activity may help bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.” Aerobic exercise such as biking, running, or continuous dancing is designed to increase your blood oxygen levels. When the amount of oxygen in your blood increases it makes you feel more alert and less groggy. Not super confident about your exercising skills? Don’t worry, a simple kitchen dance party is something the whole family can participate in and all you need to do is move your body around! *If you have a history of health concerns, exercise caution when exercising and know your limits.

3) Take a Warm Bath

Not only does a hot bath help loosen tight muscles, it also gets you some much needed alone time. We know how much a bathing experience can improve your quality of life, which is why Marianne builds AVNS around this concept each and every day.

“For me, Apple Valley Natural Soap is more than a business. It’s a mission. My goal is to glorify God through this business and help you find the joys of rejuvenating and nourishing your body naturally from head to toe. Through your sense of sight, touch and smell, hopefully you’ll be reminded that it’s the simple pleasures of life that make that life memorable.”

-Marianne

So get some amazingly festive-smelling candles, a good book or your favorite playlist, some Sweet Rosehips Body Polish, A bar of your favorite Christmas Soap (COMING SOON!) a few drops of your favorite essential oil, and reemerge from your steamy oasis feeling like the natural, relaxed beauty you are.

4) Repetitive Prayer or Journaling

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Sometimes the people in your life may not get it, but your God does. A quiet place and some time with God may be just what you need. Repeating a prayer or even a bible verse over and over again may be a comfort. If your head feels too full, you can also try journaling. Letting all your thoughts, worries and questions out can be extremely therapeutic and a helpful way to navigate confusing or emotional situations. You can write to God, or a loved one, or even your future self. Whatever puts you at ease.

5) Connection through Creating

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Aka…is anyone else a stress baker? The title of this technique is a bit vague, but that’s because everyone is unique! There is nothing more relaxing to me than whipping out that sack of flour in the dead of night and quietly measuring the correct amount of sugar as I frantically try to make as many chocolate chip cookies as I can before someone comes out and asks me what I’m doing or even worse…offers to help. If Batman works alone, I bake alone. I love the preciseness and repetition baking requires. I love the sensory progress of baking and the delicious outcome. Getting your hands dirty and immersing yourself in a project can be wildly satisfying. Whether you enjoy painting, carving, or coloring, let your creativeness flow and feel the stress flow out of your body too…scone anyone?

Keep An Eye Out For Amazing Deals

I hope one or all of these techniques are helpful to you as you try to navigate this holiday season. I can’t wait to take a nice long bubble bath after finishing this blog! Speaking of bubbles, AVNS has some awesome things in store for you this holiday season. Marianne has been hard at work prepping Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales, as well as a fantastic Thanksgiving give-away…not to mention the fact that our Christmas Soap release is RIGHT around the corner! During the next couple weeks you’ll want to stay updated through our blog, newsletter, and social media for amazing deals that will basically ensure that all your Christmas-gift shopping is a breeze.

Much Love,

Nora