Do Your Christmas Shopping In One Day

Say it with me. Holidays can be hectic. 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

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?

Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com

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?

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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


Your Fall Hair Care Routine Matters: Here’s Why

Dry Hair? Really Care?

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While you might be shocked to hear that a change in season means a change in your hair care routine, if you think about it, it makes sense. Dry skin is a notorious problem in the fall and winter months. Why? The low moisture levels of the air actually create a sort of vacuum capable of quickly sucking the moisture right from your skin. Same goes for your hair. In the fall, your hair is more prone to dryness, frizz, flatness, fragility because moisture in your hair evaporates (imagine trying to snap a dry spaghetti noodle versus a cooked spaghetti noodle). So if dry, cold fall weather is inevitable, is dry, flat hair also inevitable?

No!

By simply being cognizant about what hair care products you’re using, you can combat the hair-damaging effects of the fall and winter season. There are two main things your hair needs to thrive this fall and making these small adjustments in your hair care routine will help make all the difference. This blog includes everything you need to prep your hair for fall including product recommendations and DIY hair hacks!

Hydrate

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When we think about extreme hydration, usually our go-to is deep conditioning and hair masks. We’ll get to those in a second, but first we have to discuss the basics. 

Shampoo

We often think of our shampoo as the cleansing side of the shampoo and conditioner duo, but think of the benefits of a shampoo that not only cleanses, but also moisturizes. Shampoos with hydrating agents are going to give your hair the base level of protection it needs to survive the winter months. Oils and butters are a great ingredient to look for in shampoos because they will coat the strand and lock in the water absorbed during your shower or bath. I combed through our shampoo bars to find some bars with excellent hydrating properties to keep your hair silky and lushious all fall long!

Marshmallow Aloe Shampoo Bar

Marshmallow Herb: The marshmallow herb is incredibly moisturizing. To get the most benefit from the herb, we let it sit in oils for a while until we get a mucilage that makes a fabulous vitamin and mineral-rich detangler for curly hair, this is what goes into our soap. Marshmallow root also nourishes and rehydrates dry cells, making this a great bar for dry hair, scalp and skin.

Aloe: Aloe vera contains something called proteolytic enzymes which repairs dead skin cells on the scalp. It’s fabulous for skin because it’s rich in vitamin C, E and beta carotene which nourishes skin and scalp deeply. Also, due to its antifungal and antiviral properties, it prevents itching and reduces dandruff and flaking, it also has very potent anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce redness and inflammation. If that isn’t enough, it also acts as a great conditioner and leaves your hair all smooth and shiny, plus it promotes hair growth. 

Jojoba Silk Conditioning Shampoo Bar

This is an ultra conditioning shampoo bar for dry hair and scalp that also adds silk and shine to the hair shaft while taming the frizzies. Unrefined organic cocoa and shea nut butters make up the bulk of this formulation.  Add to that a generous amount of jojoba and you have—A MIRACLE! While this conditioner shampoo bar does not work as a detangler (even miracles have limitations), it does do an excellent job of conditioning and really helps reduce tangles and snarls, it is our version of a natural conditioner bar.  Plus the added silk peptides will make your hair amazingly soft, shiny, and silky.  It may feel a bit sticky while your hair is wet, but hang in there, because when it dries, that feeling disappears as the silk hardens on your hair shaft, protecting and strengthening it with silica and 18 different amino acids.  Use it on your body for the same silky-soft sensation. This Jojoba Silk Conditioning bar makes a great shampoo conditioner to use either by itself, or following another shampoo bar. Create as much conditioning lather as you feel is necessary to work through your hair, or just the ends, and rinse out. Made with certified organic ingredients.  

Deep Conditioning 

As a rule of thumb, people who deep condition do it about once a week. You don’t want to over moisturize your hair, but you do want to prep it for the week. Figure out what works best for your hair!

Argan Oil

I have used argan oil as a deep conditioner for my curly hair with jaw-dropping results…and you can too! Plus you can use it on your body and face.

Deep Condition with Argan Oil

Wet hair with hot water, massage a small amount into the scalp and down the shaft of the hair, wrap with a towel, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Wash hair as usual. Alternatively, apply to dry hair before going to bed at night. Wrap in a towel and wash in the morning for soft, silky locks. Argan oil helps with dandruff and other dry scalp symptoms.

DIY Deep Condition
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Because I hate how messy DIY deep conditioners can be, I will always recommend Argan Oil, but if your deep conditioning needs are urgent you can DIY a deep conditioning mask with household ingredients. Back when I straightened my hair I would mix extra virgin olive oil and honey, warm it in the microwave, apply it to clean wet hair, put a plastic cap over it and let it sit for an hour. When the hour was up I’d wash my hair with two rounds of shampoo to get all that oil out, then I’d dry and style my hair. It would be soooooo thick and shiny. Once I went to dance class after deep conditioning and all my friends were like, “What did you do to your hair???”

Be Gentle

It’s short, simple, and easy to do! Using a gentle touch with your hair can make just as big a difference as keeping it hydrated can. Give hair-pulling ponytails a break, cut down on heat styling when you can. Most importantly, pick gentle products. This is where natural hair care shines. Our shampoo bars are perfect for fall because they don’t strip your hair like harsh mass-produced shampoos, but enforce your strand with hydrating ingredients! Not only are they gentle on hair, our delicious, and naturally scented soap is gentle on skin and effective against germs!

If you found this blog helpful, follow it! You’ll get weekly updates on products, the inside scoop on ingredients we use, tips and tricks for looking and feeling your best, and hopefully a little chuckle here and there!

Much Love,

Nora


Info and Ideas for a Safe and Eco-Friendly Halloween!

Should I hand out candy this year on Halloween? Should I take my kids Trick Or Treating during the pandemic? What are my options for safely handing out candy? And what am I going to do for a Halloween costume???

If you’ve had any of these questions in the past few weeks you probably aren’t alone. This week I’ve pulled together some sources and ideas that will hopefully help answer your questions about how to celebrate Halloween during the pandemic, solve your dilemmas, and give you a little costume inspiration!

Should I Let My Kids Trick Or Treat This Year?

Rudri Patel’s article in The Washington Post is a fantastic place to start if you’re still trying to decide whether or not to take your kids Trick or Treating during the pandemic. The article discusses factors to consider such as the current activity of the virus in your community and household health risks. It also shares ideas for safety precautions and alternative Halloween activities that are pandemic friendly. 

Safe Trick Or Treating During the Pandemic

The CDC has also released a detailed page on Trick Or Treating Guidelines for this Halloween. Much of their advice focuses on things that are second nature to us now (social distancing, hand-washing, mask-wearing) but it was still helpful to have those steps spelled out in a Trick or Treating context because they clarified a couple details that could easily be confusing. For example, they encouraged Trick Or Treaters to incorporate masks into their costumes, but cautioned that a costume mask was not the equivalent of a protective mask. 

Idea  #1 A Safe, Eco-Friendly Way to Hand Out Candy

I thought the 6ft candy slide mentioned in Patel’s post was pure genius, but if you aren’t blessed with a slide-like slope outside your house I came up with another alternative. I was inspired by my pets and in a moment you’ll know why. You can put out a box of plastic gloves, but if you use pet bags then people can reuse them for their pets at home!

How to Bag Your Candy

If you’re a dog parent, there’s a good chance you’re already a pro at this method. It’s the same strategy that many pet parents use to clean up after their pet’s…um…”daily doings.”

You basically slip your hand inside a bag and use it like a plastic mitten to grab a handful of candy. Once you’ve got the candy, just use your other hand to flip the bag inside out so your candy is inside of the bag. Your skin will never come in contact with the candy or the bowl! You could leave these out for guests to take, purchasing a dispenser is super cheap. Or you could bring your own roll along with you as you scour the streets, that way you are the only person touching the bags as well!

Alternative Halloween Activities in 2020

A night at home on Halloween with family is never wasted. Whether or not you choose to celebrate Halloween, there are plenty of ways to spend a fun Friday night indoors.

Stay Up Late

If your children typically have a bedtime, let them stay up until midnight playing board, card games or a monster mash dance party! (If they can’t make it until midnight you can do what my parents used to do on New Years and set a fake timer for midnight). 

Watch a Movie

Whether you celebrate Halloween or not, it’s a great night to watch a movie. Pick a movie that your whole family will love or a “scary” one that will get you in the Halloween spirit! 

Eat Delicious Treats!

What is a night in without all your favorite snacks! A chip and dip buffet to go with your game night? A popcorn bar to complete your movie marathon? And don’t forget the candy! My favorite thing about Halloween is getting to eat the leftover Halloween candy. Now I don’t even have to worry about some kids dumping the whole bowl in their bags and running away because all the Halloween candy will be left over Halloween candy.

Design a Haunted House With Your Kids

Drape blankets of chairs and tables to create tunnels, put wet towels in the bathtub or shower and have your kids walk barefoot through “the spooky swamp.” Have them stick their hands in a bowl of zombie brains when they walk through the evil scientist’s lab (don’t worry, it’s just a bowl of cooked spaghetti noodles.)

Tips For an Eco-Friendly Halloween

We love anything and everything eco-friendly. That’s why our bars are biodegradable, our soap mats are recycled, and our packaging system is always being reevaluated to make it as environmentally friendly as possible. We want you to be super safe this halloween, and we also want to help keep the earth safe. Here’s a couple things you can do to make the most of your halloween and cut down on waste

Save and Cook Your Pumpkin Seeds

My mom’s pumpkin seeds are legendary to me. I could honestly eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner if my stomach would let me. Our recipe is savory, but some people make them sweet, too.

DIY Your Candy Container

No need to go out and buy a candy bucket when you have a good old fashioned pillowcase! You can always get crafty and decorate a commemorative pillowcase as well!

DIY Your Costume

Use what you already have to make the coolest costume ever. You’ll definitely get extra points for creativity. And if you incorporate an AVNS bar of soap into your costume or that of a family member, or even better, if you or a member of your family dress up as a bar of AVNS Soap you’ll get extra points from us! That’s right! You can get rewards points! If you email us or tag us in your story on SM we’ll give 25 points if the bar is incorporated into a costume, and 100 points if the soap is the costume! You must have a rewards account to participate.

Better get designing!

Much Love,

Nora


What Are Hydrosols?

Today I watched from my window as the first flakes of snow drifted into the yard. As much as I adore the holiday warmth of the winter season, it never stops me from wishing for just a few more summer days. Oh, what I would give for just one more sniff of a lilac bush. Perhaps that’s why I’m filling this week’s blog with flowers, so we can enjoy a virtual garden as we get into the nitty gritty question: what are hydrosols?

The Beauty Product You’ve Been Searching For?

Hydrosols or “flower waters” are the by-products of essential oils. When plant material is distilled in the production of essential oils there is a leftover concoction of plant-infused water and small traces of essential oils. This is what constitutes a hydrosol. Hydrosols are fantastic natural beauty products and by the end of this blog you’ll know why.

What’s the Difference Between Hydrosols and Essential Oils?

Because of their close relationship to essential oils, hydrosols have similar beneficial properties. Hydrosols are less concentrated than essential oils due to the water component and have a softer scent, making them a gentle, effective product that can be applied to the skin without needing to be diluted. 

How are Hydrosols Made?

A common method of producing hydrosols is through steam distillation. The scientific process is a little confusing so I came up with an analogy to help. Imagine you’re sitting in a steaming bath or hot tub and after a while your face starts to sweat. The steam has opened up your pores, unblocking the natural oils your skin produces. When the steam created from boiling water comes in contact with aromatic plant material it opens the pores of that plant, and absorbs the plant’s natural oils. At the end of the process, the steam condenses and the water and oil separates leaving the water naturally infused with plant essence.

What are Hydrosols Used for?

Hydrosols make for the perfect facial toner, which is why we had to have some in our collection! Our renewing organic facial toners are made from organic hydrosols and are made from fresh plants, not dried or wilted. Why is this important? Because using fresh plant material allows our supplier to utilize the plant’s cellular water in the end product. It is this cellular water, filled with nutritious minerals, antioxidants, and countless other natural botanical benefits, that gives the hydrosol the aromatic and therapeutic properties of the plant.

When you wash your face with cold process soap (which is slightly alkaline) and follow up with a hydrosol toner (which is slightly acidic) it gently helps rebalance the pH of the skin. Your skin’s acid mantle is what keeps in moisture and blocks out toxins from the environment, so this is an important step in your skin care regimen. Hydrosols can be used throughout the day as a facial reset  to refresh your skin and set your makeup! We offer two different hydrosols with amazing benefits.

Apple Valley Natural Soap Facial Toners

Neroli hydrosol is made from orange blossoms – faintly sweet, floral, and citrusy. If you have oily skin, this is the perfect toner for you because it is deeply cleansing. Neroli hydrosol also contains alpha hydroxy acids which help exfoliate the skin, and is anti-inflammatory so helps soothe and calm skin inflammation like acne, eczema etc. It is also antibacterial, which is another reason it’s great for treating acne, plus is highly astringent, as well as rich in vitamin C. 

Bugarian Rose Otto Hydrosol is very hydrating. It nourishes skin health, restores skin’s radiance, beauty and youthfulness. Rose hydrosol also helps to balance the skin as it regulates sebum production, has antibacterial properties, helps heal sunburn and improves circulation. It is also a mild astringent, and attracts moisture making it very helpful for all skin types. With it’s light floral scent and vast number of therapeutic applications, this product from organic roses rejuvenates, hydrates, softens, and if used over time, can help reduce facial lines and wrinkles. This Damascena Rose Hydrosol may also be known as Rose Distillate and possesses a beautiful sweet, rosy aroma that captures the rich and heady aroma of fresh rose blooms. It is well-known for its skin care benefits as well as for helping to balance the endocrine system. Suzanne Catty, author of Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy, states that rose has an affinity with the heart and the emotional spheres of the mind, body, and spirit. It is known to promote emotional balance and a sense of well-being.

Why Use Our Hydrosols Instead of “That Other Company’s”?

We use an amazing supplier that takes awesome measures in helping us deliver only the best to you.

A note from our suppliers: “We are careful with each species and when it’s harvested to ensure we get the proper components and capture the cellular water of the plant too. As a strictly hydrosol distillery, we use only fresh plant material, which makes for a better end product, since we’re after the “waters” of the plant. Secondly, we use only copper alembic stills from Portugal. Oftentimes, hydrosols are distilled in stainless steel equipment, which can leave a “still note” in the hydrosol. But copper facilitates a certain chemical reaction that not only affects the fragrance, but also adds a preservative effect.”

Super cool, right?

Trying our Rose Hydrosol Facial Toner is totally on my bucket list of AVNS products, what’s on yours?

Much Love,

Nora


Apple Valley Natural Soap’s 5 Best Smelling Body Soap Bars

According to You, Me, and Marianne!

A couple weeks ago and extremely important question arrived in our Facebook Messenger inbox:

“Do you happen to have a blog post about your most irresistible-smelling bars?”

At the time we didn’t, but thanks to your input we are about to. With over 70 responses to a survey I sent out through our newsletter, five body soap bars emerged as clear winners. According to you lovely people, these five body soap bars are the most irresistible smelling bars.

In “odor” to get the best results, this survey focused exclusively on face and body bars. These bars are perfect if you’re just starting out with natural soap because they work regardless of the hardness of your water (which plays an important role when using our shampoo bars). Shampoo Bars were not included this time around, but will hopefully get a chance to compete with one another in the future!

Our 5 Most Irresistible-Smelling Natural Soap Body Bars

  1. Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Bean Face and Body Bar

Soap Profile

Description: You know you want to wash your face and body in organic, virgin cocoa butter and Madagascar vanilla beans. Here’s your chance. Sumptuous—and zero calories. This pure cocoa butter soap bar is unscented, but you can smell the faint scent of organic cocoa butter and vanilla. Naturally. Perfect for sensitive souls.

Warning: This pure cocoa butter soap bar is extremely moisturizing and may reduce your need for extra moisturizers, thereby saving you time and money as well as simplifying your life. And who would want that?

Ingredients: saponified oils of a madagascar vanilla bean infused organic extra virgin olive, organic cocoa butter, and organic coconut oil. No added scent.

Ironically, this unscented bar tied for first with the second bar on this list. That’s right, the natural scent of this bar is JUST THAT GOOD. I have been blessed to have smelled this soap myself and it’s no surprise this bar is in the winner’s circle. 

  1. Honey Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar

Soap Profile

If you want to spin around and keel over from happiness, this bar is your ticket to glory. Made with freshly juiced, organic carrots instead of filtered water, this gorgeous, vitamin A packed bar will nourish your skin. Perfect for your face and all over too! Raw honey acts as a humectant, trapping moisture in your skin cells, and rich, emollient oils and butters will leave your skin soft and silky. But one of the best things about this bar is the juicy carrot tangerine scent that makes you think you died and went to tangerine carrot honey heaven. 

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic sustainable palm, organic sunflower, unrefined organic cocoa butter, mango seed butter, apricot kernel, and castor bean. organic carrot juice, organic raw honey, rosemary oil extract, grapefruit seed extract, and essential oils of lime, tangerine, litsea cubeba, orange, and basil.

Oh, of course. This one is a no-brainer. This natural soap bar is the darling of the soap world. It’s so popular it’s out of stock. This is one of my favorite soaps even if it didn’t make my top 3 for 2020. It smells amazing and leaves your skin glowing. And hey, if you’re allergic to honey now is your chance to experience the joy of this bar with our seconds (we do have a version of this bar in our SECONDS section simply because it’s missing the honey.)

  1. Vanilla Butter Face and Body Bar

Soap Profile

Description: Shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter. Huge amounts of all three rich butters make this bar absolutely thick and creamy good. Your skin will feel super soft and smooth after a rendezvous with Vanilla Butter.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic shea nut butter, unrefined organic cocoa butter, mango butter, organic coconut, organic olive, and castor bean, rosemary oil extract, fragrance, and essential oils of vanilla and ylang ylang.

I find it fascinating that the top three bars so far have all been Face and Body Bars. Is this because these natural soap bars naturally get closer to people’s noses? Maybe. I have not tried this natural soap bar, but when I do I plan to pair it with the Sweet Vanilla Body Polish for the perfectly sweet combo.

  1. Lime Spa Salt Bar

Soap Profile

Description: This mega salt bar, weighing 8-9 ounces, is made with European spa salt which is solar evaporated and harvested from the pristine waters of the Mediterranean Sea. This salt is produced using the ancient method of solar evaporation in a region that is free of pollution and has high evaporation rates. Rich in trace minerals that help soothe pain, reduce inflammation, improve circulation and cell regeneration and hydrate tissue, European spa salt is one of the purest salts in the world.

European spa salt gently exfoliates and pulls out toxins and impurities from the skin. It actually feels like smooth marble and is extremely hard and long lasting. Clay removes bacteria, impurities, oil, and dead skin with its exceptional ability to absorb. This tightens pores and rejuvenates skin cells. Spirulina is a natural antimicrobial, it actually kills off candida, which can be an underlying cause of acne. It also contains 8 essential amino acids, and is high in protein, which is necessary for cell repair and growth. On top of that, spirulina contains a rare fatty acid known as gamma linolenic acid. That combined with being a rich source of antioxidants makes this a highly effective tool against free radicals. When free radicals are eliminated, this increases the skin’s metabolism, and helps your body produce new, healthy cells faster.

We also added organic shea nut butter to make a rich, creamy bar with a delightfully refreshing lime essential oil blend. There are many uses for our salt bars, and this one is great in bathrooms with lots of activity. As with our other salt bars, it lasts a VERY long time!

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic shea nut butter, and castor bean, European Spa salt, French green clay, organic spirulina, and essential oils of lime and organic may chang.

I haven’t tried this bar either, but our salt bars are absolutely lovely and make for a amazing spa day product!

  1. Lemon Verbena Coconut Soap

Soap Profile

Description: Enjoy this improved version of our hard, long-lasting, super sudsy, uber moisturizing organic coconut oil lemon verbena body bar made with 100% organic coconut oil, lemon verbena essential oil and nothing else. If you’ve never tried one of these—well, you haven’t really lived. We improved this bar by removing the fragrance and are now using only Lemon Verbena essential oil. We believe it smells like the original, but is now even better for your skin.

Ingredients: saponified organic coconut oil and lemon verbena essential oil.

I’m seriously slapping myself over this body soap bar for three reasons. 1) I haven’t tried it yet, but am adding it to my cart as I type (if that were possible). 2) I LOVE LEMON VERBENA SCENTED THINGS (how have I not tried this bar already? I have this hotel-sized lemon verbena coconut lotion that I got from a hotel years ago and I save it and only use it on my hands once a year. That’s how much I love it.) 3) I love AVNS coconut soaps for shaving, how did I not try this bar already? Seriously? 

Our Favorite Natural Soap Bars

I recognize that the survey did not account for which bars people have actually tried, so it’s totally possible that you voted for your five favorites but there was a soap on that list that is your future favorite and you just haven’t tried it yet (Lemon Verbena I’m coming for you). To balance this out, I’m including some notable top 5 lists from people who know AVNS soap like the back of their super clean, super moisturized hands (including the list of the owner herself, Marianne!).

Nora’s Top 5 Body Soap Bars

Nora? That’s me! If you read last week’s blog you already know my first favorite, but what about the other four?

  1. Black Licorice Hand, Foot, and Body Soap
  2. Honey Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar
  3. Lavender Rosemary Salt Bar
  4. Charcoal Detox Face and Body Bar
  5. Spearmint Coconut Bar

Marianne’s Top 5 Body Soap Bars

If there’s anyone’s list you should be taking notes on, it’s the woman coming up with all the recipes behind the amazing smells!

  1. Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Bean Face and Body Bar
  2. Kitchen Salt and Spice Bar
  3. Lemon Verbena Coconut Soap
  4. Spice Cake Hand and Body Soap
  5. Lavender Castile Soap Bar

How to Choose Your Next Bar

You know all the favorites, now you just have to decide! If you’re drawn to certain types of scents, check out the key I made below to help you find your perfect bar!

Citrus

Honey Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar

Lemon Verbena Coconut Soap

Lime Spa Salt Bar

Floral

Lavender Castile Soap

Lavender Rosemary Salt Bar

Herbal

Black Licorice Hand, Foot, and Body Bar

Lavender Rosemary Salt Bar

Mint

Spearmint Coconut Bar

Spice 

Vanilla Butter Face and Body Bar

Spice Cake Hand and Body Soap

Kitchen Salt and Spice Bar

Charcoal Detox Face and Body Bar

Unscented (but still delicious)

Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Bean Face and Body Bar

Curious about our other body soap bars, but not sure where to start? We’ve got all our body bars organized under the same categories (plus more) on our website! Just click here and then select the scent profile you’re interested and you’re on your way to finding your perfect match!

Happy Smelling!

Much Love,

Nora


My Top 3 Favorite Apple Valley Natural Soap Products for 2020

Do you have a favorite band? A favorite food? A favorite flavor of ice cream? I can confidently tell you mine. The Beatles. Cheese. Pistachio. Favorites are favorites for a reason. They’re winners. They’re totally awesome. And they deserve recognition. Which is why I decided to dedicate this week’s blog to my top three favorite AVNS products. I picked a natural soap, a natural body polish, and a naturally flavored lip balm that I will order over and over again…probably for the rest of my life. And yeah, I’m about to seriously fan girl over all three.

How Did You Pick Just Three?

I know right? How did I pick just three when AVNS has soooooo many amazing products? It wasn’t easy. I thought long and hard about this list and there are many worthy products that could’ve easily placed on this list, but these are my 2020 picks.

Black Licorice Hand, Foot, and Body Bar

This bar is one incredible experience and it starts with the knock-you-off-your-feet smell of black licorice. After getting a sample with an order, I immediately ordered three full-sized bars. Now, let me tell you why this is significant. I’m on a quest to try every single AVNS product (okay, maybe not the beard oil) and to speed up this process, I have a strict rule that I only ever  order sample bars. In fact, before the Black Licorice Bar came into my life I’d only ever ordered one full-sized bar since I started blogging for AVNS last January (say it with me: Honey, Carrot and Tangerine*). As soon as I smelled that sweet sliver of black licorice natural soap I was like, “WHOA. My search for the perfect soap is over. This is the soap I want to grow old with!” So I ordered not one, not two, but three full-sized natural soap bars…on scent alone. You guys, I hadn’t even used the soap yet. I gave the sample to my mom because she loves black licorice too and she immediately fell in love with it. She told me she couldn’t even wash her hands with it because she wants it to last forever. My dad also loved it, maybe too much. When he got home from work the next day I asked him if he’d smelled it yet and he said, “It smelled so good I thought it was black licorice and I ate a little piece…it was terrible!” Lesson learned: if it smells good enough to eat…make sure it isn’t soap before eating it!

My second favorite thing about this bar is the black walnut shell. Marianne is a genius. Use it in the shower and it will scratch all the itches you didn’t even know you had!

Also, I totally just texted Marianne to see if our Jojoba Oil can be custom made to smell like this bar.**

Sweet Rosehips Body Polish

I love the Bella Rose Shampoo Bar and I’d read the descriptions of the Sweet Rosehips Body Polish, but I was still skeptical about its greatness. I actually ordered some as a gift, but I ordered too late and it didn’t arrive in time so I had to keep it (oops…although I secretly think I might have placed the order late on purpose). Yes, my arms and legs were super dee-duper smooth after using this scrub. And yes, it was so luxuriously moisturizing that I didn’t even need lotion afterwards. But THE SMELL. OH MY GOODNESS. HEAVEN. It smells like a Georgian Garden and the beautiful scent lingers on your skin even after you’re out of the shower. This scrub is made with organic sugar which I prefer over a salt scrub. Yes, salt is an effective antibacterial and I love our salt bars, but when it comes to intense exfoliation sugar is a gentler option for my sensitive skin.

Vanilla Latte Lip Balm

Call me sentimental, but this was the first AVNS product I fell in love with. I think lip balms/chapsticks are so under-appreciated until you realize you need, like, a gazillion of them. If you’re like me you need a gazillion of them because you’re constantly misplacing them. I need a car lip balm. A back-up car lip balm. A purse lip balm. And emergency purse lip balm. An emergency purse tinted lip balm. A bathroom lip balm. A pocket lip balm. A desk lip balm…the list goes on. I love the Vanilla Latte Lip Balm so much that I’ve had it since January and I still haven’t lost it. I use it all the time and I still haven’t run out AND it makes my lips smell sweet and delicious. I wish there was a cookie recipe to go with it. Sometimes I think about the fact that AVNS makes other lip balm flavors that I haven’t even tried yet but could potentially smell just as good, if not better than the Vanilla Latte flavor and I get so overwhelmed I need to slather on a fresh coat of balm and inhale deeply. 

*Honorable mentions: The Honey Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar has a fresh, glowing smell and would totally be my number one for a list of summer favorites. Charcoal Detox Face and Body Bar smells fantastic and was only bumped down because the Black Licorice Bar is back in town. Our Moroccan Argan Oil has a very soft scent, but it works WONDERS and in my opinion is one of our most effective products.

**She said it totally can. YES!

Stay tuned for next week’s blog on our best smelling body soap bars and if you haven’t voted on your favorites yet…here’s the link!

Much Love,

Nora