Eco-Friendly Christmas Gift Guide 2021!

I love using gift guides for finding unique Christmas gifts, and eco-friendly products make some of the best Christmas gifts for family and friends because they utilize so much creativity! I’ve pulled 6 super cool gift ideas into an eco-friendly gift guide and paired each of them with an Apple Valley Natural Soap Product to create the perfect gift set for a loved one (or an enemy, let’s set aside the rivalry and spread the holiday cheer…am I right?)

Beez Kneez Honey

Photo credit: Beez Kneez

About The Company:

“ESTABLISHED IN 2010, THE BEEZ KNEEZ WAS BUILT FROM THE GROUND UP IN MINNEAPOLIS. AFTER 11 INCREDIBLE YEARS SERVING THE BEE COMMUNITY AT THE BEEZ KNEEZ HONEY HOUSE, IN 2021 WE MOVED OUR HEADQUARTERS TO OUR FARM, TRADE RIVER RANCH LOCATED IN THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY JUST SOUTH OF GRANTSBURG, WI. WE ARE A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE WORKING TO REVIVE THE HIVE FOR HEALTHY BEES, HEALTHY LIVES. WE MANAGE 150 HIVES USING SUSTAINABLE BEEKEEPING PRACTICES, BICYCLE-POWERED HONEY PRODUCTION AND DELIVERY. WE EDUCATE BEEKEEPERS VIA CAMP BEEZ KNEEZ AND THE PUBLIC THROUGH OUR ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN HEALTHY BEES HEALTHY LIVES”

Beez Kneez offers a bountiful selection of different kinds of honey, and who doesn’t love putting honey on baked goods or in their tea? If you know someone who thinks bees truly are the bees knees, then this company offers an immersive experience a step above a jar of honey! You can take a beekeeping workshop and learn how to extract honey! Such a unique gift experience would go perfectly with our Wheat and Honey Almond Shampoo Bar, a bar that smells as sweet as honey.

I love this little excerpt written by the owner, I think it speaks so much about the passion that goes into this company and the careful love and upkeep of the bees that produce such amazing honey:

“I will never forget my first date with honey bees. It was in August of 2009 at my aunt and uncle’s bee ranch.  My uncle took me out to check some of his apiaries.  The minute he cracked that first hive, the sweet smell of nectar, wax and smoke filled my nostrils, millions of little fuzzy bodies were flying above my head, thousands of workers moving strong among the frames and I had my first taste of real, raw basswood honey.  It is cliche to say, but I fell in love. I could not get enough.  The way they communicate by dancing, how the hive functions as a superorganism, the fact that all the workers are female, that they collaborate extremely well to do incredible things, that they help flowers reproduce and make honey…what is not to love? The more I learned the more I wanted. I was love sick for honey bees.”

-Kristy Lynn Allen

SmartGlassKP Sea Glass Necklace

These beautiful jewelry pieces made by SmartGlassKP are made from recycled glass bottles reminiscent of sea glass! The perfect gift for someone who loves the ocean and beachside strolls. Bring the ocean to your shores by pairing it with one of our Salt Bars! These long lasting bars contain high quality salt which cleans and refreshes your skin! 

“Very beautiful necklace and ring. Such simple and elegant designs. Love themI would highly recommend!”

You Plant We Plant Tree Pouch by Forest Nation

A big part of the holiday season is sending out cards to loved ones! This fun alternative by Forest Nation makes a great case for a good cause! Send someone you love a chance to support ecosystem restoration and a tree of their very own to nurture! As it grows it will be a reminder of your love for them, how fun is that?! In keeping with the theme, try our popular Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo Bar. Hey! Did you know that when you check out AVNS products online you can add a donation that will reduce your carbon footprint? We’ve partnered with a cool system called Eco-cart in order to do this!

Bamboo socks by Thriving Earth

An eco-friendly twist on giving and getting socks for Christmas! Thriving Earth’s Bamboo Socks are known for being soft and breathable and for each pair of socks sold by this company a pair of socks is given to someone in need! Pair this with our Bamboo Shampoo Bar, which is high in hair strengthening Silica!

“I bought these as a birthday present and they were very popular and much admired. The quality is excellent and the design is lovely. The colours are rich and the socks are really well made. I am hoping to buy more as Christmas gifts! Thank you very much.”

Recycled Glass Tumblers by GoGiftid

This is such a cool gift to give to a special man in your life. This company GoGiftid up-cycles glass bottles into funky, fun glasses and bowls. Of course, we have to recommend giving this gift with a bar of our Root Beer Float Shampoo and Body Bar

Sun Print Kit by Elemental Leaf

Looking for something crafty to do that doesn’t create unnecessary waste?

This sun print kit made by Elemental Leaf makes a great gift for an artsy teen or young adult. How does it work? It’s a light sensitive paper that takes on the shapes of shadows in blue and white! It’s kind of hard to explain, so check out this tutorial!

Pair with our sunniest smelling bar of soap, our Honey, Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar!

Hope you find some inspo for this holiday season!

Much Love,

Nora


New Products and Updates!

Give the Gift of Handcrafted Soap!

If you’re new to Apple Valley Natural Soap, welcome! As a small, online shop we take pride in creating custom natural products at quality prices that customers love. You’ve found this blog and/or our website at just the right time. Apple Valley Natural Soap products make for unique holiday and hostess gifts and we have a fantastic sale right around the corner! 

If you’re a loyal AVNS customer or blog reader, welcome back! This newsletter is full of info on our latest releases and upcoming events that I knew you’d want to know about. We’ve got some really exciting products on the shelf right now that you or a loved one needs to try!

New Products!

Signature Skin Collection

We’ve just released our first product in our new line of handcrafted skincare products! Marianne has been perfecting this line of products made with natural ingredients that work to bring your skin to perfection from any state! Keep on eye out for more products to follow.

Facial Toners

Our renewing natural facial toners are made from organic hydrosols and natural extracts. From our supplier of hydrosols; “We source only the finest quality organic hydrosols from highly regarded suppliers from around the world….A hydrosol is the aromatic water remaining after producing an essential oil via steam distillation. Steam distillation results in two complementary products – the essential oil and the hydrosol. When the plant material is brewed with water in the cooker, steam fills the pot, and as it rises, causing the plant’s glands to release its oils and essence into the steam. The aromatic water that was steamed with the original plant material is referred to as a “hydrosol”, which is like a much less concentrated essential oil. During this distillation process, the plant matter actually imparts the hydrosol with the water-soluble aromatic and therapeutic properties of the plant. They contain the essence of the plant in every drop, just like essential oils, but in a milder form.”

Hydrosols make fabulous ingredients for facial toners. Why? When you wash your face with cold process soap (which is slightly alkaline) and following 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. To these hydrosols we’ve added some amazing natural extracts which boost the skins ability to regenerate through enzyme and antioxidant activity.

Why is a toner needed in a skincare routine? 

A toner has multiple benefits for your skin and plays an important role in your skincare routine. A good toner can act on several levels adding and retaining moisture in the skin, gently exfoliating the skin for a bright fresh, clean look, and soothing the skin for a calm complexion!

Calming Toner Organic Neroli (orange blossom) hydrosol, Papaya (Carica papaya) fruit extract, Mango (Manifera indica) fruit extract, Radish root (Leuconostoc) ferment.

This faintly sweet, floral, and citrusy toner is great if you have oily/combination skin. Neroli hydrosol 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. The combination of the Papaya and Mango extracts increase enzyme activity and are attributed with soothing skin irritations and exfoliating dead cells. Papaya contains arginine, which is an amino acid that smoothes skin and aids in cell regeneration and Papain possesses anti-inflammatory properties.

Restorative Toner Organic Rose Otto (Rosa damascena) hydrosol, Glycerin, Rose Otto (Rosa damascene) petal cell extract, Radish root (Leuconostoc) ferment.

This very hydrating toner nourishes skin health and helps restore skin’s radiance, beauty and youthfulness. Rose hydrosol* 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 hydrosol from organic roses rejuvenates, hydrates, softens, and if used over time, can help reduce facial lines and wrinkles. 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. 

Rose extract also comes from the Rose Otto (Rosa damascene). It is extracted from the petals of rose flowers and contains over three hundred different compounds which not only help with premature aging, but also benefit skin in many other ways; anti-inflammatory, great for sensitive skin, treats redness and irritation, contains high amounts of Vitamin C, known to aid skins natural sun protection, promotion of good skin tone as well as improvement of skins elasticity. Plus let’s not forget about the wonderful aroma which is a known as a mood enhancer.

*Rose Hydrosol is often referred to as Rosewater or Rose Floral Water but is actually a different product. Where Rose Hydrosol is the distillation of rose essential oil made with fresh-picked fresh rose petals and contains the essence of the plant in every drop. A flower water or rosewater, by contrast, is water that has been scented using essential oils. In addition, rose water will typically have additives that rose hydrosol will not.

To use – After gently cleansing skin morning and evening, mist evenly onto the face, neck and décolletage and allow to dry. Follow with moisturizer or facial oil like our Organic Moroccan Argan Oil. The moisturizer/oil will lock in the toner, leaving your skin soft and glowing.

Liquid Soaps

We released our liquid Castile soap line several months ago, and we are adding two new varieties to the collection! One is limited edition so get it while you can!

Unscented Liquid Castile Soap

Our premium Castile type liquid soap’s main ingredient is organic virgin olive oil, which deeply penetrates the skin, moisturizing and nourishing while cleansing. We’ve also chosen to combine the olive oil with a rich blend of premium oils to create a thick and versatile soap with creamy lather, gently cleansing while moisturizing, leaving skin feeling soft and smooth. 

Try our natural Castile soap for a nourishing and effective cleansing experience for your hands, face and body.

For hands and face; fill one of our hand thrown ceramic soap pumps for everyday use by the sink, or dilute this soap with water and fill a foaming soap pump.

For body; use in the shower or bath as a rich and cleansing, yet gentle body wash. Some even love using it as a shampoo!

For the household; dilute with water and use it to rinse food, clean dishes, mop, wash your dog, as well as your laundry.

Made with all natural and organic ingredients, the uses are endless.

As with all our other soaps, this liquid soap is cruelty-free, synthetic-free, petroleum-free, free from sulfates, parabens, artificial colors and phthalates.

Ingredients: purified water, saponified oils of organic extra virgin olive, castor, organic coconut, organic unrefined shea butter, organic jojoba. Mediterranean Sea salt.

Spirit of Christmas Liquid Castile Soap

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. Our Limited Edition ‘Spirit of Christmas’ premium Castile type liquid soap is a wonderful festive scent for this Holiday season! 

Ingredients: purified water, saponified oils of organic extra virgin olive, castor, organic coconut, organic unrefined shea butter, organic jojoba. Mediterranean Sea salt. Essential oils of cedarwood atlas, sweet orange, cinnamon leaf, clove bud and vanilla dark.

Recent Releases

Limited Editions

Our Christmas and Fall Limited Edition Soaps are out now and won’t last long! This is also your chance to grab our WILDLY POPULAR Winter Skin Saver (the first batch sold out in just four hours). 

Re-stocked

Shaving bowls and Brush Sets

Restocked just in time for your stocking! We’re adding new shaving bowls and brush sets to our store. These timeless clay and wood pieces look elegantly classic in any bathroom as opposed to plastic and aluminium cans. 

Candles

Our candles are going to hit the shelves any day, they go quick so keep an eye out!

New Website Updates!

We are always working to make the AVNS website the most convenient, pleasant experience it can be for our customers. We don’t have a physical shop, so we want our website to feel like a welcoming and personable place to be! We are so excited to offer a new option at checkout called EcoCart. You can choose to add a small amount of money to your order and that amount goes toward offsetting your carbon footprint! One of our main goals as a natural soap company is to leave as small a trace as possible, which is why we work hard to create reusable and recyclable packaging…and we are so pumped for this neat, online addition!

Thanksgiving Sale!

Keep an eye out for our fantastic Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale! Details will be on social media and in our newsletter!

Pop-up Shop!

WE ARE SO EXCITED! Our products will be available at a pop-up shop coming soon! Check out our retail location list to see if our products are coming to you anytime soon!

Collective Grace

(Pop-Up Shop)

20784 Holyoke Ave

Lakeville, MN 55044

(612) 840-8664

https://www.facebook.com/collectivegrace

Nov. 18-20 | Nov. 27 (Small Business Saturday) | Dec. 2-4

Hours:

Thursdays 10-6

Fridays 10-4

Saturdays 10-4

You Know What To Do!

Do not wait to do your Christmas shopping until the last minute, take advantage of these deals and order now and during the sale so that you get everything shipped to you in time for Christmas!

Much Love,

Nora


Unscented Shampoos and Soaps

Environmental Illness

Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com

Have you ever used a product and had a bad reaction to it? Maybe your makeup caused a breakout, or your cheap lotion caused an angry red itch on your hands? Some people deal with even worse reactions, and it’s called Environmental Illness. Environmental Illness can result in symptoms from a number of different systems in the body including neurological, immune, respiratory, and skin (just to name a few). These symptoms, which can range from a headache to irritated eyes, are brought on by chemicals in one’s environment. People with Environmental Illness are at constant risk of being exposed to chemicals which could trigger a reaction. Most people don’t think that a perfume or air freshener they use in their room or on their body could make such a negative impact on someone else’s wellbeing, but this is the case!

Information on Environmental Illness

Information on Scent Free Zones

Fragrances

While we think of toxic chemicals like exhaust having an impact on our health, we do not consider other day to day chemicals that live on our shelves and in our cupboards. Many fragrances are created with synthetic chemicals that are incompatible with our bodies and end up as an irritant whether it be physical or sensory.

History of Our Naturally Scented Products

Sweet Rosehips Body Polish

We offer a variety of soaps ranging from unscented to scented with phthalate free fragrance. We are always working towards scent options that are the most natural, but we sold some of our soaps for over four years under the impression that the pre-mixed blends we were using in a few of our bars were pure essential oil blends.  Since that time it was discovered that those blends contained pure essential oils AND a small percentage of phthalate-free fragrance oil to boost the natural scent. We had to decide whether to discontinue those bars and disappoint many of our regular customers, or to continue to carry them and give people the choices they wanted. We made the decision to carry the bars, and let our customers make their own choices in this regard.

What is the ratio of scent in our soaps?

All of our scented varieties of soap contain 2-3% essential oils—to add scent as well as therapeutic value—and 98% other ingredients (oils, water, clays, milks, etc.).  The few soaps that contain the uncertified blends ALSO have therapeutic grade essential oils in them. We did a lot of experimenting because we wanted to make our scents totally unique.  The fact that these soaps contain a mix of the blends in question PLUS our own essential oil additions also drives any percentage of any fragrance oil down even further (less than .5-1% of the entire batch). 

If you are a purist (please see 2020 UPDATE), these are the soaps/products that are scented with a mix of pure essential oils AND may also contain a minimal amount of phthalate-free fragrance oil which augments and enhances the scent:

Chamomile and Orange Blossom soap, Bella Rose soap, Marshmallow and Aloe soap, Green Tea and Nettles soap, Wheat and Honey soap, Lavender Buttermilk soap, Vanilla Butter soap, Wildflowers soap, and Sweet Rosehips Body Polish.

2020 UPDATE: We have started introducing a natural plant based fragrance alternative to some of our soaps which once had the essential oil & phthalate free fragrance blend. This is only happening to soaps and products where finding a scent match with essential oils is not possible. Our desire would be to only used essential oils as they give benefit to the hair and skin as well as scent, but when this is not possible, we have chosen to use natural plant based fragrances. These natural fragrances are plant-based aromatics which are produced using pure essential oils and aromatic isolates derived solely from natural, raw botanical sources. All of these natural fragrances are certified to be free of synthetic ingredients.

Products currently using the natural plant based fragrances:

Sweet Vanilla Body Polish, Jasmine Rose Citric Acid Hair Rinse, Coconut Milk & Citrus Shampoo Bar.

Unscented Shampoos and Soaps

Be mindful of those around you who may have an intolerance to fragrance while still smelling great! Our unscented soaps and shampoos may be fantastic options for teachers and other employees who work in fragrance free zones! Try our Simply Shea Shampoo Bar or wash your hands with our Salted Chocolate Sink Bar!


The Best Ingredient for Smooth Skin: Goat Milk

Goat milk is an underrated ingredient in the skin care community with unparalleled benefits. We here at Apple Valley Natural Soap are such huge fans of goat milk that we decided one bar with goat milk wasn’t enough! This week’s blog is all about our new Limited Edition Geranium Blossom Goat Milk Shampoo Bar and why it is so fantastic. We’ll also explain exactly what it is that makes goat milk such a must have in your skin and hair routine!

Benefits of Goat Milk

Photo by Linda Prebreza on Pexels.com

Goat milk has a ton of fantastic agents contributing to its overall beauty enhancing structure! Goat milk works mainly to smooth and enhance skin, and works its wonders on even the most sensitive of skin.

Smooth

Vitamin A and lactic acid content in goat milk help to gently exfoliate skin.

Enhance

Lactic acid acts as a humectant drawing moisture into your skin. Lactic acid also elevates the production of ceramides, which helps to tighten and strengthen your skin! Check out our Lavender Buttermilk Bar for more of this goodness!

Gentle on Sensitive Skin

Goat’s milk has the same pH as human skin,which means it is extremely compatible with our skin’s surface and won’t cause reactions.

Goat Milk For Hair

Goat milk works a similar magic on hair as it does skin! Not only does it moisturize a dry, flaky scalp…but the protein content is fantastic for strengthening and protecting the hair shaft. Goat milk is a great natural ingredient for curly hair because of its protein content!

Apple Valley Natural Soap Goat Milk Shampoo Bars

What is the easiest way to get goat milk into your skincare and haircare routine? Try using it in a bar of soap! We have two super different, very unique bars that incorporate goat’s milk for an all over gentle cleanse from head to toe!

Geranium Blossom Goat Milk Shampoo

Description: This beautifully scented floral shampoo bar has been created with some pretty amazing ingredients which we think you’ll love. Do you love floral scents? The essential oil blend of geranium, orange and lavender will transport you to a summer flower garden. Not only that, but if we’re loving everything floral, why not consider our addition of Rosehip extract? Rosehips are high in antioxidants which can help improve the appearance of hair as well as help protect it. But we didn’t stop there, we’ve also added rich goat milk which brings its own fantastic benefits to this shampoo bar. Goat milk helps leave hair soft and manageable, it also repairs damage, is good for dry scalp and helps with dandruff, leaving a healthy scalp. Goat milk along with the following ingredients create a regenerating, nourishing and sudsy shampoo bar for those who love everything floral!

Photo by Robert Goldenowl on Pexels.com

Coconut oil which is a super-oil full of naturally present antioxidants is an excellent anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. 

Olive oil which is packed with anti-aging antioxidants and hydrating squalene, making it superb for hair, skin, and nails. 

Jojoba oil is a natural anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, its properties keep the scalp clean and healthy. It can also prevent hair loss and thinning caused by the clogged hair follicles as it dissolves and clears these blockages and promotes the development of new hair cells, which can lead to hair growth. 

Shea butter strengthens your skin by stimulating the production of collagen, it helps make your skin more supple, more alive, nourished and radiant. 

Goat milk is rich in calcium and protein as well as vitamins and minerals, all of which aid in strengthening and maintaining healthy hair.

Rosehip extract is high in antioxidants and may help improve hair’s healthy appearance by supporting the restoration of moisture in hair strands, eliminating frizz or split ends, and may also help protect against hair loss. Because of these qualities, it may also be a benefit to hair which is chemically treated, bleached, or otherwise damaged due to heat or coloring. 

Ingredients: Saponified oils of organic olive, organic coconut, castor, organic sustainable palm, unrefined organic cocoa butter, organic unrefined shea nut butter and organic jojoba. Goat milk, rosehip extract, essential oils of geranium, orange, lavender & clary sage. Rosemary oil extract.

Italian Garden Shampoo Bar

Description: Can’t afford the time or money for a trip to the Italian Riviera? Don’t let that stop you from treating your HAIR to the delectable fruits of Italy! We stuffed this bar with emollient olive oil and grapeseed oil, rich goat milk which leaves hair soft and manageable, repairs damaged hair, is good for dry scalp and helps with dandruff and leaves your scalp healthy. We have also added a mysterious and intoxicating essential oil blend that includes marjoram, mandarin, lavender, petitgrain and geranium. Fantastico!

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic olive, organic coconut, castor bean, grapeseed, organic shea nut butter, organic sustainable palm, and organic jojoba, goat milk, parsley, alfalfa, spirulina, rosemary oil extract, and essential oils of Lavender, Orange Sweet, Mandarin Sicily, Geranium Egyptian, Cedarwood Atlas, Marjoram Sweet, Frankincense, Palmarosa, Lemongrass, Ylang Ylang and Petitgrain Sicily.

Get this limited edition bar before it’s gone!

Much Love,

Nora


Meet The Team: Eliana Melody

We love nothing more than expanding our team and we are so excited to welcome Eliana as our new social media and design manager. She’ll be taking over Tia’s role as content creator for our social media platforms. We will miss Tia so much, but we know there are great things in store for her and we are so grateful for all the work she’s done to help build what Apple Valley Natural Soap is today…and we can’t wait to see where Eliana plans to take us in the future…which she’ll reveal a bit about in this blog!

How’d you come to join the AVNS Team?

“I had known the previous Social Media Manager, Tia, and she had reached out with a job opportunity to work with AVNS. She recommended I inquire and apply for the position and from there I was hired. I have loved it ever since!”

Eliana is a perfect fit for Apple Valley Natural Soap, “I  love all things organic and natural and when I found out AVNS produces products that were all natural, cruelty free, and filled with ingredients that are not toxic, I immediately knew I wanted to work for them.” She also loves our huge variety of products and how we select our natural ingredients for their natural benefits! 

What is your vision for the future of AVNS social media?

Eliana has two main focuses for the future of the Apple Valley Natural Soap social media platforms. The first goal is to make sure that all of our unique products are showcased so that people have options when searching for skin and hair care products. The second goal is to create an encouraging and uplifting space for followers and customers to build community, ask questions, and start conversations. Eliana has already started adding weekly inspirational quotes to our Insta and I am so here for it!

What skills have you learned or what classes did you take/or are taking that have prepared you for running the AVNS social media?

“I am currently a Senior at Evangel University and pursuing a double major in Marketing and Business Management. Through my various courses in marketing and management I learned many different technical skills needed to run social media platforms, create meaningful content, manage accounts, and much more. I also learned the importance of listening to what the consumer wants and finding ways to engage them in meaningful ways.”

When you aren’t posting and designing for AVNS, what do you do for fun?

Like all of us, Eliana has plenty of activities and hobbies outside of Apple Valley Natural Soap! 

“When I am not posting and designing for AVNS you can usually find me laughing with my friends and spending time with my family. I love going on adventures and am always down for spontaneous trips including road trips, camping, and anything in between! One of my all-time favorite things to do is go for daily walks, especially with my dog. Last but not least, I absolutely love music and if I’m not on a walk you can find me at my piano or singing along on a car ride.”

If there was a soap called the Eliana Bar, what would the description and ingredient list look like?

“If there was a soap called the Eliana Bar it would smell life wildflowers in the mountains with a hint of warm vanilla. The bar would remind you of summertime and the adventure that comes with it!”

Who else wants to try that bar?!

Much Love,

Nora


Does our All Natural Herbal Salve Really Work?

What is a Salve?

A salve is a product often with an oils and/or beeswax base that is applied topically to skin to provide a healing effect for skin irritations.

Description of Apple Valley Natural Soap’s Organic Herbal Salve

Chock full of soothing, certified organic herbs infused in a base of organic, extra virgin olive oil and unrefined beeswax, this salve is amazingly multi-purpose and economical. Apply it to rashes, bug bites, sunburn, wounds, dry, cracked skin, bruises, diaper rash and more!

Keep a jar of this on your countertop! It is safe for your children to grab and put on their frequent summer scratches, bites, and rashes.

This is a natural product, and it will soften and even liquefy in heat. Keep in a cool place.

Ingredients in Organic Herbal Salve

Extra virgin olive oil*, unrefined beeswax, St. John’s wort*, echinacea purpurea root*, echinacea purpurea leaf*, comfrey leaf & root*, calendula blossom*, yarrow flower*, plantain leaf*, rosemary leaf*, grapefruit seed extract and vitamin E oil (from Non-GMO sunflower oil).  *certified organic

Ingredient Breakdown

Extra Virgin Olive Oil has intense skin moisturizing and nourishing properties and also has a high “skin-building” vitamin content. Despite being an oil, olive oil is also very gentle on sensitive skin.

Beeswax protects and softens skin.

St. John’s wort has historically been known to help speed up the healing process and prevent scarring. St.John’s Wort was used for helping heal minor wounds and skin irritations.

Echinacea has a long history of success with venomous stings and bites and is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Today it is known for its success with fighting acne and protecting the skin from the elements.

Comfrey & Yarrow have astringent properties and have been used to promote cell regeneration and healing. Comfrey has been used for bruises and pulled muscles. Yarrow aids in healing broken capillaries. 

Plantain is acclaimed for its ability to relieve bee stings, insect and spider bites and rashes and is also known for healing acne and sunburns.

Calendula is impressive because of its ability to speed healing, improve the appearance of the skin, lower inflammation, and protect the skin against infections. This ingredient is super gentle on sensitive skin, which is why we combined olive oil and calendula for one super gentle soap bar The Calendula Castile Bar.

Rosemary has natural antiseptic properties, which makes it a superior disinfectant for our skin. It can also help protect skin cells from damage often caused by the sun and free radicals. 

Grapefruit seed extract is an excellent antifungal agent.

Vitamin E oil is anti-aging and helps prevent sun damage.

But Does Natural Salve Really Work?

Yes! I spent the entire summer with a jar of this amazing Organic Herbal Salve on my countertop and I used it for the following with great results: bee stings, itchy bug bites, small scratches from plants and animals, bruises, rug burn, sunburn, and random itches. Applying this herbal salve feels great, it has a fantastic texture and smells sweet and earthy. It does have a natural green tint, so make sure you rub it completely into your skin! This is perfect for the fall season when you’re spending a lot of time outside!

Reviews of Organic Herbal Salve

Of all the salves that I’ve tried for psoriasis, this has been a God send! The fragrance is pleasant and not overpowering. The smoothness of the balm across my skin and the lasting healing effects are a dream! I cannot rave enough about this salve.

This salve works so well I almost couldn’t believe it. My daughter had a cut on her knee that was struggling to heal and with 2 applications it looked so much better. I will never go another summer without this on hand!

I have used this salve for a couple of years mainly to treat sunburns, and when I use it, the sunburn usually heals quickly and there is very little pealing. I was thankful I had some on hand when recently undergoing radiation therapy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Radiation is very damaging to the skin, and because of my fair skin they were preparing me for an intense reaction. I added the Organic Herbal Salve to the regimen I followed as I attempted to prevent as much damage to my skin as possible. I was thoroughly impressed with the results, along with the staff at the radiation clinic. While I did experience some tenderness and redness for about two weeks, it did not get nearly as bad as the doctor predicted and healed very quickly once my radiation therapy ended. I highly recommend this product!

Much Love,

Nora


Why Choose AVNS?

Here’s why Apple Valley Natural Soap Company is the right company for you!

Made with Natural Ingredients

Our products are made with a variety of plant and animal based ingredients (all products are cruelty-free, which you can read more about below!). We use ingredients from Coconut Oil to Lanolin and we always use the highest quality ingredients we can find from the most ethical sources.

Why Choose Natural ingredients?

Why would you want natural ingredients over chemically manufactured ingredients? There are a couple reasons! One reason why using natural ingredients in products benefits you is because natural ingredients are often more gentle on skin. Artificial chemicals and dyes are used for their sensory properties, but that’s about it, many times harsh dyes and detergents can take a toll on your skin and leave you with rashes and irritation. The second reason is pretty cool, natural ingredients naturally happen to have a lot of additional benefits for skin and hair. For example, essential oils we use to scent products also have a variety of properties such as antiviral properties, anti-inflammatory properties, soothing effects and more. 

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

I think the best thing about our soaps is that they are all biodegradable! This means that when they come in contact with the earth they break down and re-enter the soil without ever leaving a trace of their existence. This makes a natural bar of soap like our Earth Shampoo Bar the perfect bar to take with you on a camping trip! We also work super hard to make all of our packaging as eco-friendly as possible by either using reusable bottles or recyclable packaging.

Organic, Vegan, and Cruelty Free

What does it mean to be organic?

Organic food is food produced by methods complying with the standards of organic farming. Standards vary worldwide, but organic farming features practices that cycle resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Organizations regulating organic products may restrict the use of certain pesticides and fertilizers in the farming methods used to produce such products.”

-Wikipedia

What does it mean to be vegan?

Vegan products are products that contain no animal product or byproducts. People follow vegan lifestyles to live harmoniously with the earth and its creatures and to reduce the amount of inhumane animal-related practices. 

We are proud to offer a large selection of vegan soaps like our very popular Man 2.0 Body, Shampoo, and Shaving Bar!

What does it mean to be cruelty-free

Cruelty-free means that no animal was harmed in any part of product creation or testing. To read more about this, check out this article!

All of our products are cruelty-free!

AVNS is a small, family business!

Why support a small business? 

Supporting a small business not only has large scale benefits, but personal benefits too. As an online shop, we do have the blessing of being able to ship our products all over the United States, but the majority of our customers are from good ole’ Minnesota. When you buy within your local community you help the local economy. A small business has to have the drive and creativity to keep up with name brand companies, meaning you will often discover that the result of this effort is continual unique and quality products. As a small business we also have the time to focus more closely on the wants and needs of each individual customer. Your shopping experience goes from detached and mundane to personal and engaging!

Why support a family business? 

Family businesses are often some of the most hard-working, cooperative, businesses you’ll find. What does this mean for the products or services offered? They are going to be higher quality. A family business is run with family in mind, which means that the core values of a family are ingrained in every aspect of the company. A business built on loyalty, honesty, trust, and compassion is a company that won’t let you down. We’ll treat you as a part of the family because to us, you are!

Why Choose Apple Valley Natural Soap?

Our products speak for themselves! Our customers have had great success on their journeys to healthier skin and hair. Our bars have helped with skin and scalp conditions, as well as improving overall quality of skin and hair! You can read honest customer reviews of every product in our store.

Much Love,

Nora


DIY Vanilla Inspired Spa Day!

Apple Valley Natural Soap loves using vanilla in products like our Sweet Vanilla Body Polish or Vanilla Bean Lip Balm to give them a warm, dreamy scent, but did you know that vanilla has multiple beauty benefits for your skin? Vanilla is full of skin-protecting, skin-perfecting antioxidants and may help reduce fine lines and help clear up acne! Vanilla is the perfect spa-inspo for the fall season, so enjoy these three vanilla related projects that are fun to make and enjoy!

DIY VANILLA EXTRACT RECIPIE

Once you’ve tried homemade vanilla extract you won’t go back! This delicious vanilla extract tastes great in baked goods and saves you money!

This vanilla extract recipe comes straight from Natasha’s Kitchen, to turn this recipe into a cute gift check out the original post for more details!

Ingredients for DIY Vanilla Extract

Photo by Sarah Chai on Pexels.com

Vanilla Extract Ingredients (makes 12 (4oz) jars):

Tools you’ll need for Homemade Vanilla Extract:

  • Small funnel or measuring cup with pouring lip
  • 12 4oz clear bottles with lids (avoid cork lids)
  • Labels click here to save and print the labels
  • Kitchen scissors or sharp knife

Instructions

  1. Wash and sanitize bottles and lids: Wash with mild soapy water, rinse, then carefully swirl with boiling hot water to sanitize them.
  2. Cut beans in half then Split beans (it’s easiest with kitchen scissors), cutting them about halfway down the stem. If the beans are too dry to split, cut them into 1″ pieces. Place a total of 1 1/2 whole beans in each jar (or 3 split halves).
  3. Use a funnel to pour vodka to the top of jar. Cover tightly with lid and let them brew for 2 months, shaking occasionally.

DIY VANILLA BATH SALTS

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

There is nothing like filling your tub with vanilla! These naturally scented vanilla bath salts are here for you and your “me time”!

This bath salt recipe is from Real Housemoms, this project also makes a fast and easy gift or favor in a pinch, read more about it here! Check out the website for more recipes and Holiday ideas!

Ingredients for DIY Vanilla Bath Salts

Vanilla Bath Salt Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add the epsom salts and baking soda to a small bowl.
  • Top with 5 drops of vanilla essential oil (or more if desired) and stir until salt, baking soda and oils are combined.
  • Add food coloring if desired to tint the salts; this may be preferred if you are gifting but is not necessary if you’re creating for your own bath.

At this point, if you’re using at home, transfer the salts to a jar and seal to keep fresh until use. You’ll want to use about a half cup of salts for a full bath. If you’re looking to gift these DIY Vanilla Bath Salts, you might want to add a little brown food coloring like I did here to give the salts a little color.

DIY VANILLA LATTE FACIAL MASK

This mask promises a youthening, brightening, moisturizing treat for your skin! I love how unique this mask from Gigi’s Adventures is…and you can find more unique face masks here too!

Ingredients For DIY Cinnamon Vanilla Latte Face Mask

Photo by Alexandra Titova on Pexels.com
  • 1 cup of Milk (whichever you like)
  • 2-3 Cinnamon Sticks or 1-2 teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract or 1 Vanilla Bean
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cornstarch

Instructions

The first thing you want to do is heat up your milk, and keep going until it reaches a simmering point.

Once it’s there, add the cinnamon sticks or powder and the vanilla bean or extract; if you decided to go for the sticks and beans, it would be great to let them infuse for a bit and then take them out.

As soon as the milk is boiling and the ingredients are perfectly infused into it, it’s time to take about 3 tablespoons out of it and mix them with cornstarch.

Apple Valley Natural Soap Vanilla Products

If you still haven’t had enough vanilla you can always top off your spa day with a sudsy lather of our gentle and uber-moisturizing Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Bean Face and Body Bar!

Much Love,

Nora 


Is Coconut Oil Good For Your Skin and Hair?

Many sources claim that coconut oil is a versatile skincare product and household product. 

Coconut oil has been recommended as a natural way to help heal acne, due to its antibacterial properties. 

Coconut oil has also been used as a remedy for dry hair, as it supposedly is extremely capable of locking in moisture.

Is coconut oil truly a wonderful product? With every good review comes bad press, too. Today we’ll sort through all the info on coconut oil to find out whether it is the product for you.

What is coconut oil?

According to healthline “Coconut oil is a highly saturated oil that is traditionally made by extracting the oil from raw coconuts or dried coconut kernels”

Coconut oil is known for its high medium-chain fatty acids content. These acids are a form of saturated fats and make up a large part of coconut oil’s composition.

What kinds of fatty acids are in coconut oil?

According to heathline, here is a breakdown of the fatty acid content in coconut oil:

  • Lauric acid: 49%
  • Myristic acid: 18%
  • Caprylic acid: 8%
  • Palmitic acid: 8%
  • Capric acid: 7%
  • Oleic acid: 6%
  • Linoleic acid: 2%
  • Stearic acid: 2%

These fatty acids are extremely useful in skin care and health in general. Lauric acid is known for its antimicrobial properties, and oleic and linoleic acid are both great anti-aging skincare ingredients that help plump the skin and protect the skin’s barrier. 

What are the benefits of coconut oil for skin and hair?

Photo by Robert Goldenowl on Pexels.com

Coconut oil prevents protein loss in hair

Hair that is over moisturized or lacks protein can benefit from coconut oil, which imparts protein and also helps maintain protein.

Coconut oil may have sun protection benefits

Studies have found that coconut oil can help block UV rays.

Coconut oil may help prevent acne and other skin infections

The high lauric acid content is to thank for this. Applying coconut oil to the skin may help work to prevent and treat skin conditions because of its microbial properties.

What are the negatives of coconut oil for skin and hair?

Coconut oil is a popular trend, so it is natural that it would receive some backlash, but what exactly are the cons?

Pure coconut oil is not for all hair types

Using coconut oil on hair that is naturally more dry and coarse can actually create a protein build-up, leading to even dryer, more brittle hair.

Pure coconut oil is not for all skin types

Coconut oil is thicker and is rated a 4 on the comedogenic scale, meaning it has a high capacity for clogging pores. If you constantly use coconut oil on your skin and notice that you have clogged pores you may need to cut down on use or find a different product. You should probably not use coconut oil on your face.

Do we use Coconut Oil in our skincare products?

Yes!

We utilize the best elements of coconut oil in our products while avoiding the more problematic aspects. How? Many of our ingredient lists will include “saponified oils of organic coconut.” The key word here is saponified. When coconut oil is saponified it becomes a soap! This means that we enhance the cleansing aspect of coconut oil. Our dreamy, bubbly Organic Coconut Soap Bars are made from pure coconut and essential oil blends with additional benefits. Our skincare products that use coconut oil, such as our whipped baby butters, are designed for dry skin areas such as legs and arms, not your face. We also use coconut milk as a special ingredient in some of our soaps like our Key lime Shampoo Bar because it imparts the same amazing benefits with a lighter touch so you won’t have to worry about build-up!

Thanks so much for tuning in!

Much Love,

Nora


Aluminum Free Natural Deodorant: Does It Work?

Switching to natural deodorant creme is super easy and extremely effective.

If you’re wondering how I can say this with so much confidence, read on.

Why should you use natural deodorant creme?

Our natural deodorant creme is supposedly a great product option for people with sensitive skin because it contains gentle, safe and effective ingredients like aluminum free baking soda and coconut oil. These ingredients are known for their antibacterial, oil-absorbing properties, but are they powerful enough to actually work?

Why use a natural deodorant over a name-brand?

In short, natural deodorant is made to be safer for your skin. Name-brand deodorants are appealing because they reduce sweat and mask unappealing scents, but at what cost?

I switched from name-brand deodorant sticks to 100% natural deodorant creme to see if the benefits were worth the lifestyle change. 

Does Natural Deodorant Creme Work?

Every ingredient in both our Regular Deodorant Creme and Unscented Deodorant Creme helps to combat problematic armpits. There is nothing wrong with the sweat produced by the pores in your armpits, but the tight, moist space is a breeding ground for bacteria. Healthy armpit sweat is not inherently smelly, but the bacteria that grows there is.

Natural Ingredients we use in our Deodorant Cremes

Odor-eliminating ingredients

Virgin Coconut Oil — Contains lauric acid — a fatty acid that makes up 50% of coconut oil and demolishes bacteria with its antimicrobial properties.

Aluminum-Free Baking Soda — Sweat is odorless, but bacteria breaks it down into acidic waste causing it to take on an odor. Baking Soda’s Basic pH tampers with the acidity, eliminating the odor and being basically AWESOME.

Natural sweat-eliminating ingredients 

Diatomaceous Earth — The fossilized remains of very small aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made up of natural silica, which has absorption properties. This versatile player works to absorb sweat and also dries up bacteria.

Arrowroot Powder — Another absorption agent, and totally gluten free!

Kaolin Clay — A gentle clay that won’t dry out sensitive skin. Removes toxins and lets skin breathe. Check out our shampoo bars that contain clay if you’re looking to get rid of your greasy roots!

Our Natural Deodorant Creme comes scented (with essential oils picked especially for the additional boost of their antimicrobial properties) as well as unscented.

What’s wrong with my current deodorant?

Photo by Julia Kuzenkov on Pexels.com

Name brand deodorants are focused on masking “bad” smells and eliminating sweat, but those things are getting in the way of healthy skin. In order to eliminate sweat, many deodorants use pore-clogging ingredients. This prevents the skin from breathing and causes additional problems like increased bacteria and even acne. A common solution to mask unpleasant odors is to overcompensate with fragrance, but in order to produce such an intense scent, the chemicals going into creating fragrance can be harsh and allergen-producing…without even solving the actual problem.

Natural deodorant creme uses ingredients that absorb oil and sweat, while still letting the skin breathe. Natural deodorant also uses natural fragrance, which is not only gentle, but has additional antibacterial properties that treat the root-cause of the odor…not just mask it. 

How I transitioned to Natural deodorant creme

This might be a little disappointing, but transitioning to natural deodorant was the easiest skincare transition I’ve ever made in my entire life. All you really have to do is use it. Here are the top five things I would say about switching to natural deodorant creme.

  1. Your armpits may not feel as “dry.”
    1. Don’t be alarmed! This is not an unpleasant sensation. It feels like you have a very lightweight lotion on your armpits. I hated when my previous deodorants would make my armpits kind of crusty and waxy.
  2. You might want to wash your hands after applying.
    1. I massage a pea sized amount of deodorant into each armpit with my fingers so I always wash my hands after because I don’t like excess product on my hands in general. Yes it is an extra step in my morning routine, but honestly it never hurts to wash your hands, especially when you use non-drying natural soap!
  3. Taking care of build-up is easy!
    1. This lightweight, breathable formula is perfect for sensitive skin, but if you feel like you are still experiencing clogged pores you can use this simple routine in the shower to help! Whenever you shower, just gently scrub your arm-pits with one of our exfoliating bars and follow with a spritz or two of acid rinse on each armpit. You can use our Herbal Hair Rinse, or Apple Cider Vinegar diluted with water! This will help remove any build-up on the skin since vinegar acts as a chemical exfoliant!
  4. Both Regular and Unscented Cremes smell amazing!
    1. The Regular deodorant creme has essential oils and is a scent for everyone! It is very fresh and reminds me of a mojito!
    2. The unscented deodorant creme has a natural, gender-neutral coconut scent, my boyfriend and I both love it!
  5. Long-lasting.
    1. One container could easily last six months and maybe up to a year!

I have never have body odor when I use this deodorant and my armpits stay clean even after a long, physically demanding work shift!

P.s. Have you ever wondered how deodorant came to be in the first place? The history is fascinating and it is all right here in this blog!

Much Love,

Nora