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


Are You Ready For “Cold Season”?

What is Cold Season?

In the U.S, weather isn’t the only cold thing happening during the fall and winter months. The average number of colds spikes during these seasons, most likely due to the fact that people spend more time packed together indoors and are at higher risk to spread germs. Today we’ll look at colds and flus and the importance of washing your hands with the right soap.

What is a Cold? What is a Flu? And What is the Difference Between the Two?

Cold or Flu Diagram created by the CDC

Telling the difference between a cold and a flu can be difficult. They often have similar symptoms. According to the CDC, “Flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses.” The main difference between the two is that common colds are less severe and don’t usually lead to further health problems. Flus are more intense and can lead to other complications ranging from ear infections to pneumonia.  

How Can I Prevent Colds and Flus?

Once infected with a virus the best thing you can do is rest, stay hydrated, and take medications to alleviate the symptoms. However, preventing the spread of a virus is equally important. We’re all taking additional preventative measures because of COVID, but it never hurts to be reminded just how important it is to wash your hands. Washing your hands with an effective soap for the right amount of time will help dismantle the germs lurking on your hands.

Why is it So Important to Wash Your Hands with Soap?

AVNS Man Shampoo Bar is made with Neem oil, a powerful anti-bacterial oil.

The composition of most viruses includes a lipid bilayer that holds all the other components inside. In his recent article in “The Guardian”, Dr. Thordarson, published chemistry professor, explains, “Soap contains fat-like substances known as amphiphiles, some of which are structurally very similar to the lipids in the virus membrane.” When these two similar substances compete, the stronger soap molecules dissolve the lipid bilayer and leave the virus inactive. Soap is advantageous over other disinfecting agents because the way it lathers offers full coverage on a more effective scale. 

Facts about Washing Hands

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Doubtful about the effectiveness of hand washing? Washing your hands can seem like such a mundane task, it’s hard to believe just how effective a simple scrub with soap and water can be. But washing your hands wouldn’t be so highly recommended if there wasn’t proof behind it! Here are some facts straight from the CDC!

  • “It is estimated that washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50% 1.”
  • “Researchers in London estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths a year could be prevented 2.”
  • “A large percentage of foodborne disease outbreaks are spread by contaminated hands. Appropriate hand washing practices can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and other infections 3.”
  • “Handwashing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16% 4.”

Are You Using the Best Soap?

While mass produced soaps are often labeled as antibacterial, the harsh chemicals and detergents used for cleansing may quickly lead to dry, raw skin — especially if you are washing your hands more frequently — and could leave skin more exposed and vulnerable to germs. Our natural soaps contain natural glycerin, a byproduct of natural oils that cleans and moisturizes skin. Our Salt Bars and Bars with antibacterial essential oil blends are great hand washing tools to prevent the spread of germs!

Salt

Salt creates a hypertonic solution (meaning it will attract water through osmosis). Because bacteria is mostly composed of water — just like the human body — when it comes into contact with salt, the salt will leech water from the bacteria, leaving it to shrivel and die. 

Keeping harmful bacteria off of your skin is important, but many artificial chemicals used in antibacterial soaps have been banned because they were not shown to have any health benefits and in some cases there has been evidence suggesting some chemicals may have dangerous effects

Antibacterial hand sanitizers often contain alcohol that strips the skin of bacteria, but because it is such a harsh substance it makes your skin dry. Salt bars are a natural solution that will fight bacteria, but will also replenish your skin and body with much needed minerals. The European Spa Salt used by Apple Valley Natural Soap is solar evaporated and comes from the pristine waters of the Mediterranean sea.

Essential Oils

We have a selection of soaps that were specially crafted with ingredients — specifically essential oils — researched for their antiviral properties. Our FKA “Thieves” Soap Body Bar is inspired by a blend of ingredients used to protect against illness since the 1400s. This blend contains essential oils of cinnamon, lemon, organic eucalyptus and organic rosemary — all shown to have antiviral benefits. We added Dead Sea Clay to the recipe to provide an extra boost of purification and fortification for your skin! Our Charcoal Detox Face and Body Bar is made with refining activated charcoal and a spicy, sweet blend of antiviral essential oils including rosemary, peppermint, lemon and eucalyptus.

The Best Way to Wash Your hands

The CDC has a fantastic page with information on how to wash your hands as well as the most important times to wash your hands. I’m providing the information on how to wash your hands in this blog, but I’ll link the rest of the page here.

Steps to Wash your Hands Like a Pro According to the CDC:

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com
  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

I know that hand washing might seem pretty boring, but there’s no reason why you can’t make it fun! For example, if you keep up with my blogs, you’ve probably noticed that I love Grey’s Anatomy. Every time I wash my hands I like to pretend I’m a hot-shot surgeon prepping for a daring surgery. You can also switch up your music selection, as long as it’s twenty seconds or longer. Another idea? Pick a soap you’re in love with. If I’m being honest, I could wash my hands all day with the Black Licorice Hand, Foot and Body Bar. What’s your favorite soap?

Much Love,

Nora


Crazy Facts You Didn’t Know About Pumpkin and Black Licorice

Pumpkin Spice is Back and so is Fall

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For the Minnesotan, fall is the perfect time of year. Not too hot, not too cold. The roads aren’t slippery and all of the trees explode in gorgeous shades of yellow, orange, and red. Apple orchards and pumpkin patches offer steaming cups of cider and old fashioned hay-bale rides and of course there’s the obvious: AVNS limited edition fall soaps are back in stock with Pumpkin Spice (even better than a pumpkin spice latte? You’ll have to find out), Black Licorice, and Spice Cake!

Yes, you heard right. Our mouthwatering fall soaps are ready for consumption and this time they’ve got a blog to go with them. While the popular scents of our fall bars seem like a no-brainer, there’s a fascinating history behind the popular fall ingredients we probably take for granted. This week I dug deep to learn everything there was about pumpkins and black licorice and I think their ancient roots and unknown beauty benefits will really surprise you.

The History of the Pumpkin

So who was the first person to say, “Hey, let’s scoop out the inside of this giant orange fruit, carve out shapes in its sides, and stick a candle inside!”? Thanks to an enlightening article on the History Channel Website, I learned that the first Jack O’ Lanterns originated in Ireland and were not made from candles in pumpkins but coals in carved turnips (pumpkins weren’t native to Ireland). According to a spooky Irish folktale, a man by the name of Stingy Jack (sound a little like a certain Mr. Scrooge?) made a string of deals with the Devil and when it came time for him to pass into the afterlife neither God nor the Devil were willing to open their gates to the stingy, conniving man. Instead, “The Devil sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth ever since.”

Photo by Kasumi Loffler on Pexels.com

Whoa, that’s pretty spooky, and apparently the Irish thought so too because it became a tradition for them to leave their own carved turnips glowing brightly in their windows to ward off the spirit of Stingy Jack. I’m just thankful that the God I know is way more forgiving than the version in the story. And speaking of thankfulness, what about thanksgiving and pumpkin pie?

The History Channel filled me in. Pumpkins are native to Mexico and Central America, although they’ve been grown in North America for five thousand years. The first pumpkin pies probably looked more like sweet squash casseroles than the pie crust and custard filling we are used to today.

Beauty Benefits of Pumpkin

According to an article in MYSA for DIY Pumpkin Face masks, “Pumpkin contains vitamin A, C, and E, and antioxidants, which help fight sun damage and wrinkles. It also has fruit enzymes that help naturally exfoliate dead skin cells. Finally, it contains zinc and potassium to combat redness.” Our Pumpkin Spice Hand and Body Soap is stuffed with real pumpkin puree! If you love your pumpkin spice at Starbucks you’ll love this bar.

The History of Black Licorice

Today there seems to be two camps of thought, I’ve often heard it said that people who don’t like black licorice will not go anywhere near it, while people who do like it LOVE it. Is there really no in between? I guess I wouldn’t know since I absolutely LOVE black licorice and could not be more excited that AVNS has devoted an entire bar to the sweet, chewy black candy. It’s not all about the candy though, there’s more to Licorice than meets the eye.

For those who don’t like black licorice, maybe you’ll consider giving it another whiff when you learn that it holds a revered spot throughout history. 

According to blog written by the Candy Warehouse, Licorice can be traced through the following ancient dynasties:

“Great quantities were found with the fabulous treasures of King Tut, and other Egyptian rulers — for it was believed that the licorice could be used to prepare a sweet drink in the next world.”

“The Chinese (dating back 5,000 years) maintained that eating the root would give them strength and endurance. Licorice still holds a prominent place in Chinese herbal combinations since it is believed to harmonize with the action of other herbs.”

“Alexander the Great, the Scythian armies, Roman Emperor Caesar, and even India’s great prophet, Brahma, are on record endorsing the beneficial properties contained in licorice. Warriors used it for its ability to quench thirst while on the march, while others (including Brahma and venerable Chinese Buddhist sages), recognized licorice’s valuable healing properties.”

*Twizzlers and Red Vines are referred to as licorice, but do not actually contain licorice root. Please consider this before trying to add them to your beauty routine!

Beauty Benefits of Black Licorice

Photo by Right Light on Pexels.com

According to an article in Root Science, “The anti-inflammatory properties of licorice root help reduce skin conditions that cause: puffiness, rashes, redness, swelling, and itching.” Our Black Licorice Hand, Foot, and Body Soap is also made with black walnut, regarded to be useful in the treatment of skin diseases and complaints such as eczema, ringworm, athlete’s foot etc. It’s long been used as a natural remedy for acne, canker sores, psoriasis and other fungal infections.

Food For Thought

I hope you found the histories of these commonplace foods as fascinating as I did! I love learning about cultural folklore, how about you? Sorry there wasn’t much about spice cake, the origins and history are largely unknown except for sources dating back to ancient Egypt. At least there are plenty of recipes for spice cake available (or if baking isn’t your thing just go for the soap!)

Much Love,

Nora


What is Hair porosity and why does it matter?

Hair Porosity

Photo by Rony Stephen Chowdhury on Pexels.com

Porosity refers to your hair’s ability to soak up and retain moisture (imagine trying to soak up a puddle of water with a sponge versus a sheet of plastic). Your hair’s porosity is determined by genetics, but can also be affected by external factors such as heat processing and chemical treatments. Knowing your hair’s porosity will help you choose the right products for your hair to keep it healthy, strong, and radiant. Today we’ll talk about the different types of hair porosity, how to determine your hair’s porosity, and what kind of ingredients and products work best for different hair porosities.

Why Porosity Matters

Each strand of hair on your head has an outer layer called a cuticle. Cuticles are made up of overlapping dead cells that form a protective barrier around the strand’s cortex (the inner core of your hair strand that determines your hair’s color). The cuticle’s composition is like the scales on a fish or the bark on a coniferous tree. Porosity refers to how flat and tight those scales are. 

Low Porosity Hair

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Low porosity hair is made up of strands on which the cuticles are composed of tightly bound, flat-laying scales. Low porosity hair is often shiny and repels the penetration of chemicals and moisture. 

Medium Porosity Hair

Medium porosity hair has a slightly looser cuticle than low porosity hair, allowing the perfect amount of moisture into the hair strand. Medium hair is easily manageable and holds up to heat and color manipulation. However, overuse of color, heat, and chemical treatments can disrupt and damage the cuticles, which ups the porosity.

High Porosity Hair

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High porosity hair has the loosest cuticle formation, leaving it vulnerable to too much moisture which can lead to breakage and frizz. I imagine the structure of porous strands of hair as fully matured pinecones. The scales of a baby pinecone are pressed flat but fan out as the pinecone matures. Once the scales are splayed, they are prone to catching and tearing. If it rains, the water collects inside of the pinecone instead of running off the outside and overtime the standing water will rot the pinecone’s core. Similarly, high porosity hair retains a higher water percentage than low porosity hair and too much water can cause weakening and elongation of your strands.

How to Test Your Hair’s Porosity

The most popular method of testing your hair’s porosity is by observing how a strand of hair interacts with water (often known as: the float test). To prep for this test, shampoo your hair and let it air-dry. Once your hair is clean and dry take a couple strands and drop them into a cup of water. Watch them for the next 15 minutes. If they float, your hair has a low porosity. If they quickly sink to the bottom your hair has high porosity. If they sink a bit and then hover in the middle your hair has medium porosity. You can always run this test with a few friends to have other hair to compare yours to. Depending on your determined porosity, you can adjust your hair routine to benefit your hair’s health. 

Both of these hairs are from my head! The curlier, coarser strand is from the back and the looser, thinner strand is from the front!

My Results From the Float Test

I was curious as the whether this test really works (you know I love DIYs), so of course I had to try it out. I selected two different strands of my hair from my head because as you’ll see from the photos I took: I have a diverse head of hair. I also used a strand of my mother’s hair because why not? According to the results, my hair is low to medium porosity and my mother’s hair is low porosity. If you’re going to run this test I suggest using a bowl with a wide opening because the hair strands kept clinging to the edge of the glasses with narrow openings.

If You Have Low Porosity Hair

Rhassoul and Avocado Shampoo Bar

Product will tend to sit on your hair instead of being absorbed. You’ll need to clarify frequently to control build up. Clay is a great way to do this. Our Rhassoul and Avocado Shampoo Bar and White China Silk Shampoo Bar are both made with clay: an excellent natural clarifier. Acidic hair rinses are also extremely helpful for getting rid of build up.

If You have Medium Porosity Hair

You’re really going to want to balance moisture and protein in your hair care routine. Hemp seed oil is perfect because it is an oil that will lock in moisture while also providing protein. I love the Hemp and Honey 2.0 Shampoo Bar for my curly hair.

If You Have High Porosity Hair

Organic Argan Oil

Trap in that moisture with oils. Coconut oil is great for locking in moisture and is a key ingredient in many of our shampoo bars. The Coconut Milk and Citrus Shampoo Bar and Key Lime Shampoo Bar are made with coconut milk, a natural beauty treatment used in many hair and skin products to hydrate and repair skin cells as well as to add shine, silkiness, and softness to hair and skin. Using oils when you style is also essential. Argan oil will lock in additional moisture and promote shine!

What’s you hair’s porosity?

Much Love,

Nora


Boost Your Confidence Naturally With Power Posing?

I Tried Power Posing for Five Minutes Daily to Increase Confidence

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Is confidence something you’re born with? Or something you can naturally obtain over time with experience? Are there things you can do to boost your confidence quickly? I decided to spend five minutes power posing every day and then keep a daily journal to record any signs of increased confidence. I can say with complete confidence that the results surprised me.

Boost Natural Confidence?

Outer Sources of Confidence 

Natural ways to improve confidence are easier to achieve than you might think. Evaluating the patterns in your life can help you determine ways to boost confidence with only a few mindful adjustments.

Surround Yourself With Supporters

Spending time with people who believe in you can help you to believe in yourself. Be mindful not to rely on others to feed your ego, but learn how to participate in a community focused on the goal of lifting up others.

Essential Oils to Boost Confidence

Essential oils are used as natural remedies to boost confidence. Our noses have a powerful influence on the rest of our bodily systems. Introducing your senses to certain smells in order to influence your body or mind is known as aromatherapy. Specific essential oils such as lavender, bergamot, and peppermint have been used to relieve tension, boost self-esteem, and even increase performance ability (have you ever received a peppermint before a big test? I know I have!). Many essential oils and plant products also have topical benefits as well, which is why they are the perfect natural solution for scenting our soaps and other products.

Inner Sources of Confidence

There are tons of natural ways to boost confidence, and most of them start with the way you treat yourself. 

Self-Talk

How you talk to yourself influences your self perception. When your inner monologue is positive and not self-deprecating, your self-esteem increases. For some examples of negative self-talk vs. positive self-talk, check out this educational example!

Body Language

What is Power Posing?

If you’ve ever prepared for a job interview, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the term “Power Posing” before. Power posing comes from the idea that our body language plays a big role in determining self-perception and if we look powerful, we’ll feel powerful. The initial Power Posing Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy became wildly popular after its debut in 2012, but after a replicated study in 2015 failed to produce similar findings power posing was called out as pseudoscience. Despite receiving fervent backlash, Cuddy must have been power posing 24/7 because she refused to give up and confidently continued her research into 2018 until she confirmed without a doubt that power posing is shown to make people feel more confident, even if it doesn’t actually produce a hormonal change. 

Five Days of Power Posing

I kept a little journal for each day that I spent standing like Wonder Woman to record any changes in confidence that might have occurred as well as some overall feelings and observations about the experiment.

Day 1

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Today was my first day “Power Posing!” I decided to use the same pose every day, even though there are many poses to choose from. I chose the Wonder Woman-esque “hands on hips” pose because it seemed the most natural (just in case I ever had to do it in public) and it’s also the pose used on Grey’s Anatomy (Season 11, Episode 14) which is where I first got the inspiration for this blog. I posed in my bathroom so that I could look in the mirror to check that I was doing it right. Wow. Five minutes sure seems like a long time when you aren’t doing anything, I tried to think “powerful thoughts” but I kept getting distracted and I think I checked my timer like a million times. I’m so glad I decided to start this project today because I had an interview and I needed all the confidence I could get. The interview went very well and at one point my interviewer asked me if I was actually good at writing. Normally I’d come up with a tactful reply balancing between humility and positivity, but when he asked me my instant response was a big, confident, “Yes.” WHOA. WHERE DID THAT CONFIDENCE COME FROM?! Does power posing work that well? I guess I’ll have to see and find out!

Day 2

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Power posed in the shower today so that I could let my favorite deep condition do its trick at the same time. I felt pretty low today because my long term boyfriend and best friend leaves for college in three days and I’m going to miss him a ton. I went over to his house to help him pack for school and was just overwhelmed by sadness (and all the packing that needed to get done). I was sitting in his room feeling sorry for myself when this thought popped into my head, “You know, if you work at being productive you might not feel so sad.” Cleaning is never my favorite task and I’d have normally dismissed the thought, but for some reason I felt like I had the inner reserves to push through and get the job done. After five hours and a bunch of sorting and organizing we had gone through his entire room. It was extremely satisfying and I felt like maybe the power posing had helped me feel like I was capable of accomplishing tasks I would normally avoid.

Day 3

I was super busy and didn’t have time to power pose until late afternoon because I spent the morning driving to Wisconsin to get to work on time. I didn’t notice much of a difference throughout the day, although one interesting thing did happen at the end of the day. I was sitting behind the front desk and a couple came in looking for a recommendation for trips down the river. When I started talking to them, I found myself getting out of my chair and standing. Then my hands naturally went to my hips and before I knew it I was discreetly power posing (nervous sweat be gone!)! 

Day 4

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I forgot to power pose at home and had to do it at work today. The workplace can sometimes be stressful and I found I had difficulty holding my pose for the full five minutes. I kept resorting to more anxious body language. The rest of the day went relatively smoothly. I think my main takeaway from today is that maybe power posing offers more than just boosting confidence, maybe it also acts as a gauge to determine how confident you are at any given place or time. Perhaps, if you recognize a place where you don’t feel as confident, your awareness can help you push through the situation.

Day 5

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The last day of power posing started off with really great news! I was offered the position at the place I interviewed! For the rest of the day I felt extremely productive. Over the last five days I’ve found that I’ve been able to initiate action with more ease than I have in the past. I think I’m going to continue power posing every day for two minutes instead of five. Even if its effects are just placebo, power posing gives me a couple minutes to just breathe and be in my own body and I’ve come to appreciate and cherish that time.

I hoped you enjoyed following my five days of power posing. Feel free to replicate the project and reach out with your results! If you’re new to AVNS, welcome! You can join our community newsletter to stay up to date on sales and giveaways and get 10% off on your first purchase!

Much Love & Confidence,

Nora


3 Important Skincare Tips for Mature Skin

Giving Your Skin What it Needs

Signs of aging are nothing to be ashamed of. 

You are beautiful beyond your physical appearance.

That being said, your skin deserves the best care you can give it and you deserve to feel like you look as amazing as you are…no matter what your age is.

So you shouldn’t be ashamed for wanting to find the perfect make-up routine either.

Behind Every Great Make-up Routine is an Amazing Skincare Routine. 

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This is especially true for mature skin. According to the U.S National Library of Medicine, As we age, “changes in the connective tissue reduce the skin’s strength and elasticity.” For people 50+, a mature skincare routine means paying extra attention to your skin’s needs to prevent dry, dull skin from weighing down your glowing personality. Because I’m just a youngin when it comes to the beauty industry, I reached out to a professional make-up artist who specializes in mature skin to bring you the top three tips on caring for mature skin.

Pssst! Not over the hill yet? Not even over the anthill? You should keep reading, because it is never too early to find the perfect skincare routine and these tips apply to all skin!

Meet Elise Marquam-Jahns

Author at Sixtyandme.com, “Elise Marquam-Jahns is a professional makeup artist who is passionate about helping women 50+ get their glow back. She is the founder of Boomer and Beyond Beauty and recently launched “Boomer and Beyond Beauty with Elise” – a makeup and beauty YouTube channel specifically designed for women over 50.”

I spent the week emailing with this sophisticated skincare expert (and watching her informative Youtube videos) to learn as much as I could about how to best care for mature skin. 

3 Skincare Tips for Mature Skin

These three easy steps can be added to any and every skincare routine to help keep your skin luminous and healthy.

Exfoliate

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While using the right cleanser for your skin has countless benefits, Elise points out that washing your face correctly is also an essential part of an effective skincare routine. In her Youtube video “6 Skincare Musts for Women 50+” Elise recommends using a sonic cleansing brush to wash your face instead of doing it manually because, “it doesn’t thoroughly get rid of everything that’s accumulated on our skin over the day.” Pollution, left-over make-up, and dead skin all contribute to build-up. Exfoliating with a brush removes this build-up and enhances the appearance and feeling of your skin. It also exposes your skin and allows the products you’re applying to be more effective. For example, exfoliating and then applying a toner will allow the ingredients to interact with the brand new skin. Rich in vitamin C our Organic Bulgarian Rose Facial Toner has tons of benefits for mature skin including possible lessening of fine lines and wrinkles over time, read more here. One important note about exfoliating is to not do it too often. Over use of a sonic cleansing brush can lead to raw skin, so finding a frequency your skin can tolerate is important. Exfoliating once every other day is a good starting point!

Moisturize

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In her video, Elise lists moisturized skin as a priority for mature skin and we couldn’t agree more. Natural Soap is a great way to ensure that your skin is moisturized and cleansed at the same time, we even have a line of facial soap dedicated to dry skin. I wanted to know exactly what kind of ingredients were best for mature skin, so I asked Elise for a list of DOs and DON’Ts for skincare ingredients.

DON’T: Mineral Oil, Aluminum, DEA, MEA or TEA, DMDM Hydantoin and Urea, Parabens (anything with Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl), Phthalates, synthetic fragrances, alcohol, and Triclosan

DO: The most important skin care ingredients for me are Vitamin C + E plus Ferulic Acid (skin brighteners), Coenzyme Q10 and Matrixyl Synthe 6.  

Argan Oil is packed with vitamin E and a great natural moisturizer for both mature skin skin and hair and you can read about why that is here.

Antioxidant Beauty Facial Soap

One of our most pampering bars, the Antioxidant Beauty Facial Soap is packed with natural ingredients including:

Green tea extract for added skin elasticity.

Papaya with vitamin A for new cell reformation.

Guava for its anti-aging B vitamins.

Rosehips for their natural skin brightening retinol and vitamin C components.

Sea buckthorn for its collagen-creating Omega 7 fatty acid.

Yogurt for its pore-tightening lactic acid.

Rhassoul Clay absorbs impurities from hair and skin while leaving it soft and moisturized.

Protection

I have the same visor in two colors. That’s how much I love it.

I grew up believing that sunscreen was only meant for day-long sunshine marathons on the dock. Contrary to popular practice, you can benefit from wearing sunscreen with safe ingredients whenever you go outside. I have sensitive facial skin, so I always, always, always wear my signature giant sun visor. Elise recommends wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Sunscreen not only protects against skin cancer, it also preserves the appearance of your skin. According to the Institute of Health, “When UV rays enter skin cells, they upset delicate processes that affect the skin’s growth and appearance. Over time, exposure to these rays can make the skin less elastic. Skin may even become thickened and leathery, wrinkled, or thinned like tissue paper.”

A Word on Haircare

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The condition of our skin affects the condition of our hair too. In an article published in Good Housekeeping, the myth that grey hair is naturally coarser was debunked with this insightful correlation, “While gray hair feels coarse and rough, the structure of the strand hasn’t actually changed. When those melanin-producing cells run out of steam, the hair follicles also produce less sebum (the natural oils that hydrate hair). As a result, gray hair tends to be drier, which gives it that wiry texture.” Knowing that grey hair isn’t inherently difficult means we can do something about it! If you’re tired of touching up your roots now could be your time to embrace your grey! With hashtags like #greyhairdontcare you can find an online community of beautiful women supporting one another as they transition to elegant, icy hues.

I’ll Say it Again

Signs of age are nothing to be ashamed of. They represent the individual experience of life for every person on the planet. Our bodies were built as beautiful, temporary houses for our souls and they do so much for us while we inhabit the Earth. For this we are grateful. I’m personally grateful that I had the chance to catch up with a beauty mentor who also happens to be my amazing grandmother (did the same last name give it away??)! What are you grateful for?

Pictured left to right: my mom, me, my grandmother Elise and my aunt Erin.

Much Love,

Nora


Want to become a Brand Ambassador for Natural Soap? Here’s How.

What is a Brand Ambassador?

A Brand Ambassador represents a company and promotes the company’s products either in person or on-line.

Apple Valley Natural Soap Brand Ambassador/Affiliate Program

We want people to have natural, organic, vegan, cruelty-free, options when it comes to health and beauty products. As a smaller business we do our best to reach people with quality, hand-made natural products, but sometimes we need a little help. The Apple Valley Natural Soap Brand Ambassador/Affiliate program was created so that people who love our products can benefit from sharing them with others via social media (Facebook, Instagram, personal blogs…you get the idea).

Don’t Think You’re Tech Savvy enough to be a Brand Ambassador? Think Again!

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Okay, let me start by saying: I have never been a tech savvy person. When I tell people this they think I’m being dramatic. Then I tell how I failed my computer skills class in eighth grade. The story goes like this:

We were supposed to program a short animation of a cat doing the following: walking across the room, picking up a can of tuna fish, eating the tuna fish, turning green, and barfing.

After five hours of sweating over my keyboard and mouse my cat did this:

Turned green, walked…upside down across the ceiling, barfed (while still upside down), completely ignored the can of tuna, and then disappeared.

People don’t question me after that. 

Steps to Becoming an AVNS Brand Ambassador

I decided that if I could figure out how to become an AVNS Brand Ambassador, you could too. I spent the entire week attempting to learn the ins and outs of being a Brand Ambassador and even if I’m never successful, hopefully I can give you the start you need to become the best AVNS Brand Ambassador EVER.

Step One: Create an Affiliate Account Through Apple Valley Natural Soap

If you’re on the mobile version of our site it will say “Pages”

Once you’re on the AVNS website, click on “More” and then scroll through the drop down menu until you find the “Ambassador/Affiliate Program” tab. 

The Ambassador/Affiliate Page will walk you through the process and benefits and at the bottom of the page you’ll see a button that says “Register.” Click on it.

Here are the basics of becoming a Brand Ambassador

Setting up your account is super easy, as is setting up a Paypal account if you don’t already have one.

Step Two: Set Up a PayPal Account

I’m pretty sure all I had to do was enter my email…

If you know you’re putting all your profits towards more AVNS soap, we have an option for your commission to be in the form of store credit as well!

The trickiest part for me was the actual Brand “Ambassad-ing”

Step Two: Create Promotional Posts

We’ve already supplied you with banners (photos of your fav products) that can be found on your affiliate account. Just download the photo you want to post and then upload it to social media. I love Instagram and Facebook, but I quickly learned that I wasn’t as good at navigating them as I thought. It took me a while to understand that I couldn’t share a click-able link on my Facebook and Instagram stories. The trick is to put your affiliate link (which you can find on your account page) in your bio. And then direct people to your bio.

Aww, look at my cute lil affiliate link!

Not sure what a bio is? That’s okay, you aren’t alone! A bio is a place for you to introduce yourself on social media platforms and is typically under where your name is displayed. A blog is also a great way to share products with others

My First Post

I chose the half-sized bar banner because one of my favorite things about AVNS is the huge selection of unique soaps. I put my affiliate link in my Instagram and Facebook bios so that I could redirect people through my story. My Instagram gives me the option to share the post on Facebook and to that I said YES!

When people purchase through your affiliate link you’ll earn commission starting at 6%!

Why Be a Brand Ambassador for Apple Valley Natural Soap?

Apple Valley Natural Soap is about more than keeping surface-level clean. We design our products to exist in harmony with the environment and with your body. What we put in our earth and on our bodies MATTERS. We strive for a deep clean of mind, body, soul, and earth because we believe it is a noble undertaking. If you believe this, and want to help others achieve a deep clean then you’re already on your way to becoming an AVNS Brand Ambassador (if only we can get this pesky post to upload, am I right?)

Much Love,

Nora


How to Achieve the Perfect DIY Spa Day

In my opinion, there is nothing better than the perfect spa session. 

Correction.

There is nothing better than the perfect DIY spa session. In fact, I’ve perfected the art of the DIY spa so, well, perfectly…that I’ve never felt the need to go to a professional spa.

I love a DIY spa day because you get to pick:

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
Who’s Invited

You can make it a fun project for the kids, a surprise gift for a friend or family member, or a romantic occasion with your significant other. 

What’s on the Spa Menu

You get to pick your spa treatments (hot wax treatment…but skip the intense leg massage? You got it!) 

The Products

And you get to use products you already know and love. Annnnnnnnd when you love Apple Valley Natural Soap you also know every ingredient that goes into your favorite soaps, lotions and scrubs.

Okay. So now that I’ve convinced you that a DIY spa day is the way to go, I’m sure you’re wondering where to start.

Don’t worry, we might be about to go all-natural with our products, but I’ve got you covered.

The Importance of Self-Care

Before we get lost in the excitement of sugary body scrubs and scrumptious body butters I want to say this: behind every amazing spa day is a source of meaningful motivation. Planning a spa day is a fantastic way to be intentional about self-care.

What is self-care?

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This quote on Active Minds, the nation’s top non-profit for support and education on mental health, beautifully sums up what self-care is and why it matters, “Self-care is important to maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself. It means doing things to take care of our minds, bodies, and souls by engaging in activities that promote well-being and reduce stress. Doing so enhances our ability to live fully, vibrantly, and effectively. The practice of self-care also reminds both you and others that your needs are valid and a priority.”

If this year has thrown some unexpected challenges your way, raise your hands (mine are already up).

If you raised your hand you are a top candidate for self-care, and if you didn’t raise your hand you are too.

Self-Care Spa Day

The number one reason why I love a DIY spa day is because it allows me to transform my daily maintenance tasks from obligations to occasions. If I’m going to clean my body I might as well do it in style and comfort.

Exfoliate with Salt Bars or Body Polish

I love the way my skin feels after I exfoliate. Both salt and sugar make great natural exfoliants and the essential oils added to our salt bars and sugar scrubs are known for their additional health and beauty benefits. 

Salt Bars

A salt bar is a fantastic way to exfoliate and clean at the same time, so it is a great option for DIY pedicures (just scrub, pat dry, and follow with a little argan oil). The Lavender Rosemary Salt Bar is on my top ten AVNS list because it smells amazing, feels amazing, and also works as an amazing shampoo.

Sugar Scrubs

A sugar scrub is my go to for a perfect pre-shave exfoliation because sugar is a natural, gentle exfoliant and the moisturizing oils add an extra layer of protection for my skin when I shave. Our Body Polish is so moisturizing that after using it you may find you don’t even need to apply lotion! It comes in four delicious scents: Citrus Sugar, Matcha Mint, Sweet Vanilla, and Sweet Rosehips (my personal recommendation).

Shave with Coconut Bars

Shaving gets tedious, but with a Virgin Pina Colada nearby it can be wayyyy more enjoyable!

After exfoliating you’ll need to lather up and I’m going to promise you something. Using one of our coconut soap bars as shaving soap will change your life. I had been using shaving cream since I first started shaving and I was super skeptical about using bar soap, but after that first lather…whoa. Coconut Bars lather up so luxuriously, you’ll feel like the King or Queen of shaving.

Massage

While I wish a massage was part of my daily routine, it’s definitely a great way to ease the pain of sore, stiff muscles after a long day of work or play. Our Organic Virgin Jojoba Oil is the perfect massage oil and you can get it CUSTOM MADE with any of our soap scents. If you’re curious about what jojoba oil is you can read more about it here.

DIY Self-Care Massage (feet)

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As a dancer I spent a lot of my time walking around with sore feet. I wish I had this Youtube tutorial by PsycheTruth on how to give myself a foot-massage back then, but oh well.

DIY Couples Massage

It’s important to make sure you are in a good place before you start lifting those around you and a DIY couples massage may be the perfect way to lift as you rise! Check out Cleverly’s short, simple instructional video for an upper back massage!

Remember to Relax!

You’ve earned the right to relax this year, and we hope our products will help you achieve the pampering you deserve. For more DIYs, follow our blog. I’d love to know how you use our products to unwind after a busy day, so always feel free to comment below!

Much Love,

Nora