5 Unique Ways To Use and Reuse Flowers!

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

We get the flower hype, we love using floral essential oils to scent our soaps. Our Bella Rose Shampoo bar and Lavender Buttermilk Shampoo bar are just a few of our floral scented soaps! But what else can you do with flowers? A lot!  From jewelry to tasty treats, let’s celebrate the floral explosion of springtime with a purposeful harvest! 

  1. DIY Potpourri

Such a fun, simple way to keep those expired Mother’s Day bouquets going! According to Grower Direct, “Potpourri was created in the 12th century for the purpose of freshening rooms in castles for the people of that time. Spices or herbs were placed in huge cooking cauldrons after the meal tasks of the day had been completed.” Many people today continue to use potpourri as a natural way to keep their living spaces smelling fresh! I used to wonder why my Nana kept a bunch of dried up flowers in a bowl on the bathroom counter…now I know! Here’s a potpourri recipe specifically for repurposing old bouquets. You can always change the ingredients of a potpourri to match the season. Pinecones during Christmas or cloves and oranges for fall!

  1. Flower Beads

I feel like this is a great project for a rainy day! This craft is a beautiful way to memorialize a special day like a wedding or anniversary and if you make the beads entirely out of the flowers from the occasion you have a very sentimental keepsake that can last you a super long time. According to Beading Gem, “Real rose petal beads have been made for centuries. The Catholic Church sanctioned the use of rose petal beads in rosaries back in the 16th century. Indeed, the word rosary comes from the Latin rosarium or rose garden. The craft was practiced by convent sisters,Victorians and even by mission people in early California. It is easy to understand why the beads were so popular for they give out a lovely fragrance especially when worn or handled.” A recipe for making the beads in a more traditional fashion can be found here. However, if you’re looking for something a little less intricate you can always simplify the recipe by blending crushed up flowers in a pre-made clay!

photo from The View From Great Island
  1. Dandelion honey

Looking for a vegan honey recipe? Try dandelion honey. Yes, it is a bit of a process to make, but you’ll save the bees a lot of work and what a cool experience! The benefits of dandelion honey include it being a vegan substitute, an alternative for people who are allergic to honey, plus you can put the dandelions to good use! Did you know that dandelions are technically considered a weed? My mom would disagree, she would argue that that dandelion is just a very dedicated and persistent flower, but the dandelion was actually introduced to North America and is not native. “In the mid-1600s, European settlers brought the common dandelion (scientific name, Taraxacum officinale) to eastern America and cultivated it in their gardens for food and medicine. Since then it has spread across the continent as a weed.” You can actually incorporate dandelions into a lot of different food dishes, but to start here is a recipe for dandelion honey from The Spruce Eats.

  1. Ice Cube Decorations

Jazz up your brunch or picnic with edible, beautiful ice cubes! I will attach a detailed article from The View From Great Island so you can be sure that these ice cube treats turn out after only a couple practice tries…but there are a couple important details to note if you want your ice cubes to turn out right away! Try a silicone ice cube tray for best results. Make sure you are boiling distilled water for the clearest ice to see the flowers! And try using edible greens in your cubes to ensure anything consumed will be safe. Some flowers include roses, pansies, nasturtiums, marigolds, violets and geraniums. You could also add a little extra flavor by using mint leaves! 

  1. Edible Flower Shortbread Cookies

Just a simple, delicious cookie recipe sure to wow any guests with the pressed pressed topping of an edible flower! Recipe from Two Cups Flour can be found right here!

I think the cookie recipe is definitely on the top of my to-try list! What about you?

Much Love,

Nora


New Location Opening!

You’ve probably heard and seen some buzz about our new physical storefront in Apple Valley…but if you haven’t…here’s all the details!

Grand Opening

Everyone is welcome to come to our Grand Opening weekend! You can pop by on Friday May 20th or Saturday May 21st and we’ll be open both days from 10-5pm! Stock up on your favorite products without having to worry about shipping, discover exclusive products that are only sold in-store, and enter a giveaway for a chance to win a bundle of AVNS products! (If you are out of state keep an eye out for our online inclusive giveaway in June!)

“We are calling the retail space The AVNS Market, and it has grown out of a dream I’ve had for the last few years. A dream to have a retail area where we sell products that are good for us and the environment, products that are fun, sweet & unique, while also being able to support other small businesses. We hope the AVNS Market will offer a relaxing, joy filled shopping experience for all.”

-Marianne Buck

Location:

7570 West 147th Street

Suite 301

Apple Valley, MN 55124

Hours:

1st & 3rd Weekends Of The Month

Friday & Saturday 

10am – 5pm

(Not open Sundays, Holiday hours may vary)

Since purchasing the business in 2018, someday being able to open a physical storefront was always the hope for the future of AVNS. Three years of hard work from the Buck family and AVNS family as a whole has finally paid off as we prepare to open our doors to anyone who wants to visit! 

“When we saw the space in Apple Valley, MN as a possibility for the business I immediately saw the brick wall and knew it could be something special. After deciding to move ahead with signing the lease (a huge scary step of faith), we focused on getting the business up and running for on-line orders. Once everything was running smoothly, I started thinking and processing through what it would take to turn part of the space into a relaxing shopping experience. Once I found some inspiration the transformation took off. 

Now that the shop is ready to open its doors to the public, I’ve found myself doubting the decisions and the journey, but then remind myself that my future doesn’t rest in my hands, I have confidence that God has led us on this journey and He doesn’t make mistakes. Over the last week or so I’ve been blessed with many affirmations about our decision, and recently found out that research is now showing that many people are moving away from doing only on-line shopping as they want to get out and shop in person. They want to touch, feel, smell and be around others after having 2 years of not being able to. I am amazed that a decision that my husband and I made months ago, which we felt was stepping out into the unknown, is now proving to be the right path for us.” 

-Marianne Buck

We love what having an online store has to offer: the ability to cater to customers who live far away, the efficiency that online shopping allows, and we hope to continue growing our online store for all our far away friends! 

We’re excited that our physical store will give people the chance to come and connect with us and our products on a personal level…not sure if you’ll like the smell of a particular soap? Now you can just pop by and sniff it for yourself!

I haven’t had the chance to explore our new line of candles yet, so my visit gave me the chance to sniff around and I absolutely fell in love with the quaint clay pot that the Sun-Kissed Coconut All Natural Soy Candle came in…not to mention the amazing smell and the fact that the lid and pot can be turned into a flowerpot and seeds after the candle has been used up! I had to take one home for a Mother’s Day gift!

I’ve been fortunate enough to have already had the chance to pay the Apple Valley Natural Soap Market an in-person visit, and let me tell you…once you walk through the doors into this dreamy naturally scented haven of crafted goods you’ll want to stay all day! 

One of the most exciting things about the AVNS Market is all the cool products that are only available in-store. Jewelry that incorporates essential oils, eco-friendly dish ware, cotton goods like blankets, towels and robes, reusable beauty products.

Hope you stop by!

Much Love,

Nora


Mother’s Day Eco-Friendly Gift Guide 2022

Gift giving can be extremely difficult, especially when shopping for loved ones. Obviously, Mother’s Day shopping is no easy task. How do you find something that expresses your sentiment, but will also be useful and enjoyed by the mom or mother-figure in your life? The internet may seem like a helpful tool for finding gifts that are unique and creative, but it can also be exhausting to have to sort through the countless ideas and options that are thrown your way. 

That’s why I take the time to page through Etsy for these gift giving occasions…pulling some of the most fun, most practical gift ideas I can find and bringing them to our blog. The goal is to give you a small, but inspiring sample of exciting and meaningful Mother’s Day Gifts that are hopefully eco-friendly!

I usually rank my gift guides in order of how much I would personally want the gift, and I usually save the thing I would personally want most and find the absolute coolest for last…but let me say…this year I would put all of these gifts last if it were possible (okay, maybe I do have one stand out favorite…but it was a close call!)

Copper Earrings by CapturedIllusions

Description from creator

These are knock-out. They shine and you just cannot miss them. These earrings are made from hand hammered copper that has been domed. They are complimented by sterling silver wires. 7/8″x1-1/2″ includes wire.

These make the perfect additional “something something” to tuck into one of our giftboxes!

100% Organic Cotton Turkish Beach Towel by FESHKA

These made me think of my own mom, who loves nothing more than a huge beach towel to sprawl out in the sun on a hot day! These towels are versatile, durable and quick drying!

Description from creator

Feshka beach towels are made of 100% organic Turkish cotton, making our towels extremely soft and durable. Designed to be practical, lightweight, and fashionable, Feshka towels introduce versatile usage over the traditional towel.

You can use them as: Beach and Pool Towel, Picnic Blanket, Dog Blanket, Yoga Mat, TV Blanket, Camping Blanket, Shawl, Scarf, Wrap, Throw Blanket, Sarong, Travel Blanket. Table Cloth, Bath Towel, or Baby Blanket.

Our towels are prewashed to give you the best experience right out of the box. Use of 100% organic Turkish cotton, which consists of extra-long fibers, makes them extra smooth. Feshka towels become softer with every wash. They are made to last and perfect as a gift!

Feshka towels are thinner than terry towels, dry super fast and can also be used as bathroom towels. Quick drying means you can use them over and over again! No more smelly towels. It’s perfect for your next journey!

The unique weaving technique and the use of Turkish cotton allow our towels to repel sand even if they are wet! Enjoy your beach days with the comfort of Feshka Original Turkish Towels while leaving the sand at the beach!

We know being healthy isn’t just what you do with your body but what you put on it. Being GOTS and OEKO-TEX® certified means our products are 100% organic, safe for skin and the environment.

It’s time to say goodbye to your old bulky towels that take forever to dry and pack up. Made with the most premium Turkish cotton and hand-loomed in Turkey, Feshka towels will give you a brand-new experience of beach towels.

What Exactly Are Turkish Towels?

Turkey is one of the most renowned countries for superior fabric production from their exceptional cotton fields. Turkish towels–sometimes called Peshtemal-are made from premium Turkish Cotton that has extra-long fibers which results in stronger and smoother cotton threads. Because of this unique material, Turkish towels are known to become even softer, fluffier, and more absorbent with successive washings.

More information:

*Dimensions: 37″ x 67″ (94cm x 170cm)

*100% Turkish Organic Cotton

*Sand Resistant Design!

*Made and Loomed in Turkey

*After Care Instructions: Machine Wash Cold. Air Dry.

Your towels will ship from California with FREE SHIPPING!

Embrace the summer theme by pairing this towel with one of our outdoorsy, summery bars! Our Summer Skin Saver is out now and our Camping soap will be too! 

Mother’s Day Personalized Book by ISeeMeBooksUS

I had relatives that used to make me personalized books for Christmas when I was little where I was the main character and I always felt so cool and a little bit famous. I don’t think you have to be seven to feel that way! I think every mom is the hero of her story and it deserves to be in print!

Description from creator

Honor a loving super mom with a uniquely personalized book that’s perfect for Mother’s Day, a birthday, or any day of the year just because! Everyone knows moms have super-vision for finding things and super-strength for carrying copious amounts of stuff. Moms are called on to be builders, bakers, doctors, and duct-tapers. Moms can do anything! She brightens our days and wraps us in love. “My Super Mom” makes a sweet photo-personalized gift for moms who are clever, creative, multi-tasking champions! Written by Jennifer Fox and illustrated by Sarah Gramelspacher. Made in the USA. 20 pages; 8.5 x 8.5 inch. HARDCOVER OR SOFTCOVER OPTIONS AVAILABLE.

Even heroes need a spa day! Make sure mom knows this by pairing this fun read with a gift set of soaps, scrubs, and luxury oils! Then she can read in the tub!

Handwritten Recipe Cutting Board for Mother’s Day by Cuttingboarder

I believe that Mother’s Day also serves as a remembrance and celebration of mothers in general. The gift you’re giving may not be going to a mother, but perhaps someone who has lost a mother. My Nana was and is the foundation of my family and when I saw this gift idea I imagined giving one with her handwriting on it to my aunt and how much that would mean to her. 

Description from creator

Create a cherished family heirloom with this engraved, handwritten recipe cutting board! We will take your favorite recipe, from Grandma, Mom, or anyone, and laser engrave it into our high quality, hardwood cutting boards. The perfect gift to remember a loved one and their special recipe!

Keep in theme with cooking and kitchens by pairing this gift with our Kitchen Salt and Spice Bar!

Mother’s Day Chocolates by BrownSugarChocolate

These are so incredibly cool. Who doesn’t love edible artwork? I just can’t get over the fact that these are gorgeous and gluten free!

Description from creator

Brown Sugar Chocolate is a small artisan chocolate company. We make your chocolates to order. We craft each chocolate to have perfect flavor and beautiful artistry. These chocolates are a celebration in a box. Our ingredients are simple and all of our chocolates are free from gluten, eggs, nuts, and corn products.

Our flavors include…

Creme Brulee

Cinnamon Roll

Salted Chocolate Caramel

Double Espresso

Raspberry

Key Lime Pie

Strawberry

Classic Chocolate

Passion Fruit

Cookie Dough Monster

Lavender Honey

This is a 6 piece assorted box with a Mother’s Day theme in a super cute eco-friendly box.

Obviously pair with our Cocoa Butter Bar so you can wash your hands with chocolate after eating it!

Octopus glass straw by Luv4Erth

These are probably the cutest little creatures I have ever seen in my entire life. If you aren’t captivated by these goofy little straw buddies I don’t know what to say.

Description from creator

 All Straws are handmade by us in Murrieta, CA USA

🐙 This listing is for 1 custom, made to order glass drinking straw with a Octopus design

🐙 Custom colors – Select a primary color for the octopus and even add secondary colors in the Personalization (Octopus Straws are clear and the design is colored)

🐙 Straight or bent, your choice! Tell us in the Personalization

🐙 Dishwasher safe, eco-friendly, hypoallergenic

🐙 Free straw cleaning brush included!

🐙 Add a carrying pouch for $2.00

🐙 Since straws are handmade each straw is unique from the next

🐙 Our straws are durable with 10mm outer diameter and 2.2mm thick

Obviously this would go super cute with some kind of beverage themed gift…and we have soaps that smell like beverages! Pick From Pink Lemonade, Root Beer Float and more!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Much Love,

Nora


The Natural Benefits of Honey For Your Skin and Hair

Honey has a multitude of natural benefits for your skin and hair. It soothes, protects, cleans and helps the natural hydration process. There are tons of ways you can utilize honey in your skincare and haircare routine and we’ve made it simple for you to have options with honey in your skincare and haircare routines by including honey as an ingredient in some of our natural shampoos and natural soaps.

The Natural Benefits of Honey For Skin

Honey as a natural antibiotic makes it a great and gentle cleanser for your skin. The natural properties of honey are released when they come in contact with skin, which is when the antiseptic component is activated.

The acids in honey act as a natural exfoliant for your skin. They remove dead skin cells, which allows new skin to breathe. This natural exfoliation process makes skin tone appear more even. This occurs on the scalp too, which promotes hair growth.

Our Honey Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar contains honey and is wildly popular with customers for its amazing smell and its success for leaving skin soft and clean!

“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.”

The Natural Benefits of Honey for Hair

Honey is a humectant which means it draws or attracts moisture. This is a fantastic way to hydrate your hair and when coupled with a sealant that will lock in the moisture…you’ve got a great nourishing routine for your hair. 

Our Hemp and Honey Shampoo Bar is the perfect humectant and oil combo for your hair…especially curly hair! Formulated with loads of organic hemp seed oil, this shampoo bar deeply moisturizes both hair and scalp with a thick sudsy lather while the ingredients impart a multitude of fantastic benefits. The perfect bar for those who suffer from scalp issues, or have fine hair.

Hemp products are continually making headlines in the beauty community for their fantastic benefits for the body! Check out our whole Hemp collection here on sale now!

DIY Honey Hair Mask

This DIY hair mask is a popular but simple two -ingredient journey to shiny, radiant hair. I would always get compliments after I had used this hair mask!

Simply combine ½ cup honey and ¼ cup olive oil in the microwave for 10-15 seconds so it is warm, stir to blend and apply roots to tips. I like to wrap my hair in a showercap to hold in the heat and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Then wash hair as usual making ure to rinse out the mixture completely so you aren’t left with greasy hair!

For more honey hair masks, check out this website!

What kind of honey is best for using on your hair and face?

Use raw honey or manuka honey and avoid refined honey if possible! 

Much Love,

Nora


Customer’s 5 Favorite Natural Soap Bars 2022

These natural body bars were ranked at the top of the list!

I would like to take a moment to genuinely thank all of the people who took the time to complete our survey. I truly enjoyed going through the responses and reading the feedback that people left on why they love our soaps. I love many of the same things about these soaps and it warms my heart to be able to hear from all of you and knowing you care enough to put the time in to help us create this list.

Wildflowers Coconut Bar

Not on our list of best smelling body bars for 2021, but I honestly don’t know why not…since it has definitely become a staple soap in my shower!

“I love the scent of the wildflowers and the coconut is so nice on my dry skin!”

– Satisfied Customer

Enjoy our hard, long-lasting, super sudsy, uber moisturizing organic coconut oil body bars made with 100% organic coconut oil and nothing else. If you’ve never tried one of these—well, you haven’t really lived. What is the Wildflowers Coconut Bar like? Softly sweet, floral, and feminine.

Ingredients: saponified organic coconut oil and essential oils of lavender, sweet orange, bitter orange, cedar leaf, cinnamon leaf, fragrance.

Lime Spa Salt Bar

This salt bar was voted 4th best smelling soap in 2021! And customers who love this bar would agree!

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, but our salt bars are absolutely lovely and make for a amazing spa day product!

“Scent is like taking a vacation in the shower and the texture is absolutely luxurious”

– Satisfied Customer

Honey Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar

Is anyone surprised that this bar made the list? Voted 2nd best smelling soap, it’s kinda a no-brainer. Like everyone, I LOVE the scent of this bar, but also the wonders it works on my face!

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.

“I have rosacea it’s AMAZINGLY gentle on my face, but still leaves it clean”

– Satisfied Customer

Lavender Rosemary Salt Bar

People love this bar for its amazing smell and long lasting quality!

Lavender and Rosemary, what’s not to love with this scent profile? Floral and herbaceous, like a walk through the garden.

A multipurpose, brimming with goodness, HUGE salt bar!

Also, have you ever wondered if you can use a salt bar for a shampoo?

Well, the answer is yes you can!

This salt bar, plus our Lavender Lemon Salt bar make a wonderful shampoo for those with itchy scalps who have tried everything under the sun (including a wide range of our products) to alleviate the itch. Even some of our team members who periodically get itchy scalps, find relief with these 2 salt bars. If you do choose to try a salt bar as a shampoo, try a sample or half bar first as this bar won’t be for everyone. If you have a lot of hair, you may find that it doesn’t lather as much as our regular shampoo bars. A suggestion for this to still get the anti itch benefits from the salt bar, but also get a rich lather, is to use the salt bar gently against the scalp and lather as much as possible, do not rinse but follow with a shampoo bar. Use the shampoo bar until you have a think lather and then rinse with water. Follow with an acidic rinse if needed.

Giant bars of long lasting beauty. If you haven’t tried a sink salt bar, you haven’t lived.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic shea nut butter, and castor bean, European spa salt, and essential oils of lavender and rosemary.

Black Licorice Hand Face and Body Soap

My favorite body bar!

Our Black Licorice Hand, Foot & Body Soap is a natural bar created for black licorice lovers only!

The release of this fantastic soap is our first nod to the change of seasons and cooler months. This amazing black licorice soap is for those who simply just LOVE the scent of black licorice. Brace yourself for an incredible licorice scent along with a satisfying exfoliation experience from the black walnut hull powder (which also gives it the dark coloring). Licorice root not only smells great, but has many health benefits. The herb is used directly on the skin to help with eczema, skin rashes, psoriasis, and itchy, dry skin. Black walnut is also 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.

There’s nothing like it on the planet!

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic sustainable palm, organic olive, organic sunflower, unrefined organic shea nut butter, castor bean, non-gmo licorice root, organic black walnut hull powder, rosemary oil extract, and star anise essential oil.

“I have dry skin and very dry hair (yes, I use this on my hair) and it leaves both soft and silky. Hands down the best cleanser I have ever used on my hair (even if it is too superfatted for most people).”

– Satisfied Customer

See what happened when I used this bar on my hair!

Popular 2nd Favorites!

Honey Carrot and Tangerine were both extremely popular again, but we also had some new soaps take the spotlight!

Lavender Lemon Salt Soap Bar

Lavender and lemon. A match made in heaven. I love this bar in the kitchen and the bathroom. And the living room and the family room and the bedroom and the…

Giant bars of long lasting beauty. If you haven’t tried a sink salt bar, you haven’t lived.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic shea nut butter, and castor bean, European spa salt, and essential oils of lavender and lemon.

“This bar has a nice, refreshing springtime scent which is amazing and wonderful to have especially during the long winter months in Minnesota. The scent in your kitchen and on your hands is calm and up-lifting.”

– Satisfied Customer

Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Bean Face and Body Bar

Voted best smelling body bar in 2021. People love this face soap for its scent!

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.

Kitchen Salt And Spice Bar

“First, it smells wonderful. Second, it really does remove smells from garlic and onion from your hands. Third, and unexpected surprise: it took beet juice stain off my hands, and a spot of spilled tomato sauce from fabric. I can’t wait to keep testing this on mystery spots in the laundry!”

– Satisfied Customer

This bar is an excellent choice for cleaning odors from hands with its rich, spicy, fabulous scent. It’s my favorite bar for the kitchen, especially after chopping onions or working with garlic or peppers. It has two odor-killing ingredients: coffee and anise essential oil. Whether you are a gardener, a fisherman, or a mechanic, this is what you’ve been looking for.

Need exfoliation? Ground coffee beans and salt will do the trick to get off stubborn dirt. But you’ll also want to keep your hard working hands moisturized, softened, and protected, so we’ve packed this bar with loads of unrefined shea nut butter. European spa salt makes this bar antibacterial, rock hard, and long lasting. No more mushy soap by the kitchen sink. Really, there’s nothing not to love about this bar.

Ginormous 8-9 ounce bars.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic shea nut butter, and castor bean, european spa salt, organic coffee, organic coffee grounds, and essential oils of anise, cinnamon leaf, cassia, organic may chang, lemon, organic eucalyptus, organic rosemary, ginger, and clove.

Chocolate Orange Body Bar

People love the orange and chocolate combination! It’s a reason to look forward to winter when this bar hits the shelves again!

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

Some of the wonderful benefits from the ingredients in this tantalizing soap:

  • Cocoa Butter is readily absorbed by your skin for superb moisturizing, as well as a great antioxidant to protect the health and youthful appearance of skin.
  • Coconut oil which is a super-oil full of naturally present antioxidants, it 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.
  • Sunflower oil helps the skin retain moisture and is very high in vitamin E, an antioxidant which helps to protect the skin from environmental stressors.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic cocoa butter, organic sunflower, sweet almond, organic coconut, organic olive, and castor bean, rosemary oil extract, organic cocoa powder, sweet orange essential oil, and mica glitter.

I definitely have to give the Lime Spa Salt Bar and the Kitchen Salt and Spice Bar a try! Which bars do you need to try next?!

Much Love,

Nora


3 Natural Ingredients That Are Great For Your Skin!

We’ve got so many great things happening at Apple Valley Natural Soap. We’re right around the corner from launching our new physical storefront, our newly formatted website is up and running (hurry and celebrate our new look with 10% off products for a limited time!)! We’re even working on a new and improved newsletter design! GREAT RIGHT? Of course, our most important goal is to make our products as GREAT as possible. This week, I pulled three of our best smelling bars (voted on by our GREAT customers) and today I’m going to be diving into what makes these three products GREAT…besides just how amazing they smell. 

Bella Rose Shampoo Bar (Voted Best Smelling Shampoo Bar)

This is not just a customer favorite, but a personal favorite shampoo bar of mine. I also adore the matching rose hips sugar scrub we sell and I’m even guilty of custom ordering my organic jojoba oil to smell like the Bella Rose Shampoo Bar. This bar has a fantastic body of nourishing oils and some cleansing clay, but what makes this shampoo bar so unique is the addition of rose hips.

Rose hips are amazing for your skin and hair because they provide benefits on multiple levels.

Rose Hips Benefits For Skin:

  • Contain nourishing fatty acids.
  • Contain skin-protecting antioxidants.
  • Skin soothing properties that may help reduce inflammation.

Reviews for the Bella Rose Shampoo Bar

“I’ve never had a shampoo bar make my hair so clean, shiny and beautiful! Besides how amazing this product leaves my hair, it smells flowery and wonderful. My man smelled my hair and said it even has notes of chocolate lol!”

“Wonderful product. I have color treated hair and this shampoo bar cleanses and conditions beautifully. And it smells great. Highly recommend it.”

Honey, Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar (Voted Best Smelling Body Bar)

This may just be our most popular product, it certainly comes across as having celebrity status with it’s bright, confident scent profile and warm, cheerful color. But this bar is also known for the wonders it works!

Instead of filtered water, this facial bar was made with freshly juiced carrots! And I suspect this is what gives this bar it’s edge as a game changer for faces everywhere! 

Carrot Juice Benefits For Skin: 

  • Vitamin C and iron content helps to balance skin tone.
  • Hydrates skin.
  • Helps promote glowing skin tone.

Reviews For Honey, Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar

“This bar is great for my face and body, the lather is wonderful and the scent is up-lifting. My skin feels soft and clean, never feels dried out. You won’t regret using this bar to cleanse your body, so treat yourself to something good for your skin.”

“This makes my skin soft and has diminished my lines in my skin due to the vitamin a rich carrot juice you should make a face cream with the same ingredients.”

Lavender Buttermilk Shampoo Bar (Voted 2nd Best Shampoo Bar)

Huge with our lavender lovers, this bar not only has a rich, dreamy lavender scent, but has a surprising amount of benefits that come from both the lavender and buttermilk. The buttermilk is what sets this shampoo bar apart from our other lavender bars. 

Buttermilk benefits for skin:

  • Keeps skin young looking by reducing the appearance of age spots.
  • Lactic acid exfoliates skin, keeping it soft and bright.
  • Buttermilk is gentle on sensitive skin.

Reviews for Lavender Buttermilk Shampoo Bar

“This is a great shampoo bar! I love the scent and it lathers really well. I’ve been using shampoo bars from a different company for years and I feel like this one is easier to use and it leaves my hair softer and silkier. Definitely recommend it!”

“I’ve used this on my scalp before. I got cancer, had chemo and was bald. Hair is back and so am I. Lavender is very soothing. I’m in heaven with the feel of my scalp and look of my hair! And the smell is lovely and stays in my hair. Hope it’s never discontinued!”

Leave a review and let us know why you love one of these bars!

Do you follow our newsletter? You can always sign up! It’s where we feature weekly soaps and advertise sales, deals, and giveaways! If you do receive our newsletter, keep an eye out for this year’s survey on our best smelling body bars…will our champions from last year hold their titles…or will a new victor be crowned?!

Much Love,

Nora


Is Moisturizer Actually Bad For Your Natural Skin?

Beauty blogs and companies love to jump on shock-value headlines, and this week we’ll be exploring one such headline. I’ve heard and looked into the great debate of whether washing your hair less frequently is beneficial many times with differing results, but what about your skin? Is moisturizing your skin a must to keep it healthy and supple? Or does it condition your skin to rely on outside sources of moisture, therefore causing your natural skin to become dry without the use of a moisturizer?

Of course, you may be skeptical…how can you trust information advocating for moisturizers when it comes from a company that sells a variety of moisturizing products? That’s a fantastic point and I assure you that Apple Valley Natural Soap wouldn’t waste the time and resources making moisturizing products if we didn’t hear consistent feedback that they benefit our customers time and time again.

Why Could Lotion Be Bad For Your Skin?

The argument against regular use of a moisturizer can be found on many trending beauty websites that quote the same dermatologist who makes these two points:

Moisturizer prevents skin’s natural exfoliation process

A moisturizer is meant to act as a barrier that traps in water to hydrate skin, but the argument is made that this barrier not only holds water in but keeps any dead skin cells, dirt, or germs trapped in the skin as well which leads to skin that is dull and prone to acne.

Our Thoughts

We agree that exfoliation is important, but we don’t see why you have to pick between a moisturizer and exfoliation when you can have both! Assisting your skin with manual or chemical exfoliation will prepare your skin for a moisturizer. You can keep your skin clear and fresh while still getting the benefit of that extra hydration that a moisturizer supplies! We find that a natural toner is a great gentle exfoliant for your skin…and we have soaps like our Acne Battle Face and Body Bar have physical ingredients that exfoliate too!

Using a moisturizer too often will unbalance your skin’s natural oil production

The argument made for this is that the regular use of a moisturizer will train your skin to produce fewer natural oils, making your natural skin dry and fragile without the constant use of a moisturizer. However, it is acknowledged that some skin types naturally do require additional moisture and that a nickel sized amount of a lightweight lotion on your face never hurt!

Our Thoughts

We agree that it is important not to over moisturize your skin. Our belief is that using a daily moisturizer that promotes your skin’s natural balance is the key to healthy and happy skin. In fact that’s kind of what we do best! Our cleansing soaps and moisturizes set us apart from other skincare companies because we use natural ingredients. Why does this matter? Natural ingredients have a tendency to mimic natural human processes, so our moisturizing ingredients are gentle and often function on a level similar to the natural oils your skin already produces! We know that there are so many unique skin types and we work to offer moisturizers that will meet many different skin needs. You can read in depth about our natural moisturizers in our two part blog about our moisturizers, but if you’re looking for an easy place to start I’d check out our oils. These include Jojoba oil, a lightweight oil that mimics sebum, the skin’s naturally produced oil. Argan oil, a luxurious but non-clogging oil that leaves skin extremely hydrated and protected, and our powerful Hemp Facial Oil which has tons of additional benefits!

And If You’re Still Not Sure…

You can always read this article written for Harvard Health Publishing!

Much Love,

Nora


Meet The Team: Sheila Cooke

Who makes Apple Valley Natural Soap products? We actually have quite a few incredible team members who put a lot of love into the delicate process that is crafting Apple Valley Natural Soap products. Today is all about one of our senior soap makers, Sheila! Sheila makes both AVNS bar and liquid Castile soaps.

What does a day making soap look like?

“I often make 2 batches in a day. This includes mixing the lye, measuring out all the butters, oils, and those wonderful- smelling essential oils,  and pouring the soap into two 30 inch molds.  These get cut by hand 2 days later after they’ve hardened up.”

Sheila is one of our soap makers who makes soap out of her home. She is a huge blessing to AVNS because she’s very knowledgeable about soap and continues to research and grow that knowledge. Sheila has a space set up specifically designated for everything soap in her home, which is clean, efficient…and has a great commute.

What are some of your favorite products?

“I love so many of the soaps, and it’s too hard to pick just a few! I LOVE citrus- our Grapefruit Mint soap comes to mind. I also love the smell of cocoa butter- try our Cocoa Butter Vanilla Bean! A newer soap that I love is Root Beer Float- dreamy! This last soap is more complicated to make,  but it’s definitely worth it!” What makes a certain soap more complicated to make? Apple Valley Natural Soap prides itself on crafting soaps that not only work wonders for hair and skin, but also have a unique look and scent. The Root Beer Float soap is such a soap, as Sheila explains what goes into the intricacy of crafting such a creative bar of soap, “The Rootbeer Float soap is a layered soap- it has a dark brown bottom layer (colored with Rhassoul clay) and a lighter, frothy- looking top layer,  so there are extra steps involved.  It gets even trickier because of the essential oils used to give it that wonderful smell- they make the soap set up super quickly and therefore you need to work VERY efficiently.” Order and timing is everything when crafting small batches of artisan soap!

Had you ever made soap before joining Apple Valley Natural Soap?

“My family and I have always looked for natural products, and we were already AVNS customers to some extent. We made a few things ourselves- toothpaste and deodorant-   but making soap is something I had never tried before joining the AVNS team.”

Sheila’s Quilt!

What do you enjoy doing with your free time?

“My husband and I have 6 school-age children whom I have the privilege of homeschooling.  This, along with making soap,  doesn’t leave a lot of time for hobbies,  but any extra time I get,  I LOVE to go to my sewing room and work on one of my many quilting projects.”

And my favorite question: If there was a bar of soap called the Sheila Bar, what would it be like?!

“Hmmm, tough one! Maybe a lemon-based bar with hints of the essential oil ylang ylang? I’ll need to try that one personally! Another thought is a coffee/chocolate/mint combination,  since I’m such a coffee lover!”

Yum, I’m down to try either of those bars! Check out our other Featured Team Members, and keep an eye out for the next one!

Much Love,

Nora


Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts and Ideas

Women. Listen to me. There are three TOP Valentine’s Day worthy AVNS products that I would highly recommend. If you asked me, “Nora, what product would you recommend for Valentine’s Day so I smell amazing and irresistible?” These are the products I would tell you you need to instantly get. Like right now. Order them now. The Bella Rose Shampoo Bar, The Sweet Rose Hips Body Sugar Scrub, and The Custom Scented Jojoba Oil scented like the Bella Rose. Using the Sweet Rose Hips Scrub in the shower feels like a luxury scented steam sauna and I can’t wait to get out of the shower and dry off so I can put the jojoba oil on my arms and legs right away! It smells that good!

Okay, now that I’ve directed you towards the products that will make you smell like a whole bouquet of sweet roses we can figure out what to get that special someone in your life, because if you’re like me time is ticking away and pretty soon your gonna get stuck buying a last-minute box of chocolates. Obviously our products make fantastic gifts for any occasion and a gift pairing that demonstrates creativity shows that you’ve put thought into your gift! I’ve been scanning Etsy for some unique Valentine’s day inspo and came across some ideas that are really sweet. I’ll be linking each product, but feel free to use these to spark your own ideas as well!

  1. Personalized Custom CD Mixtape Customizable Playlist
    • This is my go-to for a first valentine’s day gift. Is it totally cheesy? Yes. embrace the cliche. Picking out songs that mean something to you and the other person or remind you of them and your relationship is so much fun to do and share! You can create a musical map of your relationship. The song that played during your first kiss, the song that played that one time you got lost driving through the city at night, the song you always sing the wrong words to and it makes the other person laugh. The one you love is such a huge part of your life, and so is music!
    • This customized CD is a must for those who don’t have the skills or resources to burn their own CD (pointing enthusiastically at myself here). I love how you can even customize the name of the CD! I have personally used this seller and I loved how it turned out!
  2. Messages In a Jar
    • I love how this sweet, simple gift is so intimate and personal. You can write 50 different reasons why you love your special someone and they’ll have 50 days to read why that is! The glass container and cork lid just has such a classy, versatile look that could be kept on a bedside table, bathroom counter, or even a side table.
  3. Vitamin Me
    • Similar concept to the messages in a jar, this adorable vitamin container is full of vitamin capsules…but don’t swallow! You can put a little love letter in every capsule! This presentation is so fun and playful, perfect for a newer or younger couple gift. 
    • If you’re having trouble thinking of what to say…maybe that’s a sign the relationship is doomed. I’M JUST KIDDING! Sometimes I have trouble putting all my love into the right words too. This seller has you covered though and includes a QR code you can scan for a free pdf with tons of different ways to say, “I love you!”
  4. Valentine’s Day Macarons
    • If your darling has a sweet tooth this is the perfect gift! Definitely check out some of our vanilla products to go with these little cookies! Hint: looking for more of a hands on activity? Try baking your own macarons together!
    • “Valentine’s Day macarons! A perfect and delicious treat for anyone you love ❤ Every order is baked fresh. The macarons come with an assortment of designs, as shown on the listing pictures- painted cupid, white drizzle with valentine’s day-themed sprinkles, and plain pink. Last day to order for guaranteed arrival by Valentine’s Day is February 4th. You may choose any of our seven most popular flavors: (Vanilla, Chocolate, Rose, Cookies n’ Creme, Fruity Pebbles, Coconut, and Lemon). The filling will consist of buttercream or ganache, depending on the flavor you choose. These treats are gluten-free with the exception of our Cookies n’ Creme flavor.”
  5. Hand Stamped Penny Key Chain
    • I think this idea is so unique and special, especially since the backdrop is a penny! I would love this as a necklace option, too! This is the only idea I included that I haven’t personally tried some variation of so it’s kind of next on my list!
    • “This is a hand stamped “lucky to have found you” penny keychain. A heart can be stamped around the penny year. We can customize one side to your liking — Up to 4 lines, 9 characters max per line lowercase, 6 characters max per line if all uppercase.”

If you were struggling to come up with something hopefully I’ve given you some ideas or at least a place to start! If in doubt…a bottle of champagne, a box of chocolate and some roses (or the bella rose collection) never disappointed me! 

Much Love,

Nora


Why You Should Try a Natural Toner

Have you ever used a toner in your skincare routine? If not, you might be wondering what a toner is, and what a toner does for your skin. Today we’ll talk about the benefits of using a toner for your skin (specifically a toner for your face), how it interacts with other steps in a skincare routine, and why you should consider using a natural toner.

What is a toner?

A toner is predominantly a liquid that is composed of ingredients that cleanse, refresh, and reinforce the skin. The toner is applied after the initial cleanse and before a lotion or moisturizer. In this way, toner acts as both a sealant for clean skin and a primer for other products.

Who should use a toner?

Anyone can benefit from a toner, since facial toners are known for targeting skin concerns from aging skin to acne. Toners are especially helpful for those with acne caused by clogged pores, since toners work on an extra level to clear pores. Different toners are also designed to target specific skin care needs, so make sure you are selecting the right toner for your skin!

What are the benefits of using a toner?

Toners work to do three main things:

  1. A final deep cleanse.
  2. A layer of protection for your clean skin.
  3. A primer that allows other skincare products to work more effectively on skin.

Why Use A Natural Toner?

Natural toners make the perfect toners for sensitive skin because they contain no alcohol which makes them extremely gentle. The natural ingredients in a natural toner are all added for a specific purpose. We have two natural toners in our new skincare line!

Calming Toner 

This faintly sweet, floral, and citrusy toner is great if you have oily/combination skin. 

Organic Neroli (orange blossom) hydrosol: 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. 

Papaya (Carica papaya) fruit extract, Mango (Manifera indica) fruit extract,: 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.

Radish root (Leuconostoc) ferment. – radish root has calming and moisturizing properties as well as preservative properties

Restorative Toner

This very hydrating toner nourishes skin health and helps restore skin’s radiance, beauty and youthfulness. 

Organic Rose Otto (Rosa damascena) hydrosol: 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. 

Glycerin – is a humectant which traps in moisture

Rose Otto (Rosa damascene) petal cell extract- 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 skin’s natural sun protection, promotion of good skin tone as well as improvement of skin’s elasticity. Plus let’s not forget about the wonderful aroma which is  known as a mood enhancer.

How to use a toner

Our toners come in an easy to use spray bottle…so after cleansing, pat your face dry gently and then mist toner onto face and let it dry before applying a moisturizer. We recommend our Argan oil as a moisturizer for glowing, soft skin!

If you’re familiar with AVNS products you may recognize these toners! They have been on our shelves for a long time and are now updated in quality to be better than ever! Which one is your favorite?

Much Love,

Nora