Why Choose AVNS?

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

Made with Natural Ingredients

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

Why Choose Natural ingredients?

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

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

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

Organic, Vegan, and Cruelty Free

What does it mean to be organic?

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

-Wikipedia

What does it mean to be vegan?

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

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

What does it mean to be cruelty-free

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

All of our products are cruelty-free!

AVNS is a small, family business!

Why support a small business? 

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

Why support a family business? 

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

Why Choose Apple Valley Natural Soap?

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

Much Love,

Nora


DIY Vanilla Inspired Spa Day!

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

DIY VANILLA EXTRACT RECIPIE

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

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

Ingredients for DIY Vanilla Extract

Photo by Sarah Chai on Pexels.com

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

Tools you’ll need for Homemade Vanilla Extract:

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

Instructions

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

DIY VANILLA BATH SALTS

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

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

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

Ingredients for DIY Vanilla Bath Salts

Vanilla Bath Salt Ingredients

Instructions

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

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

DIY VANILLA LATTE FACIAL MASK

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

Ingredients For DIY Cinnamon Vanilla Latte Face Mask

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

Instructions

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

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

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

Apple Valley Natural Soap Vanilla Products

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

Much Love,

Nora 


Is Coconut Oil Good For Your Skin and Hair?

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

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

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

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

What is coconut oil?

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

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

What kinds of fatty acids are in coconut oil?

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

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

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

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

Photo by Robert Goldenowl on Pexels.com

Coconut oil prevents protein loss in hair

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

Coconut oil may have sun protection benefits

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

Coconut oil may help prevent acne and other skin infections

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

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

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

Pure coconut oil is not for all hair types

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

Pure coconut oil is not for all skin types

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

Do we use Coconut Oil in our skincare products?

Yes!

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

Thanks so much for tuning in!

Much Love,

Nora


Aluminum Free Natural Deodorant: Does It Work?

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

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

Why should you use natural deodorant creme?

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

Why use a natural deodorant over a name-brand?

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

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

Does Natural Deodorant Creme Work?

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

Natural Ingredients we use in our Deodorant Cremes

Odor-eliminating ingredients

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

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

Natural sweat-eliminating ingredients 

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

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

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

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

What’s wrong with my current deodorant?

Photo by Julia Kuzenkov on Pexels.com

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

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

How I transitioned to Natural deodorant creme

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

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

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

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

Much Love,

Nora


Essential Oils That Repel Bugs

For outdoor enthusiasts who want to enjoy hiking, camping, and gardening without being constantly attacked by flies and mosquitoes…here is a list of essential oils known to repel bugs, some of our recommended natural soaps that include these essential oils, and a natural bug spray recipe.

5 Essential Oils That Repel Bugs

  1. Lemon Eucalyptus: known to keep mosquitoes at bay for a few hours after application.
  2. Peppermint: supposedly keeps spiders away.
  3. Citronella: used in the making of many “bug repellant” candles, this essential oil is helpful for keeping mosquitoes away when correctly prepared.
  4. Cinnamon: known for keeping wasps and spiders away. According to One Essential Community, “use cinnamon bark in addition to powdered cinnamon to get rid of ants! It messes up their pheromones and they get lost. So they lose their way and don’t infest further.”
  5. Lavender: this common essential oil works on common household bugs such as fruit flies and lice.

Apple Valley Natural Soaps Made With Bug Repellant Essential Oils

Camping Shampoo Bar Limited Edition

This one is for all you outdoorsy, adventuresome folks who like to go camping and fishing, but still want an all over clean right there at the campsite. Our Camping Shampoo/Body bar will clean you from head to toe, is biodegradable and safe to use at campsites near bodies of water. Please note that I said “near” not in!  The “Leave No Trace” guidelines state that even with biodegradable soap, the earth is needed to filter the soapy water, so it is strongly recommended that you shower or wash up 200 feet away from any body of water. You can read more about LNT here.

When you go camping with this bar, you can rest assured that you are using a product which is safe for the environment and good for you! Plus, as it’s also made with fantastic bug repelling essential oils, there’s the added benefit of an extra layer of protection from little pests.

We make limited quantities of our Limited Edition soaps, so once they are sold out, they are gone for the season.

 Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic sustainable palm, organic olive, organic sunflower, organic shea nut butter, castor bean, and organic jojoba, rosemary oil extract, and essential oils of lemon eucalyptus, lavender, organic peppermint, organic rosemary, cedarwood, citronella, and organic lemongrass.

Lavender Lemon Salt Bar

An itch-fighting, bacteria-fighting, bug-fighting bar for the books.

This salt bar, plus our Lavender Rosemary 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 Lavender Lemon shampoo bar until you have a think lather and then rinse with water. Follow with an acidic rinse if needed.

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

Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo Bar

This bar is so much more than just a spider repellant.

Even though our Peppermint Tea Tree shampoo bar feels great on scalp and skin, the main benefit of this bar is the health it can help restore to both hair and scalp. Nourishment and restorative properties from the specifically chosen carrier oils plus added healing from the essential oil blend.

Some of the benefits, but not limited to, are with ingredients such as 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. Jojoba oil is a natural anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, its properties keep the scalp clean and healthy. It can also prevent hair loss and thinning caused by the clogged hair follicles as it dissolves and clears these blockages and promotes the development of new hair cells, which can lead to hair growth. Shea butter strengthens your skin by stimulating the production of collagen, it helps make your skin more supple, more alive, nourished and radiant. We could keep going, but you probably get the idea.

For the essential oils, both peppermint and tea tree essential oils have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory properties. Peppermint adds a cooling effect which can help eliminate the urge to scratch, while tea tree, thanks to it’s fantastic anti-fungal properties, is great for fighting dandruff. Tea tree oil is a wildly popular remedy for acne and fights the fungus that causes dandruff without drying out the scalp, it can also serve as a natural conditioner and eliminate problems that lead the scalp to flake.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic olive, castor bean, organic sunflower, organic sustainable palm, organic jojoba, organic shea nut butter, and mango seed butter, rosemary oil extract, and essential oils of organic peppermint and organic tea tree.

Bug Spray Recipe For Home and Yard

This recipe came from Healthline, for more bug spray recipes including one safe for skin and plants you can check out their original article!

For a DIY indoor/outdoor bug spray, you’ll need the following:

  • glass spray bottle
  • lavender essential oil
  • oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • citronella essential oil
  • distilled water
  • white vinegar

Then follow these steps:

  • Mix 10 to 20 drops of each essential oil with 2 ounces distilled water and 2 ounces of white vinegar.
  • Shake gently to mix.
  • Spray to use.

Well, we can hope that the bugs will die down in August, there’s nothing wrong with being prepared for next summer! Do you have a favorite homemade or natural bug spray you enjoy using?

Feel free to email me at nora@applevalleynaturalsoap.com with any questions or comments you may have!

Much Love,

Nora


New All-Purpose Liquid Castile Soap!

The best liquid soap is one that gets everything done and clean. If you want a soap that can clean your house, your body, your children, and even your dog…our natural liquid Castile soap can do all that. As with all our other soaps, this liquid soap is cruelty-free, synthetic-free, petroleum-free, free from sulfates, parabens, artificial colors and phthalates.

Why Castile Soap?

Castile-based soap’s main ingredient is olive oil. Our premium Castile type liquid soap’s main ingredient is organic virgin olive oil, which deeply penetrates the skin, moisturizing and nourishing while cleansing. Olive oil is extremely gentle and non-irritating, making this soap a wonderful choice for a household with acne-prone and sensitive skin. For more info on Castile Soap including its origin and history, check out this blog!

Why is Olive Oil Good For Your Skin?

An article in Medical News Today sums up olive oil’s four most beneficial qualities…

  1. Great antioxidant content
  2. Great Vitamin content (a, d, e, and k)
  3. Antibacterial effects
  4. Moisturizing effects

Why AVNS Liquid Castile Soap?

When you compare the ingredient list of a popular name brand lavender Castile soap to the Apple Valley Natural Soap Liquid Lavender Castile Soap, you’ll see a few differences. First, you’ll see our ingredient list is considerably shorter. We like to keep our products as simple and as natural as possible.

Popular Name Brand Ingredient List

Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Organic Palm Kernel Oil, Organic Olive Oil, Lavandin Extract, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Lavender Extract, Citric Acid, Tocopherol

Apple Valley Natural Soap Liquid Lavender Castile Soap Ingredient List

Purified water, saponified oils of organic extra virgin olive, castor, organic coconut, organic unrefined shea butter, organic jojoba. Mediterranean Sea salt and lavender essential oil.

Second, we want every detail of our products to adhere to our mission of supporting natural, no-waste lifestyles. This is why we package our Liquid Lavender Castile Soap and Liquid Lemon Verbena Castile Soap in eco-friendly bottles made from bamboo and sugarcane pulp, which are not only 100% recyclable, but also 98% landfill biodegradable. For more information on this super cool, super unique packaging you can read the product description here!

Third, we love any chance we can get to partner with other small businesses that share the same goals and values that we do, this is why we are proud to announce that we are once again collaborating with 5 Elements Clayworks in Florida, to bring you their beautiful hand-thrown Ceramic Liquid Soap Pumps! This is the same boutique that makes our gorgeous brush and bowl sets for our Shaving Kits!

More Castile Soap Options

If you love Castile soap, but are looking for a hard, long-lasting bar that travels easy and keeps you clean, take a peek at our Castile soap bars! Our Castile bars are made %100 percent from Organic Virgin Olive Oil and scented with high-grade essential oils. We offer four unique scents, each with their own benefits for every skin type!

Marianne has been bringing beautiful bars of soap to countertops since 2018, and the previous owner even years before. We’ve worked so hard to expand our products to fill all of our customer’s needs and we could not be more excited to offer you a liquid soap option. We hope you love it as much as we do!

Much Love,

Nora


5 Unique Eco-Friendly Father’s Day Gifts

I’ve been scouring the internet for 5 incredible father’s day gifts that are eco-friendly and sustainable. I found father’s day gifts for fathers who like to cook, father’s day gifts for dads who love camping, and father’s day gifts for fathers who enjoy coffee and a good shave! I’m super excited to share these gifts with you today and I hope they make your father’s day shopping just a bit easier.

FATHER’S DAY GIVEAWAY

Before we jump into this week’s blog I want to announce something super exciting: WE’RE STARTING A GIVEAWAY…TOMORROW.

Here are the details:

Enter to have a chance to win a FREE Stoneware Shaving Set and one of our new Rugged Shaving Soaps!

This Giveaway will start on June 8th and run until Father’s Day (June 20th)

To enter via social media:
1. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook
2. Like the giveaway post on Instagram or Facebook
3. Tag two friends!

For a bonus entry: share this post on Facebook or your Instagram story, announce your favorite AVNS soap, and tag us!

How to enter if you don’t have social media:
1) Follow our blog
2) Like our most recent post

For a bonus entry: share our blog with two friends by sending them our link over text or email…take a screenshot once you’ve sent the link and email it to us with the title: Father’s Day Giveaway!

Contest closes on June 20th, at noon.

Good Luck!

If you aren’t the lucky winner but still want a Shaving Set, you can find them on our website!

This contest is only open to residents of the United States.

5 Unique Father’s Day Gifts

1) 5ElementsClayworks Stoneware Tumblers and Mugs $20-40

These beautifully hand crafted, wheel thrown ceramic tumblers and mugs are made by the same company as our new shaving sets. These shaving sets are a must have for those who love the traditional shave. They are a perfect compliment to our round Traditional Shaving Soaps and offer an eco-friendly option for storing and lathering up your soap.  Made specifically for AVNS by 5 Elements Clayworks in Florida, “each piece is hand crafted and therefore no 2 are ever identical. Even similar forms and same glaze combos used can yield different results based on the kiln atmosphere or clay batch used, so you can always look forward to a unique piece. While the shaving set is not intended for food use, all glazes are food safe and non-toxic.” 

2) CMTImpressions ECO FRIENDLY Father’s Day Gift- Vegan Leatherette Wallet $20

These customizable wallets are made mindfully with:

“- Office Equipment Powered With 100% Sustainable Solar Energy

– Shipped with Sustainable Packaging

– Small Solar Powered Office Reducing Carbon Footprint

– Products Purchased in Bulk to Reduced Incoming Shipping

– Engraved with top of the line Energy Efficient Lasers”

-CMTImpressions

Pair one of these wallets with one of our vegan soaps, and maybe a giftcard to a vegan cafe or restaurant for a fun, vegan inspired gift-set!

3) Himalayanart Extra Soft High Quality Yak Wool Knitted GIFT Blanket $70

“The extra soft blanket is handwoven by the local artisan in the Himalayas. We only use ethically sourced yak wool blend from Nepal to create blankets that wrap around you like a warm hug. On winter nights when you’re away from your loved ones, gift them this blanket as a warm reminder of your love.”

Pair this blanket with our Pink Himalayan Salt Bar to completely transport your man to the mountains!

4) Everythingsourdough San Francisco Sourdough Complete Bread Baking Kit and Dried Starter $38

This kit comes in reusable packaging and is the perfect gift for any dad that likes to cook or bake! Pair with one of our salt bars which is the perfect soap bar for your kitchen because it keeps your hands clean and moisturized!

“All the ingredients you need to make authentic sourdough bread. My sourdough starter is incredibly healthy and has produced many delicious loaves of sourdough bread, rolls, waffles and other items. Once reconstituted, and fed regularly, my starter has lived in my refrigerator for up to 3 weeks without feeding. Yes, it’s that healthy!”

5) Outdoor Shower Water Bag by Nueby $39

I’m super excited to share this gift idea because it is the perfect pairing to any of our shampoo bars, especially out camping bar!

“The Outdoor Shower Water Bag is amazing for hiking trips, camping, and outdoor adventures!

The water in the bag heats using solar energy. Get a hot shower even in the middle of the forest!

Comes with switchable shower heads for a personalized showering experience.

Right now, the Outdoor Shower Water Bag is on sale!”

Don’t Forget!

To enter our Giveaway! Comment below to let us know which gift the man in your life would love most!

Much Love,

Nora


Meet The Team: Marianne Buck

I’m so excited for this week’s blog because it will kick off the first post in our series of “Meet the Team.” There is an amazing team of incredible people behind AVNS who contribute so much towards the quality of our company and the fantastic products adored by so many people. Being a small business allows us to take the time to put a spotlight of appreciation on every person involved with AVNS which will happen right here every month in our blog. If you’re thankful for the AVNS team don’t hesitate to show the love by giving this post a like and follow our blog!

Marianne Buck: the owner of AVNS

Marianne is easily one of my greatest role models. Her dedication to her craft and business is an inspiration, but equally so is her evident dedication to her family life and most importantly her love and respect of the Lord. This being said, it shocks me every time I realize I’ve only met with her in person 3 times in the almost year and a half that I’ve blogged for AVNS. 

Before my time with AVNS, if you’d asked me to imagine what a remote work relationship looked like, the first words that would come to my mind would be detached and professional. While what we do is certainly professional, there has never been a lack of genuine warmth and compassion that fills the void of our long-distance work space and this is because of Marianne! Today I hope you all will get the chance to know the amazing woman who runs your favorite soap company just a little bit better (warning, she’s pretty cool).

Starting Small

It’s hard for me to remember Marianne didn’t always own Apple Valley Natural Soap, in fact, she started out as just another customer with a love for natural skin products. Inspired by AVNS, Marianne began making her own soaps and with the encouragement of friends who had willingly tried her products with satisfying results, she and her husband opened a shop on Etsy. Within the course of two years Marianne was offered the chance to buy AVNS twice, the first time she felt it wasn’t the right time, but two years later after quite a bit of prayer Marianne felt as though the Lord was moving her in a direction she could not refuse. AVNS has continued to grow steadily since, staying focused on finding a balance between making products customers know and love while also staying true to the production of natural eco-friendly products and packaging. Read the full story in her own words here

Running a Creative Business

Marianne’s work space 🙂

I’d argue that the craft of soap-making is a three-fold artform made up of scent, visual presentation, and sensory experience. Mastering all three of these elements is no easy task, so adding the business aspect on top of everything else is enough to keep anyone busy, including Marianne who, by taking on AVNS, has taken on quite the juggling act,  “I love being creative, so I have to make sure I don’t lose that part of me. I am also still learning to balance my time wisely between my family and the business. I learned very quickly running a business can swallow you up!”

So what does Marianne’s work day look like? While it’s fun to imagine her in a white lab coat with a fridge full of fresh ingredients blending, mixing and concocting away…Marianne says otherwise,  “I don’t really have a typical work day, but if I’m not running around somewhere with my son getting him to classes and other commitments, you’ll find me at my desk in an office. I like to start my work day between 8-9 am, answering emails, connecting with companies who work with us behind the scenes, and checking orders and questions on our site. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I’ll be getting orders ready to process and preparing the paperwork for one of our employees to package and ship them out.” At AVNS teamwork makes the dream work, and Marianne never hesitates to throw herself into every aspect of her company, “ I also fill in where needed, so occasionally you’ll find me cutting soap, organizing things in the curing room, experimenting with new ingredients or a new product or product line, researching recipes and new ways to improve AVNS. It really can be a never ending list of things to do, but I’m learning to prioritize and adjust my time as needed.”

A Family Effort

Marianne loves reading in her free time!

Behind every small family business is a hardworking family and Marianne’s is no exception. Most members of the Buck family already have jobs or activities that keep them plenty busy, but they’ll all contributed to AVNS at one time or another and are always willing to pitch in when needed, “when we started with AVNS every member of our family was involved…Currently Amanda does photography for us and is also helping in a few other areas where needed…Natasha used to package almost 100% of orders and so has since declared ‘I’m all soaped out for a while’…Ethan continues to do data and timesheet entry for us and occasionally wrapping soap, and Darin helps wherever is needed. This mostly means that when we need to move soap around in the curing room, he’s the muscle!” With such a busy schedule, I was curious to know what Marianne does with any spare time, to which she replied that there currently isn’t much of!  “I do love a good book, to go out with my husband, spend time with each of my children (although this doesn’t happen as much as I’d like as they all have busy lives.) To visit with a friend, plus, I love to be creative when I have the time. Being creative can be anything from experimenting with a new product recipe to baking.”

The Future of AVNS

The greatest reward of running AVNS for Marianne is hearing, “the testimonials from customers who love the products…hearing how the products have helped them heal, or that they simply feel better using natural products…I’m reminded how much AVNS is not just a business, but a ministry.”  Marianne’s dream is to help more people discover the joy of using natural products while also contributing to the community, “I would love AVNS to continue to grow where we can expand into either our own physical brick and mortar store, or to be in stores across the country. I don’t envision AVNS in big box stores, but smaller boutique type stores where we can support other small businesses.” In terms of products, “the future of AVNS is still going to revolve around our soaps as they are what we are known for and what customers love about AVNS. But we will continue to introduce new eco-friendly, natural products to our customers. I always want to be transparent with AVNS and have gone the extra mile in research and fulfillment to make sure what we use is something I can stand behind with integrity.”

Who ‘Nose’ Where That Smell Is Coming From???

Because AVNS has no official storefront yet, the Buck household is the central hub for everything and anything AVNS, which comes with an unexpected side effect. “Because all finished products end up with us before being shipped out to customers, our home has a wide variety of scents which are always present. So much so that the essential oils have been absorbed into every nook and cranny within our home, but we don’t notice the scent anymore, but when we are out and about, it’s not uncommon for comments and conversations around us to start like this “do you smell peppermint? I wonder where it’s coming from, it smells good. Seriously, do you smell it?” 

If there was a bar called “The Marianne Bar” What would the description and ingredient list look like?  

“Oooo, it’s totally the Lavender Silk Shampoo Bar. I created that bar with me in mind as I love the scent of fresh lavender, and I wanted a bar which would moisturize and strengthen my hair without weighing it down. An interesting thing about this particular bar is that I’ve had customers with hard water who have success using it as a shampoo. I’m sure it’s not a hard water success for everyone, but I heard about it years ago and it always stuck with me.”

Thanks For Reading!

Thanks for taking the time to get to know us! We’ll be back next month with another team member feature.

Much Love,

Nora


What Makes This The Best Natural Body Wash For Summer?

Limited Edition Summer Skin Saver

Whether you’re constantly in and out of the pool, hiking the trails of northern Minnesota, or working a summer job that keeps you outdoors from dawn to dusk, you’ll need to make sure you’re protecting your skin from the constant presence of sun, wind, and water this summer. In response to nature’s call of the wild, we created an amazing bar of natural soap designed to protect against dry, burnt skin. What makes this bar so unique? You’re about to find out!

Why Use a Natural Soap?

Around this time of year, you’ll probably start seeing a lot of big brand soaps hit the shelves that claim they are, “extra moisturizing” or are “made with argan oil for extra hydration.” But if you were to flip over that bottle and take a look at the entire list of ingredients you’d see that argan oil is only one ingredient in a long list of chemical ingredients you can’t even pronounce. Putting one drop of argan oil in a five ounce bottle is not the same as a 2 ounce bottle of pure, organic argan oil. Unlike mass produced soaps which are made with filler ingredients, Natural soaps are made with natural ingredients which oftentimes have additional benefits and run a lower risk of irritating sensitive skin. We work hard to make sure every ingredient we use in a product is contributing some sort of benefit.

Ingredients in Summer Skin Saver Bar

Saponified Oils of Organic Coconut

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Coconut oil is a gentle and effective cleanser due to its fatty acid content. The best part is its ability to moisturize hair and skin and the thick lather it creates! Check out our Coconut Bars for pure coco-nutty BLISS!

Organic Sustainable Palm

This base ingredient is crucial to the soap making process, it gives you a nice hard bar and will enhance lather when mixed with coconut oil. Rated a 1 on EWG’s Skin Deep, this ingredient has little to no risks of causing cancer or containing any kind of toxicity, 

Organic Sunflower

Sunflower oil is FANTASTIC because it is a 0 on the comedogenic scale, which means it won’t clog pores. This oil can be used to moisturize any skin type…and that isn’t all it will do!

According to an article on Healthline, sunflower oil contains antioxidant vitamin E, so applying it topically to skin will allow your skin to benefit from vitamin E (think anti-aging properties, protection from sun-damage…all that awesome stuff). Sunflower oil also contains linoleic acid, an important component of helping the skin retain moisture as well as acting as an anti-inflammatory aid.

Unrefined Organic Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter is high in fatty acids, which means it locks moisture into your skin and helps improve elasticity. 

Mango Butter

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Mango butter functions similarly to cocoa butter, but also has an abundance of vitamin E and C which help protect your skin from sun-damage.

Lanolin

A powerful, natural wax secreted by animals with wool coats. Lanolin protects the most sensitive skin from the natural elements. Read more about the uses of lanolin HERE!

Castor Bean

Castor bean is a skin soother, it is both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial and can be used on sensitive skin.

White Kaolin Clay

White Kaolin Clay is the gentlest of all cosmetic clays and works to draw impurities out of your skin without completely drying skin out. Read about all the different types of cosmetic clays we use in our products!

Essential Oils of Bergamot 

Adding a floral and spicy note, this essential oil has wonderful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Essential Oils of May Chang

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Contributing a light, sweet refreshing scent, this essential oil is used for leaving skin smooth and soft.

Essential Oils of  Lime

Fresh  and tart, this essential oil has antiviral and disinfecting properties

Essential Oils of Tangerine, Orange and Clementine

Bright and citrusy, these essential oils have antifungal properties that also work against skin and scalp problems such as dryness and dandruff!

What Do You Love Most About Our Summer Skin Saver Bar?

Our Summer Skin Saver Bar is extremely popular and sells out fast so make sure you stock up now!

Much Love,

Nora


Eco-Friendly Mother’s Day Gift Guide and Giveaway!

Mother’s Day Giveaway!

GIVEAWAY!!! Enter for the opportunity to win a Rose Gift Set featuring a Bella Rose Shampoo and Body Bar (Voted our best smelling Shampoo Bar), a Sweet Rosehips Body Polish (Voted one of my top three favorite AVNS products of 2020), a cotton eco bag, a white soap mat and a SUPER EXCLUSIVE BELLA ROSE CUSTOM SCENTED JOJOBA OIL (not featured in regular Rose gift set). This Giveaway will start on May 5th and run until Mother’s Day (May 9th).

To enter via social media:

1. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook

2. Like our Mother’s Day Giveaway post on Instagram or Facebook

3. Tag a loved one who you think would love this gift set!

For a bonus entry: share this post on Facebook or your Instagram story, announce your favorite AVNS soap, and tag us!

How to enter if you don’t have social media:

1) Follow our blog

2) Like this post

For a bonus entry: share our blog with a loved one by sending them our link over text or email…take a screenshot once you’ve sent the link and email it to us with the title: Mother’s  Day Giveaway!

Only residents of the United States are able to participate.

Eco-Friendly Mother’s Day Gift Guide

We all know the perfect Mother’s Day gift is a beautiful bar of artisan soap paired with a sugary body scrub, lip balm, or custom scented jojoba oil, but did you know our soap bars also pair beautifully with other eco-friendly products? It’s true, which is why I hunted down some amazing little companies that strive to make products exist in harmony with the earth we love so you’ll have all the options when it comes to finding the perfect gift for your mom, aunt, grandma, cousin, sister, or just plain wonderful woman in your life this year!

1) Natural Coconut Bowls Paired with an AVNS Coconut Bar

This zero waste, eco-friendly gift is as vegan as our coconut bars! Fill one of these bowls with a bunch of half-sized coconut bars for an adorable presentation! Check out Jungle Culture’s website with all their amazing products here!

Product Information

“Our coconut shell boho bowls are sourced directly from rural farms which allows us to work closely with local communities in order to create interesting and unique designs. We go direct to the farmers and each sale helps to support local industry in the region.

Jungle Culture is a proud member of the 1% for the Planet global organisation & movement. We pledge 1% of our sales to the preservation & restoration of the natural environment. We donate to domestic & international grassroots & environmental groups which helps make a difference in their local communities.”

-Jungleculture

2) Wildflower Seed Bombs paired with a Wildflowers Coconut Bar

Okay, I know I already talked about coconut bars, but this pairing is just too perfect! Every time you wash your hands you’ll be reminded of the flowery explosion about to burst in your backyard!

Product Information

“Embedded with prolific self-seeding annual and perennial wildflower seeds grown on our solar-powered Virginia farm, including coreopsis, baby’s breath, larkspur, poppy, wallflower, daisy, cornflower, zinnia, black-eyed Susan – these seed bombs gives both humans and pollinators plenty to be excited about.

Our zero waste, small batch paper is handmade with a process that is respectful to water resources, using 100% post-consumer material as a base. No chemicals are used, ever.

Plant in a sunny spot. Push the seed bomb gently into lose, moist soil, leaving the top uncovered. Water well, especially during germination which can take 10-30 days.”

MakersOfHyssopLane

3) Simply Organic Bamboo Bedding paired with a Bamboo Shampoo Bar

The amazing woman in your life will feel even more amazing as she climbs into a soft set of bamboo sheets after taking a shower and lathering up with our fresh and peppery Bamboo Shampoo Bar. No plastic allowed!

Product Information

“Simply Organic Bamboo is proud to provide bedding crafted from organically grown 100% bamboo viscose. All of our products are designed and manufactured responsibly by expert craftspeople.

We can change the world one small step at a time by making responsible decisions. That’s why every day we consciously choose to reduce our ecological footprint and protect the health of our customers because we believe it’s the right thing to do. Sustainability is at the core of how we operate – from sourcing eco-friendly & renewable materials, minimizing waste, recycling, and partnering with like minded suppliers who refuse to use harmful chemicals.

We respect our planet and its environment and only want the best for our family, friends and customers.  The earth is our home and we share the air, water, and sunshine with everyone.  Organic bamboo grows naturally and provides a beautiful fiber for our products unlike any other.  It helps us sleep and rejuvenate in the way nature intended…without toxic chemicals or their byproducts.  When we spend a third of our life in bed we want that time to be as healthy as possible.  Our Simply Organic Bamboo bedding gives us maximum comfort and the restful sense of knowing that we start each new day in good health and respect for our global home.”

Simply Organic Bamboo

4) Organic Mixed Citrus Box paired with a Mixed Citrus Soap Set!

Is your mother a citrus lover? Get her a box of delicious organic citrus fruits that are seasonal and sensational! Pair it with a set of four citrus half-sized bars that will provide her with lasting citrus joy long after she’s peeled her last orange! Pick from our citrus soaps here!

Product Information

“Enjoy a mix of seasonal, certified organic citrus. Boxes are packed with 2-3 different varieties of  what’s currently available and may include juicy delicious navel oranges, blood oranges, Meyer lemons, mandarins, tangerines or Minneola. We partner with other local, organic producers to bring you a fresh, rejuvenating mix of the best citrus.”

Frog Hollow Farm

Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope you’ve been inspired by these unique and personal gift ideas and I wish you the best of luck in our Giveaway!

Much Love,

Nora