Argan Oil Vs Jojoba Oil for Hair and Skin

Why Try Oil for Hair and Skin?

A quick search about the benefits of facial and hair oils will leave you with more questions than answers. Some websites claim that dermatologists recommend oils over any other type of moisturizer, while other websites claim that dermatologists strongly discourage the use of oils. What is true? What isn’t? Today we’ll be sticking to what we know about oil, specifically Argan oil and Jojoba oil and then we’ll do the one thing that no amount of research can do, we’ll decide for ourselves. I wanted to give you the best advice on these two popular cosmetic oils, so I put them to the test and did a half-and-half style session to see which oil will rule them all.

What is Argan Oil?

According to an article published in the National Library of Medicine, “Argan (Argania spinosa L.) oil has been used for centuries in Morocco as cosmetic oil to maintain a fair complexion and to cure skin pimples and chicken pox pustules scars.” If you read my last blog, you know I’ve a huge fan of argan oil’s versatility!

Main Components of Argan Oil

Wikipedia

Argan Oil is mainly composed of fatty acids which play a major role in aiding the skin’s natural functions. There are four ways in which fatty acids contribute to the skin’s natural process. Now, if you understand scientific terminology feel free to read the original article here, but if you’re like me and want the basics I’ve broken each function down into more simple jargon below.

Fatty Acid Functions

1) Contributes to skin’s permeability layer which allows skin to lock in water to stay hydrated.
2) Acts as building blocks and support for generation of skin’s natural oils.
3) Helps maintain skin’s homeostasis.
4) Strengthens outer skin’s barrier and acid mantle.

A Note About Linoleic Acid

Photo by Immortal Snapshots on Pexels.com Walnuts are just one of many foods that contain linoleic acid!

“Linoleic Acid is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid and is one of two essential fatty acids for humans, who must obtain it through their diet. It is a colorless or white oil that is virtually insoluble in water. ” (Wikipedia). Linoleic is an essential addition to the human diet to avoid scaly skin. To read more about Linoleic acid and its benefits you can read this study.

Uses of Argan Oil

My wash day hair before and after deep conditioning with Argan Oil
  • Thermal heat protectant for hair: put 2-4 drops in the palm of your hand and massage into damp hair after showering. Your hair will feel silky soft after blow-drying.
  • Deep conditioner: wet hair with hot water, massage a small amount into the scalp and down the shaft of the hair, wrap with a towel, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Wash hair as usual. Alternatively, apply to dry hair before going to bed at night. Wrap in a towel and wash in the morning for soft, silky locks. Argan oil helps with dandruff and other dry scalp symptoms.
  • Makeup remover: put a couple of drops on a cotton ball and and gently remove eye makeup. Leaves the delicate skin around your eyes moisturized.
  • Facial moisturizer: apply a few drops to your delicate facial tissue and around your eyes and watch your skin soak it up and start glowing.
  • Beard oil: bearded people, you know what I’m sayin’, but if your beard needs additional TLC check out our brand new Beard Oil along with our other recently released men’s products!
  • Cuticle and nail repair serum: apply a drop to cuticles and nails at night and say good bye to cut, sore finger tips. Argan oil will strengthen and nourish your nails too.
  • Night hand oil. Two pumps rubbed into your hands before you go to bed leaves them soft and silky in the morning. (Also great for sunburns!)
  • Expectant mothers: apply organic argan oil to your tummy to help prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

What is Jojoba oil?

Jojoba Oil is gleaned from the Jojoba plant which can be found growing in southwestern states. An important thing to note is that, “although jojoba oil is often categorized as an “oil” because of its pale yellow, transparent, liquid appearance, it is actually a liquid wax ester” (NCBI). Before you go dismissing jojoba oil as some melted candle juice, just remember that wax ester is actually used to make the skin soft and that wax treatments are very popular at spas…so does that make jojoba oil like a secret, portable spa treatment? Try Customizable Portable Spa Treatment! We offer Customized Jojoba Oil scented with the same essential oils we use for our scrumptious soaps!

Uses of Jojoba Oil

  • Moisturize hair and skin
  • Massage oil
  • Make-up remover
  • Helps combat athlete’s foot
  • Helps rid the scalp of dandruff
  • stimulates hair growth
  • Aids in combating skin infections

While argan oil and jojoba oil supposedly share many of the same benefits, jojoba oil is known for its similar composition to skin’s natural oil: sebum. Oils are rated on the comedogenic scale on how likely they are to clog pores (zero being rarely and five being like ‘whoa, do not get near my pores’). Argan oil is a zero on the comedogenic scale and even though jojoba oil is a two, it is still widely recommended for oily skin because it is thought that it can trick the skin into producing less sebum. On the other hand, argan oil is known for its ability to combat dry skin. 

One More Oil to Note

Although not a main focus of this blog, I will take a quick moment to mention one additional oil: hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil is known for its countless benefits which is why we are proud to carry Hemp Facial Oil. Not sure what hemp entails or curious about CBD? Check out this blog!

Battle of the Oils

So what happened when I tried using a different oil on each half of my body?

After showering I applied both oils to my face, hair, and body. I used Argan oil on my left side and Jojoba on my right side.

Argan Oil Vs Jojoba Oil for Skin

Skin Status: I recently realized during an informal family poll that I’m somewhat of an abnormality when it comes to bathing habits. Obviously I’m going to need to write a blog on this, but for now I’ll say that most of my skin is very balanced. I rarely suffer from over-dry or over-oily skin except on my hands, face, and back.

Hypothesis: I typically apply lotion after showering, but I hate the greasy residue left on my skin (especially when I’m trying to jam my damp legs into jeans during the winter season after that perfect shave…ew). I predicted that applying oil would yield, well, even oilier results…but I was pleasantly surprised.

Results: Both my arms and legs felt soft and moisturized after applying the argan and jojoba oil, without leaving a lot of extra surface oil to make me feel slimy or sticky. I didn’t include photos because my camera isn’t strong enough to detect any differences in my skin quality (I should invest in one of those pore-exposing skin microscopes). If to make any comparison, I would affirm that a little jojoba oil goes a long way and spreads easily, whereas the argan oil was thicker.

Argan Oil vs Jojoba Oil for Face

Skin Status: Ah, my face. As you may already know, I’ve spent a ton of time trying to get rid of my acne. I have large, visible face pores that are extremely prone to clogging and love to produce oil…so I figured my face was the perfect canvas to test out these two “miracle oils.”

Hypothesis: I actually started using these oils before this experiment to make sure my face wouldn’t have an extreme reaction.

Results: I felt as though the argan oil made more a difference in the long run, but had a heavier feel on my face, whereas the jojoba oil was super light. I’ve actually applied argan oil directly to healing acne scars on my face and I personally feel like it has made a huge difference in the healing process. My scabs seem to heal faster and I get to avoid that gross “crusty phase” because my skin stays so moisturized. I think I will continue to use argan oil as a night moisturizer and jojoba oil as a daytime moisturizer.

Argan Oil Vs. Jojoba Oil for Hair

Hair Comparison

Hair Status: I have lonnnnng (overdue for a haircut) wavy to curly hair that I work hard to keep bouncy and beautiful. I am prone to greasy roots and dry ends.

Hypothesis: I was worried that the oils might weigh my hair down. Oil is a controversial subject in the Curly World and is promoted and discouraged by curl influencers. Because the results from the skin tests were so similar, I imagined my hair would probably looks the same, but it didn’t…

Results: I was so surprised by the results after my hair finished air-drying. I even took a picture because you can see the difference in my hair. The left side with the argan oil has great definition and I love how fluffy the wave/curls look. The right side with the jojoba oil seemed to be slightly more defined, but also made my curls look slightly oilier. The biggest surprise was that the argan oil side actually looks LIGHTER? I have no reason as to why this was, maybe I used too much jojoba oil? 

You might hear curly girls rant and rave about the benefits of coconut oil for curly hair, but when I tried adding it (also used wayyyyy too much) to my own hair routine the result was a greasy, nasty, stringy mess. My curls are so sensitive, and usually anything thicker than a sour cream consistency elongates and weighs my curls down (don’t use sour cream in your hair). The lesson here is: different oils work for different hair/skin types. Not sure which to try? Get both and run your own experiment!

Much Love,

Nora


The Uses and Benefits of CBD

With so many CBD producers on the market, how do you know who to trust? This is a tough question, but one that must be asked and answered. In this blog, we hope to answer this plus many other details about CBD including what it is, and what it can do for the body.

What is CBD and What Does it Do?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Have you been in a conversation where CBD was mentioned but weren’t sure how to contribute or react because of all the rumors you’ve heard? With so many questions floating around it can be difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.

 Is it a drug? 

Can you get high off of it?

 Is it marijuana?

CBD is a new topic increasingly gaining popularity, but it’s very misunderstood. This blog will help you gain a basic understanding of CBD and will allow you to distinguish the rumors from facts and science. By the end of this you’ll know: where it’s from, how it works, what effects it has on the body, and how to determine whether a company’s CBD products are reliable.

First of all, what is CBD and where does it come from? 

CBD stands for cannabidiol, a compound found naturally in hemp plants. Hemp plants, like marijuana, are both subspecies of the cannabis plant, but are completely different. Marijuana contains CBD and THC, typically 15-20% of THC. THC is psychoactive and gives people a “high,” and is still illegal in the United States. Whereas Hemp plants contain CBD and THC that is less than .03% (which does not get people high). This fact and the medical benefits from CBD prompted the FDA to pass the 2018 Farm Bill making it legal in the United States which gave the ability for companies to produce products with CBD in it.

What does CBD do once it’s in the body? 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

In the bloodstream, cannabinoids work with a series of receptors in your body known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is involved in a lot of important jobs, including regulating your anti-inflammatory response, immune system, appetite, mood, anxiety levels, sleep schedule and more. Endocannabinoids and their receptors exist throughout the body, from the brain to the connective tissue and immune cells. The cannabinoid system’s role changes depending on its location, but is always acting for one goal: homeostasis, also known as the maintenance of a stable internal environment.

What are the effects of CBD? 

There are different methods of using CBD which affect the body differently. There is CBD oil and CBD topical creams and lotions.

CBD Oil

CBD oil goes straight into the bloodstream when taken internally. Many people utilize CBD oil by placing it under the tongue because it bypasses the stomach and enters into the bloodstream more effectively. Here are some of the benefits from taking CBD Oil internally:

* Increases the concentration of cannabinoids in your body leading to a more efficient and effective endocannabinoid system.

* As a powerful antioxidant, CBD protects the body from free radicals and protects or slows cell damage.

* Supports the skin’s natural healing process.

* May help reduce anxiety.

* May help reduce inflammation.

* May help relieve pain.

* May ease the discomfort of headaches.

* May enhance relaxation.

* Has calming and therapeutic benefits.

* Could reduce anxiety and depression.

* Could benefit heart health.

Topically

Photo by Linda Prebreza on Pexels.com

The most effective way for targeting specific areas on the body for aches and pains is applying CBD topically, which can be in the form of an oil, balm or lotion. Here are some of the benefits:

* Has calming and therapeutic benefits.

* May help relieve pain.

* May ease the discomfort of headaches.

* May enhance relaxation.

* Treats acne due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and ability to calm skin and reduce sebum production (see our Hemp Facial Oil).

* Supports the skin’s natural healing process.

* CBD is a powerful antioxidant, meaning it protects the skin from free radicals.

* CBD supports skin cell growth.

* One of the less-known benefits for skin is that it can help prevent and reduce varicose veins. This is because it has blood thinning properties, due to its high omega fatty acid content that helps prevent build up of blood on top of the valve. This build-up is what causes the veins to appear like they are bulging.

What are the side effects of CBD? 

With everything we take, there are always potential side effects, but side effects for CBD are minimal. Some of the side effects could include dry mouth, low blood sugar (if taking a huge intake of CBD), drowsiness, and reduction of Hepatic Drug Digestion.

With so many CBD producers on the market, how do you know who to trust?

Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem on Pexels.com

Be cautious when buying CBD products from different companies because it’s essential that these products are made correctly. Always look up new companies to make sure they are reliable and provide details about their CBD products. See if they have any lab test results and more information about where the products are formulated.

Our CBD salve, tincture and balm are produced for Apple Valley Natural Soap by a facility which rigorously evaluates every stage of the process. From soil to oil, the process is standardized and controlled to produce highly rated and effective products. The Hemp used in our products is organically grown and every batch is tested for potency and purity, plus our website provides current third-party lab test results. These results also show that our Hemp oil tincture is THC-free. Our products also use a whole-plant extract which not only includes CBD but many of the other phytocannabinoids, creating the synergistic effect of all the compounds working together.

So how does the topic of CBD affect me?

CBD is a huge topic and is still being medically tested, but it has helped improve many people’s lives and is changing the medical system. Now that you have a basic understanding of what CBD is and what it can do to the body, you can assess to see if you could benefit from CBD products.


What is Fragrance?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Scent is an extremely important and powerful sense. Not only can your sniffer pick up one trillion distinct scents, it can also smell emotion. Our ability to smell affects our wellbeing and our inability to smell is an indication that something in the body is off (recent studies show our noses may even be helpful in determining if we could be showing signs of COVID-19)! Knowing this, it is essential (oils) that we know how what we’re sniffing impacts us. After reading this you’ll be an expert on everything that goes into your stellar smeller. 

What is Fragrance?

The FDA defines Fragrance as a blend of chemicals that gives a product its distinct smell. Ingredients used can be procured from natural and synthetic materials resulting in a customized recipe that is then listed on a product simply as “Fragrance.”

What is in Fragrance?

Photo by Mareefe on Pexels.com

It depends. There are three main means through which a fragrance can be achieved. Essential Oils, Synthetic Fragrance, and Natural Fragrance. We sold some of our essential oil soaps for over four years under the impression that the pre-mixed blends we were using in a few of our bars were pure essential oil blends.  Since that time it was discovered that those blends contained pure essential oils AND a small percentage of phthalate-free fragrance oil to boost the natural scent. We had to decide whether to discontinue those bars and disappoint many of our regular customers, or to continue carrying them and give people the choices they wanted. We made the decision to carry the bars, and let our customers make their own choices in this regard.

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

What are the different types of Fragrance?

Essential Oils

Photo by Joyce Toh on Pexels.com

Essential oils are made up of plant compounds that have been distilled and combined with a carrier oil. Essential oils are a pure and concentrated form of fragrance that are believed to possess many different health benefits when introduced to the body through inhalation and topical application. 

Three Top Essential Oils

Peppermint

In addition to its festive smell, peppermint essential oil is used for its super “cool” benefits. Our Peppermint Patchouli Pumice Body Bar is the perfect option for skin that needs rejuvenation.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree oil is thought to have antibacterial and anti fungal properties and is commonly used in the treatment of acne. We recommend the Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo Bar as the perfect solution for a scalp that needs some TLC.

Lavender

Photo by SHAHBAZ AKRAM on Pexels.com

Lavender is easily my favorite essential oil and AVNS loves it, too. When I was a little girl my mom would add a drop in the bathtub right before bed. Lavender is used to relieve stress and is a perfect natural way to aid sleep. Baths are hard to come by when you’re always pressed for time, but hopping in the shower with a bar of Lavender Silk creates the perfect ten minute stay-cation experience for otherwise busy mornings. 

Natural Fragrance 

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

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

Synthetic Fragrance

Photo by Mareefe on Pexels.com

Synthetic fragrance is a blend of lab created chemicals combined to achieve an imitation of a scent or in many cases, a totally unique scent. While synthetic fragrance may be helpful in enhancing nuances in natural scents, there are some concerns about some of the chemicals present in many synthetic fragrances, especially phthalates. Phthalates are found in cosmetics, but they are also used to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic . Research has shown that when absorbed in the body, Phthalates may lead to issues in fertility and neurodevelopment. We make sure that any fragrance we use that is NOT an essential oil or a natural fragrance is phthalate-free.

AVNS wants you to know exactly what we put in our products, which is why we list our ingredients under each product. Our essential oils are therapeutic grade because we want you to benefit from every ingredient on our list. Whether the benefits are physical or simply sensory enjoyment, we hope our products improve your quality of life.

Much Love,

Nora


Benefits of Cosmetic Clay

Has this ever happened to you?

You’re minding your own business on a Saturday afternoon when a tiny swamp monster flings open your front door and charges into your house, leaving behind a trail of muddy, clumpy footprints. You start to scream, but as the tiny swamp monster sprints past you you hear it say…

“Hey Mom!”

You realize it’s not a tiny swamp monster, it’s actually your eight year old daughter.

And instead of listening to you when you try to explain why mud is bad and why tracking mud into the house is harmful rather than helpful she decides to use her childish curiosity to stick it to you and says, “If mud is bad then how come you rub it all over your face before bed? And how come we use it to make mugs in art class? And how come when I visited Apple Valley Natural Soap’s website to pick out a Mother’s Day present for you I saw that they use clay in their soaps?”

Okay…

So maybe this hasn’t happened to you, but here’s the question:

If it did happen to you, would you be prepared with an answer?

Don’t worry, after reading this you will be!

What is Clay?

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Clay is made up of specific mineral particles that are extremely fine. On a chemical level, clay’s dense sheet-like structure of tightly bonded elements creates a compact structure that also retains water.

Mud and dirt may contain the same components as clay, but they can also contain varying quantities of silt, soil and sand. Clay’s compact structure prevents it from becoming a habitat for microorganisms and creates a smooth, even texture. This refined quality is what identifies clay as the optimal sediment for cosmetic use. 

What is Cosmetic Clay?

Photo by John Tekeridis on Pexels.com

Cosmetic clay is clay that is used in health and beauty products. Different types of clay have different benefits, so selecting the right kind of clay for your skin is important.

Cosmetic Clays in AVNS Soap

Rhassoul Clay

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Rhassoul Clay, mined from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, has been used for over 1400 years as a soap, shampoo, and skin conditioner. It contains a high percentage of silica, magnesium, potassium, and calcium, and its extraordinary ability to absorb oil and impurities from both the skin and hair makes it more effective than other clays for cleansing and conditioning…perfect for faces that need the epitome of pampering. We’ve also discovered that this clay has a super sidekick…avocado. We want you to be able to get clean, silky hair without having to attempt your own mushy, DIY avocado mask, so we did all the work for you and created the Rhassoul and Avocado Shampoo Bar.

Kaolin Clay

Kaolin Clay is the purest and gentlest of all the clays. White Kaolin clay is used to make porcelain, but in the cosmetic world it’s not limited to porcelain skin. Kaolin clay’s negative charge allows it to draw out toxins that other clays can’t. We combined the gentlest clay with the gentlest fiber, silk, for a truly gentle and effective cleanse.

Photo by on Pexels.com

Managing skin that is sensitive and prone to oil can be frustrating, but mixing white kaolin clay with red kaolin clay creates the perfect balance of delicacy and absorption. Our solution is two beautifully colored bars made with pink kaolin clay. For citrus lovers: the Pink Lemonade Shampoo Bar. For floral enthusiasts: the Bella Rose Shampoo Bar.

Australian Red Reef Clay

This clay is packed with iron and minerals that improves the skin and gives it a healthy glow. We recommend our Rose Geranium Salt Bar for the benefits of additional exfoliation from our top notch European Spa Salt!

Bentonite Clay

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

The strong absorption power of bentonite clay makes it fantastic for acne prone skin because it pulls out the dirt and sebum that can build up on your face. The fine quality of this clay also makes for a fantastic shave for every bona fide beard-growing face out there, so make sure you get your Man 2.0 Body, Shampoo, and Shaving Bar in time for Father’s Day (it’s like three gifts in one)!

Now you’re fully equipped to answer all of your hypothetical daughter’s questions, or anyone who needs the help of a clay expert. You also have the perfect Mother’s Day Wishlist!


The Lowdown on Deodorant: Why We Choose Natural Ingredients

Misconceptions about deodorant

When I broke my leg in eighth grade while downhill skiing I was perplexed. I had been wearing my deodorant the entire time, yet there I was with a spiral fracture in my right tibia.

24 hour protection. Pshhh, yeah right!

While it may have been my eighth grade error of misinterpreting exactly what type of protection my deodorant was offering, there is certainly a valid reason for the disillusionment caused by that bold, 24 hour protection claim. Many ingredients in household name deodorants have been under speculation for causing more damage to our bodies than protection. Chemicals such as phthalates and parabens are capable of disrupting hormone balances in the body and exposure to these chemicals has been linked to breast cancer. The worst part is, this isn’t the first time deodorant ads have been deceiving.

The rise of deodorant and women’s sports

Up until deodorant was invented in the late 1800s, natural, healthy body odor wasn’t considered a problem, but the deodorant company aided it in becoming one. Advertisements claimed that the reason behind a woman’s popularity with men was dependent on how she smelled.

Interestingly enough, if you look at the history of women’s participation in athletic activity, the late 1800’s also saw a rise in the formation of women’s informal athletic clubs (The Sport Journal). So while false advertising was inappropriately preying on women’s self esteem, the increased need for deodorant may have been completely relevant for our great-great-great-great-grandmothers who were movin’ and groovin’.

For a long time, women were discouraged from physical activity. In Aristotle’s time, it was believed that every human had a limited amount of energy and if women engaged in too much intellectual stimulation or physical exertion they wouldn’t have enough energy left for child-bearing (National Woman’s History Museum). Obviously, Aristotle didn’t know that if you have enough strength to birth a child and then spend the next five years raising it you’ve probably got quite a bit of moxie.

Women today

Yes, this is me! I wish I was still this flexible!

Women in the late 1800s and early 1900s enjoyed tennis, bowling, and archery. Women today still enjoy these sports, along with other sports like soccer, football, and hockey. According to an article in The Sport Journal, “College women’s athletic participation has increased from 15% in 1972 to 43% in 2001. High school girl’s athletic participation increased from 295,000 in 1971 to 2.8 million in 2002-2003, an increase of over 840%.”

I was a dancer up until I started college and I wore deodorant, not because I was afraid of being rejected at the school dance, but because I didn’t want sweat or stink getting in the way of my hard work. Sports aren’t the only activity that work up a sweat, many jobs require manual labor, as well as household chores (maneuvering a vacuum around takes muscle!). Regardless of the form, physical activity not only benefits the body, it benefits the mind.

Our goal at Apple Valley Natural Soap

We want you to embrace your right to move, which is why we’ve created a Natural Deodorant Creme that is safe and effective. I know it can sound a bit intimidating. I’m used to the idea that my armpits are a force that only a complex formula of hard-core chemicals can tame, but if you look at the chemicals in common deodorant versus the ingredients we use, you’ll see that nature has the upper-hand.

Apple Valley Natural Soap takes the field with an all-star team of sweat and odor-eliminating ingredients

Natural odor-eliminating ingredients on offense

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 on defense

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.

Our natural Deodorant Creme comes scented (with essential oils picked especially for the additional boost of their antimicrobial properties) as well as unscented. Now, get out there and move!

Much Love,

Nora


Beauty and Health Benefits of Salt for Your Skin

I challenge you to a friendly contest.

Get a pencil and set your timer for thirty seconds.

Now, on the countdown of three start your timer and write down all the uses of salt that you can think of!

Okay?

Three.

Two.

One.

Go!

Time’s up!

Hopefully you were able to think of a few things. I’ll share my list at the bottom and you can see how yours compares to mine. However, before you scroll down there to competitively evaluate who came up with more answers…I think both of us deserve a freebie (like the Free Space in BINGO) for all of our hard work.

Free Space: Salt Soap Bars

Why put salt in soap?

I know you’re probably wondering if salt is used to flavor soap like it’s used to flavor food (and let me tell you, some of the AVNS soaps do look good enough to eat!). However, that’s not the reason salt bars exist.

The salt in salt bars simultaneously serves as an exfoliant and a natural antibacterial agent. When the larger grains come into contact with your skin they remove the dead skin cells that have accumulated and allow clogged pores to breathe. 

While the AVNS Lime Spa Salt Bar is a great way to prepare for a flawless shave, our Pink Himalayan Salt Bar provides the perfect grit for combating calloused hands and feet. When new skin is exposed, the salt also cleanses it from bacteria (and if you’re ready to relive your high school biology days hang in there and I’ll explain how).

Salt as a natural antibacterial agent

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

I took this photo off the quaint coast of the Cinque Terre in Italy during my study abroad trip to Europe this past fall, where are your favorite oceanside travel destinations?

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

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

Apple Valley Natural Soap’s stunning salt bars

AVNS has a striking lineup of beautiful salt bars, I’m actually going to leave a link right here so you can just go look at all of them side by side because the gentle color palate and rich texture of the salt is soooooo aesthetically pleasing. It’s like looking at artisanal blocks of artist’s chalk…except instead of drawing on the sidewalk you get to lather your body! The dove grey Orange Anise Salt Bar is hands(washing)down the most gorgeous bar of soap I’ve ever seen and Marianne recommends pairing it with a white or black soap placemat as a modern finishing touch (just beware that this stylish touch could make people mistake your bathroom for a high-end art gallery!). The best part is — these bars aren’t just for looks! You won’t even need to scratch your head in wonder when I tell you that the glowing white Lavender Rosemary Salt Bar doesn’t just look great on a placemat, it also acts as a Shampoo Bar that relieves itchy scalps.

I guess I ended up with more than one freebie because we’ve now covered salt as: an antibacterial, an exfoliant, and a source of skin-nourishing minerals…but hey, one salt bar will cover all those things, so I guess it’s three freebies in one!

Without further ado: Nora’s 30 second Salt List

  1. Melts snow on roads and sidewalks
  2. Himalayan Salt Rock Lamp
  3. Salt Blocks for horses
  4. Flavors food
  5. Repels leeches
  6. Helps your hair curl?

Everything You Need to Know About Castile Soap

How is my love for acting related to Castile soap?

When I play a character in a show, I not only get to fill their shoes, I also trace their footsteps. 

Here I am with my fellow actor Dah in our production of I Hate Hamlet. I absolutely loved my costumes for this show…I felt like a princess!

Because of this, I’ve travelled through a number of character paths that have taken me around the world: I’ve stolen a Commedia dell’arte romp through the winding canals of Venice, floated through the dreamscape of Charles Dickens’s London, explored the historical and haunted flats that make up the New York City skyline, and washed a peasant’s laundry in (and I think you’ll see where I’m going here) Castile, Spain.

Castile? Wait, isn’t that a type of soap?

You guessed it!

The history of soap

Early soaps were made from combining animal fats and plant oils with salt or ash. This primitive soap was used for cleaning cooking utensils and medicinal purposes rather than for beauty and personal hygiene. As soap making became more refined it also became more expensive because it required both technique and coveted family recipes. Prices only dropped after production became more mainstream when chemicals were introduced to simplify the process.

What is Castile Soap?

Castile soap has been around for quite some time, but unlike the first soaps ever made it does not contain animal fat or ashes. However, a traditional Castile soap is also free from modern chemicals used in most mass-produced soaps.

So if it doesn’t have chemicals or animal byproduct, what exactly is it made of?

Olive oil.

And I’m sure you already guessed where those olives were grown.

Spain exports the world’s majority of olive oil and the production of olive oil in Spain can be traced back about 3,000 years. Although Castile soap got its name from a specific region in Spain, Castile soap can be made with olive oil from anywhere…which has its disadvantages.

The benefits of olive oil in Castile soap

Because Castile soap is generally defined as soap made with olive oil, many companies can get away with using small quantities of low grade olive oil while still labeling the soap as “Castile Soap” This soap will not have the same benefits as a soap composed of high quality olive oil.

Now, the advantage of using olive oil from outside of Castile is that it allows us to pick from the best. In keeping with the origins of the first Castile soaps, our organic virgin olive oil is sourced mainly from the Mediterranean region. Our true Castile soaps provide a gentle cleanse and act as a nourishing moisturizer. Our virgin olive oil is chemical free and retains its vitamin content, the reason behind olive oil’s health benefits (especially vitamin E). Vitamin E protects skin from the damage of free radicals and can help alleviate symptoms of eczema.

We choose to go organic with our virgin olive oil and many of our other products to promote the protection of the earth and water from harmful pesticides and we want our Castile soap to do the same for your skin. Our Calendula Castile Bar is the perfect soothing solution for sensitive skin (babies would highly recommend it…if they could talk). Our Lavender Castile Bar will create a calming, creamy lather…perfect for shaving! I know I’ve got the Lavender Orange Castile Bar on my wish-list and I’ve got an audition for Antigone tomorrow so I’m ready to get into character (Greece likes its olive oil too!)

Wish me Luck!

Nora


Product Ingredients. How do we choose what we use? What are the benefits?

Have you ever wondered how we choose the ingredients for our products? It’s kept you up at night hasn’t it!?! Well, in this blog we’re going to start by listing our ingredients, specifically the carrier/base oils, as well as our butters, and their benefits.

When formulating the recipe for a new soap or other product, we look at all the benefits of the individual ingredients as well as our end goal. What are we trying to do with this particular recipe? Heal, nourish, rejuvenate, revitalize, all of the above? Then we move ahead with bringing it all together, the carrier oils and butters, the essential oils and herbal extracts, they all help us reach that goal. It can be a lengthy process, but it’s so worth it in the end when a product is completed that meets an important criteria, a natural product that is needed. Many times we are not even aware of the need until the product has been released. Helping customers, making them happy, bringing joy. It blesses us when this happens.

Apricot Kernel Oil is rich in fatty acids along with vitamins A, C, E & K. Because of these properties, it is great for nourishing and strengthening hair follicles from the roots, plus increasing skin hydration and reducing dryness. This oil leaves hair soft and shiny, while stimulating hair growth.

Almond Oil (Sweet) not only softens rough or dry skin, but it also creates a protective layer on the skin. It also helps reduce inflammation and is a remedy for skin/scalp issues such as dandruff, acne, psoriasis, and eczema.

Argan oil, is rich in vitamin E, carotenes, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. It helps repair skin imperfections and restore texture, elasticity and tone. Argan oil is great moisturizer, and because of it’s high levels of Vitamin E and antioxidants, it is also used to fight both dandruff and dry scalp. This oil is often referred to as “liquid gold”.

Avocado Oil contains sterolins, which are natural steroids. These natural steroids may be effective in boosting collagen production and in treating age spots. Also, with its high level of vitamin E, avocado oil may reduce itching and inflammation, while softening rough and cracked skin. It helps rejuvenate and moisturize the scalp, deep condition hair, leaving it looking lustrous and full of life. Also, because it’s a rich source of proteins, amino acids and vitamins, avocado oil helps promote the growth of healthier hair.

Babassu oil can reduce the symptoms of a variety of scalp irritations, due to the anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also filled with antioxidants which help to restore lost elasticity and strength to hair and moisturizes the scalp. If is the perfect oil for treating damaged and brittle hair.

Castor Oil is one of the best things you can do for promoting hair growth and controlling hair loss. It can give you thicker and even longer hair as it contains ricinoleic acid and omega-6 essential fatty acids that improve blood circulation to the scalp, encouraging hair growth. Castor oil also has natural antibacterial, antifungal properties which makes it a great addition to any soap!

Cocoa Butter (Unrefined) gives hair increased manageability and moisture. It can help prevent hair loss due to breakage or an inherently fine texture. and can also help alleviate scalp itching and irritation. Cocoa Butter works to soothe dry, sensitive skin while reducing and preventing the appearance of scars and unwanted marks. It is believed to have photo-protective properties that protect against harmful UV radiation. Used in hair, Cocoa Butter moisturizes strands to make them more manageable. While repairing damage, it replenishes naturally-occurring oils, adds volume and shine, boosts strength and resilience, increases thickness, and reduces frizz. Medicinally, Cocoa Butter works as an anti-inflammatory moisturizer that offers relief to skin afflicted with swelling, irritation, and redness.

Coconut oil contains 2 chemicals that are known to have a broad spectrum of anti-microbial activity against virus, bacterial, and fungal infections, they are lauric acid and capric acid. Coconut oil also contains high levels of Vitamin K and E which are powerful antioxidants to help prevent skin damage. It is wonderful for dry, itchy and sensitive skin, can stimulate hair growth by getting deep into its follicles, promote scalp health by fighting against such problems as insect bites, lice and dandruff. It also moisturizes dry hair, adds luster, shine and softness to hair while preventing breakage and split ends.

Flaxseed oil is composed mainly of omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient that is known for providing a multitude of health benefits. The Lignans in flax are healing, and decrease inflammation which will also promote healing of skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, and acne, which aids with scalp health, and hair growth. Omega-3 fatty acids are also known for increasing the speed at which skin wounds heal.

Grapeseed oil contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. The linoleum acid and Vitamin E help build tissue and promote hair and skin growth. If your hair is brittle or weak, treating it with grape seed oil can help to restore its strength and shine. This oil is full of emollients and nutrients that can help nurture the growth of healthy skin cells, treating dandruff and other dermatological conditions caused by a dry, flaky scalp. 

Jojoba oil, so similar to human sebum, can help balance oil production. It’s easily absorbed, won’t clog pores, and leaves the skin feeling soft and supple. Jojoba is particularly good for dry, damaged hair, hair with split ends and is prone to tangling and damage. 

Mango butter protects skin from sun damage and is very versatile with range of wonderful qualities. It has the ability to hydrate skin for long period of times, lightening of age and sun damage spots, tightening skin and healing eczema, rashes, irritations and generally, brining back a healthy tone to skin.

Olive Oil is high in oleic acid, a good skin cell regenerator and attracts external moisture to the skin. The fatty acids that olive oil is made up of will also coat the shaft of your hair, helping to keep it healthy and protected.

Palm Oil contains the hard to find toctrienols, which are members of the vitamin E family. Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant that helps the skin to fight free radicals that damage the skin and cause fine lines and wrinkles. Palm oil contains lipids and saturated fats that feed the hair shaft, eliminating dryness. It helps remove oil and dirt from hair and skin and contains a refatting agent that helps restore natural oils to hair and skin.

Palm Butter has great antioxidant power. Along with a high content vitamin E, there is a large amount of Tocotrienols which do an even better job of preventing oxidization. Palm butter is a wonderful healing moisturizer for the skin.

Neem Oil has a host of benefits, it’s natural ingredients make neem oil a potent antifungal, antipyretic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Neem oils beneficial fatty acids moisturize and nourish the scalp and hair, leaving it with a healthy shine. It restores moisture and repairs damaged hair. It moisturizes the scalp, kills harmful microbes, and reduces itching and flakes naturally. When used on a regular basis, neem oil regulates the oil secretion in the scalp for a healthier scalp and strong hair. Healthy hair grows stronger and thicker. It also strengthens the hair roots and revitalizes damaged hair.

Sesame Seed Oil is infused with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and healing properties which help in curing several skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. This oil contains the powerful antioxidant, vitamin E, which helps in preventing free radical damage. The essential fatty acids found in Sesame Seed Oil make this oil a great moisturizer while it heals.

Shea Butter strengthens your skin by stimulating the production of collagen, it helps make your skin more supple, more alive, nourished and radiant. Shea butter also soothes dry, itchy and irritated scalps without clogging pores, so hair can grow without any hinderances.

Sunflower oil is packed with high levels of Vitamin E and helps reduce bacteria which contributes to dry scalp. It also  acts as a natural moisturizer and reduces the occurrence of thinning hair. How, not only because it helps lock in moisture to the hair shaft, but it also contains Oleic Acid, another name for Omega 9 acid, known to be one of the essential acids that are needed for stop breakage and stimulate healthy hair growth.

Walnut Oil is high in both vitamins and minerals. It works wonders on the skin and is highly recommended for people who want a flawless and ageless skin. It also promotes hair growth because not only is it known to be a remedy to treat fungal infections as well as skin issues such as Psoriasis and Eczema, it’s also high in potassium, and potassium is essential because it helps the regeneration of cells and hence accelerates hair growth. 

Wheat Germ is excellent for hair because it is a ceramide oil. Ceramide oils work by creating a sort of protective barrier around the hair shaft. In turn it holds in moisture and protein all while also protecting the hair from heat damage and UV rays. In doing so, helps to “repair” or prevent further damage to the cuticle layers of your hair.

All of our products have the ingredients listed on the website, so if in doubt about a which product to try, use this as a handy reference to see which ones will fit your needs the best!


Certified Organic Ingredients and Sustainability – What does this mean?

A large percentage of AVNS products use ingredients labeled as “Organic” and “Sustainable”, so what does this really means to us?  

Organic. This is a term thrown around a lot in today’s world, so how do we really know that something labeled as organic is really free from pesticides, hormones, chemicals or anything artificial?

Organic in it’s generic meaning is defined as something grown at a natural pace. The dictionary says organic is “relating to or derived from living matter”. So based on these definitions, anything grown, could be defined as organic in it’s generic term. But today, this is what we tend to view as “natural”, not necessarily organic.

When you see the term “organic” on a label, check to see if either the product, or the ingredients used are “certified organic”, then you know that the product, food or ingredient was produced with a set of farming and production practices defined and regulated, in great detail, by the USDA. Items grown from the earth must be certified by regulatory agencies that perform soil tests. Additionally, soil must have at least 3 years of no pesticide treatment before it can be certified to begin with. “Certified organic” guarantees no toxic synthetic pesticides, toxic synthetic herbicides, or chemical fertilizers are used in production, and no antibiotics or growth hormones are given to animals.

However, there are companies and farms that choose not to become certified, but still hold to, and many times exceed the regulations given by the USDA. I personally know some small local farms that do just this. I have gotten to know the farmers and am familiar with their practices, and know I’m getting fantastic products from them. Even though they are not certified.

At AVNS, even though we are not a certified organic company, we do use certified organic ingredients. Sometimes we choose to use a natural ingredient instead of one that is certified organic, but we try to weigh the cost/benefit ratio for our customers. We want to make the best possible products for a reasonable price.  On average, our products are made with about 80-90% certified organic ingredients. So you can rest assured that the products you receive are not only beneficial to your body, but are also competitively priced.

Sustainablility. Another word that can mean different things to different people. We use Certified Organic Sustainable Palm Oil in many of our soaps, and palm oil has come under a lot of scrutiny in the recent past. So how do we “vote” with our money? We purchase products and ingredients from companies that have verified their source of sustainable palm oil. AVNS supplier of organic palm oil is both certified by the Rainforest Alliance and the RSPO. This means for AVNS customers that they (and you from your purchase), are supporting the fight against deforestation and supporting the building of economic opportunities and better working conditions for rural people. Here’s a couple of links which will explain more about what this means in detail:

https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/articles/rainf…

https://rspo.org/about

As AVNS continues to grow and serve, we have at the heart of our mission to honor God, and then serve our customers with the best possible products that will nourish, heal and restore. All natural goodness from the top of our heads to the tip of our toes.

Until next time,

Marianne 🙂