The Best Natural Exfoliating Soap For Spring

Limited Edition Gardener’s Citrus Basil Soap Bar

If you’re looking for one of the best exfoliating soaps on the block you’ve come to the right place. This week we will be diving in depth with our limited edition soap of the spring season Gardener’s Citrus Basil Soap Bar, an amazing smelling soap with fantastic natural ingredients.

Why Use A Natural Exfoliating Soap?

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Exfoliating soap is an absolute must for your shower experience. Soap with exfoliants will scrub your skin free of dead skin build-up, dirt, and grime. Soap with exfoliants will also keep your pores open, preventing ingrown hairs after you shave and allowing any skincare products you apply to more effectively interact with your skin. We are proud to offer a variety of soaps with natural exfoliants. Some natural exfoliants we use in our exfoliating soaps include, salt, pumice, luffa vine, and finely ground nut shells. Why natural? Natural ingredients oftentimes have additional benefits and run a lower risk of irritating sensitive skin. The Gardener’s Bar is a perfect example of a soap that contains natural exfoliants with some super cool extra benefits (as you’re about to learn if you keep reading!)

Ingredients in Exfoliating Gardener’s Bar and Their Benefits

Saponified Oils of 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 Coconut 

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 Sunflower

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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.

Organic Shea Nut Butter

Shea Butter is fantastic for skin, in fact, we think it’s SO AWESOME that we sell USDA CERTIFIED Organic Raw Unrefined African Shea Butter just on its own. Why? WHY? It has a high content of fatty acids which gives it the ability to deeply moisturize and retain the elasticity of the skin, it is also a great ingredient for those with inflammatory skin conditions, like eczema and dermatitis. Unrefined Shea Butter is loaded with natural vitamins A, E, natural antioxidants and fatty acids for maximum natural moisturizing power, it is an amazing body healer. Try it to help treating skin conditions such as dry skin, eczema, rashes, stretch marks, and burns. It may also help lessen the irritation of psoriasis and eczema, help diminish wrinkles, clear blemishes, and heal wounds, scars & skin discolorations. 

Castor Bean

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

Ground Apricot Shells

Made from finely ground seeds of apricots, apricot shells make a natural scrub that deep-cleans and renews skin.

Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

Ground Black Walnut Hulls

This is the real kicker in this bar, if you love the feel of our seasonal Black Licorice Bar as much as I do then you’ll love this bar because the common component is ground black walnut hull powder which boasts the following benefits: antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic,anti-fungicide properties (people use it to treat bacterial and parasitic infections), rich levels of antioxidants, and beneficial fatty acids that can impact the health and appearance of skin. It has also been known to help clear up skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. P.s. If you wish the Black Licorice Bar was in stock even though it isn’t fall your dreams just came true BECAUSE IT IS BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND FOR A LIMITED TIME! (can you tell this is my favorite bar???)

Rosemary Oil Extract

This aromatic scent may repel certain bugs, perfect for working in the garden!

Basil Essential Oil

With a warm and crisp herbaceous scent, basil essential oil is soothing against skin irritation. It is also full of vitamin C, which helps keeps skin bright and firm.

Bergamot Essential Oil

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

Lemon Essential Oil

Clean and fresh, this essential oil will clarify your skin and provide a gentle, natural chemical exfoliation. 

Grapefruit Essential Oil

Tart and sweet, this beautiful scent is accompanied by the same benefits as lemon essential oil.

Get It Before It’s GONE!

I hope I’ve convinced you to try this bar, I’ve definitely convinced myself. Remember this bar isn’t around for long so get it while you can!

Much Love,

Nora


3 Unique Green Ingredients We Use….And Their Benefits

With St. Patrick’s day just around the bend (of the rainbow???) there’s no better time than to get green! Last year we talked about the countless benefits of one extremely popular ingredient associated with green: mint, but this year we will be diving in to a few lesser known ingredients that we love utilizing in our natural soap products: green tea, chlorella, and cucumber!

1) Green Tea

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I’ll bet you’re brewing yourself a nice cup of green tea right now, and if you aren’t I gauren-tea you will be after reading how amazing green tea is for your body. 

According to an article in Medical News Today

“Green tea is made from unoxidized leaves and is one of the less processed types of tea. It therefore contains the most antioxidants and beneficial polyphenols.”

Ingesting green tea isn’t the only way to enjoy the benefits, topical application also works wonders, just like this soothing and detoxifying green tea bath soak!

Benefits of Green Tea

Catechins

These are powerful antioxidants that prevent cell damage. Your skin cells are enforced and strengthened when they absorb these catechins. According to WebMD, catechins also lower cholesterol and blood pressure, leading to healthier bodily systems and even brain function. 

If you’re looking for a product that contains catechins, definitely give our Green Tea and Nettles Shampoo Bar a try! The combo of green tea and organic nettles was designed to help your skin and hair health and appearance.

2) Chlorella

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At first I was a little freaked out when I realized we put algae in some of our products, but when you think about it…algae isn’t so different than any other plant. In fact, once I learned how fantastic chlorella is for your health I was like, “where can I get some?!”

Yes, chlorella is a type of freshwater algae, but that doesn’t make it the run-of-the-mill scum you find in a lake. Beauty and food grade chlorella is actually farmed and harvested just like any other crop. 

Benefits of Chlorella

Healthline’s list of Chlorella’s components is extremely helpful as a breakdown of benefits for skin and body.

Protein: Chlorella is 50–60% protein. What’s more, it’s a complete protein source, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids (3, 5 Trusted Source).

Vitamin B12: Some chlorella varieties may also contain vitamin B12, but more studies are needed (6 Trusted Source).

Iron and vitamin C: Chlorella can be a good source of iron. Depending on the supplement, it may provide anywhere from 6–40% of your daily need. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps you absorb iron (1 Trusted Source, 3, 7).

Other antioxidants: These tiny green cells provide a wide range of antioxidants (1 Trusted Source, 3).

Other vitamins and minerals: Chlorella provides small amounts of magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, calcium, folic acid and other B vitamins (1 Trusted Source, 3, 8).

Omega-3s: As with other algae, chlorella contains some omega-3s. Just 3 grams of chlorella delivers 100 mg of omega-3s (8).

Fiber: In large quantities, chlorella can be a good source of fiber. However, most supplements don’t provide even 1 gram of fiber per dose (1 Trusted Source, 8).

-Kerri-Ann Jennings, Healthline

Both our Buck Shampoo and Body Bar and our Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar are infused with chlorella, creating a striking visual effect and ensuring that your skin and hair will thank you.

3) Cucumber

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Cucumbers always remind me of spring with their fresh look and taste, but cucumbers can do a lot more than look pretty on a plate. They also have some wildly awesome benefits for your skin!

Benefits of Cucumber

Show me it’s a spa day without telling me it’s a spa day? Easy…everyone has cucumbers on their eyes! But does putting cucumbers on your eyes really work? It’s more likely than you’d think!

Full of Nutrients

Just like green tea and chlorella, cucumbers are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that brighten and strengthen your skin.

Hydrating Agents

Thanks to BioClarity Blog we know that “Similar to aloe vera, cucumbers contain polysaccharides, which help the skin attract and retain moisture. Cucumbers also consist mostly of water; they’re 96% water.” And as we all know, water for skincare and health care is extremely valuable.

Great for Sensitive Skin

Our Cucumber Lime Face and Body Soap speaks for itself. Any of our facial bars are carefully created to cleanse and pamper delicate facial skin. Cucumber is a mild astringent, so it works to tighten pores and refine skin without drying the tissue out, making it a great bar for acne-prone skin.

The Benefits of Green!

While most if not all of our products feature some green ingredient…all of our bars are “green” in that they are biodegradable and don’t spend their life in a plastic bottle! Hope you have a great rest of your week and I’ll see you next Wednesday!

Much Love,

Nora


What is a natural Moisturizer? Part 1

Going Natural

If you’re looking for a natural moisturizer, you might be surprised by just how many options you actually have. Natural lotions, natural body butters, natural oils, natural salves…what’s the difference between these moisturizing products? How do you know which is the best natural moisturizer for your body versus which acts as the best natural moisturizer hair treatment? And how about natural lotion for face, hands and scalp? Yikes, so many questions! Luckily, we happen to carry every type of natural moisturizer mentioned above. I had planned to cover all our natural moisturizers in one blog, but I soon realized how long that blog would be so I decided to beak it down into two parts. This week I’ll be looking at lotions, lotion bars, and body butters. Next week I’ll be revealing our top 5 best smelling shampoo bars according to customers (take the survey now to pick your favorites!) And the week after that I’ll return to natural moisturizers to discuss the awesome benefits of oils and salves!

Wait! Can Natural Soap Be a Moisturizer Too?

I know this blog is focused on our non-soap products, but you really can’t talk about moisturizing products without mentioning natural soap! While glycerin is typically removed in mass soap production, our natural soap is handmade in small batches and maintains a glycerin content. Glycerin is a naturally occurring chemical compound that attracts water, which means that your hair and skin will benefit if they are covered in a product containing glycerin. 

If you find that you have perpetually dry skin and always use commercial brand soap, you should try switching to natural soap. That little extra boost of moisture could be just what your skin needs.

Are Natural Products Better For Your Skin?

Before I jump into specifics in this blog, I want to say one very, very important thing. Just because something is natural…does not automatically mean it is SAFE for you or even benefits you (please do not rub your entire body with poison ivy) which is why you still need to be careful when choosing natural products. Every ingredient we put into our products is as safe for you as possible. We are constantly reevaluating our products, taking out ingredients that can be substituted with safer options or taking out ingredients based on new findings suggesting any negative effects. 

AVNS Products Containing CBD

With so many CBD producers on the market, how do you know who to trust? Our relaxation salve, tincture, balm, cooling cream and face lotion 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. 

What about THC? In order for a product to claim to be THC free, it needs to contain less than .3% THC. All 4 of our full-spectrum topicals (Relaxation salve, Extra Strength Balm, Pain Relief Cooling Cream and Rebalance Face Lotion) do contain less than .3% THC, but there are traces. So the question is, can you test positive for THC in a blood test if using a topical product with traces of THC? In short, no.

When applied topically, cannabinoids (including THC) in topicals do NOT actually enter the bloodstream. Chemist Noel Palmer states “THC alone and by itself will not permeate through the skin into the bloodstream, just as most drugs won’t. The skin is designed to keep things out, and it does a really good job at doing this.” For companies who need the cannabinoids to penetrate the skin for medicinal purposes, they specially formulate the cannabinoids for transdermal delivery through patches and creams. Applying topicals like ours to the skin only allows it to break the skin/muscular barrier, but not enter into the blood stream. 

Lotions

The Merriam Webster definition of lotion, “a liquid preparation for cosmetic or external medicinal use” won’t help us learn much. The main aspect of lotion that you need to be aware of when deciding on moisturizing products is the fact that lotion usually has a higher water content than other moisturizing products. What is the benefit of a lotion compared to say, an oil? Well, lotions typically have a lighter feel on your skin and won’t feel as greasy. Lotion will also absorb more water into your skin because of its preexisting water content. 

Why Should You Use Natural Lotion?

As someone who has battled acne for years, I understand how truly trying “acne curing” lotions can be. They stink. They sting. And they dry out your skin.

Natural lotion is a great option for sensitive or acne prone skin. Natural lotion will still be effective in correcting skin problems, but won’t dry out the skin in the process and will maintain healthy and moisturized facial tissue.  

Our Natural Lotions

Rebalance Facial Moisturizer

Skin Type: normal to oily/acne-prone facial skin

Our CBD face lotion contains 500mg of organically grown, whole-plant hemp extract along with a wide variety of ingredients to help rejuvenate and improve facial skin. Rebalance Facial Moisturizer is a lightweight lotion that may help restore your skin’s firmness, elasticity and glow while visibly reducing fine lines, wrinkles and blemishes. A fresh and clean face lotion great for a variety of skin types including those struggling with skin issues such as mild acne. Please note that this lotion contains orange essential oil which has amazing benefits for skin, but may be too clarifying for those with very sensitive skin.

Some of the benefits of Rebalance Facial Moisturizer

*  As CBD is a powerful antioxidant, meaning it protects the skin from free radicals which cause aging, CBD helps fight the signs of aging. Plus with the addition of CBD to this lotions already amazing ingredients, it ramps up the amazing beauty benefits, some dermatologists recommend the use of CBD for hair and skin.
*  Rebalance supports skin cell growth, increases the elasticity and brings new life to dry, tired or dehydrated skin. It helps keep skin soft and supple.
*  CBD oil can Treat acne due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and ability to calm skin and reduce sebum production. Since CBD is a main component of Rebalance, blemishes and acne scars are visibly reduced. 
*  Due to the addition of CBD, this lotion may ease the discomfort of facial pain.
*  Applying CBD topically is the most effective way for targeting specific areas of the body like muscle aches and pains.

Ingredients:  Purified water, organic aloe inner leaf juice, caprylic/capric triglyceride (from coconut & glycerin)*, glyceryl stearate (from glycerin & stearic acid-a vegetable fatty acid)*, glycerin (kosher), organic shea butter, glycol stearate (organic compound), organic coconut oil, cetearyl alcohol (from coconut oil)*, diheptyl succinate (from castor oil)*, stearic acid (vegetable fatty acid), organic rosehip seed oil, sodium stearoyl lactylate (plant derived salts)*, leuconostoc/ radish root ferment filtrate (fermented radish), phytocannabinoid-rich hemp extract, xanthan gum*, blood orange essential oil, olive oil, vitamin E, glyceryl caprylate (glycerine with caprylic acid-coconut fatty acid)*, capryloyl glycerin/sebacic acid copolymer (from coconut & castor oil)*, vitamin C, caprylhydroxamic acid (coconut amino acid)*.

*Ecocert certified 

Some of these ingredients may be unknown to you and not as easy to identify as the ingredients in our other products are. But each ingredient listed here has been verified in the EWG Skin Deep database as being rated at a 1 or lower and have plant origins. 

Pain Relief Cooling Cream (Liniment Cream)

Skin Type: minor aches and pains, including sore muscles, inflammation and even arthritis.

New to our hemp line, this fast acting Pain Relief Cooling Cream contains 500mg of organically grown, whole-plant hemp extract. Blended with natural and effective ingredients including aloe, arnica, menthol, white willow bark, turmeric root and cayenne pepper, this natural cooling liniment cream brings needed relief to the targeted skin problems mentioned above.  Easy to use and lightweight, when gently applied to the area of discomfort this cream will bring relief with both warming and cooling sensations as the ingredients penetrate deeply. Applying our cooling liniment cream is a great way to get your joints moving for a busy day ahead, or to help your body relax after a long active day. 

Our cooling cream is 3rd party tested for potency & purity, see test results here.

Our Pain Relief Cooling Cream gives you a rich, full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other natural hemp compounds to help with the relief of every day muscle and joint discomforts. These full spectrum compounds work synergistically 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. 

Some Benefits of our Pain Relief Cooling Cream

*  As applying CBD topically is the most effective way for targeting specific areas of the body for aches and pains, this cooling cream may aid in recovery.
*  Has calming and therapeutic benefits.
*  May help relieve pain.
*  May ease the discomfort of headaches.
*  CBD Supports the skin’s natural healing process.
*  CBD is a powerful antioxidant, meaning it protects the skin from free radicals.
*  Non-GMO

Ingredients: Purified water, aloe leaf gel*, sweet almond oil, rooibos leaf extract, safflower seed oil*, caprylic/capric triglyceride (from coconut & glycerin), cetearyl olivate (from olives), glycerin USP (kosher), phytocannabinoid-rich hemp extract, white willow bark extract, nettle leaf extract*, sorbitan olivate (from olives), jojoba oil*, olive fruit oil*, ginger root extract*, cayenne pepper extract, lobelia herb extract*, arnica flower extract, frankincense extract, turmeric root extract, vitamin B3, oat , avenanthramides extract (from oats), vitamin E, sea buckthorn oil*, chia seed oil, pomegranate seed oil*, cranberry seed oil, sacha inchi seed oil, tea tree essential oil, eucalyptus leaf essential oil, spearmint essential oil, peppermint essential oil, mentha (menthol USP 5) oil, caprylhydroxamic acid (coconut amino acid), caprylyl glycol (from coconut), xylitol & potassium sorbate (potassium salt).

*certified organic ingredient 

Some of these ingredients may be unknown to you and not as easy to identify as the ingredients in our other products are. But each ingredient listed here has been verified in the EWG Skin Deep database as being rated at a 1 or lower, and have plant origins. 

Lotion Bars

Different than a lotion because of its lack of water content, different than a body butter because of its solid form, a lotion bar is a little like the Superman of the moisturizing world. 

Why Should You Use a Natural Lotion Bar?

Lotion bars are the best option for someone who is always on the go. They can be applied right after getting out of the shower (yes. Right on wet skin) and they can be packed in a carry on or personal item without taking up room in the 3-1-1 bag (travelers know just how important this is). We have two lotion bars.

Lavender Lotion Bar

Skin Type: All

Our luxurious Lavender Lotion Bars combine nutritious organic oils and butters with the healing power of organic lavender essential oil for a powerhouse of moisturizing properties for your skin. With a lighter textured than our Creamy Butter Bar, this lotion is great for everyday use or problematic skin. With the inclusion of organic virgin jojoba, organic virgin coconut oil, unrefined organic cocoa butter, unrefined organic shea nut butter and powerful organic lavender essential oil, this lotion bar is a wonderful option for a wide range of skin types from the delicate, to the problematic.

Why lavender essential oil? Because of its many health benefits for the skin, most of which can be attributed to its antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. Lavender essential oil is widely used to treat various skin issues such as acne, wrinkles, psoriasis, and other inflammatory conditions, it is also commonly used to speed up the healing process of wounds, cuts, burns, and sunburns because it improves the formation of scar tissues.

Ingredients: unrefined beeswax, organic coconut oil, unrefined organic cocoa butter, unrefined organic shea nut butter, organic virgin jojoba, organic virgin olive oil, organic lavender essential oil and vitamin E oil (from non-GMO sunflower oil). All of our organic ingredients are USDA Certified Organic.

Creamy Butter Lotion Bar

Skin Type: Dry skin

There is no skimping on the luxurious ingredients in our versions of a hard lotion bar. For this Creamy Butter Bar we use organic virgin jojoba, organic coconut oil, unrefined organic cocoa butter, unrefined organic shea nut butter and mango butter, making a concentrated, rich, all natural, moisture-drenched solution for extremely dry, problematic skin. Use it on your heels, knuckles, elbows, cuticles—or anywhere else you have patches of dry skin. We left this one unscented so that even the most sensitive skin will fall in love. However, you CAN smell the delicious, creamy, mild scent of the unrefined cocoa butter, yum!

Ingredients: unrefined beeswax, organic coconut oil, unrefined organic cocoa butter, mango butter, unrefined organic shea nut butter, organic virgin jojoba, organic virgin olive oil and vitamin E oil (from non-GMO sunflower oil). All of our organic ingredients are USDA Certified Organic.

Body Butter

Body Butter is thicker than lotion because of its higher butter/oil content. A body butter is meant to target problem areas of dry skin and its thick, creamy texture helps create a lavish bathing experience. 

Why Should You Use Natural Body Butters

Body butters are often marketed as luxury products and are created with intense scents to match their intense textures. The problem with adding this much fragrance is that it means you’re upping your body’s chemical intake. Many chemicals in cheap fragrances cause a lot of skin problems such as irritation and dryness. Some chemicals can even leak into your bloodstream and cause even deeper issues, which is why you hear about recalls on certain products. We have two types of natural body butters that are gentle and powerfully effective for skin.

Whipped Body Butter

Skin Type: Extremely Dry

Using only organic ingredients packed with intense nutrition for your skin, this unscented body butter is a soothing and effective way to moisturize all over! We’ve included ingredients such as Organic Unrefined Cocoa Butter which can actually penetrate further than the top layer of the skin, it moisturizes deep-down and really nourishes the skin. And organic Shea Butter which has a high content fatty acids which gives it the ability to deeply moisturize and retain the elasticity of the skin. This all natural, 100% organic, uber moisturizing body butter has no added scent, but a soft, oh so good, chocolatey scent is evident from the organic unrefined cocoa butter. An amazing treat!

Our body butters are natural, gentle and safe for every type of skin. Please note that just a little bit goes a long way, so use sparingly!

Ingredients: organic shea butter, organic unrefined cocoa butter, organic virgin coconut oil and organic jojoba oil.

Shea Butter Skin Therapy

Skin Type: Extremely Dry, Oily and Problem Areas (including scalp)

NEW to our collection of butters, experience Intense Nutrition for Skin with Shea Butter Skin Therapy, this butter is a super food for your skin! Organic, unrefined African shea butter is intensely moisturizing, it can not only help relieve dry itchy skin, but can help eliminate greasy scalp and hair issues, as well as balance oil production which makes it also great for oily complexions. We have chosen to use only USDA CERTIFIED Organic Raw Unrefined African Shea butter, this pure and natural organic shea butter is the only way to go in order to reap all the benefits. 

What makes Organic Shea Butter so good for the skin? It has a high content of fatty acids which gives it the ability to deeply moisturize and retain the elasticity of the skin, it is also a great ingredient for those with inflammatory skin conditions, like eczema and dermatitis. Unrefined Shea Butter is loaded with natural vitamins A, E, natural antioxidants and fatty acids for maximum natural moisturizing power, it is an amazing body healer. Try it to help treat skin conditions such as dry skin, eczema, rashes, stretch marks, and burns. It may also help lessen the irritation of psoriasis and eczema, help diminish wrinkles, clear blemishes, and heal wounds, scars & skin discolorations. 

Ingredients: USDA CERTIFIED Organic Raw Unrefined African Shea Butter with no added scent.

Hopefully this blog is leaving you with a better sense of what type of natural moisturizer is best for you and your skin. Come back in two weeks for part two when I cover oils and salves…two more amazing types of natural moisturizer!

Much Love,

Nora


The Secret in Our Winter Skin Saver Bar: Lanolin

How to Get Rid of Dry Skin?

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Finding products that keep dry skin moisturized can be a huge challenge. Our Winter Skin Saver Bar is easily one of our most popular limited edition natural soaps…how do I know this? Because each batch we put out sells out within a day or two. But what makes this bar so wildly popular? This bar is a fan favorite because it has the amazing ability to help eliminate dry skin, even in the harshest winter weather conditions. While the most we can hope for with many soaps is that they won’t dry out our skin, while our natural soaps certainly won’t dry out your skin the Winter Skin Saver Bar actually works to enforce your skin with extra extra added moisture and protection. How does it do this? Well, that’s what we will be talking about today and it all boils down to a little secret ingredient called lanolin.

What is Lanolin? 

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Lanolin, sometimes known as wool wax, is a natural wax produced by animals with wool. While humans secrete sebum from their sebaceous glands, sheep secrete lanolin. Because of its wax-like structure, lanolin acts as a waterproofing agent for a sheep’s coat. Why is this important or necessary? Imagine wearing a thick fuzzy coat that absorbs water like a sponge versus a thick fuzzy coat that water rolls off of like a piece of plastic…which one is going to be warmer and more comfortable in a snowstorm?

What is Lanolin Used For?

While I suppose technically sheep were the first to discover and benefit from the incredible properties of lanolin, they were probably too busy chewing their cud to actually realize what fortune they had stumbled upon. Luckily, farmers recognized lanolin’s potential and today lanolin has countless uses.

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Lanolizing Wool and Cashmere

Since Lanolin and wool naturally coexist in harmony, lanolin can be used to restore and cleanse wool and cashmere products! Besides its waterproofing ability, pure lanolin is also antimicrobial and antifungal. When introduced to water, these properties will activate and self-clean and deodorize wool.

Lanolin Oil for Breastfeeding Mothers

Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

Perhaps considered the “breast” use of lanolin oil by mothers with infants, lanolin oil is well known for its ability to effectively soothe cracked and dry nipples. Because 100% pure lanolin is a natural product, it is safe to use on the most sensitive parts of the body. It is important to use purified lanolin though, because anything less could be harmful if ingested by newborns.

Lanolin for Chapped Lips

As you can imagine, Lanolin is a goldmine for chapped and cracked lips. Which is why we knew we had to include it in our lip balm.

This lip balm was developed for lips in serious need of serious help. Chock full of lanolin, one of nature’s ultimate moisturizers, lanolin not only drenches your lips in rich moisture it also locks it in for the toughest winter days. Lanolin along with the essential oil blend of eucalyptus, tea tree, rosemary, and peppermint which offers cooling, soothing help for sore, chapped lips can also help your lips recover from too much sun exposure no matter the season. 

This balm is also great choice for sore, chapped noses suffering from colds and allergies as well as cheeks suffering from outdoor exposure.

Lanolin for Hair and Skin

Lanolin is revered in the beauty community for its super hydrating abilities. Hey, if it’s good enough for cashmere then it is certainly good enough for my skin. What makes it so good? According to a Healthline article, lanolin can hold “twice its weight in water” which means a little can go a long way and retaining all that water in your skin keeps it supple and plump…helping to erase fine lines and wrinkles. 

Our Winter Skin Saver Bar Made With Lanolin

Remember the analogy I made earlier about the two coats? Well, using our winter skin saver bar will give you similar results to the water-proof coat…okay, so it won’t make your skin waterproof, but if you use it in the shower it will help your skin retain a ton of water. This bar is superfatted with oodles of thick, rich lanolin so that when you are done washing up, you’ll have this soft, invisible layer of protection all over your skin that keeps water in. 

I tried this bar because it was a limited edition. After one use I was CRAZY for it. It was sold out when I went to get more so I waited weeks for the next batch. I even emailed a few times because I couldn’t live without it. When it went on sale again on February 8th I added some to my cart but was distracted at work and didn’t complete the order. AND IT SOLD OUT THAT DAY. NOOOOOO! I have dry skin and have a tendency to not drink enough during the day. This bar soothes my dry skin without having to slather oil or lotion all over before bed. The smell is gentle and the lather is great. Soon it will be gone for the summer so I’m stocking up now.

-customer

Winter isn’t the only season that brings dry skin, skin suffers under intense heat as well which is why we put lanolin in our Summer Skin Saver Bar too!

When Can I Get The Winter Skin Saver Bar?

This bar is currently not in stock, but you’ll have one more chance to snatch one up at the end of January. In the meantime, you can still try a sample!

Can you use this natural soap bar on your hair?

It is called the Winter Skin Saver Bar, but could it be used on hair? According to an article written for Naturally Curly, Lanolin is a powerful humectant, which could potentially be helpful if used on extremely dry or curly hair. However, because it is so powerful, there is a big chance that using lanolin oil or this bar on your hair would result in an overly waxy finish, making your hair appear stringy or greasy. I did not find any reviews of this bar that mentioned using it as a hair product. 

So guess what.

I decided to go ahead and try it myself.

I used the Winter Skin Saver Bar as shampoo and followed with an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse (I would say this is a must if you plan on using this bar in your hair)

You can see my results on the right! My hair was about halfway dry. Because I have curly hair, I usually dry with a cotton t-shirt and add gel to minimize frizz, however, I wanted to see how the Winter Skin Saver bar interacted with my hair on its most natural level, so for this test I did not use any additional styling products or hacks. As you can see, I do have a bit of “fluffiness” within the curls, but my hair is soft and shiny and my ringlets were not weighed down. I would not use this bar for every wash, but it seems promising as a deep condition for dry hair. I am very curious to know if anyone else has tried this bar in their hair and if it worked for them???

Much Love,

Nora


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?

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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? 

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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

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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?

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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?

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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

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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 

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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

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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?

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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?

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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

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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

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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?