An itchy scalp is an annoying distraction that can be caused by many things. Itchy scalps can be the result of dandruff, reactions to hair care products, fungal infections, and even lice. We have a little secret that has done wonders for itchy scalps, but if your itchy scalp persists, the best option is to always get a dermatologist’s advice!
Sometimes unwelcome critters and bacteria find their way onto our scalps…gross, right? Fungal infections manifest when fungus is allowed to grow in a hospitable environment. The best way to take preventative action against fungal infections is to keep hair clean, moisturized, and dry. Using a shampoo with antibacterial ingredients will further help prevent fungus from setting up shop on your scalp.
Fact or Fiction: Lice Love Dirty Hair
The stigma that lice and mites prefer dirty hair to clean is completely false! Lice and mites don’t discriminate and will happily inhabit any scalp they can find. The best way to avoid lice is to stay out of contact with it. This includes caution around people who might have contracted it and bedding (hotels especially) that see a lot of traffic! Your dermatologist can help rid you of these pests.
Soap Company’s Recommendation for Itchy Scalp!
Our natural salt soap bars are perfect for washing hands and bathing due to their natural antiviral, antibacterial & anti-fungal properties from the salt, essential oils and carrier oils such as coconut and castor. Plus, weighing 8 – 9oz each, our salt bars last a very long time!
We recommend our Lavender Lemon and Lavender Rosemary Salt bar for itchy scalps. Not only do they have salt, a natural antibacterial agent…they also have antibacterial, anti-fungal essential oil blends to keep your scalp clean!
Yikes! My scalp is itching after writing this blog, time for a good ole scrub-a-dub!
Ending a day of camping or backpacking covered in sweat, dirt, grease and sunscreen is never fun. The outdoors can be dirty, but with the best biodegradable soap you can keep clean and easily Leave-No-Trace so that the earth stays clean too. Apple Valley Natural Soap’s Limited Edition Camping Shampoo and Body Bar gives you a quality clean for a low cost!
Why Use A Natural Soap For Camping?
There are a lot of specialty liquid camping soaps on the market that focus on being biodegradable and multi-purpose. We think that’s great, and we also think you deserve a quality body and shampoo soap that not only keeps your hair and skin moisturized, repels bugs with its essential oil blend, and is biodegradable, but is also light-weight, efficient, and long-lasting. This is what our Camping Shampoo and Body Bar has to offer. The rectangular, compact shape of a bar soap fits in your pack and you never have to worry about leaks in your bag! Make sure you use our natural, biodegradable soaps 200 feet from any body of water in order to let the soap properly filter back into the earth.
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,
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!
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.
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 is a skin soother, it is both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial and can be used on sensitive skin.
A huge contribution to soft hair and skin, jojoba oil mimics the skin’s natural oil sebum and is a great oil for acne-prone skin since it is lightweight and breathable. We sell this stuff by the bottle best it works so well!
Clean and fresh, this essential oil will clarify your skin and provide a gentle, natural chemical exfoliation.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Sharp and woodsy, this essential not only smells great but is a great weapon against bacteria. Cleaning power isn’t all this oil offers, eucalyptus oil is also known for its bringing of respiratory relief, a high demand when you’re surrounded by pollen and other allergens!
Lavender Essential Oil
Piney and floral, a hint of lavender helps to soothe and calm. A simple, gentle way to get ready for sleep when you’re snuggled in your sleeping bag.
Organic Peppermint Essential Oil
Crisp and cool, a fantastic way to keep spiders and insects at bay.
Organic Rosemary Essential Oil
An additional boost of insect repellent.
Cedarwood essential Oil
This essential oil has it all and works as an anti-inflammatory, insecticide, and antifungal agent.
Organic Citronella Oil
This essential oil is what gives this bar a true camping smell! This potent, clean scent works its magic to keep bugs away.
Organic Lemongrass Oil
With antioxidant and antibacterial properties, this essential oil helps keep your skin clean inside and out and imparts a fresh-cut-grass sent with a hint of lemon.
Get It Before It’s GONE!
Get this bar before you set on your next adventure! They won’t last long!
Greasy roots and dry ends can ruin a good hair day. The key to fixing greasy roots is a shampoo that helps balance the scalps oil production. What kind of shampoo fixes oily roots? The best kind of shampoo for dealing with oily roots is a moisturizing shampoo that also has an ingredient that actively absorbs oil (like clay). Your roots get cleaned and your dry ends get the hydration they need.
Roots Get Greasy Fast?
Many people will try to combat oily roots by overwashing their hair with shampoos that contain harsh detergents to lift oil from the scalp.
Sebum protects your hair shaft and makes it shine, but too much leads to oily roots. When you constantly strip your scalp of oil it sends a message to your scalp that it needs to produce even more oil…leaving you with greasy roots.
Using a shampoo with clay will help decrease the amount and appearance of oil in your roots. Clay has an absorption power that pulls in oil and clarifies your scalp. You can read about the clays we use and their beauty benefits here.
Greasy Roots Shampoo
My roots get greasy after 24 hours and I’ve found great success with this Rhassoul and Avocado shampoo bar. This bar was formulated with ingredients to combat problematic hair! And will keep the ends of your hair moisturized!
Contains a high percentage of silica, magnesium, potassium, and calcium
Absorbs oil and impurities from both the skin and hair
Avocado oil and Avocado butter:
Softens and soothes skin
Increases production of collagen
Locks in moisture
Fatty acids gives hair shine and silky texture
Helps fight frizz
Contains proteolytic enzymes which repairs dead skin cells on the scalp.
Rich in vitamin C, E and beta carotene which nourishes skin and scalp deeply.
Has antifungal and antiviral properties, it prevents itching and reduces dandruff and flaking
Also has very potent anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce redness and inflammation.
“I am absolutely in love with my shampoo bar!! This was the first time I tried shampoo bars and I did so much research to find the cleanest brand. There was no question AVNS won that category by a long shot. Then they won because they offer 5oz bars instead of 2oz like most others. Then they won on the price. I have very oily hair and struggle to find hair products so I was nervous and kind of negative about whether or not it would work. Well, I used it ONE time and I was never turning back. My hair has never lasted so long without being oily. It doesn’t have any residue or waxy feel leftover after showering, it smells amazing, feels great, and moisturizes my scalp- which usually flakes with other shampoos. I was shocked and amazed and I have recommended AVNS to everyone I know. I also used the baking soda trick (I love that they offer so many blog posts and tips, especially since I was a first time user) and the Lavender Mint hair rinse. Another amazing product I highly recommend. I was getting so many compliments on my hair and people asked what I was doing. I was happy to say “only AVNS!” If you’re on the fence, just go for it. It’s worth it. Thank you AVNS for making clean products that actually work.”
Another great way to clarify your scalp and hair is with an acidic hair rinse. An apple cider vinegar rinse will remove build up from your hair and smooth your hair shaft, our Herbal Hair Rinse is made with herbs to further strengthen and cleanse your scalp and hair. This rinse is made to aid the soothing of skin conditions and may help prevent acne!
I hope we’ve helped to “clarify” when it comes to questions about how to get rid of oily roots! Follow our blog for more information on who we are and the natural products we make!
Ladies and Gentlemen, the blog we’ve all been waiting for…
Okay, maybe just the blog I’ve been waiting for.
Can you use your favorite AVNS Body Soap Bars on your hair?
This idea first occurred to me because my favorite AVNS Bar is the Black Licorice Hand Foot and Body Bar and I spent a lot of time wishing with all my might that it could’ve been a hand, foot, body, and hair bar. Then I realized nothing was stopping me from using it as a shampoo bar, and thus the inspiration for this blog was born.
I spent the entire past week testing out all my favorite body bars for this blog, but as I was writing out my findings I realized that I dove into this “ex-hair-iment” a little too enthusiastically. People. I was so blinded by the excitement of using my favorite body bars on my hair that I threw all logic out the window. See, I know exactly which shampoo bars are my favorite, which means I have access to the ingredient list on each of those bars. Had I been thinking like a sane person and not a soap-happy lunatic, I would’ve found body bars with similar ingredients as the ones in my favorite shampoo bars to give myself the best chances of finding a body bar that worked super well on my hair. OBVIOUSLY this means I have another, more scientifically backed blog to write. But for now, please enjoy the results of using some body bars on my unsuspecting hairs.
My hair is medium density, medium porosity and has a varying curl pattern. I have chunks of hair that are all completely straight, and some chunks that are tight spirals…AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN! With each bar I tried, I give a recommendation for the hair type I think the bar could work best for because just because the bar didn’t work on my hair, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work great for someone else!
Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic sustainable palm, organic olive, organic sunflower, unrefined organic shea nut butter, castor bean, non-gmo licorice root, organic black walnut hull powder, rosemary oil extract, and star anise essential oil.
My prediction: This bar is so moisturizing, that this fall we actually put a note under the description that the labels for this bar might have some oil spots. Knowing this, I imagine this bar might leave my hair a little heavy and straight.
The Process: This bar lathered nicely in my hair and smelled amazing, I was excited to give my scalp a bonus cleanse with the black walnut hull powder, which is known for its use to treat skin diseases. I sprayed my hair down thoroughly with my ACV rinse and then carefully brushed through it to detangle before rinsing. I finished by diffusing my hair on no heat until it was 80% dry.
The Results: I was surprised by the amount of curl I still had! I think someone with higher porosity hair could try this bar with better results because their hair will soak in all the oils better than mine can!
Coconut oil for hair is widely renowned as a versatile hair product that nourishes, protects, and moisturizes hair. Tons of brands sell shampoos and conditioners with coconut as an ingredient. But what about just a soap made purely from coconut?
My Prediction: I thought trying out a coconut bar would be helpful because once you’ve tried one, you’ve really tried the whole collection. My hair likes to be a dissenter and, as a rule, hates coconut. My hair despises coconut. Loathes coconut. I tried to put coconut oil in my hair once like I’ve seen tons of other curly girls do and it turned into a greasy mess that I had no option but to shamefully wear out of the house that night. I know there’s a good chance this could be a huge no-go, but I can’t resist trying because I love this bar so so so much for shaving.
The Process: This Bar LATHERS LIKE HEAVEN IN MY HAIR. I got in a quick and luxurious shave with the bar, rinsed the suds out and then sprayed not once, but twice with my ACV rinse…honestly I may have over-rinsed. I then brushed through to detangle, rinsed, scrunched, plopped for about 20 minutes, and air dried.
The Results: My hair told me it didn’t like coconut, I probably should’ve listened. My hair honestly just seemed kind of confused, that is the best way I can think to say it. There were some nice curls, but also random frizz. My hair was pretty shiny, and it did feel nice and strong. I actually felt comfortable brushing my hair out once it dried because it felt protected (I usually never do this) I noticed that my hair has great texture for if I wanted to do any styling (like braids or buns). I think someone with straight medium dense hair or hair that loves coconut should try this bar and tell me if it works for you.
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.
Epic Fail? Or Epic Learning Experience? You Decide.
I feel like I learned so much about my hair this week, washing with body bars gave my hair a chance to breath from curl creams and gels. I’m already planning a line up for my next body bar trial, what about you???
Have you been considering transitioning from liquid shampoo and conditioner to natural shampoo bars?
Natural shampoo bars are an amazing option for natural hair care for a multitude of reasons. Some of the benefits of using a natural bar shampoo include cutting down on waste, fortifying hair with natural ingredients instead of breaking it down with artificial chemicals and fragrances, and simplifying your hair care routine. One biodegradable shampoo bar filled with natural conditioning and restorative oils will last just as long, if not longer, than a plastic bottle of shampoo, and depending on what shampoo you are used to buying, may be quite a bit cheaper. I know it probably sounds too good to be true, you’re wondering what the catch is. No catch. However, as many natural soap lovers will tell you, it is true that there is a learning curve as you transition to your first natural shampoo bar. But never fear, this blog is full of tons of info and links to resources that go in-depth about everything you need to know about switching to natural hair care. For those of you who are already wise to the ways of natural shampoo, don’t think I forgot about you! This article will also include some pro-tips that will up your natural shampoo and soap game!
The importance of knowing what goes into your natural soap
Apple Valley Natural Soap is carefully hand-crafted in small batches using the cold process method of soap making. Resulting in a gently cleansing bar full of natural glycerin (a compound that attracts moisture into the hair). We use only high quality botanical oils and butters as well as all natural herbs, milks, juices, essential oils and spices to scent and color our soaps. These ingredients not only impart sensational fragrances and beautiful, rustic colors, but also add their own exceptional nourishing qualities.
A hair rinse is an essential part of a natural hair care routine because it keeps hair clean and shiny. Our Herbal Hair Rinse is made with apple cider vinegar and a collection of hair-nourishing herbs. Our Citric Acid Hair Rinses were made for those who don’t care for a vinegar smell and come in four crazy good scents, we’ve added aloe vera for additional soothing and conditioning of the scalp! To read in depth about why you need a rinse go here!
PRO-TIP: I detangle/ comb out my hair while I’m still in the shower and sometimes I have trouble detangling after using a shampoo bar. For an easier detangle, spritz your hair with your rinse after rinsing out your shampoo. The ACV will give your hair slip and make it easy to comb through.
PRO-TIP: Vinegar is an awesome natural cleaner. When my bathroom counter gets dirty and needs a quick clean I will spray it down with a few squirts of my hair rinse and then wipe it down in a rag I’ve doused with warm water. It lifts toothpaste blobs, concealer smears, and any other sticky spots just like that!
Don’t give up if your first shampoo isn’t perfect!
If your first shampoo bar experience does not go exactly as planned, you aren’t alone. The first time I used a shampoo bar my hair dried almost completely straight (photo evidence below). Was it shiny and thick? Yes. But I’m a curly girl and I like my curls! Hard water had been the culprit in that situation, but not using a hair rinse, using too many other products, and using the wrong bar can all be causes of a not-so-great hair day. When you switch to using a natural shampoo, you may find you no longer need all those additional products. I typically use a shampoo, conditioner, cream, leave-in and gel when I style my hair, but when I use a natural shampoo bar all I need is an ACV rinse and a couple drops of miracle working Argan Oil. Each of our bars is designed with its own unique ingredient recipe, so it may be a matter of finding the bar that works best for you. Some great starting bars are our Bella Rose Shampoo Bar,Pink Lemonade Shampoo Bar, and Man 2.0 Bar.
Letting your soap bar dry properly!
It seems like a minor issue, but when you’ve got a half melted soap bar welded to your tub or counter I guarantee you probably won’t be smiling or laughing. Letting your bar dry out between uses is so important to the lifespan and appearance of your bar! A soap mat is the easiest solution to this problem.
PRO-TIP: Some of our most amazing bars utilize super cool ingredients that are darker in color such as skin-remedying black walnut hull powder or purifying activated charcoal. While using these bars in the shower is an extremely pleasant experience…the dark layer of soap scum they leave behind in the tub is less pleasant…but it doesn’t have to be if you use one of two very simple DIY cleaning solutions! Lathering a Luffa with one of our citrus or salt bars makes scrubbing away soap scum a breeze, or you can scrub away the scum with a simple baking soda paste of baking soda and water! I love that these two solutions are natural and don’t require heavy duty chemical cleaners!
Which bar will you try first?
Comment below with the bar you want to try, or let people know which bar you love the most! Follow our blog for weekly posts on haircare, skincare, diys and more!
Do you ever think about how our needs and wants change depending on the season? We wear sweaters in winter and tank tops in summer to help regulate our temperature. We crave a warm bowl of soup in the fall and a cold glass of lemonade in the spring. So maybe it isn’t so surprising that our hair has specific seasonal needs too. If you read our fall hair care guide you know that dryness and dullness are the main culprits of the fall, but spring brings with it an entirely different set of challenges. I’ll be taking you through the top five tips to get your hair whipped into shape for the spring season!
Take on a Trim!
Shed all that winter breakage with a quick trim! Getting rid of dead, split ends will ensure that the breakage does not continue to travel up the hair strand. Your hair will look fuller and thicker and you’ll be able to protect these already healthy strands throughout the summer season.
Harness the Humidity!
This might sound crazy, but I actually love what humidity does to my hair. I’m right between waves and curls, so a little moisture on a hot day does wonders to bounce up my ringlets…but I know not everyone feels the same. If you’re stepping outside right after straightening or curling your hair you’re probably going to be anticipating your fresh hairstyle falling flat and frizzing up within a matter of hours.
My first suggestion is to recognize that your hair’s resistance to heat styling and failure to hold-up in response to natural elements might mean that it is time to give in to what your hair wants. You may find that what you always thought was just unruly, or unmanageable hair was actually hair with natural curl or waves. Switching to products for curly or wavy hair and giving the heat tools a break is your first step to harnessing the humidity and embracing the natural hair you never knew you had!
Didn’t Know You Had Curly Hair?
Maia is my lovely roommate of three years and she has kindly agreed to let me share some photos of her to demonstrate how big of a difference styling can make for someone with wavy hair. Maia typically just brushes her hair after showering and lets her hair air-dry. The result is mainly straight with a little bit of wave. Maia let me style her hair the same way I style my curls. I used a curl cream, a gel, finger coiled, and finished with diffusing and the results were crazy!
My second suggestion is for those of you who know all about your natural hair and just feel like a different look or style suits you better, or maybe you change it up depending on the day. The best way to fight frizz is with products that are going to seal the hair shaft and add a little weight to weigh the strand down so it isn’t bouncing up. Shampoo bars are a fantastic no-hassle option for fighting frizz because they are cleansers made with natural oils…it’s a two-for-one deal!
Keep Deep Conditioning!
Winter months are cold and dry, but summer can be hot and dry. Continuing to deep condition 1 to 2 times a week will prepare your hair for summer by keeping it hydrated, elastic, and manageable. This is especially important if you are working on length. Our Hemp and Honey 2.0 shampoo bar is fantastic for dry summer months, as honey is a humectant working to pull outside moisture into your hair. Hemp seed oil stimulates the scalp for renewed hair growth, it strengthens hair, improves blood circulation and reduces inflammation, hemp seed oil also protects hair from damage and treats a variety of scalp issues.
That hot sun beating down on you all day might give you cute summer highlights and tan skin, but the consequences of unprotected skin and hair aren’t worth it. Using a daily heat protectant on your hair is the equivalent of using sunscreen on your skin. A natural heat protectant like our Moroccan Argan oil will repair and reinforce your hair while protecting it from environmental damage caused by weather, sun, and heat from blow dryers and hair irons. Celebrities call argan oil “liquid gold” and pay exorbitant prices to purchase it from high end spas and salons. Organic argan oil is truly a luxurious, superior, multi-purpose treatment for your hair and skin.
Stay on Top of Build-up!
Any products you use to either curl or straighten your hair will cause build-up overtime. That includes shampoos, conditioners, creams, gels, oils, mousses, hairsprays, and dry shampoos. Build-up will weigh your hair down, make it dull, and will cause your hair to look dirtier faster. The simple solution to build-up is a hair rinse. My biggest recommendation is to use a hair rinse! A hair rinse like ourherbal vinegar hair rinse will get rid of build-up, nourish your hair, and help the hair shaft lie flat…promoting shine. I find that rinsing once a week works wonders, but every head of hair is different.
What Might A Natural Spring Hair Care Routine Look Like?
This easy spring haircare routine only requires three products!
Pro Tip: Comb hair out gently before rinsing out lather. The oils in the shampoo will protect your strands from breakage while you brush.
Rinse lather out and spray hair down thoroughly with the Herbal Vinegar Rinse.
Pro Tip: Use hands to comb out any more tangles in hair, the vinegar rinse should help as a mild detangler.
Rinse the “rinse” out gently so that you are keeping hair smooth and not creating new tangles.
Use a pump or two of argan oil and distribute throughout hair, You can either finger comb it through or use the praying hands method.
What is the praying hands method? Used to elongate and keep hair from clumping into too small of sections. The praying hands method requires you to lay your hands flat on either side of the section of hair you are applying product to, then slide your hands down the length of your hair!
Finish by drying hair with a cotton towel or dry as usual.
Why Cotton? Squeezing the water out of your hair with a cotton towel or t-shirt won’t disrupt the hair shaft as much as rubbing it vigorously with a rough-grooved towel. Saving you from frizz-city
Spring into Spring!
I hope today’s blog has equipped you with all you need to know to prepare yourself for the best spring hair days ever!
Is rinsing your hair with beer the long awaited miracle secret to long, shiny hair? Or just a hoax-y trend with no real results? I guess we’ll find out because I tried rinsing my hair with beer to see if it would truly improve my naturally textured hair (before and after pictures included).
I’m pretty fearless when it comes to hair-related DIYs. I’ve cut my hair, I’ve highlighted my hair, I’ve even rubbed all kinds of mashed up fruits and veggies into my hair (DIY banana avocado hair mask…anyone?) but when I came across a DIY recipe for a beer rinse my first thought was, “um, ew.”
What Are The Benefits of Rinsing Your Hair With Beer?
I have never understood the appeal of beer and the thought of saturating my curly hair with it seemed even less appealing. However, I couldn’t help my curiosity…if people are willing to risk having hair that smells like beer, the benefits of a beer soak must be pretty amazing and totally worth-while. So what are the supposed benefits of rinsing your hair with beer?
From what I’ve found, beer is the secret hair tonic we’ve all been searching for. Apparently, rinsing your hair with beer will make it: thicker, stronger, healthier, shinier, curlier (if you have curly hair), and can promote hair growth…phew…that is a lonnnng list. But what’s the science backing all of these amazing benefits?
Malts and Hops for Hair
Most of the sites promoting beer rinses credit the malt and hops in beer as an intense source of protein. While it’s definitely true that properly protein balanced hair is just as important as properly moisturized hair, if you’re like me you’re probably wondering what ice cream drinks and a bunny’s preferred method of movement have to do with beer or great hair.
Malt and hops are actually two important components of a beer’s structure. Many of the sites with DIY beer rinse recipes are a bit lacking in detail, when it comes to why a beer rinse is effective, but thankfully artisan beer brewers passionate about the craft are abundant online.
“Malt is essentially the toasted version of any cereal grain. This includes barley, wheat, oat, rye, etc. The full name would be “Malted Barley” or “Malted Wheat”, if we chose to say it that way. We don’t choose to say it that way, so in beer vernacular we just say “Malt”. In most beer styles, the “malt” is barley, because it’s relatively high enzyme content makes it conducive for brewing. Pretty easy so far.
We toast the cereal grain because we need to access the lovely sugars and enzymes within the grain. These sugars and enzymes form the sugary, substantive backbone of all beer. In their raw version (picked straight from the field), the starches in these cereal grains are not very accessible. Brewers sometimes use unmalted grain in their beer, but it’s a small percentage of the total grain used. We won’t get too far into the specific enzymes and chemicals we’re trying to create in this process, but suffice it to say that it’s important.”
Even after knowing what malt was, I still didn’t understand how malt’s protein contribution worked so I had to spend some time on Brew Chatter to figure it out. To the best of my understanding, protein in grain aids the enzyme process during malting. As proteins break down during this process they become part of the malt base solution (the malt factor in beer). When protein interacts with hair it bonds to the hair shaft and fills in gaps, leaving hair strong and able to maintain its shape.
Did you know that some of our natural shampoo bars have natural sources of protein from grain? It’s true! Our Wheat and Honey Almond Shampoo Bar contains wheat germ (this bar also smells absolutely heavenly)
What are Hops?
“Hops are the flowers (also called seed cones or strobiles) of the hop plant Humulus lupulus, a member of the Cannabaceae family of flowering plants. They are used primarily as a bittering, flavouring, and stability agent in beer, to which, in addition to bitterness, they impart floral, fruity, or citrus flavours and aromas. Hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine.”
I knew a beer rinse was too crazy not to write about, but it was so outlandish that I decided I wouldn’t write about it without giving it a go first. A couple of recipes called for non-alcoholic beer, claiming any alcohol content would simply overpower any results by drying the hair out. I decided not to follow this instruction, why? I honestly feel like most DIY adventures happen on a whim, so unless you already have non-alcoholic beer on hand, you’re not going to drive all the way to the store when you’ve got alcoholic beer in the fridge (C’mon people, we want results and we want them now!)
I happened to have a bottle of Leinenkiugel’s Toasted Bock (a name I would never remember or be able to spell if I wasn’t holding the bottle in front of my face) left over from when I made Corned Beef. I did pour the beer into a container and let it sit for a couple of hours to flatten in. Apparently when the carbon dioxide in beer mixes with water it makes it hard…and as we all know…hard water makes hair washing…hard.
There are many different methods for beer rinses online. Some say the rinse should be after shampoo, some call for leaving the beer in the hair, I found another experiment in which beer was the shampoo! With so many methods, I decided that coming up with my own wouldn’t mess too much with any results. I wet my hair with water, soaked my hair (scalp to ends) in beer, waited a couple minutes, rinsed with water, and then shampooed and conditioned as usual. Just as I did with my Winter Skin Saver Bar experiment, I did not use additional product in my hair because I wanted few variables for a clear outcome.
Results of my Beer Hair Rinse
I was disappointed. As my hair dried not only was it frizzy, but my curls were limp. Limp, frizzy curls were far from the bouncy, shiny ones I’d been hoping for. On the plus side, there was no lingering smell because I rinsed before I shampooed.
The first photo is my hair before the rinse. My curls don’t hold up past wash day even with a sleep with my hair in a loose bun my curls still get pulled out which is what you can see from this photo.
As you can see, the results of the beer rinse look dramatic compared to my second day hair. It makes it seem as though the beer rinse made my hair go from wavy to curly when in reality this happens every time I wash my hair. What I was really focusing on was the quality of my curls.
I took one last picture with flash because sometimes indoor lighting makes for grainier photos. Yes, my hair looks shinier, but that is simply because of the lighting. You can still see how loose the curls are.
Would the results have been different if I had used non-alcoholic beer, followed a recipe more closely, or used a styling product? Maybe. One thing’s for sure, a beer rinse will not be replacing my weekly Herbal Hair Rinse.
While you might be shocked to hear that a change in season means a change in your hair care routine, if you think about it, it makes sense. Dry skin is a notorious problem in the fall and winter months. Why? The low moisture levels of the air actually create a sort of vacuum capable of quickly sucking the moisture right from your skin. Same goes for your hair. In the fall, your hair is more prone to dryness, frizz, flatness, fragility because moisture in your hair evaporates (imagine trying to snap a dry spaghetti noodle versus a cooked spaghetti noodle). So if dry, cold fall weather is inevitable, is dry, flat hair also inevitable?
By simply being cognizant about what hair care products you’re using, you can combat the hair-damaging effects of the fall and winter season. There are two main things your hair needs to thrive this fall and making these small adjustments in your hair care routine will help make all the difference. This blog includes everything you need to prep your hair for fall including product recommendations and DIY hair hacks!
When we think about extreme hydration, usually our go-to is deep conditioning and hair masks. We’ll get to those in a second, but first we have to discuss the basics.
We often think of our shampoo as the cleansing side of the shampoo and conditioner duo, but think of the benefits of a shampoo that not only cleanses, but also moisturizes. Shampoos with hydrating agents are going to give your hair the base level of protection it needs to survive the winter months. Oils and butters are a great ingredient to look for in shampoos because they will coat the strand and lock in the water absorbed during your shower or bath. I combed through our shampoo bars to find some bars with excellent hydrating properties to keep your hair silky and lushious all fall long!
Marshmallow Herb: The marshmallow herb is incredibly moisturizing. To get the most benefit from the herb, we let it sit in oils for a while until we get a mucilage that makes a fabulous vitamin and mineral-rich detangler for curly hair, this is what goes into our soap. Marshmallow root also nourishes and rehydrates dry cells, making this a great bar for dry hair, scalp and skin.
Aloe: Aloe vera contains something called proteolytic enzymes which repairs dead skin cells on the scalp. It’s fabulous for skin because it’s rich in vitamin C, E and beta carotene which nourishes skin and scalp deeply. Also, due to its antifungal and antiviral properties, it prevents itching and reduces dandruff and flaking, it also has very potent anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce redness and inflammation. If that isn’t enough, it also acts as a great conditioner and leaves your hair all smooth and shiny, plus it promotes hair growth.
This is an ultra conditioning shampoo bar for dry hair and scalp that also adds silk and shine to the hair shaft while taming the frizzies. Unrefined organic cocoa and shea nut butters make up the bulk of this formulation. Add to that a generous amount of jojoba and you have—A MIRACLE! While this conditioner shampoo bar does not work as a detangler (even miracles have limitations), it does do an excellent job of conditioning and really helps reduce tangles and snarls, it is our version of a natural conditioner bar. Plus the added silk peptides will make your hair amazingly soft, shiny, and silky. It may feel a bit sticky while your hair is wet, but hang in there, because when it dries, that feeling disappears as the silk hardens on your hair shaft, protecting and strengthening it with silica and 18 different amino acids. Use it on your body for the same silky-soft sensation. This Jojoba Silk Conditioning bar makes a great shampoo conditioner to use either by itself, or following another shampoo bar. Create as much conditioning lather as you feel is necessary to work through your hair, or just the ends, and rinse out. Made with certified organic ingredients.
As a rule of thumb, people who deep condition do it about once a week. You don’t want to over moisturize your hair, but you do want to prep it for the week. Figure out what works best for your hair!
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.
DIY Deep Condition
Because I hate how messy DIY deep conditioners can be, I will always recommend Argan Oil, but if your deep conditioning needs are urgent you can DIY a deep conditioning mask with household ingredients. Back when I straightened my hair I would mix extra virgin olive oil and honey, warm it in the microwave, apply it to clean wet hair, put a plastic cap over it and let it sit for an hour. When the hour was up I’d wash my hair with two rounds of shampoo to get all that oil out, then I’d dry and style my hair. It would be soooooo thick and shiny. Once I went to dance class after deep conditioning and all my friends were like, “What did you do to your hair???”
It’s short, simple, and easy to do! Using a gentle touch with your hair can make just as big a difference as keeping it hydrated can. Give hair-pulling ponytails a break, cut down on heat styling when you can. Most importantly, pick gentle products. This is where natural hair care shines. Our shampoo bars are perfect for fall because they don’t strip your hair like harsh mass-produced shampoos, but enforce your strand with hydrating ingredients! Not only are they gentle on hair, our delicious, and naturally scented soap is gentle on skin and effective against germs!
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Porosity refers to your hair’s ability to soak up and retain moisture (imagine trying to soak up a puddle of water with a sponge versus a sheet of plastic). Your hair’s porosity is determined by genetics, but can also be affected by external factors such as heat processing and chemical treatments. Knowing your hair’s porosity will help you choose the right products for your hair to keep it healthy, strong, and radiant. Today we’ll talk about the different types of hair porosity, how to determine your hair’s porosity, and what kind of ingredients and products work best for different hair porosities.
Why Porosity Matters
Each strand of hair on your head has an outer layer called a cuticle. Cuticles are made up of overlapping dead cells that form a protective barrier around the strand’s cortex (the inner core of your hair strand that determines your hair’s color). The cuticle’s composition is like the scales on a fish or the bark on a coniferous tree. Porosity refers to how flat and tight those scales are.
Low Porosity Hair
Low porosity hair is made up of strands on which the cuticles are composed of tightly bound, flat-laying scales. Low porosity hair is often shiny and repels the penetration of chemicals and moisture.
Medium Porosity Hair
Medium porosity hair has a slightly looser cuticle than low porosity hair, allowing the perfect amount of moisture into the hair strand. Medium hair is easily manageable and holds up to heat and color manipulation. However, overuse of color, heat, and chemical treatments can disrupt and damage the cuticles, which ups the porosity.
High Porosity Hair
High porosity hair has the loosest cuticle formation, leaving it vulnerable to too much moisture which can lead to breakage and frizz. I imagine the structure of porous strands of hair as fully matured pinecones. The scales of a baby pinecone are pressed flat but fan out as the pinecone matures. Once the scales are splayed, they are prone to catching and tearing. If it rains, the water collects inside of the pinecone instead of running off the outside and overtime the standing water will rot the pinecone’s core. Similarly, high porosity hair retains a higher water percentage than low porosity hair and too much water can cause weakening and elongation of your strands.
How to Test Your Hair’s Porosity
The most popular method of testing your hair’s porosity is by observing how a strand of hair interacts with water (often known as: the float test). To prep for this test, shampoo your hair and let it air-dry. Once your hair is clean and dry take a couple strands and drop them into a cup of water. Watch them for the next 15 minutes. If they float, your hair has a low porosity. If they quickly sink to the bottom your hair has high porosity. If they sink a bit and then hover in the middle your hair has medium porosity. You can always run this test with a few friends to have other hair to compare yours to. Depending on your determined porosity, you can adjust your hair routine to benefit your hair’s health.
My Results From the Float Test
I was curious as the whether this test really works (you know I love DIYs), so of course I had to try it out. I selected two different strands of my hair from my head because as you’ll see from the photos I took: I have a diverse head of hair. I also used a strand of my mother’s hair because why not? According to the results, my hair is low to medium porosity and my mother’s hair is low porosity. If you’re going to run this test I suggest using a bowl with a wide opening because the hair strands kept clinging to the edge of the glasses with narrow openings.
You’re really going to want to balance moisture and protein in your hair care routine. Hemp seed oil is perfect because it is an oil that will lock in moisture while also providing protein. I love the Hemp and Honey 2.0 Shampoo Barfor my curly hair.
I know school is starting and we’re all very busy, so this week I took the liberty of wading through all our reviews to bring you some of the best bars according to our customers along with what makes them so lovable. I’m also going to give you a crash course on writing reviews so you can leave one on our website that lets everyone else know why your favorite shampoo bar is actuallythe best.
Why Reviews Matter
I never make a purchase without looking at the reviews first. Why? Have you ever booked a stay in a cute motel room for a surprisingly cheap price and then you get to the motel and step into your room and it looks nothing like the gorgeous photos on the website AND it smells like musty fruit salad? Yeah. That’s why.
Reviews keeping you from falling victim to the ploys of dishonest online companies. You know what I’m talking about. The companies that show you a picture of a huge area rug, but neglect to mention that it’s actually the size of a placemat.
Online businesses (like those rug scammers) utilize false advertising and make it so much more difficult for all of the honest companies out there that just want to sell amazing products and put smiles on their customer’s faces. Companies like AVNS who aim for transparency in every aspect of their business. Reviews are essential for both the consumer and the producer.
As consumers we’re looking for a product to suit our needs and reviews weed out the scammers and give us insight as to whether the product is the right fit.
Pretend you’re looking for a brown hair dye. You’re looking for an ash brown to enhance your natural, cool shade of brown. You find a brown dye in the comments that has tons of glowing reviews, several of which make special note about “loving the warm, chestnut hue” the dye provides. Even though the reviews are positive, you now know the product isn’t exactly what you’re looking for.
Reviews are important to companies, too. Even when a company strives for authenticity, they can’t always predict who their product will best suit. We use reviews as feedback for our products to make sure they are doing what we want them to.
Most Likely To
In the soap yearbook I’ve awarded these four soaps the following superlatives based on customer reviews.
A treasure trove of anti-oxidants from the wheat germ and sweet almond oils are packed in our Wheat and Honey Almond shampoo bar. Nutrient and mineral-rich raw, organic honey will add a lustrous shine to your hair and help keep your skin radiantly youthful and healthy. This shampoo bar is also enriched with unrefined cocoa butter and unrefined shea nut butter for a moisture-drenching, all-over treat. The scent is a sweetened summer honey touched with lemon, lavender, bitter almond, and ginger. Warm and dreamy!
“In an effort to simplify my life and get away from the chemicals used in HBA products, I decided to try all in one shampoo bars. My scalp tends to break out in painful bumps and I have ultra sensitive skin. I really like how my skin and hair felt after using it. My hair is shiny, clean, and it feels thicker, stronger, and healthier. The scent is not overpowering. This will be one of my standard order and keep on hand shampoo bars.”
“This was one of the several samples that I bought when I first found out about this website. I tried all the samples, but I keep coming back to this one. I love . . . the smell of almonds, how it makes my hair is so soft, and my skin, which tends to be dry, is not dry anymore. So when I need to restock I always buy 2 bars of this soap and 1 bar of something else. Honestly, I could just use this one bar and be absolutely content.”
“We have tried several shampoo bars over the last six months…we have loved them all! However, this is the one we always keep on hand. It works well with all of our hair types and it smells amazing. Our all around favorite, for sure!”
Even though our Peppermint Tea Tree shampoo bar feels great on scalp and skin, the main benefit of this bar is the health it can help restore to both hair and scalp. Nourishment and restorative properties from the specifically chosen carrier oils plus added healing from the essential oil blend.
Some of the benefits, but not limited to, are with ingredients such as Coconut oil which is a super-oil full of naturally present antioxidants, it is an excellent anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Olive oil which is packed with anti-aging antioxidants and hydrating squalene, making it superb for hair, skin, and nails. Jojoba oil is a natural anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, its properties keep the scalp clean and healthy. It can also prevent hair loss and thinning caused by the clogged hair follicles as it dissolves and clears these blockages and promotes the development of new hair cells, which can lead to hair growth. Shea butter strengthens your skin by stimulating the production of collagen, it helps make your skin more supple, more alive, nourished and radiant. We could keep going, but you probably get the idea.
For the essential oils, both peppermint and tea tree essential oils have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory properties. Peppermint adds a cooling effect which can help eliminate the urge to scratch, while tea tree thanks to it’s fantastic anti-fungal properties is great for fighting dandruff. Tea tree oil fights the fungus that causes dandruff without drying out the scalp, it can also serve as a natural conditioner and eliminate problems that lead the scalp to flake.
“I have suffered from an angry, oily, sensitive scalp (seborrheic dermatitis) for many years and have long very thick wavy hair. I have tried shampoo soaps from other companies, but they irritated my scalp. Well, last night I tried your peppermint tea tree shampoo bar and guess what? Your shampoo soap did NOT irritate my sensitive scalp or my face! After coming out of the shower, my scalp did NOT start irritating me as it usually does after shampooing. I am now wondering, in the past was I using too harsh shampoo bars from other companies that was making my sensitive scalp worse and drying out my skin? My guess is yes, probably. Well, guess what? Now I’m sticking to just Apple Valley shampoo bars and soaps, which my scalp and hair prefer! This morning (after shampooing last night) my scalp is still clear and not bothering me at all (no itching, redness, or soreness) and my hair is shiny, full of body, and so soft – I can’t stop touching it! Thank you so much Natalie, for this AMAZING shampoo bar! Finally, I found the solution and I’m so thrilled!”
“I have been using peppermint tea tree shampoo for almost 2 years and love it. My hair is very silky and I don’t get an itchy scalp like I do with other shampoos. And the best part, no bottle to deal with!!”
Psst. Author Update: Unfortunately, this beautiful bar just went out of stock. If you desperately need a soap that can “scratch that itch” try the Lavender Rosemary Salt Bar(it’s a personal favorite).
Buttermilk, a natural pro-biotic full of lactic acid, is found in many beauty products and is fabulous for softening, brightening and exfoliating skin. Lactic acid is also used to treat age spots and freckles and to tighten skin. Olive oil, organic jojoba oil, and mango butter, with their emollient properties, round out this beauty treatment for your hair and body. Lavender has countless benefits for skin and scalp due to its antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. It is used to treat skin conditions such as acne, wrinkles, psoriasis, and other inflammations. The vanilla adds a warm, creamy sweetness to the lavender essential oil making this a calming, dreamy, unforgettable scent.
“Pleasant smell. It was a surprise to realize I was able to smell it while I was rinsing my hair. And after a long day with a pony tail, my hair still smells. I will repurchase this one.”
“I’ve used this on my scalp before. I got cancer, had chemo and was bald. Hair is back and so am I. Lavender is very soothing. I’m in heaven with the feel of my scalp and look of my hair! And the smell is lovely and stays in my hair. Hope it’s never discontinued!”
“I don’t know why, but this bar seems to lather the best out of the several varieties that I’ve tried from AVNS. Its scent also seems to last in my hair, which is awesome! Even after theACV spritzes, you can still smell lavender. I think this is going to become my go-to bar.”
Men, now you can have your soap, shampoo, and shaving cream too. Made with organic olive oil, organic shea nut butter, and organic jojoba oil for an ultra gentle, moisturizing treatment, as well as bentonite clay for slip and silk on your face when shaving, this deliciously scented shampoo bar lathers like crazy and will leave you looking, feeling, and smelling like a million bucks in a few short minutes.
“I originally purchased this bar for my husband who travels quite a bit as it saves space as an all-in-one bar. However, once I tried it, I loved it for myself and it’s the only thing I now use to shave my legs. It makes for a phenomenally smooth shave. It may be called Man 2.0, but I love it as much for me!!!!”
“I finally started using this bar not too long ago. Even though it is designed for men, the smell and the effectiveness of it are the reasons why I’m going to order two more bars. It works well on my hair and while it may take a few seconds to lather on my body, it gets the job done. But my face is the main reason. Since it has clay in it, it makes my face so smooth and toned! This bar is a winner and a 4-in-1 for me, which is perfect in my opinion!”
“I bought the MAN bar 2.0 for my husband who has very sensitive skin. He absolutely will not use anything else now! His skin is smoother and less reactive. Also, no more dry skin!”
Help The AVNS Community Out by Writing a Review
A huge shout out to all of the fantastic reviews I used above. If you read this blog and recognize one as your own please let me know in the comments so I can thank you personally. Weren’t the author of one of these awesome reviews, but think you’ve got what it takes? Great! I’m going to list a few key ingredients for writing a perfect, helpful review! I’ve written an example review and I color-coded sections of it to match with the tip it follows.
The Pink Lemonade Shampoo Bar is one of my top three favorite AVNS shampoo bars. I love the soft, sweet lemonade smell and curl enhancing properties of this bar. I have long, textured hair that ranges from a 2a-3a curl pattern. My hair is medium to low porosity, medium to low density and has a medium strand size. I have not used heat tools for two years. I felt this bar gave both my waves and curls great definition and I had lots of small, tight curl clumps when my hair dried (which is hard for me to achieve). I used this shampoo bar in my summer routine: I lathered the bar on my scalp and then squeezed the suds down the length of my hair. I carefully detangled with a wide-toothed comb while the soap was still in, rinsed with water, and then used an ACV rinse. I scrunched out half the water with a cotton t-shirt and then let my hair air-dry the rest of the way.
Share Your Hair and Skin Type
Different products work differently on different hair/skin types. While some of our products seem to work wonders universally, others have special skills to fit individual needs.
Be Specific and Essential
If You’re a curly girl, tell us what your curl pattern is! What is your hair’s porosity? What is your hair’s density? Do you have mature skin? Is it acne prone? You may think you’re sharing too much, but trust me, this is what the rest of us want to know. We’re asking ourselves: if it worked for you, will it work for me? Just be careful to use details relevant to your results. My hair is brown, but I didn’t include it in my review because the product had no impact on the color of my hair.
Tell Us What You Did Right
Give us a little info about how you used the product, did you follow with a hair rinse? Did you detangle before you washed? Did you follow up with any hair oil? Sometimes incorrect use of a product leads to less-than desired results. If you found the holy grail of styling please, please, please share!
Tell Us What The ProductDid Right
Did it give you awesome definition? Super volume? Was it convenient for a schedule that involves a lot of travel? Did your kids love it? Let us know because our kids might love it too!
Now that you’re professional review writers I look forward to seeing your take on our less reviewed products (especially our new shaving bars!). If you love writing reviews you might even consider writing a general fill-in-the-blank review so you don’t have to re-write the same personal information every time! Have a great rest of your week!