What is Hair porosity and why does it matter?

Hair Porosity

Photo by Rony Stephen Chowdhury on Pexels.com

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

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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

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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. 

Both of these hairs are from my head! The curlier, coarser strand is from the back and the looser, thinner strand is from the front!

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.

If You Have Low Porosity Hair

Rhassoul and Avocado Shampoo Bar

Product will tend to sit on your hair instead of being absorbed. You’ll need to clarify frequently to control build up. Clay is a great way to do this. Our Rhassoul and Avocado Shampoo Bar and White China Silk Shampoo Bar are both made with clay: an excellent natural clarifier. Acidic hair rinses are also extremely helpful for getting rid of build up.

If You have Medium Porosity Hair

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 Bar for my curly hair.

If You Have High Porosity Hair

Organic Argan Oil

Trap in that moisture with oils. Coconut oil is great for locking in moisture and is a key ingredient in many of our shampoo bars. The Coconut Milk and Citrus Shampoo Bar and Key Lime Shampoo Bar are made with coconut milk, a natural beauty treatment used in many hair and skin products to hydrate and repair skin cells as well as to add shine, silkiness, and softness to hair and skin. Using oils when you style is also essential. Argan oil will lock in additional moisture and promote shine!

What’s you hair’s porosity?

Much Love,

Nora


4 Natural Shampoo Bars Our Customers Love

Reviews Matter

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 actually the 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.

Photo by Hannah Nelson on Pexels.com

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.

Most Likely The Shampoo Bar You’ll Keep On Hand: Wheat and Honey Almond Shampoo Bar

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!

Customers Say

“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.”

-Customer Review

“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.”

-Customer Review

“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!”

-Customer Review

Most Likely to Provide Scalp Relief: Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo Bar

Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo Bar

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 nailsJojoba 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.

Customers Say

“I love that this peppermint tea tree soap has helped with my itchy scalp and welts on my scalp. I also use the herbal vinegar hair rinse too it works wonderfully. All the body bars smell fabulous.”

-Customer Review
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

“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!”

-Customer Review

“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!!”

-Customer Review

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).

Most Likely To Smell Amazing All Day Long: Lavender Buttermilk Shampoo Bar

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.

Customers Say

“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.”

-Customer Review

“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!”

-Customer Review

“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 the ACV spritzes, you can still smell lavender. I think this is going to become my go-to bar.”

-Customer Review

Most Likely to Work Wonders For Your Man (And You): Man 2.0 Body, Shaving And Shampoo 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.

Customers Say

“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!!!!”

-Customer Review

“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!”

-Customer Review

“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!”

-Customer Review

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.

Example Review For AVNS Pink Lemonade Shampoo Bar

Pink Lemonade Shampoo Bar

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 Product Did 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!

In Review

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!

Much Love,

Nora


3 Important Skincare Tips for Mature Skin

Giving Your Skin What it Needs

Signs of aging are nothing to be ashamed of. 

You are beautiful beyond your physical appearance.

That being said, your skin deserves the best care you can give it and you deserve to feel like you look as amazing as you are…no matter what your age is.

So you shouldn’t be ashamed for wanting to find the perfect make-up routine either.

Behind Every Great Make-up Routine is an Amazing Skincare Routine. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

This is especially true for mature skin. According to the U.S National Library of Medicine, As we age, “changes in the connective tissue reduce the skin’s strength and elasticity.” For people 50+, a mature skincare routine means paying extra attention to your skin’s needs to prevent dry, dull skin from weighing down your glowing personality. Because I’m just a youngin when it comes to the beauty industry, I reached out to a professional make-up artist who specializes in mature skin to bring you the top three tips on caring for mature skin.

Pssst! Not over the hill yet? Not even over the anthill? You should keep reading, because it is never too early to find the perfect skincare routine and these tips apply to all skin!

Meet Elise Marquam-Jahns

Author at Sixtyandme.com, “Elise Marquam-Jahns is a professional makeup artist who is passionate about helping women 50+ get their glow back. She is the founder of Boomer and Beyond Beauty and recently launched “Boomer and Beyond Beauty with Elise” – a makeup and beauty YouTube channel specifically designed for women over 50.”

I spent the week emailing with this sophisticated skincare expert (and watching her informative Youtube videos) to learn as much as I could about how to best care for mature skin. 

3 Skincare Tips for Mature Skin

These three easy steps can be added to any and every skincare routine to help keep your skin luminous and healthy.

Exfoliate

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

While using the right cleanser for your skin has countless benefits, Elise points out that washing your face correctly is also an essential part of an effective skincare routine. In her Youtube video “6 Skincare Musts for Women 50+” Elise recommends using a sonic cleansing brush to wash your face instead of doing it manually because, “it doesn’t thoroughly get rid of everything that’s accumulated on our skin over the day.” Pollution, left-over make-up, and dead skin all contribute to build-up. Exfoliating with a brush removes this build-up and enhances the appearance and feeling of your skin. It also exposes your skin and allows the products you’re applying to be more effective. For example, exfoliating and then applying a toner will allow the ingredients to interact with the brand new skin. Rich in vitamin C our Organic Bulgarian Rose Facial Toner has tons of benefits for mature skin including possible lessening of fine lines and wrinkles over time, read more here. One important note about exfoliating is to not do it too often. Over use of a sonic cleansing brush can lead to raw skin, so finding a frequency your skin can tolerate is important. Exfoliating once every other day is a good starting point!

Moisturize

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

In her video, Elise lists moisturized skin as a priority for mature skin and we couldn’t agree more. Natural Soap is a great way to ensure that your skin is moisturized and cleansed at the same time, we even have a line of facial soap dedicated to dry skin. I wanted to know exactly what kind of ingredients were best for mature skin, so I asked Elise for a list of DOs and DON’Ts for skincare ingredients.

DON’T: Mineral Oil, Aluminum, DEA, MEA or TEA, DMDM Hydantoin and Urea, Parabens (anything with Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl), Phthalates, synthetic fragrances, alcohol, and Triclosan

DO: The most important skin care ingredients for me are Vitamin C + E plus Ferulic Acid (skin brighteners), Coenzyme Q10 and Matrixyl Synthe 6.  

Argan Oil is packed with vitamin E and a great natural moisturizer for both mature skin skin and hair and you can read about why that is here.

Antioxidant Beauty Facial Soap

One of our most pampering bars, the Antioxidant Beauty Facial Soap is packed with natural ingredients including:

Green tea extract for added skin elasticity.

Papaya with vitamin A for new cell reformation.

Guava for its anti-aging B vitamins.

Rosehips for their natural skin brightening retinol and vitamin C components.

Sea buckthorn for its collagen-creating Omega 7 fatty acid.

Yogurt for its pore-tightening lactic acid.

Rhassoul Clay absorbs impurities from hair and skin while leaving it soft and moisturized.

Protection

I have the same visor in two colors. That’s how much I love it.

I grew up believing that sunscreen was only meant for day-long sunshine marathons on the dock. Contrary to popular practice, you can benefit from wearing sunscreen with safe ingredients whenever you go outside. I have sensitive facial skin, so I always, always, always wear my signature giant sun visor. Elise recommends wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Sunscreen not only protects against skin cancer, it also preserves the appearance of your skin. According to the Institute of Health, “When UV rays enter skin cells, they upset delicate processes that affect the skin’s growth and appearance. Over time, exposure to these rays can make the skin less elastic. Skin may even become thickened and leathery, wrinkled, or thinned like tissue paper.”

A Word on Haircare

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The condition of our skin affects the condition of our hair too. In an article published in Good Housekeeping, the myth that grey hair is naturally coarser was debunked with this insightful correlation, “While gray hair feels coarse and rough, the structure of the strand hasn’t actually changed. When those melanin-producing cells run out of steam, the hair follicles also produce less sebum (the natural oils that hydrate hair). As a result, gray hair tends to be drier, which gives it that wiry texture.” Knowing that grey hair isn’t inherently difficult means we can do something about it! If you’re tired of touching up your roots now could be your time to embrace your grey! With hashtags like #greyhairdontcare you can find an online community of beautiful women supporting one another as they transition to elegant, icy hues.

I’ll Say it Again

Signs of age are nothing to be ashamed of. They represent the individual experience of life for every person on the planet. Our bodies were built as beautiful, temporary houses for our souls and they do so much for us while we inhabit the Earth. For this we are grateful. I’m personally grateful that I had the chance to catch up with a beauty mentor who also happens to be my amazing grandmother (did the same last name give it away??)! What are you grateful for?

Pictured left to right: my mom, me, my grandmother Elise and my aunt Erin.

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


You Should Try THIS Instead of Cutting or Coloring Your Own Hair

In the last three weeks have you:

Thought about cutting your own bangs?

Helped someone you know and love resist the temptation to cut their bangs?

Noticed your roots showing?

Felt the compulsion to dye your own hair?

Spent at least five minutes distracted by your split ends?

Looked up DIY hair dyes or haircuts on the internet?

The Problem with Coloring or Cutting Your Own Hair

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

If you said yes to any of the following questions, you’re not the only one. Homemade hair coloring and cutting trends are currently dominating social media. I’ll even be the first to admit that I’ve already attempted to give myself a few face framing layers (thank goodness curly hair is forgiving). 

I’m sure you’ve got enough tough decisions on your plate, which is why I’ve written this blog as a guide to help you determine if you should color or cut your own hair and to offer an easy and alternative solution to damaging box dye and messy natural, DIY dye.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Messing with your haircut or hair color is risky business, especially if you’re planning on cutting or dyeing it yourself. Cutting and dyeing your hair are long term changes that can’t always be fixed and although box dye seems like a simple solution, chemical dyes and bleach may result in extreme hair damage that can last for years.

Should you Color or Cut Your Own Hair?

Ideally you’d hightail any problem hair straight to a salon, but the unique circumstances of our world right now make this difficult so the questions you have to ask are not how to cut or color your hair, when to cut and color your hair, or where to cut or color your hair…the questions you need to ask yourself are:

What do I want to do to my hair…and why?

Yes. If you want to dye your hair fire engine red or cut off ten inches then you need to determine why

Here’s my advice: if you want to dye or cut your own hair because you are bored, restless, or stressed you should allow yourself to take a moment to reflect on the non-hair-related root of your feelings because changing your hair may not be the answer you are looking for. 

The Root of the Problem 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Humans are motivated by visible progress and right now that kind of progress may be more difficult to achieve. If we feel like we aren’t making progress, we turn to other areas of our lives in hopes of fulfillment. Taking our stress out on our hair is tempting because it’s right there on our heads. According to The Harvard Business Review, “Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important thing is making progress in meaningful work.”

I would not considering drastically changing my hair to be meaningful work and here’s why: 

I love my hair, but at the end of the day my hair does not take care of me, I take care of my hair.

Giving myself face framing layers or highlights with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda won’t nourish my body. A healthy scalp will.

Which is why if the changes you want to make are less about drastic change and more about keeping your hair healthy and beautiful there is something you can do.

Dyeing Your Hair Naturally

Your search to maintain your hair’s vibrancy has probably led you to a box dye alternative: coloring your hair naturally. Natural methods of hair coloring include plants with a strong, natural pigment to darken and tint hair or oxidizing properties to lighten hair.

Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

The prospect of dyeing your hair with natural ingredients may seem exciting, but I can tell you from experience that the tedious process to find and prepare a recipe is not worth the results unless you are using a natural dye like henna.

I have seen so many videos of young women with brown streaks running down their faces and necks as they try to massage coffee grounds into their scalps after simmering said coffee mixture for four hours straight only to come out with hair the exact same shade as it was before. 

Natural, DIY hair dyes are messy, confusing, and time consuming…if only it was as simple as hopping into your shower with a shampoo bar…

Well, guess what. It is!

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

We’d eventually love to offer a more permanent hair dye product, which is why we’re currently looking at henna as a potential ingredient for future Shampoo Bars and possibly dyes, but until that time comes (and trust me, I’ll make sure you’ll be the first to know when that is) we’ve got some fantastic shampoo bars that may be just what your hair needs right now.

While our shampoo bars are not meant to replace hair dye treatments, we’ve crafted several of our bars with natural ingredients that are shown to boost and maintain color.

With our shampoo bars you won’t have to go out of your way by prepping your hair, keeping track of a schedule, or waiting for a leave-in to work. It’s as simple as washing your hair!

Coloring your hair requires you to start with clean hair, which means you waste time and water. Our shampoo bars are already made to clean! Safely coloring your hair requires you to not over-use bleach or chemicals, but our shampoo bars’ natural ingredients are gentle enough for daily use! Coloring your hair can take hours, but our shampoo bars can be added to your routine without taking up any extra time. 

Our Color-Friendly Shampoo Bars Prioritize the Health of Your Hair and Scalp

Dark Hair — Coffee

Photo by Chevanon Photography on Pexels.com

Coffee is a pigmented ingredient that is shown to provide a rich, deep hue in dark hair so we brewed up a Latte Brunette Shampoo Bar with organic coffee!

Blonde Hair — Lemon Essential Oil

Photo by Lena Khrupina on Pexels.com

Lemon is the perfect natural lightening agent for hair because it contains citric acid (lightener) and vitamin C (for hair strengthening) and we’ve packed our Coconut Milk and Citrus Bar full of citrus essential oils for this purpose!

Red Hair — Rose Hips

Rose Hips are those tiny, tomato like fruits you see on your rose bush. Like the flowers they produce, rose hips have a vibrant red pigment and we’ve put them in our Bella Rose Bar so you can literally shower yourself with roses (this is a personal favorite of mine.)

Photo by Stanley Morales from Pexels

Now, don’t get me wrong…if you’ve been “dyeing” to dye your hair fire engine red for the past year then I don’t want to stop you from achieving your dreams, but if the next family photo is coming up sooner than you thought then you might want to play it safe (I know I was thanking my lucky stars that I decided to wait on the DIY bangs as I took my graduation photos today).

Much Love,

Nora


Puppy Love for Natural Dog Shampoo Bar

WARNING: THIS BLOG INCLUDES ADORABLE PICTURES OF DOGS. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

When I was a little girl my biggest dream was to have a dog of my own.

I drew pictures of dogs, wrote stories about dogs, and owned two well-worn dog breed encyclopedias that I would spend hours paging through for fun. My obsession has since become a healthy passion, but I can still list off fifty dog breeds in under two minutes and thirty seconds.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in the company of some of the kindest, gentlest dogs I have ever known. My dad’s Vizsla Hank (looking shiny as a penny in the photo to the right) and I grew up together. Hank tolerated all of my toddler teasing and by the time I was twelve he had far outgrown me in dog years and was my faithful friend. He would follow me everywhere, limbs stiff with age. His velvety brow would wrinkle with concentration and he would cock his head when I spoke to him as if he were trying to understand me.

We also have several English Setters, who are basically giant drool babies with excellent noses and a penchant for snuggles (see the picture of my brother and his dog Lily on he left for proof).

With their stellar sniffers, English Setters are soft-mouthed dogs that are bred and trained to be fantastic hunting dogs. A soft mouthed dog is more inclined to retrieve without clamping down on prey and in order to keep this desired trait intact, I was not allowed to play fetch or tug-of-war with our Setters.

Having family dogs was not enough for me, I wanted a dog of my own. So in seventh grade I decided to take matters into my own hands and convinced my mom to take me to the Golden Valley Humane Society with the popular fate-sealer: “We’ll just pet them.”

Nico was about six months when we brought him home.

We did pet them…we also brought one home…

I quickly learned that Nico was not the noble, obedient dog I was accustomed to, but I actually love him more because of his deviant nature. Here are some of his most laudable qualities:

Nico has an adorable habit of scratching at my door when he wants to spend time with me, but the fact that he refuses to come when called is even more adorable. When I call Nico, he stands at a safe distance and just looks at me — not like he’s confused — like he’s still deciding whether or not he wants to come. I find it incredibly charming.

Nico is also a real crowd pleaser, a people-dog if you will. When Nico meets people for the first time, he puts them at ease by doing a stellar impression of a barking, growling land piranha (although he is all bark and no bite).

This is a candid of Nico making my favorite doggy-grin before he was able to go into “Alien Mode.” Nico has many nicknames including: Panini, Sneeps, Ni-ni, and Neepo. What silly nicknames do you call your dog?

Nico is remarkably adroit when it comes to non-verbal communication (although he is also an eloquent barker and can rhapsodize through high-pitched yips and grumbles about the neighbor dog’s presence in our yard for hours). Nico’s favorite pastime is trying to convince people that he is not a dog, but an uncomfortable alien who hates being touched.

My mom recently introduced Nico to her co-workers through a conference call. Recognizing that this was his time to shine, Nico held nothing back. His ears went flat against his head, his legs went taxidermy stiff, his lip stretched thin, and his eyes bulged like giant marbles. Alien dog achieved.

He makes me so proud…

Except for one thing…

I can’t stand the stink.

Nico loves stink. He loves stink so much that he wants to be stink. Nico rolls in the stinkiest things he can find and I often bury my face in his fur only to be unpleasantly surprised by a giant whiff of the dead fish bouquet radiating from his coat. Now that we’re dipping into spring, Nico finds many fragrant opportunities that are thawing and decomposing. When this happens, I pull out my secret weapon: a single word that sends Nico running for under the bed: BATHTIME!

I have to wash my hair every other day, but I have friends who only need to wash once a week. Dogs are the same way and so are other pets. According to AKC, your dog’s coat type typically determines how often they need to be bathed.

Huskies have insulated coats and over-washing will strip their fur of important natural oils. On the other hand–sorry–paw, Chinese Crested have very delicate skin and actually need to be bathed weekly.

As a rule of claw, most breeds need a bath once a month. Dogs get dirty, so dog shampoo can be packed with some pretty heavy duty ingredients and over washing your dog can lead to dry skin…which is the last thing you want for your pooch or any other pet.

Our dog Toby (Tri-color English Setter) when he was a puppy.

This poses a problem if your dog likes mud or stink. You shouldn’t keep your dog clean inside at the expense of them not getting proper exercise…so what do you do?

I used Lavender Silk. First on my own hair, and then on Nico’s. Let me tell you, we both smelled awesome.

Yes, some of our bars can be used for pets!

Because natural soap is more moisturizing, our soap can act as a monthly cleanse, but is also safe to use as a midweek emergency touch-up. While our Jojoba Silk Conditioning shampoo bar, Hemp & Honey bar, Lavender Silk bar, and Simply Shea bar can all be used on you and your pet, our Natural Pet Shampoo bar is designed specially for pets.

This bar is packed with pet-approved ingredients. When it comes to pets, lather is essential, you want physical proof that the soap is coating every inch of fur and lather helps a little go a long way. We used castor oil to achieve a fluffy lather that is effective in repelling dirt and fleas. We also added olive oil and coconut oil–oils that are known to moisturize, revitalize, and “antibacterial-ize.” The two components I’m most excited about are the essential oil blend and the colloidal oats.

Because my family has hunting dogs, they pick up a ton of ticks when they work in the fields and woods, additionally, the sheer number of dogs that we own makes flea infestations a huge potential problem. Essential Oils of Lemongrass, frankincense & cedarwood have been shown to repel fleas and ticks…and we put that blend right in the bar!

Burt working in the field.

Colloidal Oats are basically finely grounded oats. Oatmeal is a fantastic agent for soothing skin. When I was much younger my family had an English Setter who suffered from terrible dry patches and we could only bathe him with oatmeal shampoo. I also suffered from an extreme reaction to poison ivy as a child–it was miserable–and oatmeal baths were a huge factor in alleviating my symptoms.

This bar has everything you need to maintain your pet’s coat, but the best part is that it may help restore health to both skin and coat. As with our human shampoo bars, this bar needs soft water to work its magic.

During this time of physical distancing, our pets are there for us. This is the perfect time to reconnect with your adorable animal and get your kids involved! Here’s a few ideas to get you started.

Rodents: if you own a hamster ball, you can train your hamster or other speedy rodent to race. Find a hallway. Put your rodent at one end and yourself at the other. Then have a simple chant (I used to do this with my “prizewinning” hamster Scooby, and I’d say “Go Scooby, Go!”). When your rodent reaches you, reward them with a treat. Eventually they’ll be tearing down the racetrack (you can line up some stuffed animal spectators on the sides for support)!

Cats: cats are mysterious creatures with minds of their own, but they seem to like feathers…

Dogs: I love playing hide and seek with Nico. I get some really fantastic snacks (let the dog know that you have these snacks), then put him in a room with a door that — if left slightly ajar — he will be able to scratch open on his own (if there is more than one human player they can take turns hiding and staying with the pet).

Since Nico and I play one-on-one, I tell him to stay and then I hide somewhere super easy (behind a chair or corner) then I yell, “Nico! Come find me!” When he finds me I instantly reward him with a snack. As the dog gets more used to the game you can find more tricky hiding places (behind a curtain, under a blanket). I love hiding somewhere where I can watch Nico look for me. He will often check all the original hiding places and will jump up on couches to get a higher vantage point (which for some reason is hysterically cute).

Horses: While nothing beats a trail ride, you can always take some time to brush your fore-locked friend as well. There is nothing more satisfying than detangling a mane!

Last but not least, every pet deserves the spotlight! Get creative and give your pet a well-earned photo shoot. Let them show their playful side with their favorite toy, or…if they are very patient, you could even try a costume or two (just make sure there are a lot of treats involved and don’t make your dog do something they don’t want to). There are so many ways to get creative! You can involve your kids, make it a contest, explore your phone’s editing options…no matter what you do, have fun!

We’d love to see your pets, so feel free to use #avnspet if you post any photos on Instagram or Facebook! If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, check out some of the results from Nico’s photoshoot below!


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?

How Embracing My Natural Textured Hair Changed My Life

Hi, I’m Eleanor (but you can call me Nora)!

As the newest member of Apple Valley Natural Soap, I’ll be writing informative and (hopefully) entertaining blogs inspired by AVNS’s products and the ingredients that go into making them. I could not be more thrilled about joining this fantastic, curl-friendly company!

I’ve been ruminating on a proper introduction and while I could go on for hours about my adorable dog, my passion for improv, and my international expeditions…I thought I’d share the aspect of my life that drew me to AVNS in the first place: my hair. However, in order to share my hair care journey, I’m going to have to come clean about something…

I Thought My Hair was Just Frizzy

I’m going to be honest,

I haven’t always taken care of my hair.

My hair was stick straight until sixth grade. Then it got frizzy. From seventh to tenth grade I blow-dried, straightened, and curled my hair with heat every day before school.

That’s right. For four years I woke up at five-thirty am every single morning so I could devote an extra hour to frying my hair.

Sometimes I’d have to straighten my hair and
use a curling iron to keep my hair from frizzing up again.

I did the math.

There are about 165 school days in a year, so one hour per day is 165 hours a year. Multiply that by four and your total is 660 hours. Divide that by 24 hours and that’s 27.5 days. That’s almost an entire non-leap-year February.

A month. A month-long, hair-frying marathon.

I find this horrifying, but not surprising. You see, I didn’t know any better and there was no one to tell me otherwise. I was stuck with a head full of poodle frizz and every hair commercial I saw just enforced my belief that you were either born with beautiful hair or could fix it with heat if you weren’t. Because of this, I did not feel comfortable or confident with my own hair.

Straightening My Hair Hurt My Self-Esteem

Now, I want to make it clear that there is a difference between doing something because you want to and doing something because you think you have to. There is also a difference between touching up your hair a bit every once in a while and changing it every day because you are ashamed of leaving the house otherwise.

How your hair looks my not seem like a big deal, but when you feel forced to alter something about your appearance in order to conform to society’s standards you risk sending another, more damaging message to yourself that says, “the way you are is unacceptable.”

I’m going to tell you something right now: that message is a huge, unacceptable lie.

Thankfully, nature gave me a huge dose of reality…or should I say, douse?

How I found out my hair was curly

In eleventh grade my family went on vacation in Mexico and because of the weight limits on luggage I was also forced to take a vacation from my blow-dryer and curler. After a day spent playing in the ocean all that salt gave my hair the boost it needed to prove to me that it could do more than frizz.

I guess nature has a habit of bringing out the best in us.

At first I thought maybe the curly hair thing was a fluke. For a few weeks I dipped my hair in a bowl filled with table salt and water to get the same results as I had from the ocean (Yes, I looked ridiculous doing this) but eventually I did some research. I bought curly hair products, styled my hair when it was wet, and left the heat tools in my drawer.

I included this goofy picture of me circa 2017 so you could see what damaged curly hair looks like. See how the top of my hair is curly and the bottom looks kind of straw-like? It took two years of hair cuts and no heat to fix the damage I’d caused to my hair.

My Hair’s Journey from Straight to Curly

My hair’s transformation did not occur overnight: the years of straightening had damaged my natural curl pattern beyond repair. Weaning myself off of heat tools also took several years because I was so used to relying on them, but it was worth it.

My decision to embrace my natural hair means I get to feel ten times better about myself without making any adjustments.

How My Curly Hair Led Me to Apple Valley Natural Soap

AVNS wants you to look great, but more importantly we want you to go through life feeling great. 

This is how my natural hair looks when I style it without heat. No curlers, just the perfect hair routine.

As a curly girl with defiant curls, I care about what goes into my hair products. Cheap brands of shampoo and conditioner may advertise products for curly hair, but if you take the time to pull out your magnifying glass and scan the ingredient list hidden on the back of your shampoo bottle, it will reveal silicones and sulfates (agents notorious for parching and dulling curls over time). Honesty in the health and beauty industry is so important, we want safe products with long term benefits and as consumers we want to invest in a company we can trust without constantly having to run DIY background checks on what we are using in our hair and on our bodies.  

AVNS proudly displays our ingredient list right under every product description, and why wouldn’t we? From straight to spiral and everything in between, we’ve got shampoo bars that will nourish your silky strands. And that, my friend, is the honest truth.

Psst. Starting out on your curl journey and looking for something to help tame that frizz? Try the Lavender Silk or Jojoba Silk bar!


​3 Crazy Things About AVNS’s New Team Member Tia Sirovy

Have you ever tried to sum up your being in only three aspects and fully succeeded? Despite whether you have or haven’t thought about this before, try to think of three things that define you, right now. Because as I sit back in my chair, that’s exactly what I’ve found doing right now, and man, it is hard! This may not be the quality of a MN star tribune article, but my hope is that if you find yourself reading this, you will have learned a little bit about me and my relationship with Apple Valley Natural Soap.

        1.Trying New Things.

From tasting cow tongue, pig ears, escargot in my mouth, gasping for air while jumping out of a plane, almost falling off a camel, or sleeping in a tipi during a thunderstorm; I love trying new things. This lifestyle defines my life motto “try new things.” And that’s only the beginning! My bucket list is extensive including such activities as admiring the pyramids in Egypt and slurping down an oyster. Going out of my comfort zone to gain thrilling experiences gives me energy and joy in my life. I will never stop striving to try new things.

        2.Being Challenged.

Living a simple life was never part of my destiny. People who live simple stay within their comfort zones and only do what they already know. I was born to be the complete opposite. I need to be pushed and challenged daily. Whenever there is an opportunity to learn a new skill, gain new experience (such that will expose me to more marketing techniques), or get into an intriguing conversation about faith and beliefs; I take every opportunity to jump on such opportunities. Daily, I aspire to reach outside my comfort zone and broaden my horizon. It’s because of this that I am delighted to start my journey in freelancing for Apple Valley Natural Soap. With this arising opportunity, I knew it would push me to expand my knowledge on marketing, advance my writing skills, and improve my time management. All of which seemed to come together at the right time and I’ve never felt so at peace with a new and exciting opportunity as this.

        3.Faith.

What’s that saying again, “Save the best for last”? Well, that’s what I’ve just done for you today. I’ve most definitely saved the most important for last; and that is my relationship with Jesus Christ. I find myself living out my faith out every day. Time and time again I find myself wanting to share the love of God to everyone I meet, with simple acts of kindness, a sweet smile, or just as simple as asking how someone’s day was. Getting into conversations about faith and building others up in the Lord is remarkably encouraging to me. That said, I’ve been realizing recently that I have the potential to thrive in many more ways in my walk with God than I realize. Because of this, I decided to take small steps to grow closer to him, by beginning to tithe and serve more frequently, rather than just once or twice a year. It’s in these new ways of learning to serve Him better that I find more fulfillment everyday as I continue to pursue the unending love of God.

While thinking about these three aspects of my life to share, it has made me think deeper about who I am as a person and what actually defines me. That said, I would challenge you (as I liked to be challenged) to think about three things that define your life. Reflecting on your life may help you see who you are and the kind of person you want to become. It’s in doing this that you will be able to serve not just yourself better, but also serve the people around you better.


Is A Hair Rinse Important?

Why is it important to use an acidic hair rinse?

An acidic hair rinse is a critical part of your natural shampoo bar regimen. The acid in the rinse removes scaly build up and residue on the scalp and hair shaft, and smooths the cuticles/scales causing them to lie flat and SHINE. The acid also restores the natural pH of your scalp, preventing it from becoming dried out and itchy. 

Each strand of hair has a cuticle which is made up of layers of protein, called keratin, scales cover the cuticle by overlapping each other. Healthy hair has scales that lie flat. Some commercial shampoos not only strip hair of its natural oils, but also injure the cuticle by tearing up the overlapping scales. Natural shampoo bars will not strip the hair of its natural oils, nor damage the cuticle and scales. You can read more about the benefits of our natural shampoo bars HERE.

Whenever hair becomes wet, the scales raise or soften slightly. Damaged hair also has raised scales, or “roughed up” cuticles. When washing hair with hard water, a high mineral content made up of mostly calcium and magnesium combine with the soap and form deposits on your hair (under and around the scales) weighing it down. Your hair may feel sticky and dirty no matter how often you wash it. Shampooing with soft water (which has a low concentration of minerals mostly of sodium and/or potassium ions), and following with an acidic rinse, will gently cleanse hair, remove deposits, and cause these scales to once again lie flat. This allows all residue to wash gently away leaving healthy shiny hair.

The Transition Phase. Most everyone when trying natural shampoo bars for the first time will experience this in one way or another. This transition phase can last anywhere from 1 day to 1 month. You can read more about it HERE.


Acidic Rinses.

Our Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse is made with RAW certified organic apple cider vinegar. The vinegar is infused with nine certified organic herbs that your hair and scalp will love. Packed with trace minerals and vitamins, these herbs will nourish your scalp and strengthen your hair shaft. As we already mentioned, the acid in the vinegar removes scaly build up and residue on the scalp and hair shaft, and closes the cuticles causing them to lie flat and SHINE. 

Organic ingredients and their benefits:

Because of its antiseptic properties, apple cider vinegar may help soothe the itching or irritation from psoriasis and other skin conditions. The acidity of vinegar works to remove build up from hair, it also balances the pH of scalp and hair, smoothes the cuticles and leaves hair feeling soft and silky.

Marshmallow Root softens hair naturally and promotes hair growth. It provides natural shine and soothes dry, itchy scalp.

Horsetail can improve circulation, leading to the improvement of hair follicles and scalp, which helps stimulate hair growth. It is also great for treating oily scalps and soothing skin ailments such as dandruff, eczema and psoriasis. The herb also rejuvenates hair, adding sheen and strength.

Nettles have been known to inhibit the hormone DHT helping to combat hair loss, and the astringent properties may help soothe conditions such as scalp eczema, dandruff and dry, itchy scalp. Nettles also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Chamomile is wonderful for conditioning the hair as well as soothing an itchy, irritated or sensitive scalp and preventing dandruff because of its antiseptic elements.

Lavender is wonderfully healing and soothing, it also reduces inflammation, promotes hair growth and is antimicrobial, meaning it’ll help prevent scalp issues such as itchy scalp, dandruff and infractions.

Comfrey Root restores sheen and volume to hair. It is also great for the scalp because of its healing properties which come from the many antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The roots and leaves of comfrey also contain allantoin and tannin that promotes new cell generation.

Rosemary helps to stimulate follicles making the hair grow longer and stronger. It is also traditionally known to slow the appearance of grey hairs, to help curly hair, and to slow down premature hair loss. It has anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties, so is used to treat dandruff.

Calendula has antiviral, anti tumor, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. It’s impressive because of its ability to speed healing and lower inflammation. It also promotes growth of stronger hair by increasing collagen production and circulation in hair follicles.

Yarrow is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent making it ideal for treating scalp conditions and promoting hair growth.

Our Citric Acid Rinses are a great alternative for those who do not like the smell of vinegar. Each of our sprays have the same the same pH value as apple cider vinegar but are rinsed out of hair after application.  Unlike the Herbal Vinegar Rinse which has the option of being left in.  As with the Herbal Hair Rinse, these rinses will help the cuticle scales to lie flat which helps remove build up and restore the natural pH, leaving hair soft and healthy.


Ingredients and their benefits:

Aloe vera contains something called proteolytic enzymes which repairs dead skin cells on the scalp. It also acts as a great conditioner and leaves your hair all smooth and shiny. It promotes hair growth, prevents itching on the scalp, reduces dandruff and conditions your hair.

Essential oils: We’ve chosen a variety of essential oils for our rinses which not only smell divine, but also have wonderful healing properties. Bay essential oil is known for promoting wound healing and inhibiting growth of bacteria. Lavender, which has amazing healing and soothing properties. Rosemary which is used to prevent premature graying and dandruff. Tea Tree whose anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties make it effective for treating dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. Frankincense is also excellent at promoting a healthy scalp and moisturizing existing hair follicles to prevent and treat hair loss and so on.

Citric Acid is a great help in treating and soothing itchy scalp, which often leads to hair loss and stops hair growth.

Ascorbic Acid, also known as vitamin C is full of antioxidants which help reduce free radicals. Free radicals can damage your hair making it brittle and more prone to split ends. Antioxidants also protect your hair helping it be stronger and grow quicker.

PlantaSol CCG (INCI Name: Caprylyl Capryl Glucoside) is Ecocert approved and is a vegetable-derived solubilizer. A solubilizer is used to help the essential oils blend well through out the rinse, but we chose this one because it is only rated as a 1 on the Skin Deep database. 

As you can see, using an acidic hair rinse is a critical part of your natural shampoo bar regimen and will benefit both hair and scalp. Restore health and beauty to your hair by using natural shampoo bars and acidic hair rinses, your hair will shine with thanks!