Can You Use Natural Body Soap Bars On Your Hair?

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.

AVNS is unique because All of our bars are made with natural ingredients, so there is nothing in our body bars that would harm or damage hair (please do not try washing your hair with name brand body soaps!). That being said, our shampoo bars are designed for cleaning and enhancing hair, while our body soap bars are designed to cleanse skin, moisturize skin, and act as a lather for shaving. 

Disclaimer!

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

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!

Black Licorice Bar

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!

Wildflower Coconut Bar

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?

after being brushed out

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.

Winter Skin Saver Bar

This bar is currently not in season, but if you’re interested in trying a bar with the legendary lanolin on your hair you should check out our Summer Skin Saver Bar!

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???

Much Love,

Nora


5 Things You Should Know Before Using A Natural Soap or Shampoo Bar

Have you been considering transitioning from liquid shampoo and conditioner to natural shampoo bars? 

Masala Chai Shampoo Bar

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 as a plastic bottle of shampoo, and costs the same. 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. 

The importance of soft water for shampoo bars

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

Who knew the quality of your water had such a make or break impact on your natural shampoo experience? In short, using hard water with a cold processed natural shampoo bar will not work. Why? The minerals in hard water coat the shaft and rub against the scales that make up the hair shaft, causing them to stand up instead of forming a flat, protective layer. When used in conjunction with a natural shampoo bar, the shampoo molecules get stuck in the open gaps and get glued to the film on minerals coating the hair shaft. This makes hair dull and unmanageable. For more information on how to combat the effects of hard water on hair check out our blog. If you have hard water you can read all about solutions to hard water in this article!

The importance of using a hair rinse

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!

Much Love,

Nora


Top 5 Spring Hair Care Tips to Try!

Got a Spring Hair Care Routine?

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?

Meet Maia

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.

Protect Against Heat!

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 our herbal 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!

  • Shampoo with a shampoo bar for a cleanse and condition. I recommend using the Pink Lemonade, Bella Rose, or Hemp and Honey for wavy to curly hair. If you have straight hair check out this bar. Curly coil-y heads of hair check these bars out!
    • 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!

Much Love,

Nora


Beer Rinse For Your Hair: Does it Work???

Beer = Perfect Hair?

I wish my hair was this long!

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?

Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

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. 

What is Malt?

Photo by Tetyana Kovyrina on Pexels.com

I’d like to start by thanking The Brew Enthusiast for this detailed definition of Malt

“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.”

– The Brew Enthusiast

If you’re still curious about malt I would highly recommend reading the rest of the article.

Why is Malt Good For Hair?

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,[1] a member of the Cannabaceae family of flowering plants.[2] 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.[3] Hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine.”

Wikipedia

Hops have an astringent property that acts similarly to how apple cider vinegar or a citric acid hair rinse works and supposedly produces the same benefits of fighting dandruff and promoting shine. Hops do have a protein content, which means they could potentially strengthen the hair shaft while also smoothing it down (what makes hair shiny). 

Putting The Beer Rinse To The Test

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!)

Letting my beer get flat.

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

My second day hair before the beer rinse (natural lighting)

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.

My hair after the beer rinse (artificial lighting)

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.

If you look at the second picture, you can see how the curls start as waves, you can also see how loose the ends of my hair are. In order to call it a good wash day, I’m looking for more curl at the top and bottom and less “floofy” curls. To see what my hair looks like on a good wash day you can check out my blog on how I discovered my naturally curly hair, or my popular blog on the benefits of natural oils for your hair.

My hair after the beer rinse (used camera flash)

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.

Much Love,

Nora


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

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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

Photo by Todd Trapani on Pexels.com

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!