How To Fix Oily Roots and Dry ends

Greasy roots and dry ends can ruin a good hair day. The key to fixing greasy roots is a shampoo that helps balance the scalps oil production. What kind of shampoo fixes oily roots? The best kind of shampoo for dealing with oily roots is a moisturizing shampoo that also has an ingredient that actively absorbs oil (like clay). Your roots get cleaned and your dry ends get the hydration they need.

Roots Get Greasy Fast?

Many people will try to combat oily roots by overwashing their hair with shampoos that contain harsh detergents to lift oil from the scalp. 

Short term, this seems like a solution, but your scalp produces oil for a reason. The oil your scalp produces is called sebum, which actually benefits your hair when the appropriate amount is distributed along your hair shaft (usually occurring naturally when you brush your hair). 

Sebum protects your hair shaft and makes it shine, but too much leads to oily roots. When you constantly strip your scalp of oil it sends a message to your scalp that it needs to produce even more oil…leaving you with greasy roots.

A moisturizing shampoo made with oils that protect the ends of your hair and gently cleanse your scalp won’t cause your scalp to overproduce sebum. The best moisturizing soaps are natural soaps and shampoos.

Why Do My Roots Get So Greasy?

There are many reasons why you might be more prone to oily roots including genetics, acne and bacterial issues, skin conditions, and overwashing. If you want to fix your oily roots and be able to go longer between washdays you have to set your hair up for success

Using a shampoo with clay will help decrease the amount and appearance of oil in your roots. Clay has an absorption power that pulls in oil and clarifies your scalp. You can read about the clays we use and their beauty benefits here

Greasy Roots Shampoo

My roots get greasy after 24 hours and I’ve found great success with this Rhassoul and Avocado shampoo bar. This bar was formulated with ingredients to combat problematic hair! And will keep the ends of your hair moisturized!

Rhassoul Clay:

  • Contains a high percentage of silica, magnesium, potassium, and calcium
  • Absorbs oil and impurities from both the skin and hair

Avocado oil and Avocado butter:

  • Softens and soothes skin
  • Increases production of collagen
  • Locks in moisture
  • Fatty acids gives hair shine and silky texture
  • Helps fight frizz

Aloe vera:

  • Contains proteolytic enzymes which repairs dead skin cells on the scalp.
  • Rich in vitamin C, E and beta carotene which nourishes skin and scalp deeply. 
  • Has antifungal and antiviral properties, it prevents itching and reduces dandruff and flaking
  • Also has very potent anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce redness and inflammation. 

“I am absolutely in love with my shampoo bar!! This was the first time I tried shampoo bars and I did so much research to find the cleanest brand. There was no question AVNS won that category by a long shot. Then they won because they offer 5oz bars instead of 2oz like most others. Then they won on the price. I have very oily hair and struggle to find hair products so I was nervous and kind of negative about whether or not it would work. Well, I used it ONE time and I was never turning back. My hair has never lasted so long without being oily. It doesn’t have any residue or waxy feel leftover after showering, it smells amazing, feels great, and moisturizes my scalp- which usually flakes with other shampoos. I was shocked and amazed and I have recommended AVNS to everyone I know. I also used the baking soda trick (I love that they offer so many blog posts and tips, especially since I was a first time user) and the Lavender Mint hair rinse. Another amazing product I highly recommend. I was getting so many compliments on my hair and people asked what I was doing. I was happy to say “only AVNS!” If you’re on the fence, just go for it. It’s worth it. Thank you AVNS for making clean products that actually work.”

-Satisfied Customer

Acid Hair Rinse To Clarify Roots

Another great way to clarify your scalp and hair is with an acidic hair rinse. An apple cider vinegar rinse will remove build up from your hair and smooth your hair shaft, our Herbal Hair Rinse is made with herbs to further strengthen and cleanse your scalp and hair. This rinse is made to aid the soothing of skin conditions and may help prevent acne!

I hope we’ve helped to “clarify” when it comes to questions about how to get rid of oily roots! Follow our blog for more information on who we are and the natural products we make!

Much Love,

Nora


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


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


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!


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!