Meet The Team: Eliana Melody

We love nothing more than expanding our team and we are so excited to welcome Eliana as our new social media and design manager. She’ll be taking over Tia’s role as content creator for our social media platforms. We will miss Tia so much, but we know there are great things in store for her and we are so grateful for all the work she’s done to help build what Apple Valley Natural Soap is today…and we can’t wait to see where Eliana plans to take us in the future…which she’ll reveal a bit about in this blog!

How’d you come to join the AVNS Team?

“I had known the previous Social Media Manager, Tia, and she had reached out with a job opportunity to work with AVNS. She recommended I inquire and apply for the position and from there I was hired. I have loved it ever since!”

Eliana is a perfect fit for Apple Valley Natural Soap, “I  love all things organic and natural and when I found out AVNS produces products that were all natural, cruelty free, and filled with ingredients that are not toxic, I immediately knew I wanted to work for them.” She also loves our huge variety of products and how we select our natural ingredients for their natural benefits! 

What is your vision for the future of AVNS social media?

Eliana has two main focuses for the future of the Apple Valley Natural Soap social media platforms. The first goal is to make sure that all of our unique products are showcased so that people have options when searching for skin and hair care products. The second goal is to create an encouraging and uplifting space for followers and customers to build community, ask questions, and start conversations. Eliana has already started adding weekly inspirational quotes to our Insta and I am so here for it!

What skills have you learned or what classes did you take/or are taking that have prepared you for running the AVNS social media?

“I am currently a Senior at Evangel University and pursuing a double major in Marketing and Business Management. Through my various courses in marketing and management I learned many different technical skills needed to run social media platforms, create meaningful content, manage accounts, and much more. I also learned the importance of listening to what the consumer wants and finding ways to engage them in meaningful ways.”

When you aren’t posting and designing for AVNS, what do you do for fun?

Like all of us, Eliana has plenty of activities and hobbies outside of Apple Valley Natural Soap! 

“When I am not posting and designing for AVNS you can usually find me laughing with my friends and spending time with my family. I love going on adventures and am always down for spontaneous trips including road trips, camping, and anything in between! One of my all-time favorite things to do is go for daily walks, especially with my dog. Last but not least, I absolutely love music and if I’m not on a walk you can find me at my piano or singing along on a car ride.”

If there was a soap called the Eliana Bar, what would the description and ingredient list look like?

“If there was a soap called the Eliana Bar it would smell life wildflowers in the mountains with a hint of warm vanilla. The bar would remind you of summertime and the adventure that comes with it!”

Who else wants to try that bar?!

Much Love,

Nora


The Best Pumpkin Spice Scented Soap for Your Bathroom!

The soap for pumpkin spice fanatics who love pumpkin spice everything! This Pumpkin Spice Hand and Body Soap is one of our signature fall limited edition soaps. What does this pumpkin spice have that wins out over the competition? Natural ingredients that will benefit your skin every time you wash! The Pumpkin Spice Hand and Body Soap makes a GREAT gift, too!

Why Use A Natural Soap?

Natural soap is an absolute must for your shower experience. Soaps made with natural ingredients and scented naturally means you get all the natural benefits (like the therapeutic benefits of essential oils!). Soaps made with natural ingredients are also more gentle on sensitive skin!

This fall soap looks beautiful in any bathroom, with its rich, nutty brown color and cream stripe along the top. It makes the perfect hostess gift!

Ingredients in The Pumpkin Spice Hand and Body Soap and Their Benefits

Saponified Oils of Sustainable Palm

This base ingredient is crucial to the soap making process, it gives you a nice hard bar and will enhance lather when mixed with coconut oil. Rated a 1 on EWG’s Skin Deep, this ingredient has little to no risks of causing cancer or containing any kind of toxicity, 

Organic Coconut 

Coconut oil is a gentle and effective cleanser due to its fatty acid content. The best part is its ability to moisturize hair and skin and the thick lather it creates! Check out our Coconut Bars for pure coco-nutty BLISS!

Organic Sunflower

Sunflower oil is FANTASTIC because it is a 0 on the comedogenic scale, which means it won’t clog pores. This oil can be used to moisturize any skin type…and that isn’t all it will do!

According to an article on Healthline, sunflower oil contains antioxidant vitamin E, so applying it topically to skin will allow your skin to benefit from vitamin E (think anti-aging properties, protection from sun-damage…all that awesome stuff). Sunflower oil also contains linoleic acid, an important component of helping the skin retain moisture as well as acting as an anti-inflammatory aid.

Calendula Castile Soap

Organic Olive Oil

Super gentle on skin, olive oil cleanses, moisturizes and renews skin. For pure olive oil soaps that will love your skin, check out our castile bars or our new liquid castile soaps!

Organic Shea Nut Butter

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

Castor Bean

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

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is full of skin-helping vitamins and antioxidants! What do these do? In short, think anti-aging and skin protection!

White Kaolin Clay

This clay works wonders for deep skin cleansing, as it draws out impurities and sebum without stripping skin and making it dry.

Raw Baking Spices

Including cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. All three of these spices are actually used in skin care for their anti-aging effects! And of course their amazing scent blend never hurt anything.

Organic Raw Cacao

Improves circulation, skin complexion and is full of antioxidants!

Organic Sugar

Sweeten the scent and get a little gentle exfoliation!

Kitchen Salt and Spice Bar!

Sea Salt

To enhance the natural scents and add some more gentle exfoliation! For more salt, check out our salt bars!

Rosemary Oil Extract

This aromatic scent may repel certain bugs, perfect for those bugs hanging around your door!

Grapefruit seed extract

A gentle skin toning ingredient!

Essential Oils of Orange, Clove, Ginger, and May Chang

A delightful scent blend to energize and alert your senses!

Get It Before It’s GONE!

I love this bar and you will too! So grab ‘em before they’re gone!

Much Love,

Nora


Does our All Natural Herbal Salve Really Work?

What is a Salve?

A salve is a product often with an oils and/or beeswax base that is applied topically to skin to provide a healing effect for skin irritations.

Description of Apple Valley Natural Soap’s Organic Herbal Salve

Chock full of soothing, certified organic herbs infused in a base of organic, extra virgin olive oil and unrefined beeswax, this salve is amazingly multi-purpose and economical. Apply it to rashes, bug bites, sunburn, wounds, dry, cracked skin, bruises, diaper rash and more!

Keep a jar of this on your countertop! It is safe for your children to grab and put on their frequent summer scratches, bites, and rashes.

This is a natural product, and it will soften and even liquefy in heat. Keep in a cool place.

Ingredients in Organic Herbal Salve

Extra virgin olive oil*, unrefined beeswax, St. John’s wort*, echinacea purpurea root*, echinacea purpurea leaf*, comfrey leaf & root*, calendula blossom*, yarrow flower*, plantain leaf*, rosemary leaf*, grapefruit seed extract and vitamin E oil (from Non-GMO sunflower oil).  *certified organic

Ingredient Breakdown

Extra Virgin Olive Oil has intense skin moisturizing and nourishing properties and also has a high “skin-building” vitamin content. Despite being an oil, olive oil is also very gentle on sensitive skin.

Beeswax protects and softens skin.

St. John’s wort has historically been known to help speed up the healing process and prevent scarring. St.John’s Wort was used for helping heal minor wounds and skin irritations.

Echinacea has a long history of success with venomous stings and bites and is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Today it is known for its success with fighting acne and protecting the skin from the elements.

Comfrey & Yarrow have astringent properties and have been used to promote cell regeneration and healing. Comfrey has been used for bruises and pulled muscles. Yarrow aids in healing broken capillaries. 

Plantain is acclaimed for its ability to relieve bee stings, insect and spider bites and rashes and is also known for healing acne and sunburns.

Calendula is impressive because of its ability to speed healing, improve the appearance of the skin, lower inflammation, and protect the skin against infections. This ingredient is super gentle on sensitive skin, which is why we combined olive oil and calendula for one super gentle soap bar The Calendula Castile Bar.

Rosemary has natural antiseptic properties, which makes it a superior disinfectant for our skin. It can also help protect skin cells from damage often caused by the sun and free radicals. 

Grapefruit seed extract is an excellent antifungal agent.

Vitamin E oil is anti-aging and helps prevent sun damage.

But Does Natural Salve Really Work?

Yes! I spent the entire summer with a jar of this amazing Organic Herbal Salve on my countertop and I used it for the following with great results: bee stings, itchy bug bites, small scratches from plants and animals, bruises, rug burn, sunburn, and random itches. Applying this herbal salve feels great, it has a fantastic texture and smells sweet and earthy. It does have a natural green tint, so make sure you rub it completely into your skin! This is perfect for the fall season when you’re spending a lot of time outside!

Reviews of Organic Herbal Salve

Of all the salves that I’ve tried for psoriasis, this has been a God send! The fragrance is pleasant and not overpowering. The smoothness of the balm across my skin and the lasting healing effects are a dream! I cannot rave enough about this salve.

This salve works so well I almost couldn’t believe it. My daughter had a cut on her knee that was struggling to heal and with 2 applications it looked so much better. I will never go another summer without this on hand!

I have used this salve for a couple of years mainly to treat sunburns, and when I use it, the sunburn usually heals quickly and there is very little pealing. I was thankful I had some on hand when recently undergoing radiation therapy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Radiation is very damaging to the skin, and because of my fair skin they were preparing me for an intense reaction. I added the Organic Herbal Salve to the regimen I followed as I attempted to prevent as much damage to my skin as possible. I was thoroughly impressed with the results, along with the staff at the radiation clinic. While I did experience some tenderness and redness for about two weeks, it did not get nearly as bad as the doctor predicted and healed very quickly once my radiation therapy ended. I highly recommend this product!

Much Love,

Nora


Why Choose AVNS?

Here’s why Apple Valley Natural Soap Company is the right company for you!

Made with Natural Ingredients

Our products are made with a variety of plant and animal based ingredients (all products are cruelty-free, which you can read more about below!). We use ingredients from Coconut Oil to Lanolin and we always use the highest quality ingredients we can find from the most ethical sources.

Why Choose Natural ingredients?

Why would you want natural ingredients over chemically manufactured ingredients? There are a couple reasons! One reason why using natural ingredients in products benefits you is because natural ingredients are often more gentle on skin. Artificial chemicals and dyes are used for their sensory properties, but that’s about it, many times harsh dyes and detergents can take a toll on your skin and leave you with rashes and irritation. The second reason is pretty cool, natural ingredients naturally happen to have a lot of additional benefits for skin and hair. For example, essential oils we use to scent products also have a variety of properties such as antiviral properties, anti-inflammatory properties, soothing effects and more. 

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

I think the best thing about our soaps is that they are all biodegradable! This means that when they come in contact with the earth they break down and re-enter the soil without ever leaving a trace of their existence. This makes a natural bar of soap like our Earth Shampoo Bar the perfect bar to take with you on a camping trip! We also work super hard to make all of our packaging as eco-friendly as possible by either using reusable bottles or recyclable packaging.

Organic, Vegan, and Cruelty Free

What does it mean to be organic?

Organic food is food produced by methods complying with the standards of organic farming. Standards vary worldwide, but organic farming features practices that cycle resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Organizations regulating organic products may restrict the use of certain pesticides and fertilizers in the farming methods used to produce such products.”

-Wikipedia

What does it mean to be vegan?

Vegan products are products that contain no animal product or byproducts. People follow vegan lifestyles to live harmoniously with the earth and its creatures and to reduce the amount of inhumane animal-related practices. 

We are proud to offer a large selection of vegan soaps like our very popular Man 2.0 Body, Shampoo, and Shaving Bar!

What does it mean to be cruelty-free

Cruelty-free means that no animal was harmed in any part of product creation or testing. To read more about this, check out this article!

All of our products are cruelty-free!

AVNS is a small, family business!

Why support a small business? 

Supporting a small business not only has large scale benefits, but personal benefits too. As an online shop, we do have the blessing of being able to ship our products all over the United States, but the majority of our customers are from good ole’ Minnesota. When you buy within your local community you help the local economy. A small business has to have the drive and creativity to keep up with name brand companies, meaning you will often discover that the result of this effort is continual unique and quality products. As a small business we also have the time to focus more closely on the wants and needs of each individual customer. Your shopping experience goes from detached and mundane to personal and engaging!

Why support a family business? 

Family businesses are often some of the most hard-working, cooperative, businesses you’ll find. What does this mean for the products or services offered? They are going to be higher quality. A family business is run with family in mind, which means that the core values of a family are ingrained in every aspect of the company. A business built on loyalty, honesty, trust, and compassion is a company that won’t let you down. We’ll treat you as a part of the family because to us, you are!

Why Choose Apple Valley Natural Soap?

Our products speak for themselves! Our customers have had great success on their journeys to healthier skin and hair. Our bars have helped with skin and scalp conditions, as well as improving overall quality of skin and hair! You can read honest customer reviews of every product in our store.

Much Love,

Nora


Meet The Team: Amanda Buck

If supporting small family businesses that make quality, environmentally friendly, natural products is your thing then Apple Valley Natural Soap is definitely for you! I am always so inspired by the families behind every family business, probably because I’m a part of one and I know how much sacrifice and team effort goes into the operation. I also think it’s essential to acknowledge each role a family member plays in a family business, every person is needed. Which is why I’m so excited to be featuring one of Marianne’s lovely and talented “right-hand-daughters” for this feature: Amanda!

Who Takes All The Photos For AVNS?

Photo of the beautiful Bella Rose Bar!

If you haven’t already guessed, it’s Amanda! One of my favorite things about the AVNS website is the gorgeous visuals of every available product, but when, where and how do those pictures get taken? I asked Amanda to walk me through the process.

“I set up the equipment required for a shoot, pick out the products involved, take many different shots at many different angles, locations, etc. to make sure I have the perfect shot for editing. I transfer all my photos over to editing and select the shots I like the most and fit my vision, then edit the photos to flow seamlessly with the others on our website and social media. I then get them sent off to my mom where she uses the photos where she needs. When it comes to product specific photos I will either use a Lightbox or set up somewhere outside to get that natural aspect. I use Lightroom to edit my photos, adjusting the lighting, exposure, colors, saturation, angles, and healing any blemishes in the soaps themselves. I try not to use filters or any intense editing, as we want the beauty of the natural and raw soap to come through.”


Born Into The Business

Amanda is no stranger to AVNS products and some of her favorites include the body butters and sugar scrubs, but she explains that a lot more goes into a family business than just just testing fun new products and giving the daughter seal of approval, “The most challenging thing about being involved in my family business is having it take over a large part of our lives, conversations, and planning.” To Amanda, this sacrifice is worth it. “The most rewarding part is simply being able to see the fruits of our labor pay off and the experiences we get to have thanks to the business.” What does this look like? Amanda says that her favorite family pastimes are road trips and family adventures, “It can be a little bit crazy, but it’s always such a fun time.”

In the midst of taking care of her role in the family business, Amanda makes time to grow in other interest areas of her life, “I enjoy spending time with my amazing boyfriend, trying new restaurants and coffee shops with my friends, shopping, working out, and spending time outside.” She values the practice of a balanced lifestyle just like her mom, and this isn’t the only thing she’s learned from her hardworking boss and mother, “I have been able to see how difficult and rewarding owning a small business can be. Both my mom and I have entrepreneurial spirits and it is fun to see how she has taken this business and grown it into what it is today. I have seen the dedication, long hours, and sacrifice it takes to run a business of your own and I can say with certainty that after learning what I have from my mom and AVNS, I could start and run a business of my own someday.”


Of course, I always have to ask my favorite question:

If There was a bar of soap called the “Amanda Bar”, what would the ingredient list feature and how would you describe the finished product?

“If there was a bar of soap called the Amanda Bar, it would be a salt bar that targeted exfoliation with fine salt, anti-bacterial properties that heals skin blemishes like acne, but also adding moisturizing oils back into to the skin finished off with a fresh, muted, floral and warm scents with lavender and cardamom, sea salt, and vanilla.”

Who else wants to see this bar hit the shelves? I know I do!

Much Love,

Nora


DIY Vanilla Inspired Spa Day!

Apple Valley Natural Soap loves using vanilla in products like our Sweet Vanilla Body Polish or Vanilla Bean Lip Balm to give them a warm, dreamy scent, but did you know that vanilla has multiple beauty benefits for your skin? Vanilla is full of skin-protecting, skin-perfecting antioxidants and may help reduce fine lines and help clear up acne! Vanilla is the perfect spa-inspo for the fall season, so enjoy these three vanilla related projects that are fun to make and enjoy!

DIY VANILLA EXTRACT RECIPIE

Once you’ve tried homemade vanilla extract you won’t go back! This delicious vanilla extract tastes great in baked goods and saves you money!

This vanilla extract recipe comes straight from Natasha’s Kitchen, to turn this recipe into a cute gift check out the original post for more details!

Ingredients for DIY Vanilla Extract

Photo by Sarah Chai on Pexels.com

Vanilla Extract Ingredients (makes 12 (4oz) jars):

Tools you’ll need for Homemade Vanilla Extract:

  • Small funnel or measuring cup with pouring lip
  • 12 4oz clear bottles with lids (avoid cork lids)
  • Labels click here to save and print the labels
  • Kitchen scissors or sharp knife

Instructions

  1. Wash and sanitize bottles and lids: Wash with mild soapy water, rinse, then carefully swirl with boiling hot water to sanitize them.
  2. Cut beans in half then Split beans (it’s easiest with kitchen scissors), cutting them about halfway down the stem. If the beans are too dry to split, cut them into 1″ pieces. Place a total of 1 1/2 whole beans in each jar (or 3 split halves).
  3. Use a funnel to pour vodka to the top of jar. Cover tightly with lid and let them brew for 2 months, shaking occasionally.

DIY VANILLA BATH SALTS

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

There is nothing like filling your tub with vanilla! These naturally scented vanilla bath salts are here for you and your “me time”!

This bath salt recipe is from Real Housemoms, this project also makes a fast and easy gift or favor in a pinch, read more about it here! Check out the website for more recipes and Holiday ideas!

Ingredients for DIY Vanilla Bath Salts

Vanilla Bath Salt Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add the epsom salts and baking soda to a small bowl.
  • Top with 5 drops of vanilla essential oil (or more if desired) and stir until salt, baking soda and oils are combined.
  • Add food coloring if desired to tint the salts; this may be preferred if you are gifting but is not necessary if you’re creating for your own bath.

At this point, if you’re using at home, transfer the salts to a jar and seal to keep fresh until use. You’ll want to use about a half cup of salts for a full bath. If you’re looking to gift these DIY Vanilla Bath Salts, you might want to add a little brown food coloring like I did here to give the salts a little color.

DIY VANILLA LATTE FACIAL MASK

This mask promises a youthening, brightening, moisturizing treat for your skin! I love how unique this mask from Gigi’s Adventures is…and you can find more unique face masks here too!

Ingredients For DIY Cinnamon Vanilla Latte Face Mask

Photo by Alexandra Titova on Pexels.com
  • 1 cup of Milk (whichever you like)
  • 2-3 Cinnamon Sticks or 1-2 teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract or 1 Vanilla Bean
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cornstarch

Instructions

The first thing you want to do is heat up your milk, and keep going until it reaches a simmering point.

Once it’s there, add the cinnamon sticks or powder and the vanilla bean or extract; if you decided to go for the sticks and beans, it would be great to let them infuse for a bit and then take them out.

As soon as the milk is boiling and the ingredients are perfectly infused into it, it’s time to take about 3 tablespoons out of it and mix them with cornstarch.

Apple Valley Natural Soap Vanilla Products

If you still haven’t had enough vanilla you can always top off your spa day with a sudsy lather of our gentle and uber-moisturizing Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Bean Face and Body Bar!

Much Love,

Nora 


3 Sustainable and Eco-friendly Makeup Brands You Have to Try

Apple Valley Natural Soap is your place to find sustainable, eco-friendly skincare and haircare products, but do you have somewhere to go when it comes to make-up? Hopefully someday Apple Valley Natural Soap will be able to fulfill those needs, but for now check out these three sustainable, eco-friendly make-up companies! These ethical make-up brands will make the perfect finish after you’ve used your favorite ethical products from your favorite ethical soap company!

Elate Beauty

Elate Beauty supplies an extensive variety of sustainable makeup including “eye makeup (pressed and loose powder, mascara, eyeliner and brow balm), face makeup (foundation, powder, concealer, blush, highlighter, bronzer), lipstick, lip gloss, palettes (which you can custom create for your complexion) and kits.”

According to Sustainable Jungle, all of their products “are cruelty-free International certified, PETA certified vegan, and gluten free.”

About Elate Beauty

90% of this Canadian company’s ingredients are organic and they work hard to use fair trade whenever possible. They are continually working to replace non-natural ingredients with natural ones in hopes of becoming 100% natural.

One of Elate Beauty’s current goals is to feature only zero-waste beauty products and reusable, refillable bamboo packaging. It’s the coolest thing ever, new refill product is delivered in seed paper and then after you’ve put the new product in the original bamboo containers you can wet the seed pouch and plant it in your garden!

What does Apple Valley Natural Soap love about this company? We love that this company is vegan, cruelty free, non-toxic, and has ethical sourcing and thoughtful packaging just like we strive to!

100% Pure

About 100% Pure’s Ethical Makeup Line

100% Pure makes fruit-pigmented cruelty-free and Fair Trade makeup including but not limited to foundation, mascara, and lip-tints! All coloring for products comes from produce and their only mineral ingredient is Mica.

While many of their products are vegan (including some awesome makeup brushes made from recycled plastic bottles) some do contain beeswax.

Their packaging is recyclable and can be recycled at home or brought into a store location for the in-store recycling program, how neat is that!?

About 100% Pure

According to sustainable jungle “100% Pure was co-founded and run by three individuals that prioritize corporate responsibility, change, and transparency.”

“We only use fair trade farmers and distributors who ensure us that they are only fair trade. We also work with numerous charities around the world that help to create sustainable jobs for countries in need.”

According to Sustainable Jungle‘s article (read full article for extended list of clean makeup companies!), “for every order placed, 100% Pure donates either one bowl of vegan dog food (of which a single bowl can save to 2 livestock animals, 90 lbs of grain, 2000 gallons of water, and 60 sq. ft. of rainforest) to animal shelters…if you’d prefer, you can instead opt for your purchase to plant one tree through Trees for the Future. Either way, they’re making a difference. “

Apple Valley Natural Soap loves that this company donates to a good cause and cares about where their ingredients come from!

Mad Hippie

With a mission to encourage and create beauty from within, Mad Hippie’s products are crafted to help kick-start that journey from the outside while making a difference in the world as well.

This company strives to create naturally-based skincare and makeup products and has a supercool sun-protection line in addition to makeup products. They avoid using silicones in their products and use eco-friendly packaging whenever possible.

Here’s a statement from the company about their efforts to give back to the community, “We take our responsibility to the planet seriously & that’s why we are always working to further reduce our carbon footprint and impact on the environment.  From utilizing bioresin sugarcane tubes, to printing with soy inks on FSC certified paper, giving $1 of every web sale to conservation, and controlling our downstream waste through a partnership with Terracycle, Mad Hippie is dedicated to the preservation of the planet.”

Did You Find What You Were Looking For?

I hope that if you’re looking for clean makeup options you may have an idea or inspiration of where to start! If you’ve tried any of these brands, let us know what products you’d recommend!

Much Love,

Nora


Is Coconut Oil Good For Your Skin and Hair?

Many sources claim that coconut oil is a versatile skincare product and household product. 

Coconut oil has been recommended as a natural way to help heal acne, due to its antibacterial properties. 

Coconut oil has also been used as a remedy for dry hair, as it supposedly is extremely capable of locking in moisture.

Is coconut oil truly a wonderful product? With every good review comes bad press, too. Today we’ll sort through all the info on coconut oil to find out whether it is the product for you.

What is coconut oil?

According to healthline “Coconut oil is a highly saturated oil that is traditionally made by extracting the oil from raw coconuts or dried coconut kernels”

Coconut oil is known for its high medium-chain fatty acids content. These acids are a form of saturated fats and make up a large part of coconut oil’s composition.

What kinds of fatty acids are in coconut oil?

According to heathline, here is a breakdown of the fatty acid content in coconut oil:

  • Lauric acid: 49%
  • Myristic acid: 18%
  • Caprylic acid: 8%
  • Palmitic acid: 8%
  • Capric acid: 7%
  • Oleic acid: 6%
  • Linoleic acid: 2%
  • Stearic acid: 2%

These fatty acids are extremely useful in skin care and health in general. Lauric acid is known for its antimicrobial properties, and oleic and linoleic acid are both great anti-aging skincare ingredients that help plump the skin and protect the skin’s barrier. 

What are the benefits of coconut oil for skin and hair?

Photo by Robert Goldenowl on Pexels.com

Coconut oil prevents protein loss in hair

Hair that is over moisturized or lacks protein can benefit from coconut oil, which imparts protein and also helps maintain protein.

Coconut oil may have sun protection benefits

Studies have found that coconut oil can help block UV rays.

Coconut oil may help prevent acne and other skin infections

The high lauric acid content is to thank for this. Applying coconut oil to the skin may help work to prevent and treat skin conditions because of its microbial properties.

What are the negatives of coconut oil for skin and hair?

Coconut oil is a popular trend, so it is natural that it would receive some backlash, but what exactly are the cons?

Pure coconut oil is not for all hair types

Using coconut oil on hair that is naturally more dry and coarse can actually create a protein build-up, leading to even dryer, more brittle hair.

Pure coconut oil is not for all skin types

Coconut oil is thicker and is rated a 4 on the comedogenic scale, meaning it has a high capacity for clogging pores. If you constantly use coconut oil on your skin and notice that you have clogged pores you may need to cut down on use or find a different product. You should probably not use coconut oil on your face.

Do we use Coconut Oil in our skincare products?

Yes!

We utilize the best elements of coconut oil in our products while avoiding the more problematic aspects. How? Many of our ingredient lists will include “saponified oils of organic coconut.” The key word here is saponified. When coconut oil is saponified it becomes a soap! This means that we enhance the cleansing aspect of coconut oil. Our dreamy, bubbly Organic Coconut Soap Bars are made from pure coconut and essential oil blends with additional benefits. Our skincare products that use coconut oil, such as our whipped baby butters, are designed for dry skin areas such as legs and arms, not your face. We also use coconut milk as a special ingredient in some of our soaps like our Key lime Shampoo Bar because it imparts the same amazing benefits with a lighter touch so you won’t have to worry about build-up!

Thanks so much for tuning in!

Much Love,

Nora


Aluminum Free Natural Deodorant: Does It Work?

Switching to natural deodorant creme is super easy and extremely effective.

If you’re wondering how I can say this with so much confidence, read on.

Why should you use natural deodorant creme?

Our natural deodorant creme is supposedly a great product option for people with sensitive skin because it contains gentle, safe and effective ingredients like aluminum free baking soda and coconut oil. These ingredients are known for their antibacterial, oil-absorbing properties, but are they powerful enough to actually work?

Why use a natural deodorant over a name-brand?

In short, natural deodorant is made to be safer for your skin. Name-brand deodorants are appealing because they reduce sweat and mask unappealing scents, but at what cost?

I switched from name-brand deodorant sticks to 100% natural deodorant creme to see if the benefits were worth the lifestyle change. 

Does Natural Deodorant Creme Work?

Every ingredient in both our Regular Deodorant Creme and Unscented Deodorant Creme helps to combat problematic armpits. There is nothing wrong with the sweat produced by the pores in your armpits, but the tight, moist space is a breeding ground for bacteria. Healthy armpit sweat is not inherently smelly, but the bacteria that grows there is.

Natural Ingredients we use in our Deodorant Cremes

Odor-eliminating ingredients

Virgin Coconut Oil — Contains lauric acid — a fatty acid that makes up 50% of coconut oil and demolishes bacteria with its antimicrobial properties.

Aluminum-Free Baking Soda — Sweat is odorless, but bacteria breaks it down into acidic waste causing it to take on an odor. Baking Soda’s Basic pH tampers with the acidity, eliminating the odor and being basically AWESOME.

Natural sweat-eliminating ingredients 

Diatomaceous Earth — The fossilized remains of very small aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made up of natural silica, which has absorption properties. This versatile player works to absorb sweat and also dries up bacteria.

Arrowroot Powder — Another absorption agent, and totally gluten free!

Kaolin Clay — A gentle clay that won’t dry out sensitive skin. Removes toxins and lets skin breathe. Check out our shampoo bars that contain clay if you’re looking to get rid of your greasy roots!

Our Natural Deodorant Creme comes scented (with essential oils picked especially for the additional boost of their antimicrobial properties) as well as unscented.

What’s wrong with my current deodorant?

Photo by Julia Kuzenkov on Pexels.com

Name brand deodorants are focused on masking “bad” smells and eliminating sweat, but those things are getting in the way of healthy skin. In order to eliminate sweat, many deodorants use pore-clogging ingredients. This prevents the skin from breathing and causes additional problems like increased bacteria and even acne. A common solution to mask unpleasant odors is to overcompensate with fragrance, but in order to produce such an intense scent, the chemicals going into creating fragrance can be harsh and allergen-producing…without even solving the actual problem.

Natural deodorant creme uses ingredients that absorb oil and sweat, while still letting the skin breathe. Natural deodorant also uses natural fragrance, which is not only gentle, but has additional antibacterial properties that treat the root-cause of the odor…not just mask it. 

How I transitioned to Natural deodorant creme

This might be a little disappointing, but transitioning to natural deodorant was the easiest skincare transition I’ve ever made in my entire life. All you really have to do is use it. Here are the top five things I would say about switching to natural deodorant creme.

  1. Your armpits may not feel as “dry.”
    1. Don’t be alarmed! This is not an unpleasant sensation. It feels like you have a very lightweight lotion on your armpits. I hated when my previous deodorants would make my armpits kind of crusty and waxy.
  2. You might want to wash your hands after applying.
    1. I massage a pea sized amount of deodorant into each armpit with my fingers so I always wash my hands after because I don’t like excess product on my hands in general. Yes it is an extra step in my morning routine, but honestly it never hurts to wash your hands, especially when you use non-drying natural soap!
  3. Taking care of build-up is easy!
    1. This lightweight, breathable formula is perfect for sensitive skin, but if you feel like you are still experiencing clogged pores you can use this simple routine in the shower to help! Whenever you shower, just gently scrub your arm-pits with one of our exfoliating bars and follow with a spritz or two of acid rinse on each armpit. You can use our Herbal Hair Rinse, or Apple Cider Vinegar diluted with water! This will help remove any build-up on the skin since vinegar acts as a chemical exfoliant!
  4. Both Regular and Unscented Cremes smell amazing!
    1. The Regular deodorant creme has essential oils and is a scent for everyone! It is very fresh and reminds me of a mojito!
    2. The unscented deodorant creme has a natural, gender-neutral coconut scent, my boyfriend and I both love it!
  5. Long-lasting.
    1. One container could easily last six months and maybe up to a year!

I have never have body odor when I use this deodorant and my armpits stay clean even after a long, physically demanding work shift!

P.s. Have you ever wondered how deodorant came to be in the first place? The history is fascinating and it is all right here in this blog!

Much Love,

Nora


Essential Oils That Repel Bugs

For outdoor enthusiasts who want to enjoy hiking, camping, and gardening without being constantly attacked by flies and mosquitoes…here is a list of essential oils known to repel bugs, some of our recommended natural soaps that include these essential oils, and a natural bug spray recipe.

5 Essential Oils That Repel Bugs

  1. Lemon Eucalyptus: known to keep mosquitoes at bay for a few hours after application.
  2. Peppermint: supposedly keeps spiders away.
  3. Citronella: used in the making of many “bug repellant” candles, this essential oil is helpful for keeping mosquitoes away when correctly prepared.
  4. Cinnamon: known for keeping wasps and spiders away. According to One Essential Community, “use cinnamon bark in addition to powdered cinnamon to get rid of ants! It messes up their pheromones and they get lost. So they lose their way and don’t infest further.”
  5. Lavender: this common essential oil works on common household bugs such as fruit flies and lice.

Apple Valley Natural Soaps Made With Bug Repellant Essential Oils

Camping Shampoo Bar Limited Edition

This one is for all you outdoorsy, adventuresome folks who like to go camping and fishing, but still want an all over clean right there at the campsite. Our Camping Shampoo/Body bar will clean you from head to toe, is biodegradable and safe to use at campsites near bodies of water. Please note that I said “near” not in!  The “Leave No Trace” guidelines state that even with biodegradable soap, the earth is needed to filter the soapy water, so it is strongly recommended that you shower or wash up 200 feet away from any body of water. You can read more about LNT here.

When you go camping with this bar, you can rest assured that you are using a product which is safe for the environment and good for you! Plus, as it’s also made with fantastic bug repelling essential oils, there’s the added benefit of an extra layer of protection from little pests.

We make limited quantities of our Limited Edition soaps, so once they are sold out, they are gone for the season.

 Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic sustainable palm, organic olive, organic sunflower, organic shea nut butter, castor bean, and organic jojoba, rosemary oil extract, and essential oils of lemon eucalyptus, lavender, organic peppermint, organic rosemary, cedarwood, citronella, and organic lemongrass.

Lavender Lemon Salt Bar

An itch-fighting, bacteria-fighting, bug-fighting bar for the books.

This salt bar, plus our Lavender Rosemary Salt bar make a wonderful shampoo for those with itchy scalps who have tried everything under the sun (including a wide range of our products) to alleviate the itch. Even some of our team members who periodically get itchy scalps, find relief with these 2 salt bars. If you do choose to try a salt bar as a shampoo, try a sample or half bar first as this bar won’t be for everyone. If you have a lot of hair, you may find that it doesn’t lather as much as our regular shampoo bars. A suggestion for this to still get the anti itch benefits from the salt bar, but also get a rich lather, is to use the salt bar gently against the scalp and lather as much as possible, do not rinse but follow with a shampoo bar. Use the Lavender Lemon shampoo bar until you have a think lather and then rinse with water. Follow with an acidic rinse if needed.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic shea nut butter, and castor bean, European spa salt, and essential oils of lavender and lemon.

Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo Bar

This bar is so much more than just a spider repellant.

Even though our Peppermint Tea Tree shampoo bar feels great on scalp and skin, the main benefit of this bar is the health it can help restore to both hair and scalp. Nourishment and restorative properties from the specifically chosen carrier oils plus added healing from the essential oil blend.

Some of the benefits, but not limited to, are with ingredients such as Coconut oil which is a super-oil full of naturally present antioxidants, it is an excellent anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Olive oil which is packed with anti-aging antioxidants and hydrating squalene, making it superb for hair, skin, and nails. Jojoba oil is a natural anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, its properties keep the scalp clean and healthy. It can also prevent hair loss and thinning caused by the clogged hair follicles as it dissolves and clears these blockages and promotes the development of new hair cells, which can lead to hair growth. Shea butter strengthens your skin by stimulating the production of collagen, it helps make your skin more supple, more alive, nourished and radiant. We could keep going, but you probably get the idea.

For the essential oils, both peppermint and tea tree essential oils have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory properties. Peppermint adds a cooling effect which can help eliminate the urge to scratch, while tea tree, thanks to it’s fantastic anti-fungal properties, is great for fighting dandruff. Tea tree oil is a wildly popular remedy for acne and 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.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic olive, castor bean, organic sunflower, organic sustainable palm, organic jojoba, organic shea nut butter, and mango seed butter, rosemary oil extract, and essential oils of organic peppermint and organic tea tree.

Bug Spray Recipe For Home and Yard

This recipe came from Healthline, for more bug spray recipes including one safe for skin and plants you can check out their original article!

For a DIY indoor/outdoor bug spray, you’ll need the following:

  • glass spray bottle
  • lavender essential oil
  • oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • citronella essential oil
  • distilled water
  • white vinegar

Then follow these steps:

  • Mix 10 to 20 drops of each essential oil with 2 ounces distilled water and 2 ounces of white vinegar.
  • Shake gently to mix.
  • Spray to use.

Well, we can hope that the bugs will die down in August, there’s nothing wrong with being prepared for next summer! Do you have a favorite homemade or natural bug spray you enjoy using?

Feel free to email me at nora@applevalleynaturalsoap.com with any questions or comments you may have!

Much Love,

Nora