New All-Purpose Liquid Castile Soap!

The best liquid soap is one that gets everything done and clean. If you want a soap that can clean your house, your body, your children, and even your dog…our natural liquid Castile soap can do all that. As with all our other soaps, this liquid soap is cruelty-free, synthetic-free, petroleum-free, free from sulfates, parabens, artificial colors and phthalates.

Why Castile Soap?

Castile-based soap’s main ingredient is olive oil. Our premium Castile type liquid soap’s main ingredient is organic virgin olive oil, which deeply penetrates the skin, moisturizing and nourishing while cleansing. Olive oil is extremely gentle and non-irritating, making this soap a wonderful choice for a household with acne-prone and sensitive skin. For more info on Castile Soap including its origin and history, check out this blog!

Why is Olive Oil Good For Your Skin?

An article in Medical News Today sums up olive oil’s four most beneficial qualities…

  1. Great antioxidant content
  2. Great Vitamin content (a, d, e, and k)
  3. Antibacterial effects
  4. Moisturizing effects

Why AVNS Liquid Castile Soap?

When you compare the ingredient list of a popular name brand lavender Castile soap to the Apple Valley Natural Soap Liquid Lavender Castile Soap, you’ll see a few differences. First, you’ll see our ingredient list is considerably shorter. We like to keep our products as simple and as natural as possible.

Popular Name Brand Ingredient List

Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Organic Palm Kernel Oil, Organic Olive Oil, Lavandin Extract, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Lavender Extract, Citric Acid, Tocopherol

Apple Valley Natural Soap Liquid Lavender Castile Soap Ingredient List

Saponified oils of organic extra virgin olive, castor, organic coconut, organic unrefined shea butter, organic jojoba. Mediterranean Sea salt and lavender essential oil.

Second, we want every detail of our products to adhere to our mission of supporting natural, no-waste lifestyles. This is why we package our Liquid Lavender Castile Soap and Liquid Lemon Verbena Castile Soap in eco-friendly bottles made from bamboo and sugarcane pulp, which are not only 100% recyclable, but also 98% landfill biodegradable. For more information on this super cool, super unique packaging you can read the product description here!

Third, we love any chance we can get to partner with other small businesses that share the same goals and values that we do, this is why we are proud to announce that we are once again collaborating with 5 Elements Clayworks in Florida, to bring you their beautiful hand-thrown Ceramic Liquid Soap Pumps! This is the same boutique that makes our gorgeous brush and bowl sets for our Shaving Kits!

More Castile Soap Options

If you love Castile soap, but are looking for a hard, long-lasting bar that travels easy and keeps you clean, take a peek at our Castile soap bars! Our Castile bars are made %100 percent from Organic Virgin Olive Oil and scented with high-grade essential oils. We offer four unique scents, each with their own benefits for every skin type!

Marianne has been bringing beautiful bars of soap to countertops since 2018, and the previous owner even years before. We’ve worked so hard to expand our products to fill all of our customer’s needs and we could not be more excited to offer you a liquid soap option. We hope you love it as much as we do!

Much Love,

Nora


Meet the Team: Tia Anderson

Why do you buy what you buy? As much as I tend to read reviews before making a purchase, I have to admit that product design and packaging makes just as big of an impact on my decision. Fonts, colors, materials, and even size all play a huge role in selling a product. When the design of a product helps to accurately reflect what that product does, it subtly aids the consumer in making the right choice when looking for the right product. Before working with Apple Valley Natural Soap, I never gave too much thought to all the hard work that goes into designing labels for products. Thankfully, our social media guru Tia knows all when it comes to product design and this week is all about her and the work she’s done for AVNS!

Meet Tia: The Social Media Manager of AVNS

Tia just got married several months ago! Aren’t they the cutest!

Tia runs all social media campaigns on Facebook and Instagram and she’s constantly working on finding ways to engage and interact with current customers. This could be as simple as asking customers what their favorite products are or sharing new information about the benefits of our products! She’s also always brainstorming new ways to reach people who need Apple Valley Natural Soap Products in their lives. This includes working on the development of an AVNS reels series, which you can find on our Instagram

How did you become part of the AVNS team?

“My husband is great friends with the Buck family. When we were dating, he knew Marianne wanted to expand the business in marketing and he recommended me! Now I have been with AVNS for 2 years!”

Tia is also behind the coordination of the weekly newsletter (if you aren’t getting our weekly newsletter you want to be, trust me, it is full of deals and giveaways!). Tia creates a visual theme for every newsletter based on the topic of the week. Each feature soap gets a customized background that matches the theme. Why do we do this? We love making online shopping as fun and easy for our customers as possible. A focused, aesthetically pleasing newsletter is not only entertaining, but instantly lets you know what it is we have to offer!

Tia is a freelancer for AVNS, so while she might work another job during the week, she always dedicates time for anything that AVNS needs. Her Mondays and Tuesdays are typically her scheduled time for planning and preparing social media posts, but she also takes on long term projects as well!

New Skincare Products Coming Soon

Tia is excited to reveal that she and Marianne have recently been working hard on a new project, “I have been working on an upcoming skincare line which has been very exciting. The labels have a modern look with a delicate design. I can’t for everyone to see them!” While you’re waiting for these products to hit our website, check out our BRAND NEW liquid soap in the meantime!

What goes into designing a product label?

A label should always reflect the product. Why? Well, if you went to the store and bought a bottle of shampoo with roses and a silky, shimmery font on the front you’d probably be pretty surprised if you went home and found the bottle was filled with a gritty brown mixture that smelled like swamp and made your hair sticky…right? You’d be expecting a rose scent and a silky textured shampoo (which means you should check out our Bella Rose Shampoo Bar). If we wanted people to know that a product was made with ingredients known for their skin-soothing benefits, we’d want to choose a soothing color like blue. If we want to highlight the fresh aspect of a product, we might pick green.

If there was a bar called “The Tia Bar” What would the description and ingredient list look like?

“The Tia Bar is a dazzling ray of sunshine that will brighten your day up. The touch of grapefruit adds a sweetness that will tickle your toes!”

Tia’s a huge fan of Apple Valley Natural Soap products, especially since so many of her hobbies include hanging out in nature! “I have picked up some hobbies this summer including tennis, disc golf, and camping! I also love the beaches, brewery’s, and traveling.” 

If you feel like you still haven’t had enough Tia, you can always read some of the blogs she’s written for Apple Valley Natural Soap!

Tune in next month to meet another team member!

Much Love,

Nora


Why Does My Scalp Itch and How Can I Find Relief?

An itchy scalp is an annoying distraction that can be caused by many things. Itchy scalps can be the result of dandruff, reactions to hair care products, fungal infections, and even lice. We have a little secret that has done wonders for itchy scalps, but if your itchy scalp persists, the best option is to always get a dermatologist’s advice!

Dandruff

Did you know that dandruff isn’t just an overly dry scalp? Dandruff is actually a symptom of a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis and occurs for many reasons including dry skin…but also overly oily skin. Dandruff comes with its own evils, including causing forehead acne. Dandruff can be difficult to treat, but one of the best ways to combat dandruff is to use a gentle daily shampoo. Natural soap makes a wonderful, gentle soap for acne because it won’t strip the scalp with harsh chemicals and also imparts the benefits of natural oils onto the hair and scalp! Try our Acne Battle Face and Body Bar if you struggle with acne!

Allergic Reactions to Haircare Products

So many hair products are made with synthetic chemicals that don’t interact well with human skin. If you aren’t rinsing your hair well enough when you shower, all the leftover build-up from your shampoo and conditioner and other hair products will sit on your scalp and irritate it. 

Finding hair care products when you have a sensitive scalp can be difficult. Natural shampoos are one solution to this problem. Many of our customers have found relief from skin conditions with our shampoo bars! Another great way to get rid of build-up is with an acidic hair rinse! Try our Herbal Vinegar Rinse for the best hair and scalp of your life!

Fungal Infections, Mites and Lice

Sometimes unwelcome critters and bacteria find their way onto our scalps…gross, right? Fungal infections manifest when fungus is allowed to grow in a hospitable environment. The best way to take preventative action against fungal infections is to keep hair clean, moisturized, and dry. Using a shampoo with antibacterial ingredients will further help prevent fungus from setting up shop on your scalp.

Fact or Fiction: Lice Love Dirty Hair

The stigma that lice and mites prefer dirty hair to clean is completely false! Lice and mites don’t discriminate and will happily inhabit any scalp they can find. The best way to avoid lice is to stay out of contact with it. This includes caution around people who might have contracted it and bedding (hotels especially) that see a lot of traffic! Your dermatologist can help rid you of these pests. 

Soap Company’s Recommendation for Itchy Scalp!

Our natural salt soap bars are perfect for washing hands and bathing due to their natural antiviral, antibacterial & anti-fungal properties from the salt, essential oils and carrier oils such as coconut and castor. Plus, weighing 8 – 9oz each, our salt bars last a very long time!

We recommend our Lavender Lemon and Lavender Rosemary Salt bar for itchy scalps. Not only do they have salt, a natural antibacterial agent…they also have antibacterial, anti-fungal essential oil blends to keep your scalp clean!

Yikes! My scalp is itching after writing this blog, time for a good ole scrub-a-dub!

Much Love,

Nora


The Best Biodegradable Soap For Camping

Limited Edition Camping Shampoo and Body Bar

Ending a day of camping or backpacking covered in sweat, dirt, grease and sunscreen is never fun. The outdoors can be dirty, but with the best biodegradable soap you can keep clean and easily Leave-No-Trace so that the earth stays clean too. Apple Valley Natural Soap’s Limited Edition Camping Shampoo and Body Bar gives you a quality clean for a low cost!

Why Use A Natural Soap For Camping?

There are a lot of specialty liquid camping soaps on the market that focus on being biodegradable and multi-purpose. We think that’s great, and we also think you deserve a quality body and shampoo soap that not only keeps your hair and skin moisturized, repels bugs with its essential oil blend, and is biodegradable, but is also light-weight, efficient, and long-lasting. This is what our Camping Shampoo and Body Bar has to offer. The rectangular, compact shape of a bar soap fits in your pack and you never have to worry about leaks in your bag! Make sure you use our natural, biodegradable soaps 200 feet from any body of water in order to let the soap properly filter back into the earth.

Ingredients in the Biodegradable Camping Soap Bar 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.

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.

Organic Jojoba Oil

A huge contribution to soft hair and skin, jojoba oil mimics the skin’s natural oil sebum and is a great oil for acne-prone skin since it is lightweight and breathable. We sell this stuff by the bottle best it works so well!

Rosemary Oil Extract

This aromatic scent may repel certain bugs, perfect for working in the garden!

Lemon Essential Oil

Clean and fresh, this essential oil will clarify your skin and provide a gentle, natural chemical exfoliation. 

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Sharp and woodsy, this essential not only smells great but is a great weapon against bacteria. Cleaning power isn’t all this oil offers, eucalyptus oil is also known for its bringing of respiratory relief, a high demand when you’re surrounded by pollen and other allergens!

Lavender Essential Oil

Piney and floral, a hint of lavender helps to soothe and calm. A simple, gentle way to get ready for sleep when you’re snuggled in your sleeping bag.

Organic Peppermint Essential Oil

Crisp and cool, a fantastic way to keep spiders and insects at bay.

Organic Rosemary Essential Oil

An additional boost of insect repellent.

Cedarwood essential Oil

This essential oil has it all and works as an anti-inflammatory, insecticide, and antifungal agent.

Organic Citronella Oil

This essential oil is what gives this bar a true camping smell! This potent, clean scent works its magic to keep bugs away.

Organic Lemongrass Oil

With antioxidant and antibacterial properties, this essential oil helps keep your skin clean inside and out and imparts a fresh-cut-grass sent with a hint of lemon.

Get It Before It’s GONE!

Get this bar before you set on your next adventure! They won’t last long!

Much Love,

Nora


How To: Traditional Wet Shave

The benefit of a traditional shave or a traditional wet shave is that it will give you a smoother, cleaner, closer cut. All you need for a traditional shave is a quality shaving soap, water, a single bladed razor, and a brush. A traditional shave is sustainable and pairs with with our natural shaving products which are long-lasting, cruelty free, and eco-friendly.

How to do a Traditional Shave

  • Wet your brush under running hot water and allow it adequate time to absorb water.
  • Don‘t tap too much excess water off the brush, then lather up the soap using circular motions directly in a container or vessel of your choice. At first, the bubbles will appear large, but as you keep going, they will increase in number and become smaller. After a short while you should have achieved a thick, warm lather.
  • Apply and massage the warm lather with the soaped brush evenly across your face in circular motions. This will also increase the lather‘s density, soften your whiskers, and allow them to stand up, allowing the razor to sit close to the base of the hair follicle. 

How to Get a Good Shaving Soap Lather

The longer you whisk in circles, the richer the lather, the smoother the shave and the more your skin will be protected.

The Key to a Good Shaving Soap

A high fat content so skin is protected during the shave, it will also nourish your skin so it doesn’t become dry and irritated. A good shaving soap is economically a great choice as it lasts a long time, and it is a wonderful option for your skin because it adds, not detracts, moisture. Ingredients such as olive oil, shea butter and avocado will do just that, nourish and protect skin during and after the shave. Our Shaving Soaps are all this and more as we’ve also added bentonite clay which brings slip to help the razor glide over the skin, and colloidal oats which help protect and soothe.

Benefits of a Traditional Wet Shave

  1. Effectiveness: cleaner, closer, smoother shave
  2. Non-problematic: reduces amount of ingrown hairs
  3. Process: is more relaxing and enjoyable than shaving with an electric razor
  4. Appearance: a stone shaving bowl set looks much more classy than a metal can of shaving foam.

Easy After Shave Routine Using Natural Products

  1. Gently rinse the shaved area
  2. Pat dry
  3. Spritz an organic facial toner over the area to help clean and balance the skin.
  4. Rub in a few drops of argan or jojoba oil over area to protect and moisturize.

Our Natural Shaving Products

Shaving Bowl and Brush Sets

These beautifully hand crafted, wheel thrown ceramic shaving sets are a must have for those who love the traditional shave. They are a perfect compliment to our round Traditional Shaving Soaps and offer an eco-friendly option for storing and lathering up your soap.  Made specifically for AVNS by 5 Elements Clayworks in Florida, “each piece is hand crafted and therefore no 2 are ever identical. Even similar forms and same glaze combos used can yield different results based on the kiln atmosphere or clay batch used, so you can always look forward to a unique piece. While it is not intended for food use, all glazes are food safe and non-toxic.” 

Select from two amazing colors:

River Rock – Glazed in a combination of blue and brown glazes that create a variegated effect that almost resembles the wet rocks found on a river bed.

Midnight Sky – Glazed in a combination of three blues that create the effect of a moonlit night sky on a clear night.

Bowl/Cup Measure Approximately 3.5-3.75″ in width and 1.5-2″ in height.

Brush Measures approximately 3.5″ in height 1.5″ in width

Shaving Brush

The brush is made from a top quality synthetic nylon that gives a soft, luxurious brushing experience. Plus, as the fibers are synthetic it doesn’t shed nearly as much as many natural hair brushes. These brushes are by nature vegan and perfectly suited for men who are allergic to animal hair or badger hair. When using a synthetic brush, it’s good to know that you will also need about half of the amount of shaving cream or soap compared to an animal hair brush.

FOR A LIMITED TIME, PURCHASE ONE OF THESE SETS AND GET ONE OF OUR TRADITIONAL SHAVING SOAPS 50% OFF!!!

Simply place 1 of these Shaving Sets and 1 of our Traditional Shaving Soaps in your basket, and the soap will automatically be discounted.

(Shaving soap not included with Shaving Bowl and Brush Set unless placed in basket to purchase with promotion.)

“My glazes are personal recipes that either I personally developed over the years or had a hand in developing in ceramics studios. The very few commercial glazes that I use are from an American based company (Potters Choice by Amaco and Mayco. Both are companies that provide safety data sheets for each individual glaze they sell) and they do not use lead in their glazes. This (that there is lead in the glaze even when the company states it’s not in there) is a common misconception that dates back to ceramics from Mexico and other countries that have a long history of lead based glazes, but here in the United States it is very heavily regulated and it is mandatory to disclose such things….I research every product I use. If I think in any way it will be toxic in any way lead or not, I opt out of using it entirely….The truth of the matter is that lead in and of itself is harmless in pottery if it is fired to maturity. It is usually lead in earthenware which is low fired clay that often leaches into food. If the glaze and claybody are fired to full maturity, any and all components are sealed into the piece and removes the threat of leaching.”

The Potter Virginia Franceschi

The Classic Shaving Soap

A warm woodsy scent with a hint of spice. This shaving soap is great for all skin types, but Classic’s blend of essential oils may assist those with oily skin. Cedarwood can help soothe irritation, inflammation, redness, and itchiness. Frankincense has powerful antiseptic and healing properties, bergamot is a natural cleanser so helps remove dirt and impurities and is great for those with oily skin as it helps to unclog pores, it also has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Patchouli helps regenerate skin cells, which assists the healing of wounds and helps fade scars. Litsea cubeba contains antiseptic and astringent properties which makes it an excellent tonic for your skin, it also helps balance sebum levels on the skin surface and controls its production. And coriander is very soothing, plus has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and anti-fungal properties.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic olive, organic coconut, organic sustainable palm, castor bean, organic shea nut butter, and avocado. Bentonite clay, organic colloidal oats, rosemary oil extract, and essential oils of organic cedarwood, bergaptene free bergamot, frankincense, patchouli, organic litsea cubeba, coriander.

The Rugged Shaving Soap

A fresh outdoors scent with a touch of citrus and a hint of woodsy spice. It is also great for all skin types, but the blend of essential oils may benefit those with dry skin. Jamarosa oil is an exotic addition which is known for its anti inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Bay is warm and spicy plus offers antimicrobial and antioxidant benefits. Cedarwood can help soothe irritation, inflammation, redness, and itchiness, and ho wood has antiseptic, analgesic, antimicrobial, and soothing properties.

Ingredients: Saponified oils of organic olive, organic coconut, organic sustainable palm, castor bean, organic shea nut butter, and avocado. Bentonite clay, organic colloidal oats, and essential oils of bay, jamarosa root, organic cedarwood, organic ho wood.  Rosemary oil extract.

Man 2.0 Shaving, Shampoo, and Body 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.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic sustainable palm, castor bean, organic olive, organic sunflower, apricot kernel, organic shea nut butter, and organic jojoba, bentonite clay, rosemary oil extract, and essential oils of bay, orange, and cedarwood.

Man, after writing this I feel like, as a woman, I might be missing out on this shaving experience! Which begs the question, can this same method work on legs? Guess there’s only one way to find out!

Much Love,

Nora


5 Unique Eco-Friendly Father’s Day Gifts

I’ve been scouring the internet for 5 incredible father’s day gifts that are eco-friendly and sustainable. I found father’s day gifts for fathers who like to cook, father’s day gifts for dads who love camping, and father’s day gifts for fathers who enjoy coffee and a good shave! I’m super excited to share these gifts with you today and I hope they make your father’s day shopping just a bit easier.

FATHER’S DAY GIVEAWAY

Before we jump into this week’s blog I want to announce something super exciting: WE’RE STARTING A GIVEAWAY…TOMORROW.

Here are the details:

Enter to have a chance to win a FREE Stoneware Shaving Set and one of our new Rugged Shaving Soaps!

This Giveaway will start on June 8th and run until Father’s Day (June 20th)

To enter via social media:
1. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook
2. Like the giveaway post on Instagram or Facebook
3. Tag two friends!

For a bonus entry: share this post on Facebook or your Instagram story, announce your favorite AVNS soap, and tag us!

How to enter if you don’t have social media:
1) Follow our blog
2) Like our most recent post

For a bonus entry: share our blog with two friends by sending them our link over text or email…take a screenshot once you’ve sent the link and email it to us with the title: Father’s Day Giveaway!

Contest closes on June 20th, at noon.

Good Luck!

If you aren’t the lucky winner but still want a Shaving Set, you can find them on our website!

This contest is only open to residents of the United States.

5 Unique Father’s Day Gifts

1) 5ElementsClayworks Stoneware Tumblers and Mugs $20-40

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These beautifully hand crafted, wheel thrown ceramic tumblers and mugs are made by the same company as our new shaving sets. These shaving sets are a must have for those who love the traditional shave. They are a perfect compliment to our round Traditional Shaving Soaps and offer an eco-friendly option for storing and lathering up your soap.  Made specifically for AVNS by 5 Elements Clayworks in Florida, “each piece is hand crafted and therefore no 2 are ever identical. Even similar forms and same glaze combos used can yield different results based on the kiln atmosphere or clay batch used, so you can always look forward to a unique piece. While the shaving set is not intended for food use, all glazes are food safe and non-toxic.” 

2) CMTImpressions ECO FRIENDLY Father’s Day Gift- Vegan Leatherette Wallet $20

These customizable wallets are made mindfully with:

“- Office Equipment Powered With 100% Sustainable Solar Energy

– Shipped with Sustainable Packaging

– Small Solar Powered Office Reducing Carbon Footprint

– Products Purchased in Bulk to Reduced Incoming Shipping

– Engraved with top of the line Energy Efficient Lasers”

-CMTImpressions

Pair one of these wallets with one of our vegan soaps, and maybe a giftcard to a vegan cafe or restaurant for a fun, vegan inspired gift-set!

3) Himalayanart Extra Soft High Quality Yak Wool Knitted GIFT Blanket $70

“The extra soft blanket is handwoven by the local artisan in the Himalayas. We only use ethically sourced yak wool blend from Nepal to create blankets that wrap around you like a warm hug. On winter nights when you’re away from your loved ones, gift them this blanket as a warm reminder of your love.”

Pair this blanket with our Pink Himalayan Salt Bar to completely transport your man to the mountains!

4) Everythingsourdough San Francisco Sourdough Complete Bread Baking Kit and Dried Starter $38

This kit comes in reusable packaging and is the perfect gift for any dad that likes to cook or bake! Pair with one of our salt bars which is the perfect soap bar for your kitchen because it keeps your hands clean and moisturized!

“All the ingredients you need to make authentic sourdough bread. My sourdough starter is incredibly healthy and has produced many delicious loaves of sourdough bread, rolls, waffles and other items. Once reconstituted, and fed regularly, my starter has lived in my refrigerator for up to 3 weeks without feeding. Yes, it’s that healthy!”

5) Outdoor Shower Water Bag by Nueby $39

I’m super excited to share this gift idea because it is the perfect pairing to any of our shampoo bars, especially out camping bar!

“The Outdoor Shower Water Bag is amazing for hiking trips, camping, and outdoor adventures!

The water in the bag heats using solar energy. Get a hot shower even in the middle of the forest!

Comes with switchable shower heads for a personalized showering experience.

Right now, the Outdoor Shower Water Bag is on sale!”

Don’t Forget!

To enter our Giveaway! Comment below to let us know which gift the man in your life would love most!

Much Love,

Nora


Meet The Team: Marianne Buck

I’m so excited for this week’s blog because it will kick off the first post in our series of “Meet the Team.” There is an amazing team of incredible people behind AVNS who contribute so much towards the quality of our company and the fantastic products adored by so many people. Being a small business allows us to take the time to put a spotlight of appreciation on every person involved with AVNS which will happen right here every month in our blog. If you’re thankful for the AVNS team don’t hesitate to show the love by giving this post a like and follow our blog!

Marianne Buck: the owner of AVNS

Marianne is easily one of my greatest role models. Her dedication to her craft and business is an inspiration, but equally so is her evident dedication to her family life and most importantly her love and respect of the Lord. This being said, it shocks me every time I realize I’ve only met with her in person 3 times in the almost year and a half that I’ve blogged for AVNS. 

Before my time with AVNS, if you’d asked me to imagine what a remote work relationship looked like, the first words that would come to my mind would be detached and professional. While what we do is certainly professional, there has never been a lack of genuine warmth and compassion that fills the void of our long-distance work space and this is because of Marianne! Today I hope you all will get the chance to know the amazing woman who runs your favorite soap company just a little bit better (warning, she’s pretty cool).

Starting Small

It’s hard for me to remember Marianne didn’t always own Apple Valley Natural Soap, in fact, she started out as just another customer with a love for natural skin products. Inspired by AVNS, Marianne began making her own soaps and with the encouragement of friends who had willingly tried her products with satisfying results, she and her husband opened a shop on Etsy. Within the course of two years Marianne was offered the chance to buy AVNS twice, the first time she felt it wasn’t the right time, but two years later after quite a bit of prayer Marianne felt as though the Lord was moving her in a direction she could not refuse. AVNS has continued to grow steadily since, staying focused on finding a balance between making products customers know and love while also staying true to the production of natural eco-friendly products and packaging. Read the full story in her own words here

Running a Creative Business

Marianne’s work space 🙂

I’d argue that the craft of soap-making is a three-fold artform made up of scent, visual presentation, and sensory experience. Mastering all three of these elements is no easy task, so adding the business aspect on top of everything else is enough to keep anyone busy, including Marianne who, by taking on AVNS, has taken on quite the juggling act,  “I love being creative, so I have to make sure I don’t lose that part of me. I am also still learning to balance my time wisely between my family and the business. I learned very quickly running a business can swallow you up!”

So what does Marianne’s work day look like? While it’s fun to imagine her in a white lab coat with a fridge full of fresh ingredients blending, mixing and concocting away…Marianne says otherwise,  “I don’t really have a typical work day, but if I’m not running around somewhere with my son getting him to classes and other commitments, you’ll find me at my desk in an office. I like to start my work day between 8-9 am, answering emails, connecting with companies who work with us behind the scenes, and checking orders and questions on our site. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I’ll be getting orders ready to process and preparing the paperwork for one of our employees to package and ship them out.” At AVNS teamwork makes the dream work, and Marianne never hesitates to throw herself into every aspect of her company, “ I also fill in where needed, so occasionally you’ll find me cutting soap, organizing things in the curing room, experimenting with new ingredients or a new product or product line, researching recipes and new ways to improve AVNS. It really can be a never ending list of things to do, but I’m learning to prioritize and adjust my time as needed.”

A Family Effort

Marianne loves reading in her free time!

Behind every small family business is a hardworking family and Marianne’s is no exception. Most members of the Buck family already have jobs or activities that keep them plenty busy, but they’ll all contributed to AVNS at one time or another and are always willing to pitch in when needed, “when we started with AVNS every member of our family was involved…Currently Amanda does photography for us and is also helping in a few other areas where needed…Natasha used to package almost 100% of orders and so has since declared ‘I’m all soaped out for a while’…Ethan continues to do data and timesheet entry for us and occasionally wrapping soap, and Darin helps wherever is needed. This mostly means that when we need to move soap around in the curing room, he’s the muscle!” With such a busy schedule, I was curious to know what Marianne does with any spare time, to which she replied that there currently isn’t much of!  “I do love a good book, to go out with my husband, spend time with each of my children (although this doesn’t happen as much as I’d like as they all have busy lives.) To visit with a friend, plus, I love to be creative when I have the time. Being creative can be anything from experimenting with a new product recipe to baking.”

The Future of AVNS

The greatest reward of running AVNS for Marianne is hearing, “the testimonials from customers who love the products…hearing how the products have helped them heal, or that they simply feel better using natural products…I’m reminded how much AVNS is not just a business, but a ministry.”  Marianne’s dream is to help more people discover the joy of using natural products while also contributing to the community, “I would love AVNS to continue to grow where we can expand into either our own physical brick and mortar store, or to be in stores across the country. I don’t envision AVNS in big box stores, but smaller boutique type stores where we can support other small businesses.” In terms of products, “the future of AVNS is still going to revolve around our soaps as they are what we are known for and what customers love about AVNS. But we will continue to introduce new eco-friendly, natural products to our customers. I always want to be transparent with AVNS and have gone the extra mile in research and fulfillment to make sure what we use is something I can stand behind with integrity.”

Who ‘Nose’ Where That Smell Is Coming From???

Because AVNS has no official storefront yet, the Buck household is the central hub for everything and anything AVNS, which comes with an unexpected side effect. “Because all finished products end up with us before being shipped out to customers, our home has a wide variety of scents which are always present. So much so that the essential oils have been absorbed into every nook and cranny within our home, but we don’t notice the scent anymore, but when we are out and about, it’s not uncommon for comments and conversations around us to start like this “do you smell peppermint? I wonder where it’s coming from, it smells good. Seriously, do you smell it?” 

If there was a bar called “The Marianne Bar” What would the description and ingredient list look like?  

“Oooo, it’s totally the Lavender Silk Shampoo Bar. I created that bar with me in mind as I love the scent of fresh lavender, and I wanted a bar which would moisturize and strengthen my hair without weighing it down. An interesting thing about this particular bar is that I’ve had customers with hard water who have success using it as a shampoo. I’m sure it’s not a hard water success for everyone, but I heard about it years ago and it always stuck with me.”

Thanks For Reading!

Thanks for taking the time to get to know us! We’ll be back next month with another team member feature.

Much Love,

Nora


What Makes This The Best Natural Body Wash For Summer?

Limited Edition Summer Skin Saver

Whether you’re constantly in and out of the pool, hiking the trails of northern Minnesota, or working a summer job that keeps you outdoors from dawn to dusk, you’ll need to make sure you’re protecting your skin from the constant presence of sun, wind, and water this summer. In response to nature’s call of the wild, we created an amazing bar of natural soap designed to protect against dry, burnt skin. What makes this bar so unique? You’re about to find out!

Why Use a Natural Soap?

Around this time of year, you’ll probably start seeing a lot of big brand soaps hit the shelves that claim they are, “extra moisturizing” or are “made with argan oil for extra hydration.” But if you were to flip over that bottle and take a look at the entire list of ingredients you’d see that argan oil is only one ingredient in a long list of chemical ingredients you can’t even pronounce. Putting one drop of argan oil in a five ounce bottle is not the same as a 2 ounce bottle of pure, organic argan oil. Unlike mass produced soaps which are made with filler ingredients, Natural soaps are made with natural ingredients which oftentimes have additional benefits and run a lower risk of irritating sensitive skin. We work hard to make sure every ingredient we use in a product is contributing some sort of benefit.

Ingredients in Summer Skin Saver Bar

Saponified Oils of Organic Coconut

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

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 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 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.

Unrefined Organic Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter is high in fatty acids, which means it locks moisture into your skin and helps improve elasticity. 

Mango Butter

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Mango butter functions similarly to cocoa butter, but also has an abundance of vitamin E and C which help protect your skin from sun-damage.

Lanolin

A powerful, natural wax secreted by animals with wool coats. Lanolin protects the most sensitive skin from the natural elements. Read more about the uses of lanolin HERE!

Castor Bean

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

White Kaolin Clay

White Kaolin Clay is the gentlest of all cosmetic clays and works to draw impurities out of your skin without completely drying skin out. Read about all the different types of cosmetic clays we use in our products!

Essential Oils of Bergamot 

Adding a floral and spicy note, this essential oil has wonderful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Essential Oils of May Chang

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Contributing a light, sweet refreshing scent, this essential oil is used for leaving skin smooth and soft.

Essential Oils of  Lime

Fresh  and tart, this essential oil has antiviral and disinfecting properties

Essential Oils of Tangerine, Orange and Clementine

Bright and citrusy, these essential oils have antifungal properties that also work against skin and scalp problems such as dryness and dandruff!

What Do You Love Most About Our Summer Skin Saver Bar?

Our Summer Skin Saver Bar is extremely popular and sells out fast so make sure you stock up now!

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