Meet The Team: Sheila Cooke

Who makes Apple Valley Natural Soap products? We actually have quite a few incredible team members who put a lot of love into the delicate process that is crafting Apple Valley Natural Soap products. Today is all about one of our senior soap makers, Sheila! Sheila makes both AVNS bar and liquid Castile soaps.

What does a day making soap look like?

“I often make 2 batches in a day. This includes mixing the lye, measuring out all the butters, oils, and those wonderful- smelling essential oils,  and pouring the soap into two 30 inch molds.  These get cut by hand 2 days later after they’ve hardened up.”

Sheila is one of our soap makers who makes soap out of her home. She is a huge blessing to AVNS because she’s very knowledgeable about soap and continues to research and grow that knowledge. Sheila has a space set up specifically designated for everything soap in her home, which is clean, efficient…and has a great commute.

What are some of your favorite products?

“I love so many of the soaps, and it’s too hard to pick just a few! I LOVE citrus- our Grapefruit Mint soap comes to mind. I also love the smell of cocoa butter- try our Cocoa Butter Vanilla Bean! A newer soap that I love is Root Beer Float- dreamy! This last soap is more complicated to make,  but it’s definitely worth it!” What makes a certain soap more complicated to make? Apple Valley Natural Soap prides itself on crafting soaps that not only work wonders for hair and skin, but also have a unique look and scent. The Root Beer Float soap is such a soap, as Sheila explains what goes into the intricacy of crafting such a creative bar of soap, “The Rootbeer Float soap is a layered soap- it has a dark brown bottom layer (colored with Rhassoul clay) and a lighter, frothy- looking top layer,  so there are extra steps involved.  It gets even trickier because of the essential oils used to give it that wonderful smell- they make the soap set up super quickly and therefore you need to work VERY efficiently.” Order and timing is everything when crafting small batches of artisan soap!

Had you ever made soap before joining Apple Valley Natural Soap?

“My family and I have always looked for natural products, and we were already AVNS customers to some extent. We made a few things ourselves- toothpaste and deodorant-   but making soap is something I had never tried before joining the AVNS team.”

Sheila’s Quilt!

What do you enjoy doing with your free time?

“My husband and I have 6 school-age children whom I have the privilege of homeschooling.  This, along with making soap,  doesn’t leave a lot of time for hobbies,  but any extra time I get,  I LOVE to go to my sewing room and work on one of my many quilting projects.”

And my favorite question: If there was a bar of soap called the Sheila Bar, what would it be like?!

“Hmmm, tough one! Maybe a lemon-based bar with hints of the essential oil ylang ylang? I’ll need to try that one personally! Another thought is a coffee/chocolate/mint combination,  since I’m such a coffee lover!”

Yum, I’m down to try either of those bars! Check out our other Featured Team Members, and keep an eye out for the next one!

Much Love,

Nora


Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts and Ideas

Women. Listen to me. There are three TOP Valentine’s Day worthy AVNS products that I would highly recommend. If you asked me, “Nora, what product would you recommend for Valentine’s Day so I smell amazing and irresistible?” These are the products I would tell you you need to instantly get. Like right now. Order them now. The Bella Rose Shampoo Bar, The Sweet Rose Hips Body Sugar Scrub, and The Custom Scented Jojoba Oil scented like the Bella Rose. Using the Sweet Rose Hips Scrub in the shower feels like a luxury scented steam sauna and I can’t wait to get out of the shower and dry off so I can put the jojoba oil on my arms and legs right away! It smells that good!

Okay, now that I’ve directed you towards the products that will make you smell like a whole bouquet of sweet roses we can figure out what to get that special someone in your life, because if you’re like me time is ticking away and pretty soon your gonna get stuck buying a last-minute box of chocolates. Obviously our products make fantastic gifts for any occasion and a gift pairing that demonstrates creativity shows that you’ve put thought into your gift! I’ve been scanning Etsy for some unique Valentine’s day inspo and came across some ideas that are really sweet. I’ll be linking each product, but feel free to use these to spark your own ideas as well!

  1. Personalized Custom CD Mixtape Customizable Playlist
    • This is my go-to for a first valentine’s day gift. Is it totally cheesy? Yes. embrace the cliche. Picking out songs that mean something to you and the other person or remind you of them and your relationship is so much fun to do and share! You can create a musical map of your relationship. The song that played during your first kiss, the song that played that one time you got lost driving through the city at night, the song you always sing the wrong words to and it makes the other person laugh. The one you love is such a huge part of your life, and so is music!
    • This customized CD is a must for those who don’t have the skills or resources to burn their own CD (pointing enthusiastically at myself here). I love how you can even customize the name of the CD! I have personally used this seller and I loved how it turned out!
  2. Messages In a Jar
    • I love how this sweet, simple gift is so intimate and personal. You can write 50 different reasons why you love your special someone and they’ll have 50 days to read why that is! The glass container and cork lid just has such a classy, versatile look that could be kept on a bedside table, bathroom counter, or even a side table.
  3. Vitamin Me
    • Similar concept to the messages in a jar, this adorable vitamin container is full of vitamin capsules…but don’t swallow! You can put a little love letter in every capsule! This presentation is so fun and playful, perfect for a newer or younger couple gift. 
    • If you’re having trouble thinking of what to say…maybe that’s a sign the relationship is doomed. I’M JUST KIDDING! Sometimes I have trouble putting all my love into the right words too. This seller has you covered though and includes a QR code you can scan for a free pdf with tons of different ways to say, “I love you!”
  4. Valentine’s Day Macarons
    • If your darling has a sweet tooth this is the perfect gift! Definitely check out some of our vanilla products to go with these little cookies! Hint: looking for more of a hands on activity? Try baking your own macarons together!
    • “Valentine’s Day macarons! A perfect and delicious treat for anyone you love ❤ Every order is baked fresh. The macarons come with an assortment of designs, as shown on the listing pictures- painted cupid, white drizzle with valentine’s day-themed sprinkles, and plain pink. Last day to order for guaranteed arrival by Valentine’s Day is February 4th. You may choose any of our seven most popular flavors: (Vanilla, Chocolate, Rose, Cookies n’ Creme, Fruity Pebbles, Coconut, and Lemon). The filling will consist of buttercream or ganache, depending on the flavor you choose. These treats are gluten-free with the exception of our Cookies n’ Creme flavor.”
  5. Hand Stamped Penny Key Chain
    • I think this idea is so unique and special, especially since the backdrop is a penny! I would love this as a necklace option, too! This is the only idea I included that I haven’t personally tried some variation of so it’s kind of next on my list!
    • “This is a hand stamped “lucky to have found you” penny keychain. A heart can be stamped around the penny year. We can customize one side to your liking — Up to 4 lines, 9 characters max per line lowercase, 6 characters max per line if all uppercase.”

If you were struggling to come up with something hopefully I’ve given you some ideas or at least a place to start! If in doubt…a bottle of champagne, a box of chocolate and some roses (or the bella rose collection) never disappointed me! 

Much Love,

Nora


Why You Should Try a Natural Toner

Have you ever used a toner in your skincare routine? If not, you might be wondering what a toner is, and what a toner does for your skin. Today we’ll talk about the benefits of using a toner for your skin (specifically a toner for your face), how it interacts with other steps in a skincare routine, and why you should consider using a natural toner.

What is a toner?

A toner is predominantly a liquid that is composed of ingredients that cleanse, refresh, and reinforce the skin. The toner is applied after the initial cleanse and before a lotion or moisturizer. In this way, toner acts as both a sealant for clean skin and a primer for other products.

Who should use a toner?

Anyone can benefit from a toner, since facial toners are known for targeting skin concerns from aging skin to acne. Toners are especially helpful for those with acne caused by clogged pores, since toners work on an extra level to clear pores. Different toners are also designed to target specific skin care needs, so make sure you are selecting the right toner for your skin!

What are the benefits of using a toner?

Toners work to do three main things:

  1. A final deep cleanse.
  2. A layer of protection for your clean skin.
  3. A primer that allows other skincare products to work more effectively on skin.

Why Use A Natural Toner?

Natural toners make the perfect toners for sensitive skin because they contain no alcohol which makes them extremely gentle. The natural ingredients in a natural toner are all added for a specific purpose. We have two natural toners in our new skincare line!

Calming Toner 

This faintly sweet, floral, and citrusy toner is great if you have oily/combination skin. 

Organic Neroli (orange blossom) hydrosol: Neroli hydrosol contains alpha hydroxy acids which help exfoliate the skin, and is anti-inflammatory so helps soothe and calm skin inflammation like acne, eczema etc. It is also antibacterial, which is another reason it’s great for treating acne, plus is highly astringent, as well as rich in vitamin C. 

Papaya (Carica papaya) fruit extract, Mango (Manifera indica) fruit extract,: The combination of the Papaya and Mango extracts increase enzyme activity and are attributed with soothing skin irritations and exfoliating dead cells. Papaya contains arginine, which is an amino acid that smoothes skin and aids in cell regeneration and Papain possesses anti-inflammatory properties.

Radish root (Leuconostoc) ferment. – radish root has calming and moisturizing properties as well as preservative properties

Restorative Toner

This very hydrating toner nourishes skin health and helps restore skin’s radiance, beauty and youthfulness. 

Organic Rose Otto (Rosa damascena) hydrosol: Rose hydrosol* helps to balance the skin as it regulates sebum production, has antibacterial properties, helps heal sunburn and improves circulation. It is also a mild astringent, and attracts moisture making it very helpful for all skin types. With it’s light floral scent and vast number of therapeutic applications, this hydrosol from organic roses rejuvenates, hydrates, softens, and if used over time, can help reduce facial lines and wrinkles. Suzanne Catty, author of Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy, states that rose has an affinity with the heart and the emotional spheres of the mind, body, and spirit. It is known to promote emotional balance and a sense of well-being. 

Glycerin – is a humectant which traps in moisture

Rose Otto (Rosa damascene) petal cell extract- Rose extract also comes from the Rose Otto (Rosa damascene). It is extracted from the petals of rose flowers and contains over three hundred different compounds which not only help with premature aging, but also benefit skin in many other ways; anti-inflammatory, great for sensitive skin, treats redness and irritation, contains high amounts of Vitamin C, known to aid skin’s natural sun protection, promotion of good skin tone as well as improvement of skin’s elasticity. Plus let’s not forget about the wonderful aroma which is  known as a mood enhancer.

How to use a toner

Our toners come in an easy to use spray bottle…so after cleansing, pat your face dry gently and then mist toner onto face and let it dry before applying a moisturizer. We recommend our Argan oil as a moisturizer for glowing, soft skin!

If you’re familiar with AVNS products you may recognize these toners! They have been on our shelves for a long time and are now updated in quality to be better than ever! Which one is your favorite?

Much Love,

Nora


Full Body Skin Care Routine

These Full Body Skin Care Products Are Game Changers

If you live in the Midwest, you probably know how the cold, dry weather can take its toll on your skin. You may also know how easy it is to not shave your legs for a month because you’ve been wearing pants for that long anyway. So you’ve probably also experienced that occasion that calls for you to spend the entire day in the bathroom plucking, moisturizing, and shaving the month’s worth of hair that has accumulated on your body. Maybe it’s a date, or an event that requires a dress, or even getting ready for a poolside vacation…whatever the reason…your entire body needs a pick me up.

Today we’re here to get it done Apple Valley Natural Soap style. Featuring some of our products that will best help whip that skin into shape in no time!

Full Body Exfoliate

Exfoliating before you shave will loosen and remove dead skin that has accumulated or is stuck to the surface of your skin. This will not only help achieve a more even, glowing skin tone…but will also prep your skin for a nice close shave!

You can either use a soap with a built in exfoliant or bring in a third party exfoliating tool. What do I mean by this? I’ll tell you!

Exfoliating Soap

Grapefruit Peppermint Luffa Body Bar

Our Grapefruit Peppermint Luffa Body Bar is known to get the circulation going. This rejuvenating, invigorating, scrubby loofah soap bar will exfoliate those dead skin cells while stimulating blood flow resulting in smoother, firmer skin. Filled with the dried fruit fiber of the tropical luffa vine, this exfoliating natural luffa soap bar feels fabulous while filling your senses with the tangy sweetness of grapefruit followed by a slight peppermint twist at the end. This loofah soap has a medium strength exfoliation.

Exfoliating Bag

This handy little Cotton Bag allows you to scrub up with your favorite Apple Valley Natural Soap while it’s tucked inside. One side of the bag is an open mesh, while the reverse side is soft like a washcloth. The bag is large enough to hold any of our soaps, whether a full bar or smaller. We recommend the open weave side for washing only short hair, and the washcloth side for face and body. It will also work great for collecting all the end pieces of your favorite soaps so nothing is wasted, and makes a fantastic gift!

Shaving Soap

Next you’ll want to lather up with a soap that will give you the optimal shave. You can either go with a shaving soap, or a Castile soap that will give you a fantastic lather for shaving. If you’ve used the Natural Cotton Bag to exfoliate you can simply use one of the shaving soaps as the soap in your bag, scrub up a lather, and go right into the shave!

Full Body Moisturizing Products

Finding the right lotion can be difficult especially if you have a variety of skin types. My skin is definitely more prone to breakouts on my face, chest, and upper back…so I use a variety of moisturizers depending on the area.

Legs and Arms

Sweet Rosehips Body Polish

I recommend finishing your shave with a final sugar scrub. You will get a final round of gentle exfoliation, and you’ll also moisturize your legs in the shower. Our sugar scrubs are full of nourishing oils that will leave you without the need for lotion afterwards (psst. Sweet Rosehips Body Polish is my fav).

Face

After using whichever AVNS facial bar you love most on your face, follow with a spritz of toner and a couple drops of our Organic Moroccan Argan Oil which won’t clog skin and will leave it soft and supple!

Everything Else

Using Jojoba oil on the areas of your body that may be prone to oiliness is the perfect solution because the composition of jojoba oil mimics the natural oil your body produces: sebum. This makes jojoba oil a light, gentle moisturizing option. I love using a custom scented jojoba oil for a scent boost! To explore the difference between argan vs. jojoba oil read our most popular blog post here!

Deep Target Skin Hydration

Sometimes dry scaly skin gets out of control and needs the extra mile to recover. Hands and feet deal with the most wear and tear and exposure and often become dry or calloused. For problem areas like this I recommend applying one of two products: our whipped baby butters, or shea butter skin therapy. Once you’ve applied these products on your hands or feet cover them with socks or gloves to lock in every ounce of moisture and let the magic soak in overnight.

TLC Tip for Toes!

Toenails and feet can be difficult to clean and maintain. Be eco-friendly! Clean and use an old toothbrush to scrub between toes and under toenails!

Hopefully this has been helpful in rejuvenating your skin, you’ll feel all over fresh afterwards!

Much Love,

Nora


What is collagen, and why do people use it?

Collagen is a protein located in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons that provides structure in holding these parts of the body together.

There are two types of collagen. Endogenous collagen is the collagen produced by your body. Exogenous collagen is created by an outside source, like supplements. Today we will discuss collagen’s role in the body, as well as the uses of exogenous collagen as we seek to answer the question: does collagen in beauty products really revitalize the skin or reverse the skin’s aging process?

Your body needs to produce endogenous collagen to function. A lack of collagen can lead to health problems. Exogenous collagen is used for many different purposes which we will go over today. 

Here are some quick and interesting facts about collagen taken from a Medical News Today article:

  • Collagen occurs throughout the body, but especially in the skin, bones, and connective tissues.
  • Some types of collagen fibrils, gram-for-gram, are stronger than steel.
  • Collagen production declines with age and exposure to factors such as smoking and UV light.

What is collagen?

Collagen is a strong, fibrous protein that acts as a tough chain link between cells. I like to picture it as the supporting beams or chains of a bridge. There are at least 16 different types of collagen and it makes up one-third of the protein content in the body. Most of the collagen in your body is limited to three main types of collagen, each with its own structure and function.

As a skincare company, type one interests us most…”Type I collagen is the most abundant collagen in the dermis. It comprises about 80% of dermal collagen and plays a major role in providing tensile strength to skin. It is composed of two identical alpha chains and a third chain of different amino acid composition. The genes for these different chains are thought to be on chromosomes 17 and 7 respectively.” (Weedon’s Skin Pathology)

Roles: What does collagen do?

With age, collagen weakens, leading to wrinkles and cartilage problems.
found on Pinterest

As you can see in the diagram, collagen acts as a supporting structure for the epidermis. Collagen also plays a part in replacing and revitalizing dead skin cells. As you age, the body naturally produces less collagen and the quality of collagen produced decreases as well. So is there a way to produce more collagen?

Uses of Collagen: Medical and cosmetic

Skin fillers

Collagen injections can improve the contours of the skin and fill out depressions.

Wound dressing and healing

Collagen can help heal wounds by attracting new skin cells to the wound site. It promotes healing and provides a platform for new tissue growth.

Guided tissue regeneration

Collagen-based membranes have been used in periodontal and implant therapy to promote the growth of specific types of cell.

Vascular prosthetics

Collagen tissue grafts from donors have been used in peripheral nerve regeneration, in vascular prostheses, and in arterial reconstruction.

Treatment of osteoarthritis

Collagen supplements or formulations may help treat osteoarthritis.

Skin rejuvenation

Do products with collagen actually rebuild skin? Science sadly says no.

“Many products containing collagen, including creams and powders, claim to revitalize the skin by increasing collagen levels within the body. This is unlikely, however, as collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin. Any benefit is probably due to the moisturizing effects of these products. They do not directly increase collagen.”

– James McIntosh, Medical News Today

We do not add collagen to our products for this reason, but we do include ingredients that may improve, stimulate, and encourage collagen growth and production.

Our Buck Shampoo and Body Bar contains a super beneficial micro-algae called chlorella.

Our Bamboo Shampoo Bar contains silica due to it’s bamboo content. Natural Silica rebuilds collagen when it has been damaged by free radicals.

Our Antioxidant Beauty Facial Soap contains sea buckthorn. Sea buckthorn contains a collagen-creating Omega 7 fatty acid.

Preventing collagen loss naturally

Keeping skin moisturized and healthy is important. Using soap with ingredients that protect skin and encourage collagen production can’t replenish collagen, but they can aid in the process of keeping skin healthy

Maintaining a healthy diet with nutrients that may support collagen formation include:

  • Proline: In egg whites, meat, cheese, soy, and cabbage.
  • Anthocyanidins: In blackberries, blueberries, cherries, and raspberries.
  • Vitamin C: In oranges, strawberries, peppers, and broccoli.
  • Copper: In shellfish, nuts, red meat, and some drinking water.
  • Vitamin A: Occurring in animal-derived foods and in plant foods as beta-carotene.

List of nutrients obtained from Medical News Today

What damages collagen?

A poor diet that is high in sugar, smoking, and sun exposure are leading factors in damaged collagen.

Avoiding tobacco and excess sun exposure and following a healthful dietary and exercise regime can help reduce visible aging and protect collagen, keeping the skin, bones, muscles, and joints healthy for longer.

So let’s all make some smoothies with kale and take a jog, huh?

Much Love,

Nora


New Year’s Rediscoveries

The New Year season is especially sentimental for me because it’s around the time I composed and released my first blog for Apple Valley Natural Soap. I had just returned home to Minnesota from my three month study abroad trip in Europe, and having suffered recent loss, felt lost myself. Starting my work with Apple Valley Natural Soap brought me the joy and focus to work through that time, and my first blog helped me process the grief and change that life brings with it. 

Last year we faced grief and uncertainty together, as the pandemic stretched out before us with no clear definition for the type of world we would be left living in. Yet, we chose to look forward. To push forward into the next year believing that good was in store for us and to turn to those around us for support and camaraderie. To me, this includes the beautiful AVNS community.

So once more, I’d like to take pause. To turn around from my spot on the mountain, see what I’ve come from, and take a breath before turning back to the path. I hope you’ll take the time to join me on this journey. Lay down the burdens, challenges, joys, and accomplishments you’ve accumulated over the past year and think about where you’ve come from and where you’re going. 

I won’t lie, this was a difficult year for me. It seems the older I get the more grief I’m given to deal with. I am thankful that my ability to comprehend and grow through this grief continues to expand as well. I know I’m not the only one facing hardships in the AVNS community, as both I and the Buck family have had to say goodbye to our favorite furry friends this past season. I imagine many of you have faced grief to, and I can only offer my most sincere condolences.

I usually start thinking about how I want to approach the coming year before it’s even arrived. Whether it’s focusing on the small things, or trusting God with the bigger picture…there is always something clear on my mind and this year was no exception. 

We think about New Year’s resolutions as new starts, new habits, a brand new us. But this year has me thinking, what was so wrong with the old me? Does growth ever include backtracking? What about the pieces of myself I loved that got lost somewhere along the way? For the first time, I’m contemplating the idea that the process of growing yourself is not solely the accumulation of new growth, but the continued nurturing or intentional revival of the best parts of yourself throughout your lifetime.

This year, I’ve picked my resolutions from a pool of things I’ve loved about my past self and life. Things that have brought me great joy, things about me that have made the world a better place even if just on a microscopic level, things that have grown me and stretched me and got me to where I am today. Things I want to reclaim for the life ahead of me.

I invite you to grab a paper and pen and sit down with me as I list the three things I want to rediscover in my life. Let’s not only write them out, but let’s brainstorm ways in which we can make these resolutions realities too, sound like a plan?

  1. Get back into improv comedy
    • Why: connects me with others, teaching it brings joy to others, brings joy to me.
      • Offer to lead a beginners workshop at my workplace.
      • Teach a workshop for my old college improv troupe.
      • Branch out and see if there is a school or theatre program that would want to start an improv troupe.
  2. Freshen up my Spanish skills
    • Why: connects me with others, expands my world of communication, brings joy to me
      • Try downloading an app like Babble or Duolingo.
      • Read children’s chapter books in Spanish at my own pace.
      • Find a Spanish club in the local area.
  3. Dance more
    • Why: dancing makes me happy, keeps my body happy and healthy.
      • Make more time to dance for fun in the living room.
      • Take a Zumba class.
      • Take lessons to learn a new style of dance.

What I love about the theme of this year’s resolutions is the do-ability and stress-free nature of the goals I’ve set for myself. I’m not focused on scrambling up the ladder of success, I’m building that ladder stronger so that when the time comes to climb I feel safe and supported in my endeavors. I’d love it if those who have read this blog would take the time to leave a comment with one New Year’s Rediscovery they’d like to focus on this year.

Much, much love,

Nora


My 3 Favorite AVNS Products for 2021

Phew! Sneaking in right under the wire today with my top three picks for AVNS products in 2021. Apple Valley Natural Soap prides itself on having a HUGE selection of products. I’ve been working my way through them for about two years now and have yet to try all of them! We love being able to offer something for everyone, from naturally moisturizing oils, to natural salves, deodorants, and muscle relaxing cream…and of course all of our fantastic soaps! While customers have agreed on our best smelling soaps, bars that work best for skin issues and conditions, and soap bars that are just plain lovable…today is all about me and what I think (it’s like an early gift to myself, heehee). You can read last year’s list here!

How Do You Pick AVNS Products?

There are a couple ways to pick out AVNs products based on what you’re looking for! There are three resources to help you find exactly what you need and they are as follows.

  1. The AVNS website menu: we try to make our website menu as easy and as personable as possible. Many of our soaps are sorted by scent, our shampoos are sorted by hair care needs, and our skincare products are often branded with skin sensitivity levels in mind. This is the most basic starting point for helping you find what you’re looking for.
  2. Reviews: I believe reviews are essential! Many of our customers know how to write a fantastic and detailed review and will let you know exactly what worked or didn’t work for them. Reviews are how I first made my AVNS product selections.
  3. Our blog: I am constantly doing all the hard work for you. This is your number one spot to find in-depth info on our soaps and other products. I pull together skincare routines, do product features that go over ingredient benefits in detail, and compile reviews to make product recommendations based on what our customers love. If you need help, there’s probably a blog that covers it. And if there isn’t, just let me know in the comments!

My Top 3 Favorite AVNS Products For 2021

Wheat and Honey Almond Shampoo Bar

Description: A treasure trove of anti-oxidants from the wheat germ and sweet almond oils are packed in our Wheat and Honey Almond shampoo bar. Nutrient and mineral-rich raw, organic honey will add a lustrous shine to your hair and help keep your skin radiantly youthful and healthy. This shampoo bar is also enriched with unrefined cocoa butter and unrefined shea nut butter for a moisture-drenching, all-over treat. The scent is a sweetened summer honey touched with lemon, lavender, bitter almond, and ginger. Warm and dreamy!

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic shea nut butter, castor bean, organic sunflower, unrefined organic cocoa butter, organic jojoba, wheat germ, and sweet almond, raw organic honey, rosemary oil extract, and essential oils of lemon, Sweet Orange, Eucalyptus, fragrance.

What I love about this product

I’ll be honest people, it’s the smell. Oh my sweetness. The Wheat and Honey Almond Shampoo Bar smells AMAZING. I buy this bar just to sniff it. I’ve smelled a lot of Bath and Body Works candles in my day, but they can’t compare to this soap. I love that this bar isn’t cloying, it isn’t an overwhelming sugary sweet, but it isn’t subtle either. It honestly reminds me of a shortbread or almond biscuit. Very buttery and warm! I also love that it has so many moisturizing, nutrient rich ingredients including sunflower oil, sweet almond oil and honey! When you unpack this bar and take your first sniff you’ll close your eyes and let out a satisfied sigh. It’s that good I promise.

Custom Scented Jojoba Oil

Description: Looking for an all natural body lotion that will leave your skin luminous and softly scented? Our pure, organic jojoba is the most natural way to moisturize both skin and hair. The benefits of jojoba are numerous and unparalleled. Jojoba is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and easily absorbed into the skin, leaving no oily residue, making it the perfect massage oil. It is used to maintain skin elasticity and leaves skin literally glowing. You can use jojoba to remove makeup, combat conditions like athlete’s foot, dandruff, eczema, skin bacteria and other skin infections. It improves hair quality and stimulates hair growth.

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Just a little goes a long way. Use it as an all over body moisturizer after a shower, or do what I do and use it in the shower after you’re done washing.  Simply pump the jojoba on your arms and legs, rub in, and you’re good to go! It’s my favorite, fast way to moisturize my skin. Jojoba also makes an incredible massage oil.

Our Organic Jojoba comes unscented, just pure Organic Virgin Jojoba oil, or lightly scented in our Relax blend (A BLEND THAT SMELLS DREAMY!) which has the addition of lavender, benzoin (smells like vanilla), mandarin, geranium, sweet marjoram, frankincense, palmarosa and ylang ylang essential oiis. The last three essential oils are not listed on our labels as the blend was revised after the labels were printed.

OR get your jojoba CUSTOM MADE in any of our soap scents for $19.95. Just select the Custom Jojoba option and let us know what you want in the Instructions to Seller portion of the check out page. If you’re looking for some scent ideas for your custom Jojoba, simply scan through our many soaps and let us know the name the soap which appeals to you and we’ll custom make your jojoba. If we are unable to fill a specific scent profile we will contact you.  (Please allow an additional 24 hours processing time for your custom jojoba.)

This smooth, silky, body-drenching goodness comes packaged in a 4 oz bottle with a convenient Yorker twist top for easy application.

What I love about this product

I love our jojoba oil for an easy light lotion or a couple drops in my hair for extra shine and protection. I feel like maybe I was late to the game…because I don’t know why you’d order plain jojoba oil when you can custom scent it. This has to be one of our best kept secrets and it isn’t even a secret! Your skin and hair can smell like whatever you want it to! I would recommend getting it scented like our Bella Rose Bar or our seasonal Black Licorice bar (two of my favorite products from last year…hmm, maybe we could even scent it like our vanilla latte lip balm?) I’d also love to get a jojoba oil custom scented like our deodorant…speaking of which…

Regular Natural Deodorant Creme

Moisturize and deodorize those pits with our all natural, aluminum-free deodorant cremes. Made with anti-bacterial, odor absorbing ingredients like organic virgin coconut oil, diatomaceous earth, aluminum free baking soda, arrowroot powder, and white kaolin clay, our natural deodorant creme is safe and effective.

Our unscented version fights hard with the anti-bacterial, odor absorbing base ingredients (perfect for sensitive skin), while our regular deodorant adds an extra level of protection with the antibacterial essential oils of tea tree, lavender, and lemon.

Do you have sensitive skin? Check out this article with product suggestions for those with sensitive skin! 

Made with safe, natural ingredients you can trust:

Organic virgin coconut oil, organic virgin jojoba, organic arrowroot powder, aluminum free baking soda, diatomaceous earth, white kaolin clay and unrefined beeswax.

Our ‘regular’ version also contains essential oils of lavender, organic tea tree, and lemon.

Directions: Using a dime-sized amount of deodorant, allow it to warm between fingers before gently applying to the underarm area until fully absorbed. Use as needed.

UPDATE: These deodorants are now have a new look! The same fantastic odor fighting ingredients are now packaged in Eco-Friendly glass containers. Also, some of the ‘Regular’ deodorants were accidentally filled to the top of the jar making them 2.7 ounces instead of 2 ounces. A little added bonus until the extra full jars are sold out.

What I love about this product

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!

Let me know if you also love these products! Or which one you’re planning to try first!

Much Love,

Nora


DIY Holiday Spa Ideas!

DIY Holiday Spa Ideas!

From festive facial masks, to Christmas themed foot soaks, we’ve even got some easy to make facial scrub recipes that you can give as gifts! Get in the Christmas spirit with these holiday DIY spa ideas that smell great and have wonderful benefits for your body! I might even throw in a hair mask recipe for good measure! All recipes have been selected from some awesome and super creative blogs, so be sure to check them out for more inspo! And don’t forget to stock up on all your Apple Valley Natural Soap favorites! Our Limited Edition Christmas soaps make the perfect spa touch!

Homemade Face Mask Recipes From Holland and Barrett

Cranberry and Nutmeg Christmas Face Mask

I jumped for joy when I saw a cranberry facemask, I love tart cranberry sauce and did you know cranberries are FULL of antioxidants?

Ingredients:

Photo by Irita Antonevica on Pexels.com

How to make a cranberry and nutmeg Christmas face mask

Blend the berries and grapes before adding in the other ingredients one by one

Apply the mask to your face and leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing off

Apple and Cinnamon Face Mask

While Cinnamon can be a powerful ingredient in a beauty regiment, this recipe only requires a dash. The oatmeal in this holiday face mask makes for a gentle pick-me-up for your skin!

Ingredients

  • One peeled and grated apple
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of oatmeal
  • A dash of cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of plain yoghurt

How to make an apple and cinnamon face mask

Photo by Mareefe on Pexels.com

First peel the apple and cut out the core, taking care to remove any pips

Then grate the apple and add remaining ingredients

Mix together and apply to your face, leave on for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing off.

Christmas Themed Facial Scrubs from Her World

Huge shout out to Alex James for these super fun facial scrubs!

Minty Candy Cane Scrub

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of coconut oil (or any other oil or your choice, but I personally recommend coconut oil)
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • Peppermint extract*
  • Green/pink food colouring**
  • Vitamin E oil

How to make a minty candy cane scrub

Mix the coconut oil with the sugar. If you prefer a coarser scrub, add more sugar, and if you want it smoother then add less sugar. Play around with the consistency to your preference!

Add peppermint extract to preference, as well as vitamin E oil.

*As a natural soap company AVNS suggests substituting extract for a couple drops of essential oil (if you’re making a small batch less is more!) We also recommend adding a drop or two of tea tree oil for someone looking for help with acne-prone skin, as tea tree oil may help due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

**Keep your recipe natural by skipping the food coloring! Especially if you have sensitive skin!

Honey and Gingerbread Scrub

This recipe is full of yummies! Sweet almond oil is a fantastic moisturizer and so is honey!

Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV on Pexels.com

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup sweet almond oil
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1-2 teaspoon(s) of ground cinnamon

How to make honey and gingerbread scrub

Mix all the dry ingredients together first, and then add the liquids in while mixing well. For this particular scrub I decided to use a mix of almond oil and honey, as raw honey is antibacterial, full of antioxidants and super moisturising. It’s probably better than vitamin E oil, except that it’s slightly sticky! This scrub probably smells the best, and it’s edible too (which means that it’s safe for kids and can double as a lip scrub!)

Relaxing Homemade Foot Soak from GrandmasHouseDIY

While I always shop at AVNS for all my big holiday gifts, sometimes you need a quick, easy go-to that you can make by the batch for smaller Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers. I plan on making this soak for all my co-workers this year, it’s so easy to make.

Just mix and pour and you’re done!

  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • 15 drops Cloves
  • 15 drops Cinnamon
  • 15 drops Eucalyptus

EXTRA DIY Holiday Hair Treatment from Allure

Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A and potassium, so it soothes the scalp and promotes healthy hair growth. To make a pumpkin hair mask, blend two cups of chopped cooked pumpkin*, one tablespoon of coconut oil, one tablespoon of honey, and one tablespoon of plain yogurt. Apply the mixture to damp hair and let it soak for 15 minutes. Rinse and shampoo for smoother, shinier strands.

*make it easy for yourself and use canned pumpkin!

We also recommend adding a dash of cinnamon, which is great for an itchy scalp and will boost the smell experience!

Remember to stay hydrated, moisturized, and smelling great during this bitterly dry season! 

Much Love,

Nora


Eco-Friendly Christmas Gift Guide!

I love using gift guides for finding unique Christmas gifts, and eco-friendly products make some of the best Christmas gifts for family and friends because they utilize so much creativity! I’ve pulled 6 super cool gift ideas into an eco-friendly gift guide and paired each of them with an Apple Valley Natural Soap Product to create the perfect gift set for a loved one (or an enemy, let’s set aside the rivalry and spread the holiday cheer…am I right?)

Beez Kneez Honey

Photo credit: Beez Kneez

About The Company:

“ESTABLISHED IN 2010, THE BEEZ KNEEZ WAS BUILT FROM THE GROUND UP IN MINNEAPOLIS. AFTER 11 INCREDIBLE YEARS SERVING THE BEE COMMUNITY AT THE BEEZ KNEEZ HONEY HOUSE, IN 2021 WE MOVED OUR HEADQUARTERS TO OUR FARM, TRADE RIVER RANCH LOCATED IN THE ST. CROIX RIVER VALLEY JUST SOUTH OF GRANTSBURG, WI. WE ARE A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE WORKING TO REVIVE THE HIVE FOR HEALTHY BEES, HEALTHY LIVES. WE MANAGE 150 HIVES USING SUSTAINABLE BEEKEEPING PRACTICES, BICYCLE-POWERED HONEY PRODUCTION AND DELIVERY. WE EDUCATE BEEKEEPERS VIA CAMP BEEZ KNEEZ AND THE PUBLIC THROUGH OUR ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN HEALTHY BEES HEALTHY LIVES”

Beez Kneez offers a bountiful selection of different kinds of honey, and who doesn’t love putting honey on baked goods or in their tea? If you know someone who thinks bees truly are the bees knees, then this company offers an immersive experience a step above a jar of honey! You can take a beekeeping workshop and learn how to extract honey! Such a unique gift experience would go perfectly with our Wheat and Honey Almond Shampoo Bar, a bar that smells as sweet as honey.

I love this little excerpt written by the owner, I think it speaks so much about the passion that goes into this company and the careful love and upkeep of the bees that produce such amazing honey:

“I will never forget my first date with honey bees. It was in August of 2009 at my aunt and uncle’s bee ranch.  My uncle took me out to check some of his apiaries.  The minute he cracked that first hive, the sweet smell of nectar, wax and smoke filled my nostrils, millions of little fuzzy bodies were flying above my head, thousands of workers moving strong among the frames and I had my first taste of real, raw basswood honey.  It is cliche to say, but I fell in love. I could not get enough.  The way they communicate by dancing, how the hive functions as a superorganism, the fact that all the workers are female, that they collaborate extremely well to do incredible things, that they help flowers reproduce and make honey…what is not to love? The more I learned the more I wanted. I was love sick for honey bees.”

-Kristy Lynn Allen

SmartGlassKP Sea Glass Necklace

These beautiful jewelry pieces made by SmartGlassKP are made from recycled glass bottles reminiscent of sea glass! The perfect gift for someone who loves the ocean and beachside strolls. Bring the ocean to your shores by pairing it with one of our Salt Bars! These long lasting bars contain high quality salt which cleans and refreshes your skin! 

“Very beautiful necklace and ring. Such simple and elegant designs. Love themI would highly recommend!”

You Plant We Plant Tree Pouch by Forest Nation

A big part of the holiday season is sending out cards to loved ones! This fun alternative by Forest Nation makes a great case for a good cause! Send someone you love a chance to support ecosystem restoration and a tree of their very own to nurture! As it grows it will be a reminder of your love for them, how fun is that?! In keeping with the theme, try our popular Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo Bar. Hey! Did you know that when you check out AVNS products online you can add a donation that will reduce your carbon footprint? We’ve partnered with a cool system called Eco-cart in order to do this!

Bamboo socks by Thriving Earth

An eco-friendly twist on giving and getting socks for Christmas! Thriving Earth’s Bamboo Socks are known for being soft and breathable and for each pair of socks sold by this company a pair of socks is given to someone in need! Pair this with our Bamboo Shampoo Bar, which is high in hair strengthening Silica!

“I bought these as a birthday present and they were very popular and much admired. The quality is excellent and the design is lovely. The colours are rich and the socks are really well made. I am hoping to buy more as Christmas gifts! Thank you very much.”

Recycled Glass Tumblers by GoGiftid

This is such a cool gift to give to a special man in your life. This company GoGiftid up-cycles glass bottles into funky, fun glasses and bowls. Of course, we have to recommend giving this gift with a bar of our Root Beer Float Shampoo and Body Bar

Sun Print Kit by Elemental Leaf

Looking for something crafty to do that doesn’t create unnecessary waste?

This sun print kit made by Elemental Leaf makes a great gift for an artsy teen or young adult. How does it work? It’s a light sensitive paper that takes on the shapes of shadows in blue and white! It’s kind of hard to explain, so check out this tutorial!

Pair with our sunniest smelling bar of soap, our Honey, Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar!

Hope you find some inspo for this holiday season!

Much Love,

Nora


The Best Shampoo For Dry Hair

Limited Edition Winter Wonderland Shampoo Bar

If you’re looking for one of the best shampoos for dry, brittle hair, you’ve come to the right place! This week we will be diving in depth with our limited edition soap of the winter season Winter Wonderland Shampoo Bar, Marianne’s favorite Christmas bar. This shampoo bar not only smells amazing, but is packed with ingredients chosen because of their highly moisturizing properties for hair. We’ll talk about why hair care in the winter is so important and what makes this bar so perfect for giving your hair everything it needs during the cold, dry months!

Why Does Hair Get Dry In The Winter?

The winter season brings joy, but it also brings dry skin, red cheeks, and brittle, lifeless hair. You may think these problems have to do with the freezing cold weather…but the quality of your hair in the winter is not affected by the temperatures so much as the lack of moisture in the air during the winter months. In fact, the winter air is actually so harsh that it tries to pull moisture from your hair. Luckily, there is an easy fix to this problem. Adding extra hydration into your hair care routine will help to maintain your hair and will keep it healthier overall. We designed our Winter Wonderland Shampoo Bar with hydration in mind. We’ve got naturally cleansing elements to keep your scalp clean, but not stripped of natural oils. Moisturizing butters to deep condition your strands. And fortifying oils to lock in moisture and keep hair shiny and strong!

Ingredients in the Winter Wonderland Shampoo 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, 

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

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

Photo by Max Andrey on Pexels.com

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.

Castor Bean

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

Unrefined Organic Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter is high in fatty acids, which means it penetrates the hair strand to give you strong, glossy hair.

White Kaolin Clay

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

Photo by Keegan Evans on Pexels.com

Sweet Almond

This oil is rich in minerals and helps keep your scalp clean and healthy while also helping to reduce additional hair loss.

Rosemary Oil Extract

This aromatic scent may encourage and stimulate hair growth!

Essential Oils of  Sweet Orange, Pine, Cinnamon Leaf and Nutmeg

A blend of essential oils that will take you to a cozy little cabin snug in the midst of a winter wonderland!

Get It Before It’s GONE!

Our Christmas Soaps sell out almost immediately so you’ll want to get a bar as quickly as you can (or at least put it on your wishlist!)

Much Love,

Nora