Today I watched from my window as the first flakes of snow drifted into the yard. As much as I adore the holiday warmth of the winter season, it never stops me from wishing for just a few more summer days. Oh, what I would give for just one more sniff of a lilac bush. Perhaps that’s why I’m filling this week’s blog with flowers, so we can enjoy a virtual garden as we get into the nitty gritty question: what are hydrosols?
The Beauty Product You’ve Been Searching For?
Hydrosols or “flower waters” are the by-products of essential oils. When plant material is distilled in the production of essential oils there is a leftover concoction of plant-infused water and small traces of essential oils. This is what constitutes a hydrosol. Hydrosols are fantastic natural beauty products and by the end of this blog you’ll know why.
What’s the Difference Between Hydrosols and Essential Oils?
Because of their close relationship to essential oils, hydrosols have similar beneficial properties. Hydrosols are less concentrated than essential oils due to the water component and have a softer scent, making them a gentle, effective product that can be applied to the skin without needing to be diluted.
How are Hydrosols Made?
A common method of producing hydrosols is through steam distillation. The scientific process is a little confusing so I came up with an analogy to help. Imagine you’re sitting in a steaming bath or hot tub and after a while your face starts to sweat. The steam has opened up your pores, unblocking the natural oils your skin produces. When the steam created from boiling water comes in contact with aromatic plant material it opens the pores of that plant, and absorbs the plant’s natural oils. At the end of the process, the steam condenses and the water and oil separates leaving the water naturally infused with plant essence.
What are Hydrosols Used for?
Hydrosols make for the perfect facial toner, which is why we had to have some in our collection! Our renewing organic facial toners are made from organic hydrosols and are made from fresh plants, not dried or wilted. Why is this important? Because using fresh plant material allows our supplier to utilize the plant’s cellular water in the end product. It is this cellular water, filled with nutritious minerals, antioxidants, and countless other natural botanical benefits, that gives the hydrosol the aromatic and therapeutic properties of the plant.
When you wash your face with cold process soap (which is slightly alkaline) and follow up with a hydrosol toner (which is slightly acidic) it gently helps rebalance the pH of the skin. Your skin’s acid mantle is what keeps in moisture and blocks out toxins from the environment, so this is an important step in your skin care regimen. Hydrosols can be used throughout the day as a facial reset to refresh your skin and set your makeup! We offer two different hydrosols with amazing benefits.
Neroli hydrosol is made from orange blossoms – faintly sweet, floral, and citrusy. If you have oily skin, this is the perfect toner for you because it is deeply cleansing. Neroli hydrosol also 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.
Bugarian Rose Otto Hydrosol is very hydrating. It nourishes skin health, restores skin’s radiance, beauty and youthfulness. Rose hydrosol also 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 product from organic roses rejuvenates, hydrates, softens, and if used over time, can help reduce facial lines and wrinkles. This Damascena Rose Hydrosol may also be known as Rose Distillate and possesses a beautiful sweet, rosy aroma that captures the rich and heady aroma of fresh rose blooms. It is well-known for its skin care benefits as well as for helping to balance the endocrine system. 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.
Why Use Our Hydrosols Instead of “That Other Company’s”?
We use an amazing supplier that takes awesome measures in helping us deliver only the best to you.
A note from our suppliers: “We are careful with each species and when it’s harvested to ensure we get the proper components and capture the cellular water of the plant too. As a strictly hydrosol distillery, we use only fresh plant material, which makes for a better end product, since we’re after the “waters” of the plant. Secondly, we use only copper alembic stills from Portugal. Oftentimes, hydrosols are distilled in stainless steel equipment, which can leave a “still note” in the hydrosol. But copper facilitates a certain chemical reaction that not only affects the fragrance, but also adds a preservative effect.”
Super cool, right?
Trying our Rose Hydrosol Facial Toner is totally on my bucket list of AVNS products, what’s on yours?
A couple weeks ago and extremely important question arrived in our Facebook Messenger inbox:
“Do you happen to have a blog post about your most irresistible-smelling bars?”
At the time we didn’t, but thanks to your input we are about to. With over 70 responses to a survey I sent out through our newsletter, five body soap bars emerged as clear winners. According to you lovely people, these five body soap bars are the most irresistible smelling bars.
In “odor” to get the best results, this survey focused exclusively on face and body bars. These bars are perfect if you’re just starting out with natural soap because they work regardless of the hardness of your water (which plays an important role when using our shampoo bars). Shampoo Bars were not included this time around, but will hopefully get a chance to compete with one another in the future!
Our 5 Most Irresistible-Smelling Natural Soap Body Bars
Description: You know you want to wash your face and body in organic, virgin cocoa butter and Madagascar vanilla beans. Here’s your chance. Sumptuous—and zero calories. This pure cocoa butter soap bar is unscented, but you can smell the faint scent of organic cocoa butter and vanilla. Naturally. Perfect for sensitive souls.
Warning: This pure cocoa butter soap bar is extremely moisturizing and may reduce your need for extra moisturizers, thereby saving you time and money as well as simplifying your life. And who would want that?
Ingredients: saponified oils of a madagascar vanilla bean infused organic extra virgin olive, organic cocoa butter, and organic coconut oil. No added scent.
Ironically, this unscented bar tied for first with the second bar on this list. That’s right, the natural scent of this bar is JUST THAT GOOD. I have been blessed to have smelled this soap myself and it’s no surprise this bar is in the winner’s circle.
If you want to spin around and keel over from happiness, this bar is your ticket to glory. Made with freshly juiced, organic carrots instead of filtered water, this gorgeous, vitamin A packed bar will nourish your skin. Perfect for your face and all over too! Raw honey acts as a humectant, trapping moisture in your skin cells, and rich, emollient oils and butters will leave your skin soft and silky. But one of the best things about this bar is the juicy carrot tangerine scent that makes you think you died and went to tangerine carrot honey heaven.
Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic sustainable palm, organic sunflower, unrefined organic cocoa butter, mango seed butter, apricot kernel, and castor bean. organic carrot juice, organic raw honey, rosemary oil extract, grapefruit seed extract, and essential oils of lime, tangerine, litsea cubeba, orange, and basil.
Oh, of course. This one is a no-brainer. This natural soap bar is the darling of the soap world. It’s so popular it’s out of stock. This is one of my favorite soaps even if it didn’t make my top 3 for 2020. It smells amazing and leaves your skin glowing. And hey, if you’re allergic to honey now is your chance to experience the joy of this bar with our seconds (we do have a version of this bar in our SECONDS section simply because it’s missing the honey.)
Description: Shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter. Huge amounts of all three rich butters make this bar absolutely thick and creamy good. Your skin will feel super soft and smooth after a rendezvous with Vanilla Butter.
Ingredients: saponified oils of organic shea nut butter, unrefined organic cocoa butter, mango butter, organic coconut, organic olive, and castor bean, rosemary oil extract, fragrance, and essential oils of vanilla and ylang ylang.
I find it fascinating that the top three bars so far have all been Face and Body Bars. Is this because these natural soap bars naturally get closer to people’s noses? Maybe. I have not tried this natural soap bar, but when I do I plan to pair it with theSweet Vanilla Body Polish for the perfectly sweet combo.
Description: This mega salt bar, weighing 8-9 ounces, is made with European spa salt which is solar evaporated and harvested from the pristine waters of the Mediterranean Sea. This salt is produced using the ancient method of solar evaporation in a region that is free of pollution and has high evaporation rates. Rich in trace minerals that help soothe pain, reduce inflammation, improve circulation and cell regeneration and hydrate tissue, European spa salt is one of the purest salts in the world.
European spa salt gently exfoliates and pulls out toxins and impurities from the skin. It actually feels like smooth marble and is extremely hard and long lasting. Clay removes bacteria, impurities, oil, and dead skin with its exceptional ability to absorb. This tightens pores and rejuvenates skin cells. Spirulina is a natural antimicrobial, it actually kills off candida, which can be an underlying cause of acne. It also contains 8 essential amino acids, and is high in protein, which is necessary for cell repair and growth. On top of that, spirulina contains a rare fatty acid known as gamma linolenic acid. That combined with being a rich source of antioxidants makes this a highly effective tool against free radicals. When free radicals are eliminated, this increases the skin’s metabolism, and helps your body produce new, healthy cells faster.
We also added organic shea nut butter to make a rich, creamy bar with a delightfully refreshing lime essential oil blend. There are many uses for our salt bars, and this one is great in bathrooms with lots of activity. As with our other salt bars, it lasts a VERY long time!
Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic shea nut butter, and castor bean, European Spa salt, French green clay, organic spirulina, and essential oils of lime and organic may chang.
Description: Enjoy this improved version of our hard, long-lasting, super sudsy, uber moisturizing organic coconut oil lemon verbena body bar made with 100% organic coconut oil, lemon verbena essential oil and nothing else. If you’ve never tried one of these—well, you haven’t really lived. We improved this bar by removing the fragrance and are now using only Lemon Verbena essential oil. We believe it smells like the original, but is now even better for your skin.
Ingredients: saponified organic coconut oil and lemon verbena essential oil.
I’m seriously slapping myself over this body soap bar for three reasons. 1) I haven’t tried it yet, but am adding it to my cart as I type (if that were possible). 2) I LOVE LEMON VERBENA SCENTED THINGS (how have I not tried this bar already? I have this hotel-sized lemon verbena coconut lotion that I got from a hotel years ago and I save it and only use it on my hands once a year. That’s how much I love it.) 3) I love AVNS coconut soaps for shaving, how did I not try this bar already? Seriously?
Our Favorite Natural Soap Bars
I recognize that the survey did not account for which bars people have actually tried, so it’s totally possible that you voted for your five favorites but there was a soap on that list that is your future favorite and you just haven’t tried it yet (Lemon Verbena I’m coming for you). To balance this out, I’m including some notable top 5 lists from people who know AVNS soap like the back of their super clean, super moisturized hands (including the list of the owner herself, Marianne!).
Nora’s Top 5 Body Soap Bars
Nora? That’s me! If you read last week’s blog you already know my first favorite, but what about the other four?
Curious about our other body soap bars, but not sure where to start? We’ve got all our body bars organized under the same categories (plus more) on our website! Just click here and then select the scent profile you’re interested and you’re on your way to finding your perfect match!
Do you have a favorite band? A favorite food? A favorite flavor of ice cream? I can confidently tell you mine. The Beatles. Cheese. Pistachio. Favorites are favorites for a reason. They’re winners. They’re totally awesome. And they deserve recognition. Which is why I decided to dedicate this week’s blog to my top three favorite AVNS products. I picked a natural soap, a natural body polish, and a naturally flavored lip balm that I will order over and over again…probably for the rest of my life. And yeah, I’m about to seriously fan girl over all three.
How Did You Pick Just Three?
I know right? How did I pick just three when AVNS has soooooo many amazing products? It wasn’t easy. I thought long and hard about this list and there are many worthy products that could’ve easily placed on this list, but these are my 2020 picks.
This bar is one incredible experience and it starts with the knock-you-off-your-feet smell of black licorice. After getting a sample with an order, I immediately ordered three full-sized bars. Now, let me tell you why this is significant. I’m on a quest to try every single AVNS product (okay, maybe not the beard oil) and to speed up this process, I have a strict rule that I only ever order sample bars. In fact, before the Black Licorice Bar came into my life I’d only ever ordered one full-sized bar since I started blogging for AVNS last January (say it with me: Honey, Carrot and Tangerine*). As soon as I smelled that sweet sliver of black licorice natural soap I was like, “WHOA. My search for the perfect soap is over. This is the soap I want to grow old with!” So I ordered not one, not two, but three full-sized natural soap bars…on scent alone. You guys, I hadn’t even used the soap yet. I gave the sample to my mom because she loves black licorice too and she immediately fell in love with it. She told me she couldn’t even wash her hands with it because she wants it to last forever. My dad also loved it, maybe too much. When he got home from work the next day I asked him if he’d smelled it yet and he said, “It smelled so good I thought it was black licorice and I ate a little piece…it was terrible!” Lesson learned: if it smells good enough to eat…make sure it isn’t soap before eating it!
My second favorite thing about this bar is the black walnut shell. Marianne is a genius. Use it in the shower and it will scratch all the itches you didn’t even know you had!
Also, I totally just texted Marianne to see if our Jojoba Oil can be custom made to smell like this bar.**
I love the Bella Rose Shampoo Bar and I’d read the descriptions of the Sweet Rosehips Body Polish, but I was still skeptical about its greatness. I actually ordered some as a gift, but I ordered too late and it didn’t arrive in time so I had to keep it (oops…although I secretly think I might have placed the order late on purpose). Yes, my arms and legs were super dee-duper smooth after using this scrub. And yes, it was so luxuriously moisturizing that I didn’t even need lotion afterwards. But THE SMELL. OH MY GOODNESS. HEAVEN. It smells like a Georgian Garden and the beautiful scent lingers on your skin even after you’re out of the shower. This scrub is made with organic sugar which I prefer over a salt scrub. Yes, salt is an effective antibacterial and I love our salt bars, but when it comes to intense exfoliation sugar is a gentler option for my sensitive skin.
Call me sentimental, but this was the first AVNS product I fell in love with. I think lip balms/chapsticks are so under-appreciated until you realize you need, like, a gazillion of them. If you’re like me you need a gazillion of them because you’re constantly misplacing them. I need a car lip balm. A back-up car lip balm. A purse lip balm. And emergency purse lip balm. An emergency purse tinted lip balm. A bathroom lip balm. A pocket lip balm. A desk lip balm…the list goes on. I love the Vanilla Latte Lip Balm so much that I’ve had it since January and I still haven’t lost it. I use it all the time and I still haven’t run out AND it makes my lips smell sweet and delicious. I wish there was a cookie recipe to go with it. Sometimes I think about the fact that AVNS makes other lip balm flavors that I haven’t even tried yet but could potentially smell just as good, if not better than the Vanilla Latte flavor and I get so overwhelmed I need to slather on a fresh coat of balm and inhale deeply.
In the U.S, weather isn’t the only cold thing happening during the fall and winter months. The average number of colds spikes during these seasons, most likely due to the fact that people spend more time packed together indoors and are at higher risk to spread germs. Today we’ll look at colds and flus and the importance of washing your hands with the right soap.
What is a Cold? What is a Flu? And What is the Difference Between the Two?
Telling the difference between a cold and a flu can be difficult. They often have similar symptoms. According to the CDC, “Flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses.” The main difference between the two is that common colds are less severe and don’t usually lead to further health problems. Flus are more intense and can lead to other complications ranging from ear infections to pneumonia.
How Can I Prevent Colds and Flus?
Once infected with a virus the best thing you can do is rest, stay hydrated, and take medications to alleviate the symptoms. However, preventing the spread of a virus is equally important. We’re all taking additional preventative measures because of COVID, but it never hurts to be reminded just how important it is to wash your hands. Washing your hands with an effective soap for the right amount of time will help dismantle the germs lurking on your hands.
Why is it So Important to Wash Your Hands with Soap?
The composition of most viruses includes a lipid bilayer that holds all the other components inside. In his recent article in “The Guardian”, Dr. Thordarson, published chemistry professor, explains, “Soap contains fat-like substances known as amphiphiles, some of which are structurally very similar to the lipids in the virus membrane.” When these two similar substances compete, the stronger soap molecules dissolve the lipid bilayer and leave the virus inactive. Soap is advantageous over other disinfecting agents because the way it lathers offers full coverage on a more effective scale.
Facts about Washing Hands
Doubtful about the effectiveness of hand washing? Washing your hands can seem like such a mundane task, it’s hard to believe just how effective a simple scrub with soap and water can be. But washing your hands wouldn’t be so highly recommended if there wasn’t proof behind it! Here are some facts straight from the CDC!
“It is estimated that washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50% 1.”
“Researchers in London estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths a year could be prevented 2.”
“A large percentage of foodborne disease outbreaks are spread by contaminated hands. Appropriate hand washing practices can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and other infections 3.”
“Handwashing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16% 4.”
Are You Using the Best Soap?
While mass produced soaps are often labeled as antibacterial, the harsh chemicals and detergents used for cleansing may quickly lead to dry, raw skin — especially if you are washing your hands more frequently — and could leave skin more exposed and vulnerable to germs. Our natural soaps contain natural glycerin, a byproduct of natural oils that cleans and moisturizes skin. Our Salt Bars and Bars with antibacterial essential oil blends are great hand washing tools to prevent the spread of germs!
Salt creates a hypertonic solution (meaning it will attract water through osmosis). Because bacteria is mostly composed of water — just like the human body — when it comes into contact with salt, the salt will leech water from the bacteria, leaving it to shrivel and die.
Keeping harmful bacteria off of your skin is important, but many artificial chemicals used in antibacterial soaps have been banned because they were not shown to have any health benefits and in some cases there has been evidence suggesting some chemicals may have dangerous effects.
Antibacterial hand sanitizers often contain alcohol that strips the skin of bacteria, but because it is such a harsh substance it makes your skin dry. Salt bars are a natural solution that will fight bacteria, but will also replenish your skin and body with much needed minerals. The European Spa Salt used by Apple Valley Natural Soap is solar evaporated and comes from the pristine waters of the Mediterranean sea.
We have a selection of soaps that were specially crafted with ingredients — specifically essential oils — researched for their antiviral properties. Our FKA “Thieves” Soap Body Bar is inspired by a blend of ingredients used to protect against illness since the 1400s. This blend contains essential oils of cinnamon, lemon, organic eucalyptus and organic rosemary — all shown to have antiviral benefits. We added Dead Sea Clay to the recipe to provide an extra boost of purification and fortification for your skin! Our Charcoal Detox Face and Body Bar is made with refining activated charcoal and a spicy, sweet blend of antiviral essential oils including rosemary, peppermint, lemon and eucalyptus.
The Best Way to Wash Your hands
The CDC has a fantastic page with information on how to wash your hands as well as the most important times to wash your hands. I’m providing the information on how to wash your hands in this blog, but I’ll link the rest of the page here.
Steps to Wash your Hands Like a Pro According to the CDC:
Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
I know that hand washing might seem pretty boring, but there’s no reason why you can’t make it fun! For example, if you keep up with my blogs, you’ve probably noticed that I love Grey’s Anatomy. Every time I wash my hands I like to pretend I’m a hot-shot surgeon prepping for a daring surgery. You can also switch up your music selection, as long as it’s twenty seconds or longer. Another idea? Pick a soap you’re in love with. If I’m being honest, I could wash my hands all day with the Black Licorice Hand, Foot and Body Bar. What’s your favorite soap?
For the Minnesotan, fall is the perfect time of year. Not too hot, not too cold. The roads aren’t slippery and all of the trees explode in gorgeous shades of yellow, orange, and red. Apple orchards and pumpkin patches offer steaming cups of cider and old fashioned hay-bale rides and of course there’s the obvious: AVNS limited edition fall soaps are back in stock with Pumpkin Spice (even better than a pumpkin spice latte? You’ll have to find out), Black Licorice, and Spice Cake!
Yes, you heard right. Our mouthwatering fall soaps are ready for consumption and this time they’ve got a blog to go with them. While the popular scents of our fall bars seem like a no-brainer, there’s a fascinating history behind the popular fall ingredients we probably take for granted. This week I dug deep to learn everything there was about pumpkins and black licorice and I think their ancient roots and unknown beauty benefits will really surprise you.
The History of the Pumpkin
So who was the first person to say, “Hey, let’s scoop out the inside of this giant orange fruit, carve out shapes in its sides, and stick a candle inside!”? Thanks to an enlightening article on the History Channel Website, I learned that the first Jack O’ Lanterns originated in Ireland and were not made from candles in pumpkins but coals in carved turnips (pumpkins weren’t native to Ireland). According to a spooky Irish folktale, a man by the name of Stingy Jack (sound a little like a certain Mr. Scrooge?) made a string of deals with the Devil and when it came time for him to pass into the afterlife neither God nor the Devil were willing to open their gates to the stingy, conniving man. Instead, “The Devil sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth ever since.”
Whoa, that’s pretty spooky, and apparently the Irish thought so too because it became a tradition for them to leave their own carved turnips glowing brightly in their windows to ward off the spirit of Stingy Jack. I’m just thankful that the God I know is way more forgiving than the version in the story. And speaking of thankfulness, what about thanksgiving and pumpkin pie?
The History Channel filled me in. Pumpkins are native to Mexico and Central America, although they’ve been grown in North America for five thousand years. The first pumpkin pies probably looked more like sweet squash casseroles than the pie crust and custard filling we are used to today.
Beauty Benefits of Pumpkin
According to an article in MYSA for DIY Pumpkin Face masks, “Pumpkin containsvitamin A, C, and E, and antioxidants, which help fight sun damage and wrinkles. It also has fruit enzymes that help naturally exfoliate dead skin cells. Finally, it contains zinc and potassium to combat redness.” Our Pumpkin Spice Hand and Body Soap is stuffed with real pumpkin puree! If you love your pumpkin spice at Starbucks you’ll love this bar.
The History of Black Licorice
Today there seems to be two camps of thought, I’ve often heard it said that people who don’t like black licorice will not go anywhere near it, while people who do like it LOVE it. Is there really no in between? I guess I wouldn’t know since I absolutely LOVE black licorice and could not be more excited that AVNS has devoted an entire bar to the sweet, chewy black candy. It’s not all about the candy though, there’s more to Licorice than meets the eye.
For those who don’t like black licorice, maybe you’ll consider giving it another whiff when you learn that it holds a revered spot throughout history.
According to blog written by the Candy Warehouse, Licorice can be traced through the following ancient dynasties:
“Great quantities were found with the fabulous treasures of King Tut, and other Egyptian rulers — for it was believed that the licorice could be used to prepare a sweet drink in the next world.”
“The Chinese (dating back 5,000 years) maintained that eating the root would give them strength and endurance. Licorice still holds a prominent place in Chinese herbal combinations since it is believed to harmonize with the action of other herbs.”
“Alexander the Great, the Scythian armies, Roman Emperor Caesar, and even India’s great prophet, Brahma, are on record endorsing the beneficial properties contained in licorice. Warriors used it for its ability to quench thirst while on the march, while others (including Brahma and venerable Chinese Buddhist sages), recognized licorice’s valuable healing properties.”
*Twizzlers and Red Vines are referred to as licorice, but do not actually contain licorice root. Please consider this before trying to add them to your beauty routine!
Beauty Benefits of Black Licorice
According to an article in Root Science, “The anti-inflammatory properties of licorice root help reduce skin conditions that cause: puffiness, rashes, redness, swelling, and itching.” Our Black Licorice Hand, Foot, and Body Soap is also made with black walnut, regarded to be useful in the treatment of skin diseases and complaints such as eczema, ringworm, athlete’s foot etc. It’s long been used as a natural remedy for acne, canker sores, psoriasis and other fungal infections.
Food For Thought
I hope you found the histories of these commonplace foods as fascinating as I did! I love learning about cultural folklore, how about you? Sorry there wasn’t much about spice cake, the origins and history are largely unknown except for sources dating back to ancient Egypt. At least there are plenty of recipes for spice cake available (or if baking isn’t your thing just go for the soap!)
Porosity refers to your hair’s ability to soak up and retain moisture (imagine trying to soak up a puddle of water with a sponge versus a sheet of plastic). Your hair’s porosity is determined by genetics, but can also be affected by external factors such as heat processing and chemical treatments. Knowing your hair’s porosity will help you choose the right products for your hair to keep it healthy, strong, and radiant. Today we’ll talk about the different types of hair porosity, how to determine your hair’s porosity, and what kind of ingredients and products work best for different hair porosities.
Why Porosity Matters
Each strand of hair on your head has an outer layer called a cuticle. Cuticles are made up of overlapping dead cells that form a protective barrier around the strand’s cortex (the inner core of your hair strand that determines your hair’s color). The cuticle’s composition is like the scales on a fish or the bark on a coniferous tree. Porosity refers to how flat and tight those scales are.
Low Porosity Hair
Low porosity hair is made up of strands on which the cuticles are composed of tightly bound, flat-laying scales. Low porosity hair is often shiny and repels the penetration of chemicals and moisture.
Medium Porosity Hair
Medium porosity hair has a slightly looser cuticle than low porosity hair, allowing the perfect amount of moisture into the hair strand. Medium hair is easily manageable and holds up to heat and color manipulation. However, overuse of color, heat, and chemical treatments can disrupt and damage the cuticles, which ups the porosity.
High Porosity Hair
High porosity hair has the loosest cuticle formation, leaving it vulnerable to too much moisture which can lead to breakage and frizz. I imagine the structure of porous strands of hair as fully matured pinecones. The scales of a baby pinecone are pressed flat but fan out as the pinecone matures. Once the scales are splayed, they are prone to catching and tearing. If it rains, the water collects inside of the pinecone instead of running off the outside and overtime the standing water will rot the pinecone’s core. Similarly, high porosity hair retains a higher water percentage than low porosity hair and too much water can cause weakening and elongation of your strands.
How to Test Your Hair’s Porosity
The most popular method of testing your hair’s porosity is by observing how a strand of hair interacts with water (often known as: the float test). To prep for this test, shampoo your hair and let it air-dry. Once your hair is clean and dry take a couple strands and drop them into a cup of water. Watch them for the next 15 minutes. If they float, your hair has a low porosity. If they quickly sink to the bottom your hair has high porosity. If they sink a bit and then hover in the middle your hair has medium porosity. You can always run this test with a few friends to have other hair to compare yours to. Depending on your determined porosity, you can adjust your hair routine to benefit your hair’s health.
My Results From the Float Test
I was curious as the whether this test really works (you know I love DIYs), so of course I had to try it out. I selected two different strands of my hair from my head because as you’ll see from the photos I took: I have a diverse head of hair. I also used a strand of my mother’s hair because why not? According to the results, my hair is low to medium porosity and my mother’s hair is low porosity. If you’re going to run this test I suggest using a bowl with a wide opening because the hair strands kept clinging to the edge of the glasses with narrow openings.
You’re really going to want to balance moisture and protein in your hair care routine. Hemp seed oil is perfect because it is an oil that will lock in moisture while also providing protein. I love the Hemp and Honey 2.0 Shampoo Barfor my curly hair.
I know school is starting and we’re all very busy, so this week I took the liberty of wading through all our reviews to bring you some of the best bars according to our customers along with what makes them so lovable. I’m also going to give you a crash course on writing reviews so you can leave one on our website that lets everyone else know why your favorite shampoo bar is actuallythe best.
Why Reviews Matter
I never make a purchase without looking at the reviews first. Why? Have you ever booked a stay in a cute motel room for a surprisingly cheap price and then you get to the motel and step into your room and it looks nothing like the gorgeous photos on the website AND it smells like musty fruit salad? Yeah. That’s why.
Reviews keeping you from falling victim to the ploys of dishonest online companies. You know what I’m talking about. The companies that show you a picture of a huge area rug, but neglect to mention that it’s actually the size of a placemat.
Online businesses (like those rug scammers) utilize false advertising and make it so much more difficult for all of the honest companies out there that just want to sell amazing products and put smiles on their customer’s faces. Companies like AVNS who aim for transparency in every aspect of their business. Reviews are essential for both the consumer and the producer.
As consumers we’re looking for a product to suit our needs and reviews weed out the scammers and give us insight as to whether the product is the right fit.
Pretend you’re looking for a brown hair dye. You’re looking for an ash brown to enhance your natural, cool shade of brown. You find a brown dye in the comments that has tons of glowing reviews, several of which make special note about “loving the warm, chestnut hue” the dye provides. Even though the reviews are positive, you now know the product isn’t exactly what you’re looking for.
Reviews are important to companies, too. Even when a company strives for authenticity, they can’t always predict who their product will best suit. We use reviews as feedback for our products to make sure they are doing what we want them to.
Most Likely To
In the soap yearbook I’ve awarded these four soaps the following superlatives based on customer reviews.
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!
“In an effort to simplify my life and get away from the chemicals used in HBA products, I decided to try all in one shampoo bars. My scalp tends to break out in painful bumps and I have ultra sensitive skin. I really like how my skin and hair felt after using it. My hair is shiny, clean, and it feels thicker, stronger, and healthier. The scent is not overpowering. This will be one of my standard order and keep on hand shampoo bars.”
“This was one of the several samples that I bought when I first found out about this website. I tried all the samples, but I keep coming back to this one. I love . . . the smell of almonds, how it makes my hair is so soft, and my skin, which tends to be dry, is not dry anymore. So when I need to restock I always buy 2 bars of this soap and 1 bar of something else. Honestly, I could just use this one bar and be absolutely content.”
“We have tried several shampoo bars over the last six months…we have loved them all! However, this is the one we always keep on hand. It works well with all of our hair types and it smells amazing. Our all around favorite, for sure!”
Even though our Peppermint Tea Tree shampoo bar feels great on scalp and skin, the main benefit of this bar is the health it can help restore to both hair and scalp. Nourishment and restorative properties from the specifically chosen carrier oils plus added healing from the essential oil blend.
Some of the benefits, but not limited to, are with ingredients such as Coconut oil which is a super-oil full of naturally present antioxidants, it is an excellent anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Olive oil which is packed with anti-aging antioxidants and hydrating squalene, making it superb for hair, skin, and nails. Jojoba oil is a natural anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, its properties keep the scalp clean and healthy. It can also prevent hair loss and thinning caused by the clogged hair follicles as it dissolves and clears these blockages and promotes the development of new hair cells, which can lead to hair growth. Shea butter strengthens your skin by stimulating the production of collagen, it helps make your skin more supple, more alive, nourished and radiant. We could keep going, but you probably get the idea.
For the essential oils, both peppermint and tea tree essential oils have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory properties. Peppermint adds a cooling effect which can help eliminate the urge to scratch, while tea tree thanks to it’s fantastic anti-fungal properties is great for fighting dandruff. Tea tree oil fights the fungus that causes dandruff without drying out the scalp, it can also serve as a natural conditioner and eliminate problems that lead the scalp to flake.
“I love that this peppermint tea tree soap has helped with my itchy scalp and welts on my scalp. I also use the herbal vinegar hair rinse too it works wonderfully. All the body bars smell fabulous.”
“I have suffered from an angry, oily, sensitive scalp (seborrheic dermatitis) for many years and have long very thick wavy hair. I have tried shampoo soaps from other companies, but they irritated my scalp. Well, last night I tried your peppermint tea tree shampoo bar and guess what? Your shampoo soap did NOT irritate my sensitive scalp or my face! After coming out of the shower, my scalp did NOT start irritating me as it usually does after shampooing. I am now wondering, in the past was I using too harsh shampoo bars from other companies that was making my sensitive scalp worse and drying out my skin? My guess is yes, probably. Well, guess what? Now I’m sticking to just Apple Valley shampoo bars and soaps, which my scalp and hair prefer! This morning (after shampooing last night) my scalp is still clear and not bothering me at all (no itching, redness, or soreness) and my hair is shiny, full of body, and so soft – I can’t stop touching it! Thank you so much Natalie, for this AMAZING shampoo bar! Finally, I found the solution and I’m so thrilled!”
“I have been using peppermint tea tree shampoo for almost 2 years and love it. My hair is very silky and I don’t get an itchy scalp like I do with other shampoos. And the best part, no bottle to deal with!!”
Psst. Author Update: Unfortunately, this beautiful bar just went out of stock. If you desperately need a soap that can “scratch that itch” try the Lavender Rosemary Salt Bar(it’s a personal favorite).
Buttermilk, a natural pro-biotic full of lactic acid, is found in many beauty products and is fabulous for softening, brightening and exfoliating skin. Lactic acid is also used to treat age spots and freckles and to tighten skin. Olive oil, organic jojoba oil, and mango butter, with their emollient properties, round out this beauty treatment for your hair and body. Lavender has countless benefits for skin and scalp due to its antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. It is used to treat skin conditions such as acne, wrinkles, psoriasis, and other inflammations. The vanilla adds a warm, creamy sweetness to the lavender essential oil making this a calming, dreamy, unforgettable scent.
“Pleasant smell. It was a surprise to realize I was able to smell it while I was rinsing my hair. And after a long day with a pony tail, my hair still smells. I will repurchase this one.”
“I’ve used this on my scalp before. I got cancer, had chemo and was bald. Hair is back and so am I. Lavender is very soothing. I’m in heaven with the feel of my scalp and look of my hair! And the smell is lovely and stays in my hair. Hope it’s never discontinued!”
“I don’t know why, but this bar seems to lather the best out of the several varieties that I’ve tried from AVNS. Its scent also seems to last in my hair, which is awesome! Even after theACV spritzes, you can still smell lavender. I think this is going to become my go-to 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.
“I originally purchased this bar for my husband who travels quite a bit as it saves space as an all-in-one bar. However, once I tried it, I loved it for myself and it’s the only thing I now use to shave my legs. It makes for a phenomenally smooth shave. It may be called Man 2.0, but I love it as much for me!!!!”
“I finally started using this bar not too long ago. Even though it is designed for men, the smell and the effectiveness of it are the reasons why I’m going to order two more bars. It works well on my hair and while it may take a few seconds to lather on my body, it gets the job done. But my face is the main reason. Since it has clay in it, it makes my face so smooth and toned! This bar is a winner and a 4-in-1 for me, which is perfect in my opinion!”
“I bought the MAN bar 2.0 for my husband who has very sensitive skin. He absolutely will not use anything else now! His skin is smoother and less reactive. Also, no more dry skin!”
Help The AVNS Community Out by Writing a Review
A huge shout out to all of the fantastic reviews I used above. If you read this blog and recognize one as your own please let me know in the comments so I can thank you personally. Weren’t the author of one of these awesome reviews, but think you’ve got what it takes? Great! I’m going to list a few key ingredients for writing a perfect, helpful review! I’ve written an example review and I color-coded sections of it to match with the tip it follows.
The Pink Lemonade Shampoo Bar is one of my top three favorite AVNS shampoo bars. I love the soft, sweet lemonade smell and curl enhancing properties of this bar. I have long, textured hair that ranges from a 2a-3a curl pattern. My hair is medium to low porosity, medium to low density and has a medium strand size. I have not used heat tools for two years. I felt this bar gave both my waves and curls great definition and I had lots of small, tight curl clumps when my hair dried (which is hard for me to achieve). I used this shampoo bar in my summer routine: I lathered the bar on my scalp and then squeezed the suds down the length of my hair. I carefully detangled with a wide-toothed comb while the soap was still in, rinsed with water, and then used an ACV rinse. I scrunched out half the water with a cotton t-shirt and then let my hair air-dry the rest of the way.
Share Your Hair and Skin Type
Different products work differently on different hair/skin types. While some of our products seem to work wonders universally, others have special skills to fit individual needs.
Be Specific and Essential
If You’re a curly girl, tell us what your curl pattern is! What is your hair’s porosity? What is your hair’s density? Do you have mature skin? Is it acne prone? You may think you’re sharing too much, but trust me, this is what the rest of us want to know. We’re asking ourselves: if it worked for you, will it work for me? Just be careful to use details relevant to your results. My hair is brown, but I didn’t include it in my review because the product had no impact on the color of my hair.
Tell Us What You Did Right
Give us a little info about how you used the product, did you follow with a hair rinse? Did you detangle before you washed? Did you follow up with any hair oil? Sometimes incorrect use of a product leads to less-than desired results. If you found the holy grail of styling please, please, please share!
Tell Us What The ProductDid Right
Did it give you awesome definition? Super volume? Was it convenient for a schedule that involves a lot of travel? Did your kids love it? Let us know because our kids might love it too!
Now that you’re professional review writers I look forward to seeing your take on our less reviewed products (especially our new shaving bars!). If you love writing reviews you might even consider writing a general fill-in-the-blank review so you don’t have to re-write the same personal information every time! Have a great rest of your week!
I Tried Power Posing for Five Minutes Daily to Increase Confidence
Is confidence something you’re born with? Or something you can naturally obtain over time with experience? Are there things you can do to boost your confidence quickly? I decided to spend five minutes power posing every day and then keep a daily journal to record any signs of increased confidence. I can say with complete confidence that the results surprised me.
Boost Natural Confidence?
Outer Sources of Confidence
Natural ways to improve confidence are easier to achieve than you might think. Evaluating the patterns in your life can help you determine ways to boost confidence with only a few mindful adjustments.
Surround Yourself With Supporters
Spending time with people who believe in you can help you to believe in yourself. Be mindful not to rely on others to feed your ego, but learn how to participate in a community focused on the goal of lifting up others.
Essential Oils to Boost Confidence
Essential oils are used as natural remedies to boost confidence. Our noses have a powerful influence on the rest of our bodily systems. Introducing your senses to certain smells in order to influence your body or mind is known as aromatherapy. Specific essential oils such as lavender, bergamot, and peppermint have been used to relieve tension, boost self-esteem, and even increase performance ability (have you ever received a peppermint before a big test? I know I have!). Many essential oils and plant products also have topical benefits as well, which is why they are the perfect natural solution for scenting our soaps and other products.
Inner Sources of Confidence
There are tons of natural ways to boost confidence, and most of them start with the way you treat yourself.
How you talk to yourself influences your self perception. When your inner monologue is positive and not self-deprecating, your self-esteem increases. For some examples of negative self-talk vs. positive self-talk, check out this educational example!
What is Power Posing?
If you’ve ever prepared for a job interview, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the term “Power Posing” before. Power posing comes from the idea that our body language plays a big role in determining self-perception and if we look powerful, we’ll feel powerful. The initial Power Posing Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy became wildly popular after its debut in 2012, but after a replicated study in 2015 failed to produce similar findings power posing was called out as pseudoscience. Despite receiving fervent backlash, Cuddy must have been power posing 24/7 because she refused to give up and confidently continued her research into 2018 until she confirmed without a doubt that power posing is shown to make people feel more confident, even if it doesn’t actually produce a hormonal change.
Five Days of Power Posing
I kept a little journal for each day that I spent standing like Wonder Woman to record any changes in confidence that might have occurred as well as some overall feelings and observations about the experiment.
Today was my first day “Power Posing!” I decided to use the same pose every day, even though there are many poses to choose from. I chose the Wonder Woman-esque “hands on hips” pose because it seemed the most natural (just in case I ever had to do it in public) and it’s also the pose used on Grey’s Anatomy (Season 11, Episode 14) which is where I first got the inspiration for this blog. I posed in my bathroom so that I could look in the mirror to check that I was doing it right. Wow. Five minutes sure seems like a long time when you aren’t doing anything, I tried to think “powerful thoughts” but I kept getting distracted and I think I checked my timer like a million times. I’m so glad I decided to start this project today because I had an interview and I needed all the confidence I could get. The interview went very well and at one point my interviewer asked me if I was actually good at writing. Normally I’d come up with a tactful reply balancing between humility and positivity, but when he asked me my instant response was a big, confident, “Yes.” WHOA. WHERE DID THAT CONFIDENCE COME FROM?! Does power posing work that well? I guess I’ll have to see and find out!
Power posed in the shower today so that I could let my favorite deep condition do its trick at the same time. I felt pretty low today because my long term boyfriend and best friend leaves for college in three days and I’m going to miss him a ton. I went over to his house to help him pack for school and was just overwhelmed by sadness (and all the packing that needed to get done). I was sitting in his room feeling sorry for myself when this thought popped into my head, “You know, if you work at being productive you might not feel so sad.” Cleaning is never my favorite task and I’d have normally dismissed the thought, but for some reason I felt like I had the inner reserves to push through and get the job done. After five hours and a bunch of sorting and organizing we had gone through his entire room. It was extremely satisfying and I felt like maybe the power posing had helped me feel like I was capable of accomplishing tasks I would normally avoid.
I was super busy and didn’t have time to power pose until late afternoon because I spent the morning driving to Wisconsin to get to work on time. I didn’t notice much of a difference throughout the day, although one interesting thing did happen at the end of the day. I was sitting behind the front desk and a couple came in looking for a recommendation for trips down the river. When I started talking to them, I found myself getting out of my chair and standing. Then my hands naturally went to my hips and before I knew it I was discreetly power posing (nervous sweat begone!)!
I forgot to power pose at home and had to do it at work today. The workplace can sometimes be stressful and I found I had difficulty holding my pose for the full five minutes. I kept resorting to more anxious body language. The rest of the day went relatively smoothly. I think my main takeaway from today is that maybe power posing offers more than just boosting confidence, maybe it also acts as a gauge to determine how confident you are at any given place or time. Perhaps, if you recognize a place where you don’t feel as confident, your awareness can help you push through the situation.
The last day of power posing started off with really great news! I was offered the position at the place I interviewed! For the rest of the day I felt extremely productive. Over the last five days I’ve found that I’ve been able to initiate action with more ease than I have in the past. I think I’m going to continue power posing every day for two minutes instead of five. Even if its effects are just placebo, power posing gives me a couple minutes to just breathe and be in my own body and I’ve come to appreciate and cherish that time.
I hoped you enjoyed following my five days of power posing. Feel free to replicate the project and reach out with your results! If you’re new to AVNS, welcome! You can join our community newsletter to stay up to date on sales and giveaways and get 10% off on your first purchase!
If you read last week’s blog you know that a good skincare routine is a must for maintaining a youthful glow, but there’s more to this skincare quest than meets the eye. The needs of healthy skin go beyond skin deep, and if your skin isn’t responding to the best skincare products on the block it might be because you’re missing this crucial step.
Healthy Diet Equals Healthy Skin
Sometimes cause and effect is difficult to identify, especially in the rush of everyday life. It’s tricky to be in tune with your body, but cultivating an awareness of how you eat affects your body is super important. If you still aren’t quite sure what I’m talking about don’t worry. I have an example:
Drink Enough Water
Water intake may be the most important interaction between you and your body. Water plays a huge role in our health and beauty, water quality can even influence whether you have a good hair day! This shouldn’t be a surprise, considering that more than 50% of our bodies are made up of water. According to the CDC, water will
Keep your temperature normal
Lubricate and cushion joints
Protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues
Get rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements
How do you know you’re drinking enough water? Your body tells you! Not only will the darkness of your urine inform you of potential dehydration, your skin can too. Just perform a simple skin pinch!
Your skin isn’t just impacted by your water intake. Every food you eat plays a role in your skin’s performance. To help take pause and examine this concept more carefully, Let’s illuminate an old phrase in a new light, “Your skin ‘is what you eat.’”
Ten Best Foods for Your Skin
These ten foods not only taste delicious, they’re also skin superfoods!
According to an article in Healthline, eating fish like salmon may
Keep skin thick, supple, and moisturized.
Help fight inflammatory and autoimmune conditions
Protect your skin against damage from free radicals and inflammation
Be a source of high quality protein, which is needed for maintaining the strength and integrity of your skin.
Avocados are full of heart-healthy fats, but they also do wonders for the skin. Just like natural vinegar rinses add strength and shine to hair, and salt acts as a natural antibacterial agent on skin, avocado does its part to keep your skin smooth and young. According to an article on One Green Planet, avocados are the perfect natural beauty ingredient because they contain,
Chlorophyll to reduce inflammation.
Water to hydrate.
Vitamin E to promote softness and prevent wrinkles.
While you may be afraid using ourHoney Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar will turn your skin orange, you don’t need to worry about this. The fresh carrot juice in our popular soap won’t change the color of your skin. Carrots won’t change your skin color…unless you eat ten carrots a day for more than fourteen days straight (or if you’re a carrot loving baby as I once was). Unfortunately, I can also attest to the fact that eating carrots here and there will not improve your already imperfect eyesight. On the bright side, carrots may still benefit your skin. According to an article published in Healthline, “If you have a history of skin problems, such as rashes or psoriasis, adding carrot juice to your diet may improve the appearance of your skin. Carrots contain vitamin C, which has healing properties. It helps skin recover faster from external wounds and trauma. Beta-carotene in carrots also reduces skin inflammation, which speeds the healing process.”
4) Sweet Potatoes
I love sweet potato fries. And now that I know they are full of sweet skin boosters I won’t be holding back. NDTV Food Desk published an excellent article on the skin benefits of sweet potatoes with the following insight as to why these orange taters are so beneficial, “Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin C and Vitamin E, both of which are very crucial to keep skin healthy, glowing and supple. Vitamin C helps boost collagen, which tightens your skin. The antioxidants present in sweet potato are also responsible for a natural sheen. Sweet potatoes are also a rich source of anthocyanins that help prevent blemishes and dark spots by keeping free radical activity in control.” This article also includes tips on the best ways to prepare them for all the benefits!
5) Green Tea
Drinking green tea may help regulate your skin’s oil production as well as combat acne due to a special compound called EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). EGCG is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-androgenic the last of which, according to an article in NDTV Food Desk, “means that it regulates the production of androgens in the body, which in turn may reduce oil or sebum production on the skin.” We put green tea in our Green Tea and Nettles Shampoo Bar because green tea is full of potent anti-oxidants called catechins. Studies have shown that green tea may help reduce skin cancer, rejuvenate old skin cells, improve psoriasis and dandruff conditions, and neutralize damage done by exposure to UV light.
These zesty red fruits are my favorite. I eat them like apples with just a pinch of salt or sugar. Tomatoes aren’t just delicious, they’re also amazing for your skin!
While you’d be hard pressed to find any scientific evidence for the benefits of topical application, tomatoes are a great dietary supplement for promoting gorgeous skin. According to a Healthline article, tomatoes are full of anti-aging vitamins and can also reduce sensitivity to UV radiation.
7) Olive Oil
We love olive oil because it’s what we use to make our super gentle Castile Soap! Our virgin olive oil is chemical free and retains its vitamin content, the reason behind olive oil’s health benefits (especially vitamin E). Vitamin E protects skin from the damage of free radicals and can help alleviate symptoms of eczema.
Welcome to the wonderful world of walnuts. The benefits of walnuts are so widespread that they even demand a yearly conference just to cover all the research being done on them! We’re just focusing on benefits for the skin, but if you’d like to learn about the other benefits of walnuts you can dive into the research here. According to registered dietitians quoted in an article published on SELF, “Walnuts offer up healthy Omega-3 fats that strengthen the membranes of your skin cells, locking in moisture and nutrients that keep it plump and glowing and keeping out toxins that can damage skin cells.”
Walnuts also make a great addition to a green, leafy salad and I love eating them with cranberries.
Save room for dessert because it might just help your skin! Dark chocolate is full of minerals and antioxidants that contribute to skin quality. A Femina article on the benefits of dark chocolate states, “Dark chocolate helps reduce dark spots and pigmentation and keeps skin glowing and healthy. It also works to bring back skin moisture and keeps it locked in, improves collagen content, and boosts circulation, all of which help delay the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.” This is all the permission I need to get to snacking…”Hey! It’s for my health!”
I don’t know about you, but after this list of skin-enhancing foods I’m moments away from whipping up a leafy green salad sprinkled with buttery walnuts and flavorful tomatoes, tossed in a citrus vinaigrette and topped with a juicy piece of salmon. YUM.
Behind Every Great Make-up Routine is an Amazing Skincare Routine.
This is especially true for mature skin. According to the U.S National Library of Medicine, As we age, “changes in the connective tissue reduce the skin’s strength and elasticity.” For people 50+, a mature skincare routine means paying extra attention to your skin’s needs to prevent dry, dull skin from weighing down your glowing personality. Because I’m just a youngin when it comes to the beauty industry, I reached out to a professional make-up artist who specializes in mature skin to bring you the top three tips on caring for mature skin.
Pssst! Not over the hill yet? Not even over the anthill? You should keep reading, because it is never too early to find the perfect skincare routine and these tips apply to all skin!
Meet Elise Marquam-Jahns
Author at Sixtyandme.com, “Elise Marquam-Jahns is a professional makeup artist who is passionate about helping women 50+ get their glow back. She is the founder of Boomer and Beyond Beauty and recently launched “Boomer and Beyond Beauty with Elise” – a makeup and beauty YouTube channel specifically designed for women over 50.”
I spent the week emailing with this sophisticated skincare expert (and watching her informative Youtube videos) to learn as much as I could about how to best care for mature skin.
3 Skincare Tips for Mature Skin
These three easy steps can be added to any and every skincare routine to help keep your skin luminous and healthy.
While using the right cleanser for your skin has countless benefits, Elise points out that washing your face correctly is also an essential part of an effective skincare routine. In her Youtube video “6 Skincare Musts for Women 50+” Elise recommends using a sonic cleansing brush to wash your face instead of doing it manually because, “it doesn’t thoroughly get rid of everything that’s accumulated on our skin over the day.” Pollution, left-over make-up, and dead skin all contribute to build-up. Exfoliating with a brush removes this build-up and enhances the appearance and feeling of your skin. It also exposes your skin and allows the products you’re applying to be more effective. For example, exfoliating and then applying a toner will allow the ingredients to interact with the brand new skin. Rich in vitamin C our Organic Bulgarian Rose Facial Toner has tons of benefits for mature skin including possible lessening of fine lines and wrinkles over time, read more here. One important note about exfoliating is to not do it too often. Over use of a sonic cleansing brush can lead to raw skin, so finding a frequency your skin can tolerate is important. Exfoliating once every other day is a good starting point!
In her video, Elise lists moisturized skin as a priority for mature skin and we couldn’t agree more. Natural Soap is a great way to ensure that your skin is moisturized and cleansed at the same time, we even have a line of facial soap dedicated to dry skin. I wanted to know exactly what kind of ingredients were best for mature skin, so I asked Elise for a list of DOs and DON’Ts for skincare ingredients.
DON’T: Mineral Oil, Aluminum, DEA, MEA or TEA, DMDM Hydantoin and Urea, Parabens (anything with Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl), Phthalates, synthetic fragrances, alcohol, and Triclosan
DO: The most important skin care ingredients for me are Vitamin C + E plus Ferulic Acid (skin brighteners), Coenzyme Q10 and Matrixyl Synthe 6.
Argan Oil is packed with vitamin E and a great natural moisturizer for both mature skin skin and hair and you can read about why that is here.
One of our most pampering bars, the Antioxidant Beauty Facial Soap is packed with natural ingredients including:
Green tea extract for added skin elasticity.
Papaya with vitamin A for new cell reformation.
Guava for its anti-aging B vitamins.
Rosehips for their natural skin brightening retinol and vitamin C components.
Sea buckthorn for its collagen-creating Omega 7 fatty acid.
Yogurt for its pore-tightening lactic acid.
Rhassoul Clay absorbs impurities from hair and skin while leaving it soft and moisturized.
I grew up believing that sunscreen was only meant for day-long sunshine marathons on the dock. Contrary to popular practice, you can benefit from wearing sunscreen with safe ingredients whenever you go outside. I have sensitive facial skin, so I always, always, always wear my signature giant sun visor. Elise recommends wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Sunscreen not only protects against skin cancer, it also preserves the appearance of your skin. According to the Institute of Health, “When UV rays enter skin cells, they upset delicate processes that affect the skin’s growth and appearance. Over time, exposure to these rays can make the skin less elastic. Skin may even become thickened and leathery, wrinkled, or thinned like tissue paper.”
A Word on Haircare
The condition of our skin affects the condition of our hair too. In an article published in Good Housekeeping, the myth that grey hair is naturally coarser was debunked with this insightful correlation, “While gray hair feels coarse and rough, the structure of the strand hasn’t actually changed. When those melanin-producing cells run out of steam, the hair follicles also produce less sebum (the natural oils that hydrate hair). As a result, gray hair tends to be drier, which gives it that wiry texture.” Knowing that grey hair isn’t inherently difficult means we can do something about it! If you’re tired of touching up your roots now could be your time to embrace your grey! With hashtags like #greyhairdontcare you can find an online community of beautiful women supporting one another as they transition to elegant, icy hues.
I’ll Say it Again
Signs of age are nothing to be ashamed of. They represent the individual experience of life for every person on the planet. Our bodies were built as beautiful, temporary houses for our souls and they do so much for us while we inhabit the Earth. For this we are grateful. I’m personally grateful that I had the chance to catch up with a beauty mentor who also happens to be my amazing grandmother (did the same last name give it away??)! What are you grateful for?