What is Fragrance?

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Scent is an extremely important and powerful sense. Not only can your sniffer pick up one trillion distinct scents, it can also smell emotion. Our ability to smell affects our wellbeing and our inability to smell is an indication that something in the body is off (recent studies show our noses may even be helpful in determining if we could be showing signs of COVID-19)! Knowing this, it is essential (oils) that we know how what we’re sniffing impacts us. After reading this you’ll be an expert on everything that goes into your stellar smeller. 

What is Fragrance?

The FDA defines Fragrance as a blend of chemicals that gives a product its distinct smell. Ingredients used can be procured from natural and synthetic materials resulting in a customized recipe that is then listed on a product simply as “Fragrance.”

What is in Fragrance?

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It depends. There are three main means through which a fragrance can be achieved. Essential Oils, Synthetic Fragrance, and Natural Fragrance. We sold some of our essential oil soaps for over four years under the impression that the pre-mixed blends we were using in a few of our bars were pure essential oil blends.  Since that time it was discovered that those blends contained pure essential oils AND a small percentage of phthalate-free fragrance oil to boost the natural scent. We had to decide whether to discontinue those bars and disappoint many of our regular customers, or to continue carrying them and give people the choices they wanted. We made the decision to carry the bars, and let our customers make their own choices in this regard.

All of our scented varieties of soap contain 2% essential oils—to add scent as well as therapeutic value—and 98% other ingredients (oils, water, clays, milks, etc.).  The few soaps that contain the uncertified blends ALSO have therapeutic grade essential oils in them. We did a lot of experimenting because we wanted to make our scents totally unique.  The fact that these soaps contain a mix of the blends in question PLUS our own essential oil additions also drives any percentage of any fragrance oil down even further (less than .5-1% of the entire batch). 

What are the different types of Fragrance?

Essential Oils

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Essential oils are made up of plant compounds that have been distilled and combined with a carrier oil. Essential oils are a pure and concentrated form of fragrance that are believed to possess many different health benefits when introduced to the body through inhalation and topical application. 

Three Top Essential Oils

Peppermint

In addition to its festive smell, peppermint essential oil is used for its super “cool” benefits. Our Peppermint Patchouli Pumice Body Bar is the perfect option for skin that needs rejuvenation.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree oil is thought to have antibacterial and anti fungal properties and is commonly used in the treatment of acne. We recommend the Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo Bar as the perfect solution for a scalp that needs some TLC.

Lavender

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Lavender is easily my favorite essential oil and AVNS loves it, too. When I was a little girl my mom would add a drop in the bathtub right before bed. Lavender is used to relieve stress and is a perfect natural way to aid sleep. Baths are hard to come by when you’re always pressed for time, but hopping in the shower with a bar of Lavender Silk creates the perfect ten minute stay-cation experience for otherwise busy mornings. 

Natural Fragrance 

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Natural fragrances are plant-based aromatics which are produced using pure essential oils and aromatic isolates derived solely from natural, raw botanical sources. All of these natural fragrances are certified to be free of synthetic ingredients. The benefit of natural fragrance differs from pure essential oils in that it is used mainly for scent quality rather than therapeutic benefit. We have started introducing a natural plant based fragrance alternative to some of our soaps which once had the essential oil & phthalate free fragrance blend. This is ONLY happening to soaps and products where finding a scent match with essential oils is not possible. Our desire would be to only use essential oils as they give benefit to the hair and skin as well as scent, but when this is not possible, we have chosen to use natural plant based fragrances.

Synthetic Fragrance

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Synthetic fragrance is a blend of lab created chemicals combined to achieve an imitation of a scent or in many cases, a totally unique scent. While synthetic fragrance may be helpful in enhancing nuances in natural scents, there are some concerns about some of the chemicals present in many synthetic fragrances, especially phthalates. Phthalates are found in cosmetics, but they are also used to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic . Research has shown that when absorbed in the body, Phthalates may lead to issues in fertility and neurodevelopment. We make sure that any fragrance we use that is NOT an essential oil or a natural fragrance is phthalate-free.

AVNS wants you to know exactly what we put in our products, which is why we list our ingredients under each product. Our essential oils are therapeutic grade because we want you to benefit from every ingredient on our list. Whether the benefits are physical or simply sensory enjoyment, we hope our products improve your quality of life.

Much Love,

Nora


Knitting a New Year

Well, New Year’s Eve has come and gone. We’ve turned over those new leaves (whatever that means) and now we’re trying to decipher what the underside has in store for us. Some of us only take a peek before we quickly flip those leaves back over and pretend we never had any of those ambitious resolutions in the first place. Others are launching into new diets and exercise routines with a vigor that will most likely burn out within a month. If you’re like me, coming up with resolutions is a blast, but the follow-through proves to be a difficult task. Which is why I turned this year’s resolutions into resolu-fun!

The trick? Start small and have fun. Mini-resolutions, if you please. These mini-resolutions come in neat packages and promise instant gratification while hinting at a future opportunity for a change in lifestyle (if you so choose to accept your mission).

What in the world is she talking about? You ask, as you scan your list of resolutions to see if any of them seem mini, or at least small enough to fit in your mailbox.

Knitting. I’m talking about knitting.

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I started knitting two days ago and not only am I already 1/16th of the way done with my first lumpy, puke-colored, spiderweb of a scarf, I have also (if I so choose to accept my mission) opened a crochet-covered door to a more self-sufficient lifestyle. Although currently a knitting novice, I optimistically imagine that someday I will become a professional. Every blanket in my house will be knit by me, every potholder in my kitchen will be a labor of my love, every gift I give will reek of the sweat I worked up as I frantically power-knit it the night before.

Of course, I’m not saying knitting is the be-all end-all for everyone. Raising one tomato plant could turn into a garden, playing a new card game could become a family tradition, buying one bar of Apple Valley Natural Soap could be the start of a more environmentally friendly and naturally healthy life.

Resolutions don’t have to be huge or life-altering, what matters most is embracing the promise of a new year.

With that being said, I understand that turning over into a new year also means facing the unexpected. We like resolutions because they give us a sense of control over our destinies. But the truth is, the New Year may bring on hardships that we’d rather not deal with. If you find yourself secretly dreading this upcoming year, don’t panic, you’re not alone.

My sweet Nana passed away unexpectedly at the end of October after a slow and tiring battle with a rapidly progressing form of dementia and my family is now faced with the unbearable process of moving forward. We find ourselves on the cusp of a new year forced to deal with something we didn’t anticipate. There is nothing neat or packable about death and there is nothing simple about moving forward.

monarch

Mentally, it seems unnatural. During difficult times, grief seems to occupy every moment and keeps us frozen in place, like leaves trembling upon a branch in the midst of a bitter winter. We define moving forward as an active process that requires “picking yourself up and dusting yourself off.” I would argue that this is not true. From what I have experienced these past couple months — in a spiritual sense — moving forward happens naturally.

Moving forward is a subtle process and for my family it involves crying. We cry over Nana’s music box collection, we cry over mushroom soup that will never taste quite right without her, we cry over butterflies and rainbows and dolphins and everything else beautiful that reminds us of the beautiful being she was. At first I mistook the crying for grief, but I’ve come to understand that the crying is actually a sign of moving forward. Every tear we share together is a step, a moment to thaw the grief. Moving forward doesn’t mean letting go, it means mending, knitting, and healing.

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At first glance, this post doesn’t have much to do with soap. But Apple Valley Natural Soap’s mission is to help others embrace the blessings of natural ingredients through their products and it was reflecting on this idea that inspired me to consider the natural blessings of life. From the ability to knit, to the grace evident in the process of moving forward, God always provides an open window (and maybe crocheted curtains).


Product Ingredients. How do we choose what we use? What are the benefits?

Have you ever wondered how we choose the ingredients for our products? It’s kept you up at night hasn’t it!?! Well, in this blog we’re going to start by listing our ingredients, specifically the carrier/base oils, as well as our butters, and their benefits.

When formulating the recipe for a new soap or other product, we look at all the benefits of the individual ingredients as well as our end goal. What are we trying to do with this particular recipe? Heal, nourish, rejuvenate, revitalize, all of the above? Then we move ahead with bringing it all together, the carrier oils and butters, the essential oils and herbal extracts, they all help us reach that goal. It can be a lengthy process, but it’s so worth it in the end when a product is completed that meets an important criteria, a natural product that is needed. Many times we are not even aware of the need until the product has been released. Helping customers, making them happy, bringing joy. It blesses us when this happens.

Apricot Kernel Oil is rich in fatty acids along with vitamins A, C, E & K. Because of these properties, it is great for nourishing and strengthening hair follicles from the roots, plus increasing skin hydration and reducing dryness. This oil leaves hair soft and shiny, while stimulating hair growth.

Almond Oil (Sweet) not only softens rough or dry skin, but it also creates a protective layer on the skin. It also helps reduce inflammation and is a remedy for skin/scalp issues such as dandruff, acne, psoriasis, and eczema.

Argan oil, is rich in vitamin E, carotenes, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. It helps repair skin imperfections and restore texture, elasticity and tone. Argan oil is great moisturizer, and because of it’s high levels of Vitamin E and antioxidants, it is also used to fight both dandruff and dry scalp. This oil is often referred to as “liquid gold”.

Avocado Oil contains sterolins, which are natural steroids. These natural steroids may be effective in boosting collagen production and in treating age spots. Also, with its high level of vitamin E, avocado oil may reduce itching and inflammation, while softening rough and cracked skin. It helps rejuvenate and moisturize the scalp, deep condition hair, leaving it looking lustrous and full of life. Also, because it’s a rich source of proteins, amino acids and vitamins, avocado oil helps promote the growth of healthier hair.

Babassu oil can reduce the symptoms of a variety of scalp irritations, due to the anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also filled with antioxidants which help to restore lost elasticity and strength to hair and moisturizes the scalp. If is the perfect oil for treating damaged and brittle hair.

Castor Oil is one of the best things you can do for promoting hair growth and controlling hair loss. It can give you thicker and even longer hair as it contains ricinoleic acid and omega-6 essential fatty acids that improve blood circulation to the scalp, encouraging hair growth. Castor oil also has natural antibacterial, antifungal properties which makes it a great addition to any soap!

Cocoa Butter (Unrefined) gives hair increased manageability and moisture. It can help prevent hair loss due to breakage or an inherently fine texture. and can also help alleviate scalp itching and irritation. Cocoa Butter works to soothe dry, sensitive skin while reducing and preventing the appearance of scars and unwanted marks. It is believed to have photo-protective properties that protect against harmful UV radiation. Used in hair, Cocoa Butter moisturizes strands to make them more manageable. While repairing damage, it replenishes naturally-occurring oils, adds volume and shine, boosts strength and resilience, increases thickness, and reduces frizz. Medicinally, Cocoa Butter works as an anti-inflammatory moisturizer that offers relief to skin afflicted with swelling, irritation, and redness.

Coconut oil contains 2 chemicals that are known to have a broad spectrum of anti-microbial activity against virus, bacterial, and fungal infections, they are lauric acid and capric acid. Coconut oil also contains high levels of Vitamin K and E which are powerful antioxidants to help prevent skin damage. It is wonderful for dry, itchy and sensitive skin, can stimulate hair growth by getting deep into its follicles, promote scalp health by fighting against such problems as insect bites, lice and dandruff. It also moisturizes dry hair, adds luster, shine and softness to hair while preventing breakage and split ends.

Flaxseed oil is composed mainly of omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient that is known for providing a multitude of health benefits. The Lignans in flax are healing, and decrease inflammation which will also promote healing of skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, and acne, which aids with scalp health, and hair growth. Omega-3 fatty acids are also known for increasing the speed at which skin wounds heal.

Grapeseed oil contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. The linoleum acid and Vitamin E help build tissue and promote hair and skin growth. If your hair is brittle or weak, treating it with grape seed oil can help to restore its strength and shine. This oil is full of emollients and nutrients that can help nurture the growth of healthy skin cells, treating dandruff and other dermatological conditions caused by a dry, flaky scalp. 

Jojoba oil, so similar to human sebum, can help balance oil production. It’s easily absorbed, won’t clog pores, and leaves the skin feeling soft and supple. Jojoba is particularly good for dry, damaged hair, hair with split ends and is prone to tangling and damage. 

Mango butter protects skin from sun damage and is very versatile with range of wonderful qualities. It has the ability to hydrate skin for long period of times, lightening of age and sun damage spots, tightening skin and healing eczema, rashes, irritations and generally, brining back a healthy tone to skin.

Olive Oil is high in oleic acid, a good skin cell regenerator and attracts external moisture to the skin. The fatty acids that olive oil is made up of will also coat the shaft of your hair, helping to keep it healthy and protected.

Palm Oil contains the hard to find toctrienols, which are members of the vitamin E family. Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant that helps the skin to fight free radicals that damage the skin and cause fine lines and wrinkles. Palm oil contains lipids and saturated fats that feed the hair shaft, eliminating dryness. It helps remove oil and dirt from hair and skin and contains a refatting agent that helps restore natural oils to hair and skin.

Palm Butter has great antioxidant power. Along with a high content vitamin E, there is a large amount of Tocotrienols which do an even better job of preventing oxidization. Palm butter is a wonderful healing moisturizer for the skin.

Neem Oil has a host of benefits, it’s natural ingredients make neem oil a potent antifungal, antipyretic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Neem oils beneficial fatty acids moisturize and nourish the scalp and hair, leaving it with a healthy shine. It restores moisture and repairs damaged hair. It moisturizes the scalp, kills harmful microbes, and reduces itching and flakes naturally. When used on a regular basis, neem oil regulates the oil secretion in the scalp for a healthier scalp and strong hair. Healthy hair grows stronger and thicker. It also strengthens the hair roots and revitalizes damaged hair.

Sesame Seed Oil is infused with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and healing properties which help in curing several skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. This oil contains the powerful antioxidant, vitamin E, which helps in preventing free radical damage. The essential fatty acids found in Sesame Seed Oil make this oil a great moisturizer while it heals.

Shea Butter strengthens your skin by stimulating the production of collagen, it helps make your skin more supple, more alive, nourished and radiant. Shea butter also soothes dry, itchy and irritated scalps without clogging pores, so hair can grow without any hinderances.

Sunflower oil is packed with high levels of Vitamin E and helps reduce bacteria which contributes to dry scalp. It also  acts as a natural moisturizer and reduces the occurrence of thinning hair. How, not only because it helps lock in moisture to the hair shaft, but it also contains Oleic Acid, another name for Omega 9 acid, known to be one of the essential acids that are needed for stop breakage and stimulate healthy hair growth.

Walnut Oil is high in both vitamins and minerals. It works wonders on the skin and is highly recommended for people who want a flawless and ageless skin. It also promotes hair growth because not only is it known to be a remedy to treat fungal infections as well as skin issues such as Psoriasis and Eczema, it’s also high in potassium, and potassium is essential because it helps the regeneration of cells and hence accelerates hair growth. 

Wheat Germ is excellent for hair because it is a ceramide oil. Ceramide oils work by creating a sort of protective barrier around the hair shaft. In turn it holds in moisture and protein all while also protecting the hair from heat damage and UV rays. In doing so, helps to “repair” or prevent further damage to the cuticle layers of your hair.

All of our products have the ingredients listed on the website, so if in doubt about a which product to try, use this as a handy reference to see which ones will fit your needs the best!