FAQs About Our Soap (and soap in general)

Have you ever wondered how soap works? You aren’t the only one, this week I’ve pulled some questions from our FAQ page and I’ll be expanding on some questions about the science behind soap and how it works. I’ll also take a look at the difference between natural soap and popular brand soaps you’d find at your local grocery store. Hopefully by the end of this blog you’ll have a better understanding of what it is that makes soap effective and what to look for when choosing soaps for your household, and yourself.

What is Soap?

“Soap is made by combining an alkaline solution with animal fats or vegetable oils which are acidic. When mixed under the right circumstances, they neutralize to form a new compound which we call “soap”. Saponification is the technical term for this reaction.” ()

Handmade Soap by Tatyana Hill

What Makes Soap Effective?

This is such a fun craft and a great way to learn about the importance of washing hands!!

Soap works as an emulsifier. In simplest terms, an emulsifier helps to join together or fuse substances that would otherwise be incompatible. What do incompatible substances look like when they interact? For an easy visual, picture the popular children’s craft project that calls for mixing oil and water in a water bottle. Because the two substances do not blend it creates a lava lamp-like result with the oil floating on top of the water. 

The same interaction (or lack of) occurs on your body. Our skin creates a crucial oil called sebum, while this oil is necessary as a protective layer on our skin and works to ‘catch’ dirt and germs from penetrating our skin, it also means that all this waste accumulates over time on our bodies. Think of the surface of your skin like a freshly made spider web, the web works hard all day to trap bugs and provide for the spider, but at the end of the day that web is one grimy mess. This is where soap comes into play.

Just like the water bottle project I mentioned earlier, water alone is unable to penetrate oil on our skin, but soap molecules can. Soap can surround both the oil on our skin as well as any dirt caught in the oil. Because soap and water are compatible, the water can then lift the soap off of the skin, leaving you with clean hands.

What is the Difference Between Natural Soap and Soaps like Dial and Dove?

“Soap is made commercially in huge vats by a process called “continuous method”, in which ingredients are continuously added to one end and removed from the other. During this process, the emollient glycerin that naturally exists in soap is removed and sold separately for its moisturizing qualities. Commercial soap is nearly always made from tallow (animal fat) and usually contains a variety of synthetic chemicals. Because of the lack of glycerin as well as the inclusion of poor-quality ingredients and additives, commercial soap can often irritate and dry the skin, or can cause an allergic reaction. Sadly, even many hand-made soap companies use synthetic fragrances, preservatives and colors in their products.”

-Handmade Soap by Tatyana Hill

While mass produced soaps often use the term “antibacterial” as a selling point, 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. Additionally, many of our natural soaps are also antibacterial, thanks to many different sources of natural ingredients with antibacterial properties (like salts and certain essential oils).

Honey Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar is a top five best smelling bar!

Apple Valley Natural Soap is carefully hand-crafted in small batches using the cold process method of soap making. We use only high quality botanical oils and butters as well as all natural herbs, milks, juices, essential oils and spices to scent and color our soaps. These ingredients not only impart sensational fragrances and beautiful, rustic colors, but also add their own exceptional nourishing qualities. Once you try an all natural soap, you will wonder why you ever used anything else on your skin!

Benefits of Apple Valley Natural Soap Natural Soap

We’ve worked extremely hard to achieve important certifications and standards that set our soaps apart.

CRUELTY FREE

We are certified by the Leaping Bunny organization and are excited to be in partnership with them.

ORGANIC & SUSTAINABLE

We aim to use as many certified organic ingredients as possible in our products, but have chosen (at this time) to not pursue Organic certification due to expense. Using sustainable ingredients is also very important to us, read more about our stance on Organic and Sustainable ingredients here.

GLUTEN FREE

There are many products in our store which do not contain gluten, but as we do not have a gluten free facility we cannot guarantee there will be no cross contamination. We then define these products as “gluten sensitive”. Find out more information here.

VEGAN

The majority of our products are vegan and we have identified these items in this category as such. Find out more information here.

Are Apple Valley Natural Soap Products & Packaging Eco-Friendly?

We are always looking for ways to improve the way we do business, and reducing our carbon footprint, becoming more Eco-friendly in what we do is important to us. Here are some of the ways we being conscientious about our environment:

• Soaps are wrapped in paper wrappers, not plastic
• ALL samples (soap, hair rinse, toner, sample packs etc) are mailed out in clear bags made from plant material which are certified compostable.
• 1st class packages are mailed in 100% Recycled Padded Paper Mailers
• Brown paper is used to package orders and sometimes recycled air pillows
• Recyclable cardboard is used for all shipments above 1st class, some shipments will also have a USPS recyclable padded envelope
• Glass is used where possible for products (and more products are transitioning away from plastics to glass) 

Are Apple Valley Natural Soaps Expensive?

If you do a Google search you’ll discover that we price our soap right in the middle of the pricing spectrum. Not only that, compare our ingredients, and you will discover that we use a FAR greater percentage of expensive, high-end oils, butters, organic herbs and spices, clays, milks and essential oils than our competitors. Frankly, we are amazed at the cheap ingredients much of our competition uses (soy and tallow for example) and the high cost of their products. You can be confident that at Apple Valley Natural Soap, you are getting the highest quality soap at the most affordable pricing. (Plus, for every seven bars you put in your cart, one will be FREE!). Many customers find our soaps superior to popular name brand soaps and other natural soap companies!

Natural Soap Bar For Men

“Excellent! I have converted all my L’il and Big men. Very sensitive to scented body washes like AXE or Old Spice. Now they can have awesome scent, luscious lather and no fuss as it is used everywhere. Thank you for a great product.”

-Satisfied Customer

“My husband typically has no interest in what he refers to as my “natural product kick.” He is not against it, but it has been difficult to find the products that he likes…let alone loves. This soap was a game-changer for him. He loves it!!! He will usually finish any product because he doesn’t like to waste things, but when this soap showed up, his Old Spice and Dove became neglected. The smell is amazing and it is so convenient for him to be able to use it as an all-in-one bar. We love Apple Valley!”

-Satisfied Customer

Coconut Milk and Citrus Smelling Natural Shampoo Bar

“Love it! I like it better than Chagrin Valley’s coconut milk shampoo bar. Bonus is this is nicely scented while theirs isn’t. This has a nice lather and light citrusy scent. Leaves hair and scalp feeling fresh and clean!”

-Satisfied Customer

Which Soap Will You Try Next?

Whether you exclusively use Apple Valley Natural Soap, or you’re hearing our name for the first time…the most important question of all is: which soap will you try next? We have over SIXTY DIFFERENT natural soap bars with unique scent profiles and super special benefits for your hair and skin. And if you don’t like soap? Well that’s okay, too. We have plenty of skincare and haircare products as well. If you have no clue where to start you can always take a look at my top favorites! You can also follow AVNS on Facebook and Instagram for our weekly featured soaps and Giveaway info (Valentine’s Day Giveaway is coming up!)

Much Love,

Nora


How to Achieve the Perfect Shave in Under Ten Minutes

We’ve all been there

It’s a frigid Tuesday, the most unassuming day of the week. Sweater weather is in full swing — even though it’s February — and snow swirls in gusts outside your window. You’ve just lit one of your favorite candles and are curled up on the couch pretending to read a good book while you secretly binge-watch “Grey’s Anatomy” (Season three) for the seventeenth time. Nothing like the perfect night off.

Then it hits.

The unexpected need to shave

Your husband comes home determined to whisk you off on a spur-of-the-moment romantic date. The girls call, you haven’t seen them for ages and they’re getting together tonight for pedicures. You’ve been promising your kids you’ll take them to the community center pool and tonight they’re not taking no for an answer. You spring into action, but as you’re pulling out the cute black dress, pedicure appropriate khakis, or kid-proof swimsuit — the thought hits you: when was the last time I shaved my legs?

Next thing you know, you’ve stripped off your fluffy pajama pants and staring up at you are your two, hairy Chewbacca legs. You’ve literally been caught with your pants down and you only have ten minutes to achieve the perfect shave.

There are those of you who do not shave, I applaud you. Smooth legs are a preference and they may not be yours and that is okay because your legs are beautiful with or without hair and you know it. While I would someday like to grow my leg hair out long enough to knit around myself, I cannot resist the feeling of freshly shaved legs against smooth sheets. For those of you who feel the same way — let’s figure out how to get you and your smoothest legs out the door in the next ten minutes.

How to get smooth legs quickly

Step One: Let ‘em Soak

As tempting as it is to give your legs a one-second splash before you get razor crazy, you’ll actually benefit from a longer soak. According to Dr. Christy Rainey, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, the warm water will open your skin follicles, leaving your hair shaft better exposed for a closer shave.

Step Two: Exfoliate First

Exfoliating is the best way to prep your skin for a smooth shave. After you’ve soaked for a minute or two your top layer of skin will be soft. When you exfoliate, you gently remove all the grime and dead skin that has accumulated on the surface of your skin, clogging your pores. Removing the build-up will let the razor glide over your skin and the circular motion of your exfoliation will help position your hairs upright so that the razor can cut them. The Sweet Rosehips Body Polish is a gentle scrub that will leave your skin smelling sweet and feeling soft.

Step Three: Lather Up!

Once your bristles are ready it’s time to get the soap out. I used to rely on shaving cream and let me tell you, more times than not I’d end up reaching for an empty aluminum can of disappointment. Left with no choices, I’d resort to whatever cheap body wash someone else had abandoned and often times it left me with dry, scaly legs. Thankfully, you can eliminate waste and double up by simply using an AVNS body bar. The Rosemary Lavender Coconut Bar or Wildflowers Coconut Bar can be worked up into an incredibly thick and luscious lather, will last longer, give you a natural cleanse and provide additional moisture.

Step Four: The Razor Race

At this point, it’s up to you. You know your legs and you know how to shave them. Long, even razor strokes and frequent razor rinses will keep you from getting burns and cuts.

Step Five: Moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturize.

The body scrub I mentioned above is fantastic because it often a provides a two-in-one exfoliant and moisturizer. But if you’re heading out into the frozen tundra and are prone to dry, winter skin, you’ll need to lock in all the moisture possible. Using one of our Lavender Lotion Bars or Lavender Vanilla Baby Butter will not only give you baby-soft skin, the organic lavender essential oil we use may also help heal and protect any micro cuts left by your razor. 

Step Six: Stock Up

You never know when the unexpected may strike. Having products ready will prevent you from having to undergo the dreaded dry-shave. But guess what? As thrilling as the unexpected is, you never need a reason to pamper yourself other than the fact that you deserve it!

Much Love,

Nora