New Location Opening!

You’ve probably heard and seen some buzz about our new physical storefront in Apple Valley…but if you haven’t…here’s all the details!

Grand Opening

Everyone is welcome to come to our Grand Opening weekend! You can pop by on Friday May 20th or Saturday May 21st and we’ll be open both days from 10-5pm! Stock up on your favorite products without having to worry about shipping, discover exclusive products that are only sold in-store, and enter a giveaway for a chance to win a bundle of AVNS products! (If you are out of state keep an eye out for our online inclusive giveaway in June!)

“We are calling the retail space The AVNS Market, and it has grown out of a dream I’ve had for the last few years. A dream to have a retail area where we sell products that are good for us and the environment, products that are fun, sweet & unique, while also being able to support other small businesses. We hope the AVNS Market will offer a relaxing, joy filled shopping experience for all.”

-Marianne Buck

Location:

7570 West 147th Street

Suite 301

Apple Valley, MN 55124

Hours:

1st & 3rd Weekends Of The Month

Friday & Saturday 

10am – 5pm

(Not open Sundays, Holiday hours may vary)

Since purchasing the business in 2018, someday being able to open a physical storefront was always the hope for the future of AVNS. Three years of hard work from the Buck family and AVNS family as a whole has finally paid off as we prepare to open our doors to anyone who wants to visit! 

“When we saw the space in Apple Valley, MN as a possibility for the business I immediately saw the brick wall and knew it could be something special. After deciding to move ahead with signing the lease (a huge scary step of faith), we focused on getting the business up and running for on-line orders. Once everything was running smoothly, I started thinking and processing through what it would take to turn part of the space into a relaxing shopping experience. Once I found some inspiration the transformation took off. 

Now that the shop is ready to open its doors to the public, I’ve found myself doubting the decisions and the journey, but then remind myself that my future doesn’t rest in my hands, I have confidence that God has led us on this journey and He doesn’t make mistakes. Over the last week or so I’ve been blessed with many affirmations about our decision, and recently found out that research is now showing that many people are moving away from doing only on-line shopping as they want to get out and shop in person. They want to touch, feel, smell and be around others after having 2 years of not being able to. I am amazed that a decision that my husband and I made months ago, which we felt was stepping out into the unknown, is now proving to be the right path for us.” 

-Marianne Buck

We love what having an online store has to offer: the ability to cater to customers who live far away, the efficiency that online shopping allows, and we hope to continue growing our online store for all our far away friends! 

We’re excited that our physical store will give people the chance to come and connect with us and our products on a personal level…not sure if you’ll like the smell of a particular soap? Now you can just pop by and sniff it for yourself!

I haven’t had the chance to explore our new line of candles yet, so my visit gave me the chance to sniff around and I absolutely fell in love with the quaint clay pot that the Sun-Kissed Coconut All Natural Soy Candle came in…not to mention the amazing smell and the fact that the lid and pot can be turned into a flowerpot and seeds after the candle has been used up! I had to take one home for a Mother’s Day gift!

I’ve been fortunate enough to have already had the chance to pay the Apple Valley Natural Soap Market an in-person visit, and let me tell you…once you walk through the doors into this dreamy naturally scented haven of crafted goods you’ll want to stay all day! 

One of the most exciting things about the AVNS Market is all the cool products that are only available in-store. Jewelry that incorporates essential oils, eco-friendly dish ware, cotton goods like blankets, towels and robes, reusable beauty products.

Hope you stop by!

Much Love,

Nora


3 Natural Plant Based Recipes For Mindful Eating

These three recipes are recipes I actually use every week. The ingredients are easy to find at the grocery store, won’t break your grocery budget, and even allow you to do some meal prep so all you have to do for breakfast or lunch is grab and go.

What is mindful eating? That’s a great question. To answer, it might be just as helpful to look at what mindful eating isn’t…which is something I was doing on the daily before I started using these recipes. Most of the time I tend to eat whatever tastes the best, regardless of if it has protein or just empty carbs and regardless of whether it includes any servings of fruits or veggies. Sound familiar? 

Mindful eating doesn’t mean you miss out on all the flavors and deliciousness food has to offer, it just means you prepare delicious food while also making sure you’re taking advantage of all the nutrients that food has to offer. 

  1. Shaved Carrot Salad

Also known as the “Tik Tok Carrot Salad.” I’m obsessed with the version made by @samantha_lucy! According to a Healthline article, “Carrots are a particularly good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants.”

They also have a number of health benefits. They’re a weight-loss-friendly food and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health.

What’s more, their carotene antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer.”

Ingredients:

4 medium sized carrots

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Juice of half a lime

2 tsp sesame seeds

Salt and pepper to taste 

(I like to add a dash of soy sauce or some yum yum sauce!)

Just use a vegetable peeler to peel your carrots into thin strips and mix all the ingredients together! I put this salad in a mason jar and bring it to work as a super easy and healthy lunch. 

If you’re looking for some protein I recommend using lime beans instead!

Did you know carrots can be applied topically to enrich your skin? Our Honey Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Soap is wildly popular and is made with fresh carrot juice!

  1. Overnight Oats

There is so much you can do with this base recipe for vegan overnight oats by @healthygirlkitchen! Rolled oats are a great source of fiber and have lots of other nutrients that benefit by way of weight loss and dropping of cholesterol levels. Plant based milks are often low in calories and are a good source of protein. Nuts and hemp seeds are a great source of protein and berries are full of antioxidants!

Photo by Ovidiu Creanga on Pexels.com

Ingredients:

½ cup rolled oats

¼ cup yogurt

½ cup almond milk 

1 tbsp maple syrup

Top with berries, hemp seeds, and nuts

I just throw all the ingredients into a mason jar, stir, and add my berries and nuts on top. I prep five jars at a time and I have breakfast ready to go for the next five mornings!

Variations: this recipe is awesome because it is so easy to customize! For example, I substituted honey for the maple syrup, hemp milk for almond milk, and I’ve also added a tablespoon of nutella or peanut butter for extra flavor! This week I tried adding a little coffee!

Did you know oatmeal is extremely soothing for skin too? Which is why we made a Oatmeal Lavender Body Bar soap bar!

Chia Seed Pudding

According to a Healthline article, “The antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds may promote heart health, support strong bones, and improve blood sugar management.” Cinnamon also has benefits such as antioxidants and the ability to lower blood sugar!

Ingredients:

3 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 cup plant milk

Mix and mix again after 5 mins let sit overnight or for 1 hour.

Hope this helps make meal prep just a little bit easier and a little bit healthier! It sure made the difference for me!

Much Love,

Nora


5 Natural Healthy Snacks For Your Dog!

Did you know that over 50% of American households have a feathered, finned or four-legged family member? That’s right! Our pets give us so much love every day, if only we had a day to recognize and appreciate them. Oh, wait…we do! National Pet Day was this Monday, but if you’re an animal lover like me every day is National Pet day and what better way to celebrate your pet than with a fun surprise for them? Did someone say TREATS?!

You can buy all kinds of treats for your pet at the pet store, but just like human treats, mass produced treats have tons of processed ingredients and sometimes even contain filler ingredients that don’t benefit your pet at all!

Treats made from natural ingredients not only taste fantastic, they’re also full of nutrients that benefit your pet from skin and coat health to a healthy digestive system! 

Today we’ve got five easy to make natural treats for your dog!

  1. Frozen Pumpkin Cubes

The perfect way to cool down on a hot day, all you have to do is spoon canned pumpkin into an ice cube tray and let them freeze solid. Pumpkin is full of vitamins and minerals and is also an excellent source of fiber for dogs, especially if they’re having tummy trouble!

  1. Fruit Salad
Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com

Yummy yummy yummy. Did you know dogs can eat fruit?! Even more so…lots of them enjoy it! Fruit provides a lot of the same benefits for dogs as it does humans. A couple slices of apple (make sure seeds are removed) for fiber, a couple slices of banana for potassium, and a few blueberries for antioxidants makes the perfect fruit cup! You can even upgrade it to a parfait by adding one to two spoonfuls of some plain greek yogurt…a fantastic source of calcium and probiotics. 

  1. Bone Broth Popsicle

A great snack for your senior pup, “The glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid in bone broth are nutrients that support joint health and integrity.” (First Vet). All you have to do is pour the bone broth into an ice cube tray and get creative with what you use as a stick! You could try a longer dog biscuit, a Greenie or other dental chew, or even a carrot stick (some dogs love carrots)!

  1. Good Breath Dog Treat

This treat targets stinky breath and uses natural ingredients! The full recipe is from Cook Eat Go and utilizes breath freshening agents such as mint and parsley!

  1. Healthy Homemade Dog Treats

These dog treats are packed with nutrients to support your furry pal on all levels! Olive oil contributes healthy fats (Olive oil also makes great soap, just check out our Castile soaps for the “hoo-mans!”), wheat germ for soft silky coat, and eggs for protein…just to name a few of the ingredients and their benefits. Full recipe can be found here on Wholefully!

Supplementing your dog’s diet is an extremely important part of pet care…but so is maintaining your dog’s physical hygiene. While natural treats are a great way to go, did you know that you have natural options when it comes to your dog’s bath time too?? Our Natural Pet Shampoo contains skin soothing, coat strengthening oils like coconut oil and olive oil as well as an essential oil blend that smells great and works to repel pests like fleas and ticks!

Much Love,

Nora


How to Remove Stains Naturally

This blog was inspired by our Kitchen Salt and Spice Bar, which has been known to work all kinds of miracles! This is a soap that can remove beet juice stains. This is a soap that can remove the strong smell of onion and garlic from your hands. This soap also makes a great dish washing soap for camping! Having methods for removing stains is extremely helpful. Here are some natural methods to remove different kinds of stains.

How to remove blood stains naturally

Little cuts and scrapes happen all the time! While our first priority is to find a band-aid, what will we do about the bloodstain on the couch cushion?! Hydrogen peroxide might be all you need! Method taken from The Maids, “How to Remove Blood Stains Naturally”

  • Immediately soak the clothing in cold water or run cold water over the stain until it fades.
  • Soak a microfiber cloth in 3% hydrogen peroxide and lightly scrub the stain.
  • Apply a pre-treatment of a few drops of liquid laundry detergent to the blood stain.
  • Wash the stained clothing in cold water with a natural bleaching agent like hydrogen peroxide, distilled white vinegar, or baking soda.
  • Let the clothing air dry and then see if the stain is gone. Don’t dry your clothing after the wash; the heat could set any remaining stain.
  • If the stain is gone, wash and dry your clothing like you usually would.
  • If you still see the blood stain, scrub it again with hydrogen peroxide and repeat the washing instructions above.

How to remove juice stains naturally

Drinks spill all of the time, and fruit juice stains are some of the most difficult to clean…especially grape juice! These stains can still be removed though!

Method taken from Stain Solutions

  1. Soak for 15 minutes in mixture of one quart lukewarm water, one-half teaspoon liquid hand dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon white vinegar. Rinse.
  2. Sponge with rubbing alcohol, using light motions from center to edge of stain.
  3. Soak for 30 minutes in one quart warm water with one tablespoon enzyme presoak products.
  4. If color stain remains, launder in chlorine bleach if safe for the fabric, or in oxygen bleach.

How to remove butter stains naturally

Greasy foods make for some messy times and messy means spills! Now worries, butter stains aren’t as hard to remove as you thought!

Method taken from The Maids

  • Blot or scrape away as much of the butter as you can from the surface you are trying to remove the stain from.
  • Pour baking soda onto the stain and gently rub it into the stain. Let the baking soda sit for 15 minutes to absorb the oils from the butter.
  • Scrape away the baking soda and repeat the step above until no more oil is being absorbed.
  • Pat the stained area dry with a clean white cloth and then vacuum up the remaining baking soda.

Helpful hints on removing stains from different kinds of fabrics

The porosity and structure of different fabrics can alter the way they stain and influence what you use to remove stains! Here are some interesting tidbits from Art of Manliness.

Cotton: can endure soaking, drying, and heat (though you want to avoid the latter for most stains — warm water is fine, but dry heat just sets the stain). It’s easy to bleach white cotton, but very hard on the fabric, so use chlorine bleaches as a last resort, and dilute them well. The best stain treatments for cotton are detergents and light acids (lemon juice, vinegar, etc.).

Wool: is much more heat-sensitive than cotton, and needs to be treated gently. You can soak it, but you have to lay it flat as it dries to prevent distortion. Use only wool-safe detergents and lukewarm (not hot) water — bleaches and acidic treatments will damage the wool permanently. Treat with water or a wool detergent as soon as possible, and then get the garment to the dry cleaner at the first opportunity.

Synthetics: vary depending on the material. Rayon and polyester can be washed and scrubbed more harshly than cotton, but will be destroyed by oxidizing bleaches like hydrogen peroxide. It’s usually best to clean them with a standard laundry detergent, or with dish soap for grease-heavy stains.

Silk: is exceedingly temperamental. You can treat stains on silk with water, but rather than letting the wet spot dry on its own, rinse the whole garment thoroughly — otherwise you’ll get water spotting, nearly as bad as the original stain. Glycerin stain remover is also effective and neutral.

Of course, if none of these methods work you can always just give our Kitchen Salt and Spice Bar a try!

Much love,

Nora


5 Most Popular AVNS Natural Beauty Blogs of 2021!

Need some reading material?! These have been our top reads for 2021!

  1. Argan Oil Vs. Jojoba Oil For Hair and Skin

Learn what the difference is between argan oil and jojoba oil and see what happens when I style half my hair with one and half my hair with the other! 

“Jojoba Oil is gleaned from the Jojoba plant which can be found growing in southwestern states. An important thing to note is that, “although jojoba oil is often categorized as an “oil” because of its pale yellow, transparent, liquid appearance, it is actually a liquid wax ester” (NCBI). Before you go dismissing jojoba oil as some melted candle juice, just remember that wax ester is actually used to make the skin soft and that wax treatments are very popular at spas…so does that make jojoba oil like a secret, portable spa treatment?”

  1. Is a Hair Rinse Important?

Marianne goes over what makes up a hair rinse and why it is such a great step to add to your hair care routine!

“Whenever hair becomes wet, the scales raise or soften slightly. Damaged hair also has raised scales, or “roughed up” cuticles. When washing hair with hard water, a high mineral content made up of mostly calcium and magnesium combine with the soap and form deposits on your hair (under and around the scales) weighing it down. Your hair may feel sticky and dirty no matter how often you wash it. Which is why a rinse can be so beneficial”

  1. Apple Valley Natural Soap’s 5 Best Smelling Shampoo Bars

We put our shampoo bars to the test and these were voted the 5 best smelling natural shampoo bars! Make sure to check out our recently updated “Customer’s favorite natural body soap bars of 2022”

“Bella Rose Shampoo Bar! Who else guessed this bar would steal first place? I certainly did! The sweet scent of this bar is intoxicating and reminds me of spring. It’s loaded with rose hips, the fruit of a rose that is known for its amazing skin benefits and deep, rich pigment. This bar is perfect for a head of fiery curls and I would strongly, strongly support the recommendation to pair this soap with our Sweet Rosehips Body Polish!”

  1. 5 Things You Should Know Before Using A Natural Soap or Shampoo Bar

This blog is a great read for beginners and pros alike! It’s a simple read that will teach you everything you need to know about using our soap and shampoo products!

“Did you know letting your shampoo bar dry properly makes a huge difference? It seems like a minor issue, but when you’ve got a half melted soap bar welded to your tub or counter I guarantee you probably won’t be smiling or laughing. Letting your bar dry out between uses is so important to the lifespan and appearance of your bar! A soap mat is the easiest solution to this problem.”

  1. 3 Important Skincare Tips For Mature Skin

Over the hill or almost over it? There are lots of ways you can keep your skin in tip top shape. I interviewed my beauty guru grandma to see what some of the most important tips are for mature skincare.

“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.”

Happy Reading!

Much Love,

Nora


Customer’s 5 Favorite Natural Soap Bars 2022

These natural body bars were ranked at the top of the list!

I would like to take a moment to genuinely thank all of the people who took the time to complete our survey. I truly enjoyed going through the responses and reading the feedback that people left on why they love our soaps. I love many of the same things about these soaps and it warms my heart to be able to hear from all of you and knowing you care enough to put the time in to help us create this list.

Wildflowers Coconut Bar

Not on our list of best smelling body bars for 2021, but I honestly don’t know why not…since it has definitely become a staple soap in my shower!

“I love the scent of the wildflowers and the coconut is so nice on my dry skin!”

– Satisfied Customer

Enjoy our hard, long-lasting, super sudsy, uber moisturizing organic coconut oil body bars made with 100% organic coconut oil and nothing else. If you’ve never tried one of these—well, you haven’t really lived. What is the Wildflowers Coconut Bar like? Softly sweet, floral, and feminine.

Ingredients: saponified organic coconut oil and essential oils of lavender, sweet orange, bitter orange, cedar leaf, cinnamon leaf, fragrance.

Lime Spa Salt Bar

This salt bar was voted 4th best smelling soap in 2021! And customers who love this bar would agree!

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.

I haven’t tried this bar, but our salt bars are absolutely lovely and make for a amazing spa day product!

“Scent is like taking a vacation in the shower and the texture is absolutely luxurious”

– Satisfied Customer

Honey Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar

Is anyone surprised that this bar made the list? Voted 2nd best smelling soap, it’s kinda a no-brainer. Like everyone, I LOVE the scent of this bar, but also the wonders it works on my face!

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.

“I have rosacea it’s AMAZINGLY gentle on my face, but still leaves it clean”

– Satisfied Customer

Lavender Rosemary Salt Bar

People love this bar for its amazing smell and long lasting quality!

Lavender and Rosemary, what’s not to love with this scent profile? Floral and herbaceous, like a walk through the garden.

A multipurpose, brimming with goodness, HUGE salt bar!

Also, have you ever wondered if you can use a salt bar for a shampoo?

Well, the answer is yes you can!

This salt bar, plus our Lavender Lemon Salt bar make a wonderful shampoo for those with itchy scalps who have tried everything under the sun (including a wide range of our products) to alleviate the itch. Even some of our team members who periodically get itchy scalps, find relief with these 2 salt bars. If you do choose to try a salt bar as a shampoo, try a sample or half bar first as this bar won’t be for everyone. If you have a lot of hair, you may find that it doesn’t lather as much as our regular shampoo bars. A suggestion for this to still get the anti itch benefits from the salt bar, but also get a rich lather, is to use the salt bar gently against the scalp and lather as much as possible, do not rinse but follow with a shampoo bar. Use the shampoo bar until you have a think lather and then rinse with water. Follow with an acidic rinse if needed.

Giant bars of long lasting beauty. If you haven’t tried a sink salt bar, you haven’t lived.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic shea nut butter, and castor bean, European spa salt, and essential oils of lavender and rosemary.

Black Licorice Hand Face and Body Soap

My favorite body bar!

Our Black Licorice Hand, Foot & Body Soap is a natural bar created for black licorice lovers only!

The release of this fantastic soap is our first nod to the change of seasons and cooler months. This amazing black licorice soap is for those who simply just LOVE the scent of black licorice. Brace yourself for an incredible licorice scent along with a satisfying exfoliation experience from the black walnut hull powder (which also gives it the dark coloring). Licorice root not only smells great, but has many health benefits. The herb is used directly on the skin to help with eczema, skin rashes, psoriasis, and itchy, dry skin. Black walnut is also 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.

There’s nothing like it on the planet!

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic sustainable palm, organic olive, organic sunflower, unrefined organic shea nut butter, castor bean, non-gmo licorice root, organic black walnut hull powder, rosemary oil extract, and star anise essential oil.

“I have dry skin and very dry hair (yes, I use this on my hair) and it leaves both soft and silky. Hands down the best cleanser I have ever used on my hair (even if it is too superfatted for most people).”

– Satisfied Customer

See what happened when I used this bar on my hair!

Popular 2nd Favorites!

Honey Carrot and Tangerine were both extremely popular again, but we also had some new soaps take the spotlight!

Lavender Lemon Salt Soap Bar

Lavender and lemon. A match made in heaven. I love this bar in the kitchen and the bathroom. And the living room and the family room and the bedroom and the…

Giant bars of long lasting beauty. If you haven’t tried a sink salt bar, you haven’t lived.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic shea nut butter, and castor bean, European spa salt, and essential oils of lavender and lemon.

“This bar has a nice, refreshing springtime scent which is amazing and wonderful to have especially during the long winter months in Minnesota. The scent in your kitchen and on your hands is calm and up-lifting.”

– Satisfied Customer

Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Bean Face and Body Bar

Voted best smelling body bar in 2021. People love this face soap for its scent!

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.

Kitchen Salt And Spice Bar

“First, it smells wonderful. Second, it really does remove smells from garlic and onion from your hands. Third, and unexpected surprise: it took beet juice stain off my hands, and a spot of spilled tomato sauce from fabric. I can’t wait to keep testing this on mystery spots in the laundry!”

– Satisfied Customer

This bar is an excellent choice for cleaning odors from hands with its rich, spicy, fabulous scent. It’s my favorite bar for the kitchen, especially after chopping onions or working with garlic or peppers. It has two odor-killing ingredients: coffee and anise essential oil. Whether you are a gardener, a fisherman, or a mechanic, this is what you’ve been looking for.

Need exfoliation? Ground coffee beans and salt will do the trick to get off stubborn dirt. But you’ll also want to keep your hard working hands moisturized, softened, and protected, so we’ve packed this bar with loads of unrefined shea nut butter. European spa salt makes this bar antibacterial, rock hard, and long lasting. No more mushy soap by the kitchen sink. Really, there’s nothing not to love about this bar.

Ginormous 8-9 ounce bars.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic coconut, organic shea nut butter, and castor bean, european spa salt, organic coffee, organic coffee grounds, and essential oils of anise, cinnamon leaf, cassia, organic may chang, lemon, organic eucalyptus, organic rosemary, ginger, and clove.

Chocolate Orange Body Bar

People love the orange and chocolate combination! It’s a reason to look forward to winter when this bar hits the shelves again!

Loads of organic cocoa butter (almost 50%!) give this bar its dreamy, creamy feel on the skin and its rich, chocolatey scent. Sweet orange essential oil adds that luscious twist of heaven. Don’t miss this special edition bar.

Some of the wonderful benefits from the ingredients in this tantalizing soap:

  • Cocoa Butter is readily absorbed by your skin for superb moisturizing, as well as a great antioxidant to protect the health and youthful appearance of skin.
  • 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.
  • Sunflower oil helps the skin retain moisture and is very high in vitamin E, an antioxidant which helps to protect the skin from environmental stressors.

Ingredients: saponified oils of organic cocoa butter, organic sunflower, sweet almond, organic coconut, organic olive, and castor bean, rosemary oil extract, organic cocoa powder, sweet orange essential oil, and mica glitter.

I definitely have to give the Lime Spa Salt Bar and the Kitchen Salt and Spice Bar a try! Which bars do you need to try next?!

Much Love,

Nora


3 Natural Ingredients That Are Great For Your Skin!

We’ve got so many great things happening at Apple Valley Natural Soap. We’re right around the corner from launching our new physical storefront, our newly formatted website is up and running (hurry and celebrate our new look with 10% off products for a limited time!)! We’re even working on a new and improved newsletter design! GREAT RIGHT? Of course, our most important goal is to make our products as GREAT as possible. This week, I pulled three of our best smelling bars (voted on by our GREAT customers) and today I’m going to be diving into what makes these three products GREAT…besides just how amazing they smell. 

Bella Rose Shampoo Bar (Voted Best Smelling Shampoo Bar)

This is not just a customer favorite, but a personal favorite shampoo bar of mine. I also adore the matching rose hips sugar scrub we sell and I’m even guilty of custom ordering my organic jojoba oil to smell like the Bella Rose Shampoo Bar. This bar has a fantastic body of nourishing oils and some cleansing clay, but what makes this shampoo bar so unique is the addition of rose hips.

Rose hips are amazing for your skin and hair because they provide benefits on multiple levels.

Rose Hips Benefits For Skin:

  • Contain nourishing fatty acids.
  • Contain skin-protecting antioxidants.
  • Skin soothing properties that may help reduce inflammation.

Reviews for the Bella Rose Shampoo Bar

“I’ve never had a shampoo bar make my hair so clean, shiny and beautiful! Besides how amazing this product leaves my hair, it smells flowery and wonderful. My man smelled my hair and said it even has notes of chocolate lol!”

“Wonderful product. I have color treated hair and this shampoo bar cleanses and conditions beautifully. And it smells great. Highly recommend it.”

Honey, Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar (Voted Best Smelling Body Bar)

This may just be our most popular product, it certainly comes across as having celebrity status with it’s bright, confident scent profile and warm, cheerful color. But this bar is also known for the wonders it works!

Instead of filtered water, this facial bar was made with freshly juiced carrots! And I suspect this is what gives this bar it’s edge as a game changer for faces everywhere! 

Carrot Juice Benefits For Skin: 

  • Vitamin C and iron content helps to balance skin tone.
  • Hydrates skin.
  • Helps promote glowing skin tone.

Reviews For Honey, Carrot and Tangerine Face and Body Bar

“This bar is great for my face and body, the lather is wonderful and the scent is up-lifting. My skin feels soft and clean, never feels dried out. You won’t regret using this bar to cleanse your body, so treat yourself to something good for your skin.”

“This makes my skin soft and has diminished my lines in my skin due to the vitamin a rich carrot juice you should make a face cream with the same ingredients.”

Lavender Buttermilk Shampoo Bar (Voted 2nd Best Shampoo Bar)

Huge with our lavender lovers, this bar not only has a rich, dreamy lavender scent, but has a surprising amount of benefits that come from both the lavender and buttermilk. The buttermilk is what sets this shampoo bar apart from our other lavender bars. 

Buttermilk benefits for skin:

  • Keeps skin young looking by reducing the appearance of age spots.
  • Lactic acid exfoliates skin, keeping it soft and bright.
  • Buttermilk is gentle on sensitive skin.

Reviews for Lavender Buttermilk Shampoo Bar

“This is a great shampoo bar! I love the scent and it lathers really well. I’ve been using shampoo bars from a different company for years and I feel like this one is easier to use and it leaves my hair softer and silkier. Definitely recommend it!”

“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!”

Leave a review and let us know why you love one of these bars!

Do you follow our newsletter? You can always sign up! It’s where we feature weekly soaps and advertise sales, deals, and giveaways! If you do receive our newsletter, keep an eye out for this year’s survey on our best smelling body bars…will our champions from last year hold their titles…or will a new victor be crowned?!

Much Love,

Nora


Is Moisturizer Actually Bad For Your Natural Skin?

Beauty blogs and companies love to jump on shock-value headlines, and this week we’ll be exploring one such headline. I’ve heard and looked into the great debate of whether washing your hair less frequently is beneficial many times with differing results, but what about your skin? Is moisturizing your skin a must to keep it healthy and supple? Or does it condition your skin to rely on outside sources of moisture, therefore causing your natural skin to become dry without the use of a moisturizer?

Of course, you may be skeptical…how can you trust information advocating for moisturizers when it comes from a company that sells a variety of moisturizing products? That’s a fantastic point and I assure you that Apple Valley Natural Soap wouldn’t waste the time and resources making moisturizing products if we didn’t hear consistent feedback that they benefit our customers time and time again.

Why Could Lotion Be Bad For Your Skin?

The argument against regular use of a moisturizer can be found on many trending beauty websites that quote the same dermatologist who makes these two points:

Moisturizer prevents skin’s natural exfoliation process

A moisturizer is meant to act as a barrier that traps in water to hydrate skin, but the argument is made that this barrier not only holds water in but keeps any dead skin cells, dirt, or germs trapped in the skin as well which leads to skin that is dull and prone to acne.

Our Thoughts

We agree that exfoliation is important, but we don’t see why you have to pick between a moisturizer and exfoliation when you can have both! Assisting your skin with manual or chemical exfoliation will prepare your skin for a moisturizer. You can keep your skin clear and fresh while still getting the benefit of that extra hydration that a moisturizer supplies! We find that a natural toner is a great gentle exfoliant for your skin…and we have soaps like our Acne Battle Face and Body Bar have physical ingredients that exfoliate too!

Using a moisturizer too often will unbalance your skin’s natural oil production

The argument made for this is that the regular use of a moisturizer will train your skin to produce fewer natural oils, making your natural skin dry and fragile without the constant use of a moisturizer. However, it is acknowledged that some skin types naturally do require additional moisture and that a nickel sized amount of a lightweight lotion on your face never hurt!

Our Thoughts

We agree that it is important not to over moisturize your skin. Our belief is that using a daily moisturizer that promotes your skin’s natural balance is the key to healthy and happy skin. In fact that’s kind of what we do best! Our cleansing soaps and moisturizes set us apart from other skincare companies because we use natural ingredients. Why does this matter? Natural ingredients have a tendency to mimic natural human processes, so our moisturizing ingredients are gentle and often function on a level similar to the natural oils your skin already produces! We know that there are so many unique skin types and we work to offer moisturizers that will meet many different skin needs. You can read in depth about our natural moisturizers in our two part blog about our moisturizers, but if you’re looking for an easy place to start I’d check out our oils. These include Jojoba oil, a lightweight oil that mimics sebum, the skin’s naturally produced oil. Argan oil, a luxurious but non-clogging oil that leaves skin extremely hydrated and protected, and our powerful Hemp Facial Oil which has tons of additional benefits!

And If You’re Still Not Sure…

You can always read this article written for Harvard Health Publishing!

Much Love,

Nora


Meet The Team: Sheila Cooke

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

What does a day making soap look like?

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

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

What are some of your favorite products?

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

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

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

Sheila’s Quilt!

What do you enjoy doing with your free time?

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

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

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

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

Much Love,

Nora


Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts and Ideas

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

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

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

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

Much Love,

Nora