The best liquid soap is one that gets everything done and clean. If you want a soap that can clean your house, your body, your children, and even your dog…our natural liquid Castile soap can do all that. As with all our other soaps, this liquid soap is cruelty-free, synthetic-free, petroleum-free, free from sulfates, parabens, artificial colors and phthalates.
Why Castile Soap?
Castile-based soap’s main ingredient is olive oil. Our premium Castile type liquid soap’s main ingredient is organic virgin olive oil, which deeply penetrates the skin, moisturizing and nourishing while cleansing. Olive oil is extremely gentle and non-irritating, making this soap a wonderful choice for a household with acne-prone and sensitive skin. For more info on Castile Soap including its origin and history, check out this blog!
When you compare the ingredient list of a popular name brand lavender Castile soap to the Apple Valley Natural Soap Liquid Lavender Castile Soap, you’ll see a few differences. First, you’ll see our ingredient list is considerably shorter. We like to keep our products as simple and as natural as possible.
Third, we love any chance we can get to partner with other small businesses that share the same goals and values that we do, this is why we are proud to announce that we are once again collaborating with 5 Elements Clayworks in Florida, to bring you their beautiful hand-thrown Ceramic Liquid Soap Pumps! This is the same boutique that makes our gorgeous brush and bowl sets for our Shaving Kits!
If you love Castile soap, but are looking for a hard, long-lasting bar that travels easy and keeps you clean, take a peek at our Castile soap bars! Our Castile bars are made %100 percent from Organic Virgin Olive Oil and scented with high-grade essential oils. We offer four unique scents, each with their own benefits for every skin type!
Marianne has been bringing beautiful bars of soap to countertops since 2018, and the previous owner even years before. We’ve worked so hard to expand our products to fill all of our customer’s needs and we could not be more excited to offer you a liquid soap option. We hope you love it as much as we do!
An itchy scalp is an annoying distraction that can be caused by many things. Itchy scalps can be the result of dandruff, reactions to hair care products, fungal infections, and even lice. We have a little secret that has done wonders for itchy scalps, but if your itchy scalp persists, the best option is to always get a dermatologist’s advice!
Did you know that dandruff isn’t just an overly dry scalp? Dandruff is actually a symptom of a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis and occurs for many reasons including dry skin…but also overly oily skin. Dandruff comes with its own evils, including causing forehead acne. Dandruff can be difficult to treat, but one of the best ways to combat dandruff is to use a gentle daily shampoo. Natural soap makes a wonderful, gentle soap for acne because it won’t strip the scalp with harsh chemicals and also imparts the benefits of natural oils onto the hair and scalp! Try our Acne Battle Face and Body Bar if you struggle with acne!
Sometimes unwelcome critters and bacteria find their way onto our scalps…gross, right? Fungal infections manifest when fungus is allowed to grow in a hospitable environment. The best way to take preventative action against fungal infections is to keep hair clean, moisturized, and dry. Using a shampoo with antibacterial ingredients will further help prevent fungus from setting up shop on your scalp.
Fact or Fiction: Lice Love Dirty Hair
The stigma that lice and mites prefer dirty hair to clean is completely false! Lice and mites don’t discriminate and will happily inhabit any scalp they can find. The best way to avoid lice is to stay out of contact with it. This includes caution around people who might have contracted it and bedding (hotels especially) that see a lot of traffic! Your dermatologist can help rid you of these pests.
Soap Company’s Recommendation for Itchy Scalp!
Our natural salt soap bars are perfect for washing hands and bathing due to their natural antiviral, antibacterial & anti-fungal properties from the salt, essential oils and carrier oils such as coconut and castor. Plus, weighing 8 – 9oz each, our salt bars last a very long time!
We recommend our Lavender Lemon and Lavender Rosemary Salt bar for itchy scalps. Not only do they have salt, a natural antibacterial agent…they also have antibacterial, anti-fungal essential oil blends to keep your scalp clean!
Yikes! My scalp is itching after writing this blog, time for a good ole scrub-a-dub!
Greasy roots and dry ends can ruin a good hair day. The key to fixing greasy roots is a shampoo that helps balance the scalps oil production. What kind of shampoo fixes oily roots? The best kind of shampoo for dealing with oily roots is a moisturizing shampoo that also has an ingredient that actively absorbs oil (like clay). Your roots get cleaned and your dry ends get the hydration they need.
Roots Get Greasy Fast?
Many people will try to combat oily roots by overwashing their hair with shampoos that contain harsh detergents to lift oil from the scalp.
Sebum protects your hair shaft and makes it shine, but too much leads to oily roots. When you constantly strip your scalp of oil it sends a message to your scalp that it needs to produce even more oil…leaving you with greasy roots.
Using a shampoo with clay will help decrease the amount and appearance of oil in your roots. Clay has an absorption power that pulls in oil and clarifies your scalp. You can read about the clays we use and their beauty benefits here.
Greasy Roots Shampoo
My roots get greasy after 24 hours and I’ve found great success with this Rhassoul and Avocado shampoo bar. This bar was formulated with ingredients to combat problematic hair! And will keep the ends of your hair moisturized!
Contains a high percentage of silica, magnesium, potassium, and calcium
Absorbs oil and impurities from both the skin and hair
Avocado oil and Avocado butter:
Softens and soothes skin
Increases production of collagen
Locks in moisture
Fatty acids gives hair shine and silky texture
Helps fight frizz
Contains proteolytic enzymes which repairs dead skin cells on the scalp.
Rich in vitamin C, E and beta carotene which nourishes skin and scalp deeply.
Has antifungal and antiviral properties, it prevents itching and reduces dandruff and flaking
Also has very potent anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce redness and inflammation.
“I am absolutely in love with my shampoo bar!! This was the first time I tried shampoo bars and I did so much research to find the cleanest brand. There was no question AVNS won that category by a long shot. Then they won because they offer 5oz bars instead of 2oz like most others. Then they won on the price. I have very oily hair and struggle to find hair products so I was nervous and kind of negative about whether or not it would work. Well, I used it ONE time and I was never turning back. My hair has never lasted so long without being oily. It doesn’t have any residue or waxy feel leftover after showering, it smells amazing, feels great, and moisturizes my scalp- which usually flakes with other shampoos. I was shocked and amazed and I have recommended AVNS to everyone I know. I also used the baking soda trick (I love that they offer so many blog posts and tips, especially since I was a first time user) and the Lavender Mint hair rinse. Another amazing product I highly recommend. I was getting so many compliments on my hair and people asked what I was doing. I was happy to say “only AVNS!” If you’re on the fence, just go for it. It’s worth it. Thank you AVNS for making clean products that actually work.”
Another great way to clarify your scalp and hair is with an acidic hair rinse. An apple cider vinegar rinse will remove build up from your hair and smooth your hair shaft, our Herbal Hair Rinse is made with herbs to further strengthen and cleanse your scalp and hair. This rinse is made to aid the soothing of skin conditions and may help prevent acne!
I hope we’ve helped to “clarify” when it comes to questions about how to get rid of oily roots! Follow our blog for more information on who we are and the natural products we make!
I’m so excited for this week’s blog because it will kick off the first post in our series of “Meet the Team.” There is an amazing team of incredible people behind AVNS who contribute so much towards the quality of our company and the fantastic products adored by so many people. Being a small business allows us to take the time to put a spotlight of appreciation on every person involved with AVNS which will happen right here every month in our blog. If you’re thankful for the AVNS team don’t hesitate to show the love by giving this post a like and follow our blog!
Marianne Buck: the owner of AVNS
Marianne is easily one of my greatest role models. Her dedication to her craft and business is an inspiration, but equally so is her evident dedication to her family life and most importantly her love and respect of the Lord. This being said, it shocks me every time I realize I’ve only met with her in person 3 times in the almost year and a half that I’ve blogged for AVNS.
Before my time with AVNS, if you’d asked me to imagine what a remote work relationship looked like, the first words that would come to my mind would be detached and professional. While what we do is certainly professional, there has never been a lack of genuine warmth and compassion that fills the void of our long-distance work space and this is because of Marianne! Today I hope you all will get the chance to know the amazing woman who runs your favorite soap company just a little bit better (warning, she’s pretty cool).
It’s hard for me to remember Marianne didn’t always own Apple Valley Natural Soap, in fact, she started out as just another customer with a love for natural skin products. Inspired by AVNS, Marianne began making her own soaps and with the encouragement of friends who had willingly tried her products with satisfying results, she and her husband opened a shop on Etsy. Within the course of two years Marianne was offered the chance to buy AVNS twice, the first time she felt it wasn’t the right time, but two years later after quite a bit of prayer Marianne felt as though the Lord was moving her in a direction she could not refuse. AVNS has continued to grow steadily since, staying focused on finding a balance between making products customers know and love while also staying true to the production of natural eco-friendly products and packaging. Read the full story in her own words here!
Running a Creative Business
I’d argue that the craft of soap-making is a three-fold artform made up of scent, visual presentation, and sensory experience. Mastering all three of these elements is no easy task, so adding the business aspect on top of everything else is enough to keep anyone busy, including Marianne who, by taking on AVNS, has taken on quite the juggling act, “I love being creative, so I have to make sure I don’t lose that part of me. I am also still learning to balance my time wisely between my family and the business. I learned very quickly running a business can swallow you up!”
So what does Marianne’s work day look like? While it’s fun to imagine her in a white lab coat with a fridge full of fresh ingredients blending, mixing and concocting away…Marianne says otherwise, “I don’t really have a typical work day, but if I’m not running around somewhere with my son getting him to classes and other commitments, you’ll find me at my desk in an office. I like to start my work day between 8-9 am, answering emails, connecting with companies who work with us behind the scenes, and checking orders and questions on our site. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I’ll be getting orders ready to process and preparing the paperwork for one of our employees to package and ship them out.” At AVNS teamwork makes the dream work, and Marianne never hesitates to throw herself into every aspect of her company, “ I also fill in where needed, so occasionally you’ll find me cutting soap, organizing things in the curing room, experimenting with new ingredients or a new product or product line, researching recipes and new ways to improve AVNS. It really can be a never ending list of things to do, but I’m learning to prioritize and adjust my time as needed.”
A Family Effort
Behind every small family business is a hardworking family and Marianne’s is no exception. Most members of the Buck family already have jobs or activities that keep them plenty busy, but they’ll all contributed to AVNS at one time or another and are always willing to pitch in when needed, “when we started with AVNS every member of our family was involved…Currently Amanda does photography for us and is also helping in a few other areas where needed…Natasha used to package almost 100% of orders and so has since declared ‘I’m all soaped out for a while’…Ethan continues to do data and timesheet entry for us and occasionally wrapping soap, and Darin helps wherever is needed. This mostly means that when we need to move soap around in the curing room, he’s the muscle!” With such a busy schedule, I was curious to know what Marianne does with any spare time, to which she replied that there currently isn’t much of! “I do love a good book, to go out with my husband, spend time with each of my children (although this doesn’t happen as much as I’d like as they all have busy lives.) To visit with a friend, plus, I love to be creative when I have the time. Being creative can be anything from experimenting with a new product recipe to baking.”
The Future of AVNS
The greatest reward of running AVNS for Marianne is hearing, “the testimonials from customers who love the products…hearing how the products have helped them heal, or that they simply feel better using natural products…I’m reminded how much AVNS is not just a business, but a ministry.” Marianne’s dream is to help more people discover the joy of using natural products while also contributing to the community, “I would love AVNS to continue to grow where we can expand into either our own physical brick and mortar store, or to be in stores across the country. I don’t envision AVNS in big box stores, but smaller boutique type stores where we can support other small businesses.” In terms of products, “the future of AVNS is still going to revolve around our soaps as they are what we are known for and what customers love about AVNS. But we will continue to introduce new eco-friendly, natural products to our customers. I always want to be transparent with AVNS and have gone the extra mile in research and fulfillment to make sure what we use is something I can stand behind with integrity.”
Who ‘Nose’ Where That Smell Is Coming From???
Because AVNS has no official storefront yet, the Buck household is the central hub for everything and anything AVNS, which comes with an unexpected side effect. “Because all finished products end up with us before being shipped out to customers, our home has a wide variety of scents which are always present. So much so that the essential oils have been absorbed into every nook and cranny within our home, but we don’t notice the scent anymore, but when we are out and about, it’s not uncommon for comments and conversations around us to start like this “do you smell peppermint? I wonder where it’s coming from, it smells good. Seriously, do you smell it?”
If there was a bar called “The Marianne Bar” What would the description and ingredient list look like?
“Oooo, it’s totally theLavender Silk Shampoo Bar. I created that bar with me in mind as I love the scent of fresh lavender, and I wanted a bar which would moisturize and strengthen my hair without weighing it down. An interesting thing about this particular bar is that I’ve had customers with hard water who have success using it as a shampoo. I’m sure it’s not a hard water success for everyone, but I heard about it years ago and it always stuck with me.”
Thanks For Reading!
Thanks for taking the time to get to know us! We’ll be back next month with another team member feature.
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.” ()
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.”
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 soapsare also antibacterial, thanks to many different sources of natural ingredients with antibacterial properties (like salts and certain essential oils).
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 certificationsand standards that set our soaps apart.
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.
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.
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!
“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.”
“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!”
“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!”
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!)
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?
A quick search about the benefits of facial and hair oils will leave you with more questions than answers. Some websites claim that dermatologists recommend oils over any other type of moisturizer, while other websites claim that dermatologists strongly discourage the use of oils. What is true? What isn’t? Today we’ll be sticking to what we know about oil, specifically Argan oil and Jojoba oil and then we’ll do the one thing that no amount of research can do, we’ll decide for ourselves. I wanted to give you the best advice on these two popular cosmetic oils, so I put them to the test and did a half-and-half style session to see which oil will rule them all.
According to an article published in the National Library of Medicine, “Argan (Argania spinosa L.) oil has been used for centuries in Morocco as cosmetic oil to maintain a fair complexion and to cure skin pimples and chicken pox pustules scars.” If you read my last blog, you know I’ve a huge fan of argan oil’s versatility!
Main Components of Argan Oil
Argan Oil is mainly composed of fatty acids which play a major role in aiding the skin’s natural functions. There are four ways in which fatty acids contribute to the skin’s natural process. Now, if you understand scientific terminology feel free to read the original article here, but if you’re like me and want the basics I’ve broken each function down into more simple jargon below.
Fatty Acid Functions
1) Contributes to skin’s permeability layer which allows skin to lock in water to stay hydrated.
2) Acts as building blocks and support for generation of skin’s natural oils.
3) Helps maintain skin’s homeostasis.
4) Strengthens outer skin’s barrier and acid mantle.
A Note About Linoleic Acid
“Linoleic Acid is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid and is one of two essential fatty acids for humans, who must obtain it through their diet. It is a colorless or white oil that is virtually insoluble in water. ” (Wikipedia). Linoleic is an essential addition to the human diet to avoid scaly skin. To read more about Linoleic acid and its benefits you can read this study.
Uses of Argan Oil
Thermal heat protectant for hair: put 2-4 drops in the palm of your hand and massage into damp hair after showering. Your hair will feel silky soft after blow-drying.
Deep conditioner: wet hair with hot water, massage a small amount into the scalp and down the shaft of the hair, wrap with a towel, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Wash hair as usual. Alternatively, apply to dry hair before going to bed at night. Wrap in a towel and wash in the morning for soft, silky locks. Argan oil helps with dandruff and other dry scalp symptoms.
Makeup remover: put a couple of drops on a cotton ball and and gently remove eye makeup. Leaves the delicate skin around your eyes moisturized.
Facial moisturizer: apply a few drops to your delicate facial tissue and around your eyes and watch your skin soak it up and start glowing.
Beard oil: bearded people, you know what I’m sayin’, but if your beard needs additional TLC check out our brand new Beard Oil along with our other recently released men’s products!
Cuticle and nail repair serum: apply a drop to cuticles and nails at night and say good bye to cut, sore finger tips. Argan oil will strengthen and nourish your nails too.
Night hand oil. Two pumps rubbed into your hands before you go to bed leaves them soft and silky in the morning. (Also great for sunburns!)
Expectant mothers: apply organic argan oil to your tummy to help prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
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? Try Customizable Portable Spa Treatment! We offer Customized Jojoba Oil scented with the same essential oils we use for our scrumptious soaps!
Uses of Jojoba Oil
Moisturize hair and skin
Helps combat athlete’s foot
Helps rid the scalp of dandruff
stimulates hair growth
Aids in combating skin infections
While argan oil and jojoba oil supposedly share many of the same benefits, jojoba oil is known for its similar composition to skin’s natural oil: sebum. Oils are rated on the comedogenic scale on how likely they are to clog pores (zero being rarely and five being like ‘whoa, do not get near my pores’). Argan oil is a zero on the comedogenic scale and even though jojoba oil is a two, it is still widely recommended for oily skin because it is thought that it can trick the skin into producing less sebum. On the other hand, argan oil is known for its ability to combat dry skin.
One More Oil to Note
Although not a main focus of this blog, I will take a quick moment to mention one additional oil: hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil is known for its countless benefits which is why we are proud to carry Hemp Facial Oil. Not sure what hemp entails or curious about CBD? Check out this blog!
Battle of the Oils
So what happened when I tried using a different oil on each half of my body?
After showering I applied both oils to my face, hair, and body. I used Argan oil on my left side and Jojoba on my right side.
Argan Oil Vs Jojoba Oil for Skin
Skin Status: I recently realized during an informal family poll that I’m somewhat of an abnormality when it comes to bathing habits. Obviously I’m going to need to write a blog on this, but for now I’ll say that most of my skin is very balanced. I rarely suffer from over-dry or over-oily skin except on my hands, face, and back.
Hypothesis: I typically apply lotion after showering, but I hate the greasy residue left on my skin (especially when I’m trying to jam my damp legs into jeans during the winter season after that perfect shave…ew). I predicted that applying oil would yield, well, even oilier results…but I was pleasantly surprised.
Results: Both my arms and legs felt soft and moisturized after applying the argan and jojoba oil, without leaving a lot of extra surface oil to make me feel slimy or sticky. I didn’t include photos because my camera isn’t strong enough to detect any differences in my skin quality (I should invest in one of those pore-exposing skin microscopes). If to make any comparison, I would affirm that a little jojoba oil goes a long way and spreads easily, whereas the argan oil was thicker.
Argan Oil vs Jojoba Oil for Face
Skin Status: Ah, my face. As you may already know, I’ve spent a ton of time trying to get rid of my acne. I have large, visible face pores that are extremely prone to clogging and love to produce oil…so I figured my face was the perfect canvas to test out these two “miracle oils.”
Hypothesis: I actually started using these oils before this experiment to make sure my face wouldn’t have an extreme reaction.
Results: I felt as though the argan oil made more a difference in the long run, but had a heavier feel on my face, whereas the jojoba oil was super light. I’ve actually applied argan oil directly to healing acne scars on my face and I personally feel like it has made a huge difference in the healing process. My scabs seem to heal faster and I get to avoid that gross “crusty phase” because my skin stays so moisturized. I think I will continue to use argan oil as a night moisturizer and jojoba oil as a daytime moisturizer.
Argan Oil Vs. Jojoba Oil for Hair
Hair Status: I have lonnnnng (overdue for a haircut) wavy to curly hair that I work hard to keep bouncy and beautiful. I am prone to greasy roots and dry ends.
Hypothesis: I was worried that the oils might weigh my hair down. Oil is a controversial subject in the Curly World and is promoted and discouraged by curl influencers. Because the results from the skin tests were so similar, I imagined my hair would probably looks the same, but it didn’t…
Results: I was so surprised by the results after my hair finished air-drying. I even took a picture because you can see the difference in my hair. The left side with the argan oil has great definition and I love how fluffy the wave/curls look. The right side with the jojoba oil seemed to be slightly more defined, but also made my curls look slightly oilier. The biggest surprise was that the argan oil side actually looks LIGHTER? I have no reason as to why this was, maybe I used too much jojoba oil?
You might hear curly girls rant and rave about the benefits of coconut oil for curly hair, but when I tried adding it (also used wayyyyy too much) to my own hair routine the result was a greasy, nasty, stringy mess. My curls are so sensitive, and usually anything thicker than a sour cream consistency elongates and weighs my curls down (don’t use sour cream in your hair). The lesson here is: different oils work for different hair/skin types. Not sure which to try? Get both and run your own experiment!
In 2015 I was just one of the 58.5 million people who visited New York City.
In 2016 I was just one of the 20.4 million people who visited Orlando’s Magic Kingdom.
In 2018 I was one of just 275,817 people who visited The Galapagos Islands.
And that’s where I learned the truth.
Like many of you, I first encountered the Galapagos Islands in my seventh grade biology class. The few glossy pictures available in our giant textbooks focused mostly on the finches (who, much like the dinosaurs, have attained an almost mythological status in the minds of lay biologists). Cloaked in mystery by their isolation, the fauna and flora of the islands are mainly known for their legendary encounter with Charles Darwin, but to the people who live on the islands today they mean so much more.
I visited the Galapagos as a student enrolled in Bethel University’s 2018 Ecology in the Tropics interim trip. My time spent in Ecuador and the Galapagos was a rare chance to explore one of the world’s most preserved natural histories, but more importantly, a chance to live as an ecotourist.
What is ecotourism?
Oxford’s Lexico defines ecotourism as “tourism directed toward exotic, often threatened, natural environments, intended to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife.”
What does ecotourism look like?
Your impact on the environment
How you travel impacts the earth. When you travel mindfully by conserving energy and limiting waste you protect the environment. We’ve crafted our products to help you with your mission.
You gotta love hearing the sound of the lock click when you slide your room key into the security slot of your hotel room door for the first time after check-in. Tell me if this is relatable or not, but I have the tradition of checking the bathroom out first thing to gauge the cuteness of the tiny complimentary toiletries (you can imagine how obsessed I am with Apple Valley Natural Soap’s Sample Bars).
Besides the soap, the first thing that usually catches my eye is the printed card that entreats me to reuse my towels to cut down on water waste.
Does this mean that the hotel is an eco-hotel?
While it’s fantastic that chain hotels are cultivating practices that preserve the earth, when you stay at a true eco-hotel you find more than a place to stay; you find an immersion experience.
What does staying at an authentic ecolodge look like?
Whether sleeping up in the clouds or literally right above the amazon river, from morning to dusk, our tour guides helped us learn everything about the environments we were submerged in, allowing us to establish a greater connection with the land.
Ecolodges aren’t only set up for tourists. The places we stayed were created not only to provide jobs for locals, but also as an opportunity to educate locals about the importance of their environment.
Ecolodges don’t stop with tourists and locals, they also encourage the merging of these two communities. We ate locally sourced and prepared food. Played soccer with the staff and near-by neighborhoods, and were also encouraged to join in the singing and dancing.
Re-aligning your lifestyle with nature
While using a compost toilet and brushing my teeth in the dark were certainly challenges, there was something sacred about learning to live by the rules of a force greater than myself.
Because there was no electricity, lights went out when it got dark…and although we were provided with candles, I preferred falling asleep with the sun (plus the tents that did opt for candlelight became the hotspot for every insect in a one mile radius..haha, dodged that moth).
Showering and laundry with natural soap
I grew accustomed to cold-rainwater showers (it was so humid in the rainforest that temperature wasn’t a big deal). Yes, the space was small and a little spidery, but the views were worth it and I got the benefit of soft water.
Traveling with one of our shampoo bars makes you a model ecotourist. Because they’re solid, our shampoo bars make it possible for you to save space and avoid checked luggage.
Of course, you’ve also avoided the problem of slippery soap by bringing along one of our Natural Cotton Soap Bags. This bag not only stores your soap, it also acts as a washcloth that can be brought right into the shower with you. It’s made of natural cotton, so it is eco-friendly and easy to grip!
Sometimes finding the resources to keep your clothes clean while on an epic expedition can be even more challenging than keeping yourself clean.
I was forced to do a lot of sink laundry during my three months in Europe last fall and I always felt guilty wondering what kinds of chemicals I was releasing down the drain.
AVNS bars are extremely versatile, you can even use them to wash your clothes! Marianne recommends using our coconut bars because they have one main ingredient, coconut. But in a pinch any of our shampoo bars and many of our Body bars can also be used to effectively hand wash clothes. You can run hot water over the soap to create a basin of soapy water for dipping clothes into. For extra suds power you can also wet the clothing and then apply the bar directly. Once the area is coated with soap you can massage it in and rinse. Because our soap is biodegradable, you choose a much better option for the environment than harsh detergents.
The truth is…
You may feel like one of the crowd, and many times you will be.
But you’re the one who makes a change and that makes you one in a million.
I bet you were wondering why I’d talk about travel during a time when travel has been restricted.
It doesn’t matter where you are, because you can be an ecotourist anywhere you go.
The family retriever was the size of a horse, chapter books were intimidating, and twenty minute car rides took hours: which is why the three hour drive to my grandparent’s house in Wisconsin seemed to me like an all day affair. The trek was worth it though. I’d spend all week counting down the days until my parents packed up the car, strapped me into my car seat and backed out of the small driveway connected to our modest townhouse in Plymouth, Minnesota. At this time I was the only grandchild, and spending the weekend at Nana and Papa’s meant I got twice the attention. I’d wake up to pancakes and fall asleep to Nana’s stellar impression of Grandfather Frog as she read aloud to me from her old copies of Thornton Burgess stories.
Their cabin was surrounded by forest and sat on the top of a steep decline that led right to the lake. I spent hours outside, shaking off suburbia as I scampered down the damp stone staircase and straight into the sparkling lake. I built forts out of sticks, filled old mason jars with “perfume” made with water and crushed up flowers, and mixed together my own homemade exfoliant*. Sheltered by the shade of the leafy green trees made me feel safe and secure as I played contentedly on the forest floor, surrounded by God’s sacred beauty.
I tell you this because I’m guessing you have a special place of your own. It doesn’t even have to be nature. It could be curled up in your favorite chair in the corner of your favorite coffee shop, or standing, swaying with your eyes shut in front of the stage as the stirring strumming of a guitar pulls at your heart. You can understand how a special place is invaluable, which is why — when my dad came down with a cold the night before we were supposed to leave for the cabin…putting our morning departure in jeopardy — I immediately prayed to God. I wish this touching moment of a child praying for her sick father was without ulterior motive, but embarrassingly I was actually praying for his recovery so that we could still go to the cabin.
Yes, my childish selfishness mortifies me to this day.
Regardless of my prayer’s shady intentions, when I awoke the next morning to sounds of my parents packing I was overjoyed.
Lying on my back in bed, I remember a feeling of immense gratitude. Overwhelmed, I did what any thankful child does. I stretched out my tiny arms as far as I could manage and circled them around the air in front of me, drawing an invisible God into the biggest bear-hug I could muster.
Let me get something straight: this is not the story of God answering the prayer of a simple and slightly selfish child (what kind of backwards moral would that portray?) No. This is a story of child-like faith. To me, it’s a beautiful image that brings me back to a time when trusting in God was the simple and easy solution and not the last-resort, risky task.
The older I get, the harder it is to trust God. Being an adult seems to imply the continued practice of taking on more and more responsibilities with each passing year. It’s no wonder that in a culture that encourages self-sustainment we struggle to allow room for God to act.
Especially now in this time of quarantine we find our worlds growing smaller than ever and our burdens greater. We find ourselves restricted from visiting the places that are most near and dear to our hearts. And those whose jobs require them to continue to brave the outside world face dangerous risks every time they leave the house. As we navigate this new and confined lifestyle we ask ourselves how there could possibly be room for God when we feel like there’s barely room for us.
Having faith can seem tiring. Even when we try to listen to God in this time of chaos, it isn’t always clear that he’s there or listening to us. Is that God telling me to give myself bangs? Or is it my own stir-crazed gut?
As a shy child I grew up dependent on Joshua 1:9. Every time I showed up friendless to summer camp or tried something new I relied on the heartening command to “be strong and courageous.” I was always comforted by the thought that no matter how big the journey seemed, God was always along for the ride.
In her riveting year long memoir “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” Rachel Held Evans spends a month practicing aspects of biblical domesticity. Her reflection at the end of the month stuck with me as I read the rest of the book for class and is as follows,
“Somewhere between the chicken soup and the butter-bleeding pie, I’d made peace with the God of pots and pans — not because God wanted me to meet him in the kitchen, but because He wanted to meet me everywhere, in all things, big or small. Knowing that God both inhabits and transcends our daily vocations, no matter how glorious or mundane, should be enough to unite all women of faith…”
-Rachel Held Evans
Although the domesticity Held Evans refers to has more to do with an exploration of a woman’s traditional role in the household, I find that the general idea of “home life” is extremely relevant and her wisdom is widely applicable. God will be with you, wherever you go. Whether it’s at the hospital you work at, the aisle of the grocery store you’re stocking, or sitting at your kitchen table filming online lectures for your students…God will meet you there and he will make room even when you can’t.
*I know you’re probably wondering how you can get your hands on some of my homemade exfoliant. Unfortunately, mixing sand and water is not FDA approved (nor is it that great of an exfoliant). On the bright side, AVNS has some incredible exfoliating bars that are also fantastically sanitary! Try our Grapefruit Peppermint Luffa Body Bar, it’s packed with authentic dried luffa fiber. You can also check out any of our Salt Bars! Only Jesus can wash away your sins (but at least we can help with the dirt and dead skin)!
First and foremost we want to assure you that we are taking this outbreak seriously and want to do all we can to ensure AVNS products continue to be a blessing for our customers. To this end, as an extra layer of protection until the Covid-19 has passed, employees will be required to wear gloves at all times when working with any products including packaging orders for shipment. Masks will also be used where necessary. When you order our products, rest assured that we are taking all necessary steps to keep producing nourishing and effective products which are safe and beneficial.
Because I attend a small university and live on campus as a full time student, I am rarely required to venture out into the world. This doesn’t mean I’m a hermit. I love exploring the city and could thrift all day if you let me, but these trips are luxuries, not necessities. With the outbreak of the Coronavirus, my peers and I have all watched — through phones and computers — the domino effect of other universities transferring to online courses…and the email we received announcing that our spring break was being extended by a week was met with mixed feelings.
The jokesters of the world have been keeping us updated through social media. They capitalize on and exaggerate the public’s frantic scrounge for toilet paper and hand sanitizer, oftentimes forcing us to crack a grin despite our deeper rooted fears. Yet, as I arrived home last night on the first day of spring break I was met at the door by my younger brother’s adorable, mile-a-minute chatter and my mother’s instant command to go to the sink and wash my hands. Today at my local dollar store I heard an elderly man ask the cashier if they happened to have any hand sanitizer, to which she answered, “No, sorry.” (if only he would’ve been able to read this blog, he could’ve had access to a homemade recipe!)
All joking aside, there is nothing wrong with being aware and prepared when it comes to your physical health and safety. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) has released a plethora of helpful information on the virus, including preventative measures. Their top two steps are keeping your hands clean and avoiding close contact with others.
Keeping your hands clean?
We can help with that!
AVNS utilizes many natural ingredients that have antibacterial properties. The salt content in our Salt Bars make any of them great choices for the kitchen or bathroom counter — especially the Salt and Spice Kitchen Bar — because salt is anti-viral, antifungal and antibacterial (if you want to know more about why this is, you can check out my blog on Salt Bars!).
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. 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.
That being said, we have a selection of soaps that were specially crafted with ingredients — specifically essential oils — researched for their antiviral properties. Our 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.
You can protect your skin morning to night with an appropriate soap that fits the hour. Feeling a little sleepy before your morning shower? Feel refreshed with the Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo bar. This shampoo bar leaves your scalp and skin restored and and invigorated with its blend of anti-viral/antibacterial tea tree and peppermint essential oil.
Getting ready to doze off? For a gentle and effective cleanse, try the Lavender Chamomile Face and Body Bar. With its soothing aroma, this bar is a simple blend including title roles Lavender and Chamomile, both plants studied in the medicinal world for their preventative qualities.
Why stop with soap? AVNS also makes a number of delicious smelling beeswax candles. Beeswax is a fuel which produces negative ions when burned. These negative ions negate the positive charge of air contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, and allergens like dust and pollen, and the neutralized ions are sucked back into the burning candle or fall to the ground where they can be swept or vacuumed.
While we wish soap bars were even more transportable than they already are, we know that sometimes it might not be the most convenient option for when you’re on the go. Hand Sanitizer is a hot commodity right now, but if you haven’t had the chance to stock up we’ve got a homemade and customizable recipe for you!
HOMEMADE SANITIZER RECIPE FOR HANDS AND SURFACES
*Makes one cup
7 oz of alcohol (at least 70% alcohol by volume).
1 oz aloe
20 or more drops of essential oils (recommendations below).
1 tsp glycerin
Shake concoction well.
Pour into container.
The final ratio using this recipe keeps the alcohol between 55-60% which is good for killing bacteria and viruses. If you get much lower than this and are relying on the alcohol alone to kill germs, the effectiveness drops significantly. As we are adding small amounts of other ingredients, you can choose up to 90% alcohol by volume. But, if using greater than 90%, even though this may kill some bacteria and viruses, it requires a longer contact time to be effective (hours vs seconds) and allows for organisms to lie dormant without being killed. We suggest Vodka (try to get 120-150 proof which contains 60-70% alcohol by volume). Rubbing alcohol at 70% can be used if necessary, but as Isopropyl alcohol is rubbing alcohol’s main ingredient please be aware that it is controversial as some consider it toxic and harmful to the skin.
You can use aloe gel or aloe water.
Recommended Essential oils with antiviral/antibacterial properties include: clove, lemon, rosemary, eucalyptus, cinnamon, tea tree, pine, peppermint and lavender.
If depending on alcohol alone to kill germs it should be at 60% of the final product, but as we are adding essential oils which have their own antimicrobial properties, the sanitizer may be just as effective with the alcohol being at a lower rate. Essential oils are shown to have their own amazing abilities with or without alcohol.
If making this for surfaces, you can leave out the aloe and glycerin as they are added to help moisturize the skin.
Now that we’ve established multiple ways to clean your hands, we’ve got to figure out how to keep them clean and occupied. Humans are face touchers, and in the face of illness this becomes a problem. Our faces are full of orifices (ears, nostrils, eyes and mouth) exposed to unwelcome microorganisms and particles. (By the way, we have two natural lip balms which contain anti-viral fighting essential oils to help those lips fight germs, Peppermint and Lanolin Intensive Lip Therapy!) Our hands are the vehicles that spread germs from the objects they’re in contact with, to our most vulnerable surface area. Cash is a great example of something we touch and can be fearful of, here’s a great article which talks about why consumers should be cautious when handling cash, but not fearful. we need is to keep our hands busy, and with the unfortunate demise of our social lives, we may find ourselves with extra time on our hands (pun soooo intended). When I mentioned earlier that I was at the dollar store, I was actually stocking up on DIY craft supplies.
While you’ve already got a recipe to whip up a fresh batch of homemade hand sanitizer…you can also make a fabulous floral wreath in time Easter!
– Artificial flowers (you can get them cheap at the dollar store or repurpose any you might already have!)
– A foam wreath (can be found at the dollar store).
Pick out what types of flowers you want on your wreath. I tried to stick with three main colors and found a variety of sizes. I ended up with seven small bouquets, each had about five flowers. You can estimate how many flowers you need by laying them around the foam wreath.
Cut off the flower heads, but leave about an inch of stem to stick into the wreath. I chose to include the leaves in mine to keep it more full, but you can always remove them.
Stick the flowers into the foam. I did one type of flower at a time, so that I could monitor that I was keeping them equidistant as well as alternating their location on the wreath (inside, outside, center).
When you are satisfied with how it looks, you can use a bit of ribbon to hang it up!
You can se my completed wreath below! We’d love to see how yours turned out, feel free to post your finished wreath with #applevalleynaturalsoapfloralwreath on Instagram or Facebook!