Meet The Team: Eliana Melody

We love nothing more than expanding our team and we are so excited to welcome Eliana as our new social media and design manager. She’ll be taking over Tia’s role as content creator for our social media platforms. We will miss Tia so much, but we know there are great things in store for her and we are so grateful for all the work she’s done to help build what Apple Valley Natural Soap is today…and we can’t wait to see where Eliana plans to take us in the future…which she’ll reveal a bit about in this blog!

How’d you come to join the AVNS Team?

“I had known the previous Social Media Manager, Tia, and she had reached out with a job opportunity to work with AVNS. She recommended I inquire and apply for the position and from there I was hired. I have loved it ever since!”

Eliana is a perfect fit for Apple Valley Natural Soap, “I  love all things organic and natural and when I found out AVNS produces products that were all natural, cruelty free, and filled with ingredients that are not toxic, I immediately knew I wanted to work for them.” She also loves our huge variety of products and how we select our natural ingredients for their natural benefits! 

What is your vision for the future of AVNS social media?

Eliana has two main focuses for the future of the Apple Valley Natural Soap social media platforms. The first goal is to make sure that all of our unique products are showcased so that people have options when searching for skin and hair care products. The second goal is to create an encouraging and uplifting space for followers and customers to build community, ask questions, and start conversations. Eliana has already started adding weekly inspirational quotes to our Insta and I am so here for it!

What skills have you learned or what classes did you take/or are taking that have prepared you for running the AVNS social media?

“I am currently a Senior at Evangel University and pursuing a double major in Marketing and Business Management. Through my various courses in marketing and management I learned many different technical skills needed to run social media platforms, create meaningful content, manage accounts, and much more. I also learned the importance of listening to what the consumer wants and finding ways to engage them in meaningful ways.”

When you aren’t posting and designing for AVNS, what do you do for fun?

Like all of us, Eliana has plenty of activities and hobbies outside of Apple Valley Natural Soap! 

“When I am not posting and designing for AVNS you can usually find me laughing with my friends and spending time with my family. I love going on adventures and am always down for spontaneous trips including road trips, camping, and anything in between! One of my all-time favorite things to do is go for daily walks, especially with my dog. Last but not least, I absolutely love music and if I’m not on a walk you can find me at my piano or singing along on a car ride.”

If there was a soap called the Eliana Bar, what would the description and ingredient list look like?

“If there was a soap called the Eliana Bar it would smell life wildflowers in the mountains with a hint of warm vanilla. The bar would remind you of summertime and the adventure that comes with it!”

Who else wants to try that bar?!

Much Love,

Nora


Does our All Natural Herbal Salve Really Work?

What is a Salve?

A salve is a product often with an oils and/or beeswax base that is applied topically to skin to provide a healing effect for skin irritations.

Description of Apple Valley Natural Soap’s Organic Herbal Salve

Chock full of soothing, certified organic herbs infused in a base of organic, extra virgin olive oil and unrefined beeswax, this salve is amazingly multi-purpose and economical. Apply it to rashes, bug bites, sunburn, wounds, dry, cracked skin, bruises, diaper rash and more!

Keep a jar of this on your countertop! It is safe for your children to grab and put on their frequent summer scratches, bites, and rashes.

This is a natural product, and it will soften and even liquefy in heat. Keep in a cool place.

Ingredients in Organic Herbal Salve

Extra virgin olive oil*, unrefined beeswax, St. John’s wort*, echinacea purpurea root*, echinacea purpurea leaf*, comfrey leaf & root*, calendula blossom*, yarrow flower*, plantain leaf*, rosemary leaf*, grapefruit seed extract and vitamin E oil (from Non-GMO sunflower oil).  *certified organic

Ingredient Breakdown

Extra Virgin Olive Oil has intense skin moisturizing and nourishing properties and also has a high “skin-building” vitamin content. Despite being an oil, olive oil is also very gentle on sensitive skin.

Beeswax protects and softens skin.

St. John’s wort has historically been known to help speed up the healing process and prevent scarring. St.John’s Wort was used for helping heal minor wounds and skin irritations.

Echinacea has a long history of success with venomous stings and bites and is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Today it is known for its success with fighting acne and protecting the skin from the elements.

Comfrey & Yarrow have astringent properties and have been used to promote cell regeneration and healing. Comfrey has been used for bruises and pulled muscles. Yarrow aids in healing broken capillaries. 

Plantain is acclaimed for its ability to relieve bee stings, insect and spider bites and rashes and is also known for healing acne and sunburns.

Calendula is impressive because of its ability to speed healing, improve the appearance of the skin, lower inflammation, and protect the skin against infections. This ingredient is super gentle on sensitive skin, which is why we combined olive oil and calendula for one super gentle soap bar The Calendula Castile Bar.

Rosemary has natural antiseptic properties, which makes it a superior disinfectant for our skin. It can also help protect skin cells from damage often caused by the sun and free radicals. 

Grapefruit seed extract is an excellent antifungal agent.

Vitamin E oil is anti-aging and helps prevent sun damage.

But Does Natural Salve Really Work?

Yes! I spent the entire summer with a jar of this amazing Organic Herbal Salve on my countertop and I used it for the following with great results: bee stings, itchy bug bites, small scratches from plants and animals, bruises, rug burn, sunburn, and random itches. Applying this herbal salve feels great, it has a fantastic texture and smells sweet and earthy. It does have a natural green tint, so make sure you rub it completely into your skin! This is perfect for the fall season when you’re spending a lot of time outside!

Reviews of Organic Herbal Salve

Of all the salves that I’ve tried for psoriasis, this has been a God send! The fragrance is pleasant and not overpowering. The smoothness of the balm across my skin and the lasting healing effects are a dream! I cannot rave enough about this salve.

This salve works so well I almost couldn’t believe it. My daughter had a cut on her knee that was struggling to heal and with 2 applications it looked so much better. I will never go another summer without this on hand!

I have used this salve for a couple of years mainly to treat sunburns, and when I use it, the sunburn usually heals quickly and there is very little pealing. I was thankful I had some on hand when recently undergoing radiation therapy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Radiation is very damaging to the skin, and because of my fair skin they were preparing me for an intense reaction. I added the Organic Herbal Salve to the regimen I followed as I attempted to prevent as much damage to my skin as possible. I was thoroughly impressed with the results, along with the staff at the radiation clinic. While I did experience some tenderness and redness for about two weeks, it did not get nearly as bad as the doctor predicted and healed very quickly once my radiation therapy ended. I highly recommend this product!

Much Love,

Nora


Why Choose AVNS?

Here’s why Apple Valley Natural Soap Company is the right company for you!

Made with Natural Ingredients

Our products are made with a variety of plant and animal based ingredients (all products are cruelty-free, which you can read more about below!). We use ingredients from Coconut Oil to Lanolin and we always use the highest quality ingredients we can find from the most ethical sources.

Why Choose Natural ingredients?

Why would you want natural ingredients over chemically manufactured ingredients? There are a couple reasons! One reason why using natural ingredients in products benefits you is because natural ingredients are often more gentle on skin. Artificial chemicals and dyes are used for their sensory properties, but that’s about it, many times harsh dyes and detergents can take a toll on your skin and leave you with rashes and irritation. The second reason is pretty cool, natural ingredients naturally happen to have a lot of additional benefits for skin and hair. For example, essential oils we use to scent products also have a variety of properties such as antiviral properties, anti-inflammatory properties, soothing effects and more. 

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

I think the best thing about our soaps is that they are all biodegradable! This means that when they come in contact with the earth they break down and re-enter the soil without ever leaving a trace of their existence. This makes a natural bar of soap like our Earth Shampoo Bar the perfect bar to take with you on a camping trip! We also work super hard to make all of our packaging as eco-friendly as possible by either using reusable bottles or recyclable packaging.

Organic, Vegan, and Cruelty Free

What does it mean to be organic?

Organic food is food produced by methods complying with the standards of organic farming. Standards vary worldwide, but organic farming features practices that cycle resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Organizations regulating organic products may restrict the use of certain pesticides and fertilizers in the farming methods used to produce such products.”

-Wikipedia

What does it mean to be vegan?

Vegan products are products that contain no animal product or byproducts. People follow vegan lifestyles to live harmoniously with the earth and its creatures and to reduce the amount of inhumane animal-related practices. 

We are proud to offer a large selection of vegan soaps like our very popular Man 2.0 Body, Shampoo, and Shaving Bar!

What does it mean to be cruelty-free

Cruelty-free means that no animal was harmed in any part of product creation or testing. To read more about this, check out this article!

All of our products are cruelty-free!

AVNS is a small, family business!

Why support a small business? 

Supporting a small business not only has large scale benefits, but personal benefits too. As an online shop, we do have the blessing of being able to ship our products all over the United States, but the majority of our customers are from good ole’ Minnesota. When you buy within your local community you help the local economy. A small business has to have the drive and creativity to keep up with name brand companies, meaning you will often discover that the result of this effort is continual unique and quality products. As a small business we also have the time to focus more closely on the wants and needs of each individual customer. Your shopping experience goes from detached and mundane to personal and engaging!

Why support a family business? 

Family businesses are often some of the most hard-working, cooperative, businesses you’ll find. What does this mean for the products or services offered? They are going to be higher quality. A family business is run with family in mind, which means that the core values of a family are ingrained in every aspect of the company. A business built on loyalty, honesty, trust, and compassion is a company that won’t let you down. We’ll treat you as a part of the family because to us, you are!

Why Choose Apple Valley Natural Soap?

Our products speak for themselves! Our customers have had great success on their journeys to healthier skin and hair. Our bars have helped with skin and scalp conditions, as well as improving overall quality of skin and hair! You can read honest customer reviews of every product in our store.

Much Love,

Nora


Meet The Team: Amanda Buck

If supporting small family businesses that make quality, environmentally friendly, natural products is your thing then Apple Valley Natural Soap is definitely for you! I am always so inspired by the families behind every family business, probably because I’m a part of one and I know how much sacrifice and team effort goes into the operation. I also think it’s essential to acknowledge each role a family member plays in a family business, every person is needed. Which is why I’m so excited to be featuring one of Marianne’s lovely and talented “right-hand-daughters” for this feature: Amanda!

Who Takes All The Photos For AVNS?

Photo of the beautiful Bella Rose Bar!

If you haven’t already guessed, it’s Amanda! One of my favorite things about the AVNS website is the gorgeous visuals of every available product, but when, where and how do those pictures get taken? I asked Amanda to walk me through the process.

“I set up the equipment required for a shoot, pick out the products involved, take many different shots at many different angles, locations, etc. to make sure I have the perfect shot for editing. I transfer all my photos over to editing and select the shots I like the most and fit my vision, then edit the photos to flow seamlessly with the others on our website and social media. I then get them sent off to my mom where she uses the photos where she needs. When it comes to product specific photos I will either use a Lightbox or set up somewhere outside to get that natural aspect. I use Lightroom to edit my photos, adjusting the lighting, exposure, colors, saturation, angles, and healing any blemishes in the soaps themselves. I try not to use filters or any intense editing, as we want the beauty of the natural and raw soap to come through.”


Born Into The Business

Amanda is no stranger to AVNS products and some of her favorites include the body butters and sugar scrubs, but she explains that a lot more goes into a family business than just just testing fun new products and giving the daughter seal of approval, “The most challenging thing about being involved in my family business is having it take over a large part of our lives, conversations, and planning.” To Amanda, this sacrifice is worth it. “The most rewarding part is simply being able to see the fruits of our labor pay off and the experiences we get to have thanks to the business.” What does this look like? Amanda says that her favorite family pastimes are road trips and family adventures, “It can be a little bit crazy, but it’s always such a fun time.”

In the midst of taking care of her role in the family business, Amanda makes time to grow in other interest areas of her life, “I enjoy spending time with my amazing boyfriend, trying new restaurants and coffee shops with my friends, shopping, working out, and spending time outside.” She values the practice of a balanced lifestyle just like her mom, and this isn’t the only thing she’s learned from her hardworking boss and mother, “I have been able to see how difficult and rewarding owning a small business can be. Both my mom and I have entrepreneurial spirits and it is fun to see how she has taken this business and grown it into what it is today. I have seen the dedication, long hours, and sacrifice it takes to run a business of your own and I can say with certainty that after learning what I have from my mom and AVNS, I could start and run a business of my own someday.”


Of course, I always have to ask my favorite question:

If There was a bar of soap called the “Amanda Bar”, what would the ingredient list feature and how would you describe the finished product?

“If there was a bar of soap called the Amanda Bar, it would be a salt bar that targeted exfoliation with fine salt, anti-bacterial properties that heals skin blemishes like acne, but also adding moisturizing oils back into to the skin finished off with a fresh, muted, floral and warm scents with lavender and cardamom, sea salt, and vanilla.”

Who else wants to see this bar hit the shelves? I know I do!

Much Love,

Nora


3 Sustainable and Eco-friendly Makeup Brands You Have to Try

Apple Valley Natural Soap is your place to find sustainable, eco-friendly skincare and haircare products, but do you have somewhere to go when it comes to make-up? Hopefully someday Apple Valley Natural Soap will be able to fulfill those needs, but for now check out these three sustainable, eco-friendly make-up companies! These ethical make-up brands will make the perfect finish after you’ve used your favorite ethical products from your favorite ethical soap company!

Elate Beauty

Elate Beauty supplies an extensive variety of sustainable makeup including “eye makeup (pressed and loose powder, mascara, eyeliner and brow balm), face makeup (foundation, powder, concealer, blush, highlighter, bronzer), lipstick, lip gloss, palettes (which you can custom create for your complexion) and kits.”

According to Sustainable Jungle, all of their products “are cruelty-free International certified, PETA certified vegan, and gluten free.”

About Elate Beauty

90% of this Canadian company’s ingredients are organic and they work hard to use fair trade whenever possible. They are continually working to replace non-natural ingredients with natural ones in hopes of becoming 100% natural.

One of Elate Beauty’s current goals is to feature only zero-waste beauty products and reusable, refillable bamboo packaging. It’s the coolest thing ever, new refill product is delivered in seed paper and then after you’ve put the new product in the original bamboo containers you can wet the seed pouch and plant it in your garden!

What does Apple Valley Natural Soap love about this company? We love that this company is vegan, cruelty free, non-toxic, and has ethical sourcing and thoughtful packaging just like we strive to!

100% Pure

About 100% Pure’s Ethical Makeup Line

100% Pure makes fruit-pigmented cruelty-free and Fair Trade makeup including but not limited to foundation, mascara, and lip-tints! All coloring for products comes from produce and their only mineral ingredient is Mica.

While many of their products are vegan (including some awesome makeup brushes made from recycled plastic bottles) some do contain beeswax.

Their packaging is recyclable and can be recycled at home or brought into a store location for the in-store recycling program, how neat is that!?

About 100% Pure

According to sustainable jungle “100% Pure was co-founded and run by three individuals that prioritize corporate responsibility, change, and transparency.”

“We only use fair trade farmers and distributors who ensure us that they are only fair trade. We also work with numerous charities around the world that help to create sustainable jobs for countries in need.”

According to Sustainable Jungle‘s article (read full article for extended list of clean makeup companies!), “for every order placed, 100% Pure donates either one bowl of vegan dog food (of which a single bowl can save to 2 livestock animals, 90 lbs of grain, 2000 gallons of water, and 60 sq. ft. of rainforest) to animal shelters…if you’d prefer, you can instead opt for your purchase to plant one tree through Trees for the Future. Either way, they’re making a difference. “

Apple Valley Natural Soap loves that this company donates to a good cause and cares about where their ingredients come from!

Mad Hippie

With a mission to encourage and create beauty from within, Mad Hippie’s products are crafted to help kick-start that journey from the outside while making a difference in the world as well.

This company strives to create naturally-based skincare and makeup products and has a supercool sun-protection line in addition to makeup products. They avoid using silicones in their products and use eco-friendly packaging whenever possible.

Here’s a statement from the company about their efforts to give back to the community, “We take our responsibility to the planet seriously & that’s why we are always working to further reduce our carbon footprint and impact on the environment.  From utilizing bioresin sugarcane tubes, to printing with soy inks on FSC certified paper, giving $1 of every web sale to conservation, and controlling our downstream waste through a partnership with Terracycle, Mad Hippie is dedicated to the preservation of the planet.”

Did You Find What You Were Looking For?

I hope that if you’re looking for clean makeup options you may have an idea or inspiration of where to start! If you’ve tried any of these brands, let us know what products you’d recommend!

Much Love,

Nora


New All-Purpose Liquid Castile Soap!

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!

Why is Olive Oil Good For Your Skin?

An article in Medical News Today sums up olive oil’s four most beneficial qualities…

  1. Great antioxidant content
  2. Great Vitamin content (a, d, e, and k)
  3. Antibacterial effects
  4. Moisturizing effects

Why AVNS Liquid Castile Soap?

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.

Popular Name Brand Ingredient List

Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Organic Palm Kernel Oil, Organic Olive Oil, Lavandin Extract, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Lavender Extract, Citric Acid, Tocopherol

Apple Valley Natural Soap Liquid Lavender Castile Soap Ingredient List

Purified water, saponified oils of organic extra virgin olive, castor, organic coconut, organic unrefined shea butter, organic jojoba. Mediterranean Sea salt and lavender essential oil.

Second, we want every detail of our products to adhere to our mission of supporting natural, no-waste lifestyles. This is why we package our Liquid Lavender Castile Soap and Liquid Lemon Verbena Castile Soap in eco-friendly bottles made from bamboo and sugarcane pulp, which are not only 100% recyclable, but also 98% landfill biodegradable. For more information on this super cool, super unique packaging you can read the product description here!

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!

More Castile Soap Options

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!

Much Love,

Nora


Why Does My Scalp Itch and How Can I Find Relief?

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!

Dandruff

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 such as our Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo Bar, or our MAN Shampoo Bar. 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!

Allergic Reactions to Haircare Products

So many hair products are made with synthetic chemicals that don’t interact well with human skin. If you aren’t rinsing your hair well enough when you shower, all the leftover build-up from your shampoo and conditioner and other hair products will sit on your scalp and irritate it. 

Finding hair care products when you have a sensitive scalp can be difficult. Natural shampoos are one solution to this problem. Many of our customers have found relief from skin conditions with our shampoo bars! Another great way to get rid of build-up is with an acidic hair rinse! Try our Herbal Vinegar Rinse for the best hair and scalp of your life!

Fungal Infections, Mites and Lice

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!

Much Love,

Nora


How To Fix Oily Roots and Dry ends

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. 

Short term, this seems like a solution, but your scalp produces oil for a reason. The oil your scalp produces is called sebum, which actually benefits your hair when the appropriate amount is distributed along your hair shaft (usually occurring naturally when you brush your hair). 

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.

A moisturizing shampoo made with oils that protect the ends of your hair and gently cleanse your scalp won’t cause your scalp to overproduce sebum. The best moisturizing soaps are natural soaps and shampoos.

Why Do My Roots Get So Greasy?

There are many reasons why you might be more prone to oily roots including genetics, acne and bacterial issues, skin conditions, and overwashing. If you want to fix your oily roots and be able to go longer between washdays you have to set your hair up for success

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!

Rhassoul Clay:

  • 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

Aloe vera:

  • 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.”

-Satisfied Customer

Acid Hair Rinse To Clarify Roots

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!

Much Love,

Nora


I’ve Got a Golden Ticket (To Apple Valley Natural Soap): how we make our natural soap

Chocolate factory…or Natural Soap factory?

If at first glance you mistook the photo above for a thick block of delicious chocolate fudge, don’t worry, I did too. Believe it or not, that’s actually the Salted Chocolate Sink Bar…so even if you can’t sink your teeth into it, you can still give your hands a good lather. The Salted Chocolate isn’t the only AVNS soap bar that looks good enough to eat, in fact, just browsing the AVNS website makes me feel like a kid in a candy store, and let me tell you, meeting Marianne for the first time felt a little like shaking hands with Willy Wonka himself.

I love chocolate, so it’s no surprise that I adore Rohld Dahl’s classic tale, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I’ve always envied Charlie Bucket, the young hero who visits the mysterious and alluring chocolate factory and is swept into a whimsical adventure as he becomes privy to the secrets and inner workings of the fantastic factory.

While Charlie’s journey allows readers to peer into the fantastic world of Wonka’s factory, today I’ll be giving you the inside scoop on the process behind making our scrumptious soap!

Soap needs to be clean in order to clean!

You can have a giant factory with a bazillion hallways and rooms and a giant chocolate-churning fountain…or just a simple kitchen, but no matter where you set up, both Wonka and Marianne will agree that an important step in the creative process is cleanliness. When Augustus Gloop falls into Wonka’s chocolate river, Wonka is more distraught by the thought of contamination than he is about Gloop’s safety. The spaces where AVNS soap is made undergo scrutinous sterilization to ensure that the purity of each product remains intact.

Combining and balancing ingredients

The next step in soap making is to create a recipe. Great soap calls for a great recipe. The base ingredients lye and water are combined. The oils and butters are also combined as they gently melt at the correct temperature. Any delicate, heat-sensitive oils are added secondarily. When both the lye and oils are at the correct temperature, they are blended together until light trace (soap talk for the absence of oil streaks in the mixture). Finally, any essential oils and herbs are added and the soap is poured into molds.

As any chocolatier or “soaplatier” will tell you, attaining the correct balance of ingredients is essential. After Augustus Gloop gets sucked up the chocolate pipe and carried away to the fudge room, Mrs. Gloop panics at the thought of her son being turned into fudge. However, Mr. Wonka (knowing that Gloop would unbalance his recipe) reassures her he will not allow this to happen, “’Because the taste would be terrible..Just imagine it! Augustus-flavoured chocolate-coated Gloop! No one would buy it” (Dahl).

Can you imagine? Salted Chocolate Gloop Sink Bar? No, thank you.

The setting and curing process

One of my favorite parts in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is when Violet Beauregarde steals a stick of gum from Wonka’s Great Gum Machine and starts chewing. Wonka tries to warn the greedy girl that his recipe is premature, but Violet does not heed his warning and before she knows it, she begins to swell like a blueberry while consequently turning a violent shade of violet. Using our soap will never turn you into a blueberry because like Willy Wonka, we know that timing is everything. After the soap is poured into molds it sets for 12-36 hours and then cures for another 2-6 months.

What matters most

Willy Wonka prides himself on the inventive and exotic origins of his candy creations, but what is most important to him — and what Charlie learns during his visit — is that at the end of the day, what really matters most is the chocolate.

AVNS has an impressive selection of unique soaps, all different and all hand made…but when stripped down to the core, there is a greater mission at hand. All of AVNS soaps are biodegradable, meaning that every ingredient used in an AVNS bar of soap can be broken down by microorganisms. This natural form of decomposition is eco-friendly, making our soaps like the Organic Coconut BarsOrganic Castile Soap Bars and the seasonal Camping Bar great (and packable) for your camping expeditions!

Although the Salted Chocolate Sink Bar is inedible, it does have a little Wonka-esque trick up its sleeve: it doesn’t contain added scent. The minimal ingredient list allows the natural scent of delicious organic cocoa butter to smell for itself! This isn’t the only unscented soap bar, many of our natural and organic soaps use minimal ingredients to cater to both the environment and sensitive skin. Our Calendula Castile Bar is only composed of saponified organic extra virgin olive oil and organic calendula petals, that’s a peace-sign amount of ingredients!

By using minimal, natural ingredients to make our soap, AVNS aims to promote peace: both inner and with the earth. I’d pick that kind of peace over a piece of chocolate any day.

P.S. Although our soap looks good enough to eat (and is Gloop-free) please do not nibble!


The Natural Benefits of Mint You Never Knew About

Mint is everywhere

Buying toothpaste is probably one of the most mundane errands in existence. You can stand in the dairy section of a store and spend half an hour picking out which flavor of ice cream you want, but visit the toothpaste shelf, or even the entire dental hygiene aisle and you’ll be overwhelmed by one flavor: mint. Considering this minty domination, it’s no surprise I’ve always taken mint for granted…until I started college.

How mint saved me from spiders

I lived in a triple room on an all-girl floor my Freshman year of college and we had a communal bathroom with shower stalls (they were the size of telephone booths, I kid you not). One day halfway through first semester I was on my way to shower when I noticed a funny bit of grey fluff on my comforter at the base of my bottom-bunk. As my hand fluttered down to flick it off, eight thick legs unfolded from around the fluff and the fluff itself began to scuttle. My hand shot back and I kicked up my legs as I gave a loud, surprised shriek as I realized that the grey fluff was actually a big, grey spider. Not one of those wimpy, spindly things, but an armored tank of a spider who had claimed my bed as its own and was willing to go into battle if I refused to surrender. Even now I feel slightly chilled thinking about it.

Once I knew my bed was not spider resistant, my small, cozy room became a scary, spidery place. In my imagination, spiders lurked everywhere. In my pockets, under my bed, and in my shoes. I was living in terror, so I did what any smart, terrified girl would do…I called my parents.

For the rest of the week I dreamed of all the heavy duty traps and snares my mom would bring me to defeat the spiders. I pictured mini spider cages with steel bars so strong no amount of extra legs could bend them and web weakener serum that would discourage the spiders from building webs anywhere near me. I was a little disappointed when my mom showed up armed with only two sticky traps and a little bottle of…what?…peppermint essential oil?

“Peppermint repels spiders,” my mom said.

Huh, sure it does

Despite being skeptical, I took my mom’s advice and for the rest of the year I crawled under my bed once a week and dispensed a few drops of peppermint oil along the baseboard of the wall. My roommates thought I was crazy, but I never saw another spider in my room.

Now, as to whether the spiders fled in response to the peppermint oil or just sensed a hostile vibe in the room and decided to skedaddle will forever be a question that keeps me up at night, but rest assured that there are some things I do know about mint.

What is Peppermint?

While we all know and love peppermint for its instant aroma of winter cheer, what you maybe didn’t know is that peppermint is a hybrid of spearmint and water-mint…that makes it like the golden-doodle of plants, right? Containing organic, Fair Trade peppermint essential oil from India and spearmint essential oil from Indonesia, both the Juniper Mint Castile Soap and the Matcha Mint Soap provide a big scrubba-dub-dub of rejuvenation. Did I mention that the Matcha Mint Bar also includes a refreshing measurement of matcha magic?…a matcha made in heaven!

How mint works to benefit skin

The rejuvenating quality of mint comes from the compound menthol. According to U.S National Library of Medicine, menthol triggers a specific receptor in our skin and the reaction is a cool-sensation. This creates a soothing feeling, which is especially great if you’re looking for the perfect exfoliation!

Toothpaste may be boring, but AVNS makes mint fun. You can choose from an amazing selection of minty combinations (including Rosemary Mint and Grapefruit Mint) and if you use a body or shampoo bar containing peppermint –like the Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo Bar — who knows? You might even repel spiders! Only one way to find out!