Ava Anderson Non-Toxic shut their doors in January 2016 and rebranded as Pure Haven Essentials in March 2016. This AANT product review was written prior to the scandal that led to their demise. For more details, please read: Ava Anderson Scandal and Ava Anderson: Be Kind to Consultants
Are your personal care products as clean as your diet?
That thought has hit me deep over the past month. As a fitness/nutrition consultant, I’ve been an advocate of eating clean for several years now—and I’ve been slowly changing over to natural products in my home and on my skin—but 2015 has marked a big change for me in my personal care products.
I can’t pinpoint it on one moment exactly.
A few unrelated things have happened. My scalp was super itchy this winter, but I didn’t have dandruff. After some research as to potential causes, I became really serious about only using gluten-free topical products instead of guessing at the difficult to pronounce
chemicals ingredients. Within a wash or two of organic, gluten-free shampoo and conditioner, the itch went away. Around the same time I read a very powerful article about the dangers of commercial deodorant, so I started making my own non-toxic deodorant (find direct link to article within recipe post.) I’ve been using only coconut oil on my face for about 2.5 years now, but year 32 of my life is no joke so I started investigating alternatives that would help nourish my skin further. I also wanted to use natural products on my kids, and around May I was flooded with articles about how awful most sunscreens are. My mind whirling, I felt pretty lost and overwhelmed by information, as well as prices of organic, non-toxic products.
And then the universe answered!
My friend became an Ava Anderson Non-Toxic consultant. I had never heard of this product line before but was immediately interested since it’s non-toxic, gluten-free, mostly organic, and made from REAL ingredients; not chemicals.
The following (in italics) is pulled directly from AvaAndersonNonToxic.com:
Did You Know:
- that Europe bans 1,371 toxic chemicals from their personal care products and the US bans only 11?
- the FDA does not regulate the personal care products industry and hopes that cosmetic companies will do their due diligence and issue safe products?
- “safe”, “organic” and “natural” does not mean your products do not contain any toxic chemicals as well?
- 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will get cancer in their lifetime, 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys are identified with autism spectrum disorder in the US, and that Alzheimers is up 500% in the past 20 years?
- according to the President’s Cancer Panel only 10% of cancer is genetic and 90% is caused by environmental factors?
- that your personal and home care products (from shampoo to antibacterial wipes to makeup) contain carcinogenic ingredients, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors and allergens that could be downright hazardous to your health?
So a couple caveats before the review…no, I am not a consultant. No, I’m not being paid to review this. The only free product I received is because I hosted a virtual party that hit over $400 in sales—just as anyone could do through their consultant and the company’s hostess benefit plan.
Ready for the review? Here goes!
First I’ll give a general list, and then I’ll go into greater details for each product below.
Note: Ava Anderson Non-Toxic also has a few other categories of products, including: AvaAuto, AvaCandle, AvaGarden, AvaHome, AvaKids, AvaScent, and AvaMen. I personally use essential oils and DIY my cleaning products, which is why I decided not to try or review any of these products.
MUST HAVE PRODUCTS
These are life-changing, amazing products without competition!
- AvaSkin Blemish Stick
- AvaSkin Exfoliator
- AvaSkin Cleanser
- AvaFace Makeup Remover
- AvaSkin Moisturizer
- AvaSun Sunscreen
- AvaFace BB Cream
- AvaSkin Toner
- AvaFace Moisturizer with SPF
GREAT PRODUCTS THAT ARE PROBABLY CLEANER THAN WHAT YOU’RE USING
These work just as good (if not better) than the stuff you buy in drug stores but their ingredients make them far superior.
- AvaHair Anti-Frizz
- AvaSun Lip Balm with spf
- AvaHair Styling Cream
- AvaBugs Bug Spray
- AvaBaby Diaper Cream
- AvaFace Hyaluronic Acid
- AvaBody Deodorant (Almost a ‘must have’ but I really love my DIY recipe!)
AMAZING INGREDIENTS BUT NOT MY FAVORITE
I really want to love these because their ingredients are so clean, but they miss the mark.
- AvaSmile Toothpaste
- AvaFace Mascara
- AvaFace Lip Gloss
Now for a more detailed review…
AvaBaby Diaper Cream:
This is a nice thick white cream that has a light pleasant scent. My son has been battling severe diaper rash all summer, and we’ve been stuck using stinky Desitin so I’ve had to use disposables instead of cloth; which if you’re a cloth diapering mama like me, you know this is the most frustrating way to waste money ever. I read a lot of testimonies singing the praises of Ava’s diaper cream, along with the Dream Cream (same formula; different scent) so I had very high hopes when I ordered this. While I have nothing bad to say about Ava’s diaper cream, it’s not the miracle cure I was hoping for. I will say that it’s a FANTASTIC choice for everyday cream due to the natural non-toxic ingredients and coverage. And while it’s not approved for cloth, I do feel much more comfortable using Ava’s diaper cream with a flushable liner (like GroVia BioLiners) in my cloth diapers instead of the other brands.
I really like this product and have been using it for about two weeks now. It works pretty well and initially smells kind of like a peppermint patty. I have the solid version (they also sell a spray) and this can be a little rough to put on, but I love that it is a non-melting solid. I would have put this in the ‘Must Have’ category, but I really love my DIY deodorant! Ava’s version is better for travel or my gym bag because my DIY kind melts in warm temperatures since it has a base of coconut oil.
PROS to Ava deodorant: solid, goes on clear, non-staining (an issue with Tom’s of Maine brand!), super easy to travel with
CONS to Ava deodorant: rough to put on (drags your skin), doesn’t last as long as my DIY, smells kinda weird—not bad though; just could use some essential oil
Additional Thoughts: I have been using non-toxic DIY deodorant for over 4 months so I am completely detoxed from the chemicals that run rampant in commercial deodorants (e.g. Degree, Secret, Dove, etc.) If this is your first foray into non-paraben, non-toxic, non-aluminum please know that you will go through a detox period, so have patience with this product working for you. It may take upwards of 2 weeks for you to fully detox, and thus be able to have a true sense of whether this product works for you or not. Additionally, it is a deodorant and NOT an anti-perspirant. There’s no way to create anti-perspirant naturally because it’s UNNATURAL to not sweat! So plan for no stink, but if you’re a sweater, you’ll still have wetness.
AvaBugs Bug Spray:
I’ve used this as well as Plant Therapy’s Ban the Bugs roll-on, and I have to give the award to Plant Therapy for most effective. That’s not to say that AvaBugs isn’t 100x better than using a dangerous brand like Cutter, but I just felt that I was fully left alone by mosquitoes when I used PT versus Ava. For both products, although different, the scents are fantastic because you can go straight to bed afterwards instead of feeling sticky and stinky with the other brands.
AvaFace BB Cream:
This product is life-changing! If I were Oprah, you would all totally get this for free from me. It’s tinted moisturizer with spf 20; or as they describe it “a moisturizer, primer, concealer, foundation, and sunscreen all in one”! I’ve been wearing it everyday for the last 2 weeks and it has essentially replaced my foundation. There have been a couple days where I have to put concealer on first to hide the bags under my eyes and I will wear full makeup for certain occasions, but for everyday on-the-go, the bb cream is everything they claim and then some. I LOVE IT! Goes on smooth and makes your face feel so soft. I got it in tan, and although it’s working for these summer months, I know I’ll need to drop down to a lighter shade come Fall. It comes in ivory, bisque, tan, and latte.
AvaFace Lip Gloss:
It’s probably because I chose such a light color (Pink), but this feels more like a tinted gloss than what I typically use (though that was made of junky ingredients.) It does moisturize and condition with vitamins and antioxidants though, so I know it’s pulling double-duty though I was looking more for a noticeable color. I may try Plum in the Fall to see if it makes a difference, or try one of their lip sticks. The lip gloss comes in tutu, pink, coral, red, and plum. On a positive, I really love that it’s infused with peppermint essential oil so it’s nice to re-apply after a meal.
This is one of my two least favorite products. I want to love this so badly but old habits die hard and I love me some big, lush, dark lashes. On the positive, when I wear it, my contacts are much more content and I have no issues. But the reality is, this mascara isn’t enough. Ava’s mascara fades quickly and within a few hours it looks like I never even put it on. I’ve also had issues with it flaking off and landing under my eyes making those dreaded under-eye circles look even darker than before. I KNOW I should be using a product like this—especially since my usual mascara ranked a 10 on the Think Dirty app…oops—but Ava’s is just not enough for me. Whomp whomp.
AvaHair Styling Cream:
I really like this styling cream! It works just as well as what I had been using (John Frida Frizz-Ease Secret Weapon) but that was ranked at a 10 for dirtiest product on the Think Dirty app! I am very happy that a clean, non-toxic version exists that works just as well, if not slightly better. I actually felt my hair was softer and getting some moisture put back in, instead of just taming the frizz. If you don’t know me, I have naturally curly, thick hair. It takes a lot of juggling different combs and brushes as I blow dry, along with a flat iron to get straight hair. But the main reason I love this styling cream is that I can put it on wet hair AND dry hair! I love that it replaces TWO of my products.
This is the real deal! The only thing preventing me from putting it in the “must have” category is it’s hefty price tag of $24.95 for 1 oz. I love that I am able to use this one product on wet hair, instead of mousse and lots of anti-frizz sprays that end up drying out my hair, or making the curls crispy. My hair is still super soft and curly, without frizz. It in fact does what it says it will do! This works on both curly and straight hair. I highly recommend, but know that I received this item for free and, sadly, will not purchase when I run out of it purely due to price. Bummer.
AvaSkin Blemish Stick:
You know the Mr Clean Magic Eraser that deletes scuffs, smudges, and dirt from your walls? This is basically the same thing, but for your face! It literally works overnight. I had some blemishes and even some fading scars lingering from a couple pimples a few weeks ago. I put the stick on at night, and woke up to a very noticeable difference! After the second night, every blemish was even more faded. I’ve never experienced anything like that. AMAZING. You have to try this! And, let’s be real, most products on the market promising results like this have the highest concentrate of toxins that ultimately hurt your skin in the process. You gotta get this!
Step 2 in the skin care line is cleanser. I like this because it has a citrusy smell that reminds me of some product I used years ago but had since forgotten about. I feel like my make-up is really coming off nicely and with the added bonus of feeling refreshed. I know Ava also carries a make-up remover (which I have not tried) but between Cleanser and my tried-and-true coconut oil around my eyes, I don’t see why I would ever need anything else.
8/21 UPDATE: I can’t believe I knocked the make-up remover here! Since this post was originally posted, I “won” the entire AvaSkin skin care line (thanks to getting two bookings out of my party) and now the make-up remover is my favorite!
AvaSkin MakeUp Remover:
Step 1 in the skin care line is make-up remover. I purposely put this below the Cleanser review though, because in my original published review I hadn’t tried this product yet. Since winning it, I have used it every night and I LOVE it. I spray it on a cotton facial round and wipe away all the grit, dirt, and makeup from the day. There’s a lot of times where I’ll just do eye makeup for errands in the morning, and then do full makeup in the afternoon for work, and it’s the perfect way to freshen up between application. It’s very refreshing, and I now realize that Cleanser alone isn’t enough. I’ll even admit, that when I’ve had a rough day and just want to get in bed, I’ll just use the Makeup Remover followed by Moisturizer, and call it a day…which is still WAY better than my old bad habits of not washing my face all together!
Step 3 in the skin care line is exfoliator, which is to be used no more than every other day. This is another one of those products, like the blemish stick, where I saw noticeable improvement overnight! It has fine apricot kernels to gently smooth and buff away imperfections. I always have tiny bumps in the half-circle of my upper chin, and at the creases of my nose, and the Exfoliator helped buff those away. I may or may not be sad on the off nights that I don’t get to use this! 🙂
Step 4. I haven’t used a toner since some time in high school when I was experimenting with Mary Kay and a very short stint with ProActive. I didn’t think I needed it. As mentioned above, I “won” the AvaSkin skin care line from my online party and so now I had no excuse but to try all the products. Turns out, I love the toner! One of the best features is that it’s in a spray bottle, which makes it so very refreshing! One of my friends even stores it in the fridge and will use after a sweaty workout. While I haven’t noticed a more even tone in my skin yet, I will say that I love this step in the full cleansing process.
AvaSkin Hyaluronic Acid:
I feel like this may be the difference between good skin, and great skin. I’ve been noticing more and more than I’m confidently walking out of the house with less makeup on. Meaning, I’m not just being lazy; I’m making the decision that I just don’t need concealer and foundation. My skin has been looking younger and very clear. It’s likely a combination of all these products together, but I feel like the rejuvenating properties of the hyaluronic acid is playing a large part. This one also comes with a hefty price tag, but it’s worth it. My next item on the wish list is the COQ10 Night Serum, which is even more expensive, but apparently is a huge game-changer when using HAcid in the morning, and COQ10 at night.
Step 6. Not to be confused with the one that has SPF, this moisturizer is AWESOME! This is the product that won me over from using coconut oil or my occasional Clinique Dramatically Different moisturizer. I love the scent. I love the the lightness. I love that it actually works.
AvaSkin Moisturizer with spf:
UPDATED 12/2015: Thanks to an awesome Below the Fork reader’s comments, I was encouraged to reach out to my Ava Anderson consultant about my poor experience with the Moisturizer with spf. It turns out, Ava had a bad batch of this product late Spring/early Summer and I was one of those impacted, which is why I was having the issues with it flaking off my face (see original paragraph below.) Even though we didn’t alert Ava Anderson Home Office to this issue until 5 months later, they sent me a brand new jar of the moisturizer for FREE, no questions asked! WHAT A DIFFERENCE! This product is now one of my top favorites! It’s almost like a cold cream, and luxuriously rich. It goes on my skin so smoothly and had an immediate improvement to my dry, now Winterized, skin. This is a must-have.
ORIGINAL POST (Now Retracted): Not sure what happened here, but this product doesn’t deserve the name Ava Anderson and is the absolute worst product they sell. When you rub it in, it beads up and flakes off. Almost as if it’s dead skin. And believe me, I first blamed myself and tried to use it right after exfoliating. I even skipped the hyaluronic acid, thinking it was having some bad chemical reaction. This is severely disappointing because they do such an amazing job with the BB Cream and Sunscreen, so I really don’t understand how they let a product like this go to market. HUGE bummer and a waste of money. They need to improve this product PRONTO or stop selling it.
AvaSun Sunscreen (spf 30):
This sunscreen is the number one reason I was attracted to Ava Anderson Non-Toxic, and why I hosted a party. At the beginning of this summer, I researched sunscreen like crazy. The vast majority of what is sold in stores is complete crap. They lie about the spf, and it is chock full of endocrine interrupters, and cancer-causing ingredients, which is ironic since the very reason we all use sunscreen is to avoid skin cancer! THIS IS THE BEST ON THE MARKET! Badger goes on thick and white. Ava’s starts off whiter than than most, but then rubs in easily. It really is non-greasy and actually has a sort of dryness to it—hard to explain. Most importantly, it’s safe enough to use on your face instead of having a separate lotion. It doesn’t sting and there’s barely a scent. I fell for the ease of spraying sunscreen on the kids a few summers ago too; but it’s really bad for your skin, your lungs, and the environment. Feel really good taking a few extra minutes to rub AvaSun on your kids.
AvaSun Lip Balm with spf:
I need to take a moment here to give a shout-out to Ava Anderson’s fantastic customer service! I received the Lip Balm with spf only because there was a slight delay on my moisturizer and had to be shipped separately. I really appreciated the gesture and free gift! It also turned out to be a great gift because the #1 item I always forget when it comes to sun care are my lips! I’d go so far to say too that I deal with chapped lips more in the summer than I do in the winter. This is clear, but can be used under any lipstick or gloss.
Similar to the mascara, I want to love this product because I know it’s way better for me than my usual “dirty” toothpaste but old habits die hard! The mint just isn’t strong enough. The sensation of clean, fresh breath goes away within a few minutes of brushing my teeth. I’m also still on the fence about flouride. I’ve read the arguments against it, but I just find it way too ironic that people used to have rotting teeth fall out of their mouth, and now they do not. On the flip side, I do think this makes for an excellent first toothpaste for kids! It drives me insane that first toothpastes have fruity flavors—that’s so gross! If you start them with mint from the start, they’ll never know any different! It was a great milestone for my 5 yr old when we switched to Tom’s of Maine Mint toothpaste about 6 months ago; because believe me, his breath needed mint! Funnily enough, he agreed with me that Ava’s toothpaste isn’t minty enough. Go figure! I’m not going to let this tube go to waste though so we’ll try and still use it alternating with good ol’ Crest.
8/21 UPDATE: We went away on vacation for 2 entire weeks, and all I brought for my family was the AvaSmile Toothpaste. Without another choice, we grew to really like it. Of course my husband and 5 year-old went back to Crest and Tom’s, respectively, as soon as we got home but my 1 yr old and I have been rocking Ava. I was too quick to judge in my original review. I now recommend hiding your regular toothpaste and ONLY using Ava for at least a week before making a decision. I also received great feedback after originally publishing this review, that it’s much easier to make the switch when you’ve already been using an all-natural toothpaste. My only hesitation still is the price tag.
I love Ava Anderson Non-Toxic! If I’m being picky, I wish the prices were slightly lower and the shipping rates were significantly lower (thanks for ruining me for all other companies, Amazon Prime!) but in the grand scheme of things, your skin care products are one of the last things you should be skimping on. In fact, studies have shown that the ingredients in your skin care products are more important than your food products because your liver can detoxify what you ingest, whereas topical applications seep straight into your blood stream. Makes sense, but a shocking thought all of the same!
If you’re interested in learning more about these products, or to purchase them, please go to: http://avaandersonnontoxic.com
I also encourage you to download the Think Dirty app!!! Available on Apple and Android.