New Season, New Growth

knowThere is something wonderful about renewed energy, the new growth in the garden, lighter clothing- it brings smiling faces to our landscape.

New to our garden this year is fennel; we just adore fennel and all that it brings. It’s feathery and tall, often called the licorice plant, praised for its medicinal use dating back to ancient Babylon where the seeds were eaten as a digestive aid.fennel_1591785c

Emotionally stimulating, bringing energy, enlivens self-motivations.

In vapor therapy, fennel oil is used as an appetite stimulant in cases of anorexia, and to boost courage and strength in the face of adversity.

Fennel oil can be used in massage oil or diluted in the bath for helping a bloated stomach, colic, constipation and other digestive problems. It also acts as a diuretic, to remove excess water and to start breaking down cellulite.

Fennel offers ideal skin healing qualities and can be helpful for general skin care, especially for dispersing bruises, livening a dull complexion, clearing oily skin, and fighting wrinkles in mature skin.

Fennel_seedFennel oil can be used as a single note and blends well with geranium, lavender, rose and sandalwood.

*Take precaution: Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) essential oil can over stimulate the nervous system so ingesting the seeds instead would be beneficial.


Here are some wonderful recipes using fennel:

Energy Tea
4 parts Fennel Seed
3 parts Licorice Root
2 parts Yellow Dock Root
1 part Psyllium Seed
1 part Senna
Combine the herbs, prepare a decoction and enjoy the energy flow in.

Respiratory Tonic
4 parts Fennel
4 parts Rose Hips
2 parts Lemongrass
1 part Calendula
1 part Mullein
1 part Clover Flowers

Massage Cellulite Buster Oil Blend
7 drops Juniper Berry
7 drops Lemon
5 drops Basil
5 drops Atlas Cedarwood
7 drops Bitter Orange
5 drops Fennel
5 drops Cypress
5 drops Pink Grapefruit

Adding this blend to your favorite carrier oil helps assist your body in eliminating the toxins and built-up deposits.


Aloe Vera Juice Recipes


Aloe vera is healing both inside and out. The juice of the aloe plant has been used since ancient times for internal, medicinal, and topical treatments.

Aloe treats sunburn, moisturizes dry skin, hair, and scalp, fights stretch marks and aging skin, aids in digestion and gum disease, treats acne, insect bites, psoriasis, eczema, blisters, bruises-the list goes on. It’s essentially a cure all for skin issues and is often used internally* due to its anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-oxidant properties.

2GENTLE Combine 4 tablespoons of partially ground oatmeal with 2 tablespoons of aloe vera juice and 2 tablespoons of honey. Apply to clean face and neck, using gentle circular motions and avoiding the eyes. Leave on for a minute or two then rinse with warm water and pat dry. The oatmeal will have exfoliated away dead skin while the honey cleansed your pores and the aloe moisturized your skin.

3gentleMix 1 tablespoon of aloe vera juice with 1 tablespoon of the juice of a lemon, lime or orange. Apply to a clean face using a cotton ball or your fingers. The citrus juice will tighten the pores while the aloe moisturizes and both ingredients cleanse oily skin. Be sure to wash your face if you are going out in the sun as the citrus juice will cause your skin to burn.

Don’t know how to juice an aloe plant? Check out this video. It gives a little history and explains internal usage as well.

*Always consult a health care professional before beginning any internal regimen.

Deb Talks: NEW Weekend Workshops!

EventWe have listened to many students with varying interests ask about combining our classes into one series. We have heard you and now we are in motion! We will be offering new weekend workshops starting in March. During the weekend lab we’ll teach all the fundamentals of soap making, kitchen tips and tricks, with two action packed days of exploring coloring soaps, effects and texturing, healing salves and infusions, troubleshooting and so much more.

The weekend workshop is great for beginners who have never experienced working through the process and those who have and want to perfect their skills. We are excited to offer this lab for the first time at a great value! The lab is limited to 6 soapers so if all this sounds like something that screams out to you, sign up or get on the waiting list since it’s going to be awesome!  Click on the “Class Schedule” tab at the top of the screen for more information and to sign up!


Natural Home Cleaning

recWhen we choose to use commercial products from the big box store two things happen. 1) We support the companies that don’t care about the effects on you and your intimate environment; and 2) we spend needless funds on commercial products that harm the environment at large, causing toxic effects that can create multiple problems around you. A few simple ingredients can help you create natural cleaning aids that work just as well or better than those plastic bottles we have stored throughout our homes.
Making Furniture Polish
There are a few ingredients that in combination make great furniture polish; olive oil, lemon juice or lemon essential oil, and vinegar.
Recipe for varnished wood:
1/2 cup olive oil
10 drops lemon essential oil
Rub a small amount onto furniture with a clean cloth and polish with another cloth until dry.
For extra cleaning power, combine white vinegar in equal parts with lemon juice. Wipe on and dry off.

vinfuseBy now we all know the best and easiest natural counter top cleaner is a simple mix of water, vinegar, and baking soda.  And I’m not here to disagree.  Below is a recipe to enhance this simplistic recipe, and make a wonderful smelling cleaner that will make you forget you are even using vinegar.

What you need:
12 oz water
6 oz vinegar
Dried Herbs (I used rosemary, lemon verbena, and orange peel)
30 drops lemon essential oil
15 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops pine essential oil
Spray Bottle
Mason Jar

1) Take 6 oz of white vinegar and pour into a mason jar.  Fill the remainder of the jar with your favorite dried herbs or flowers.   For my recipe I used lemon verbena (my favorite!), orange peel, and rosemary.  Let vinegar infuse for at least 1 week – shake up once a day.
2) Strain your vinegar and add essential oils.
3) Use a funnel to combine the water and vinegar solution into a spray bottle. Shake to mix.

And there you go! You’re ready to clean.  You can use this to make a paste to use on dirty sinks and tubs too.  Simply mix 1/3 cup baking soda and 1 tablespoon of your cleaner.  What are some of your favorite natural cleaning solutions?  Comment below!

Soothing Menthol Crystal Recipes

mentholAhhhh… The cooling and refreshing effects of Menthol Crystals can offer temporary pain relief of sore muscle tissues. When used externally they provide a local anesthetic, which gives a cool, numbing sensation as it penetrates the skin.

These interesting looking crystals are sourced from India and are extracted from mint leaves using a freezing technique.

They are so concentrated that a few crystals will make a strong and powerful formula. Take note when working with them: be careful to wear protective eye-wear and limit your inhalation- they are strong!


Cooling Foot Soak

*Please use gloves when handling Menthol Crystals – as to not transfer from hands to eyes or other sensitive parts of your body.

4 oz Epsom Salt
4 oz Fine Dead Sea Salt
.20 oz Menthol Crystals
40 Drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
40 Drops Lemon Essential Oil

Add all the ingredients above into a food processor. Mix or pulse until all ingredients are fine ground. Store in jar or zip lock baggy. Clean Food Processor thoroughly.

Please note that the amount of menthol crystals in this recipe are the perfect amount for a foot soak, but will be too strong to be used as a body soak. We recommend 1% or less of menthol crystals in body soaks, as to not irritate or cause discomfort on sensitive areas.

Soothing Menthol Muscle Salve

2 tablespoon coconut oil =1oz
2 tablespoon shea butter = 1oz
2 tablespoon beeswax= 1oz
4 tablespoons almond oil = 2oz
1.2 teaspoon menthol crystals= .2oz
40 drops sweet birch essential oil
30 drops eucalyptus essential oil
20 drops rosemary essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil

1) Start by measuring your coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax into a small container and melting the oils on low heat.



2) When the oils have melted, remove from heat and stir in the menthol crystals until dissolved. Be sure to keep your face away from the mixture as to not irritate your eyes or nose.



3) When the crystals are dissolved, stir in the almond oil, followed by your essential oil.


4) Pour your mixture into a container with a lid for storage, but allow to cool before capping. Keep in refrigerator to maintain texture and shelf-life.

IMG_9179[1]  IMG_9186[1]

Massage a small amount onto sore muscles and joints for soothing relief. Wash your hands after and avoid face, eyes, and other sensitive areas. This recipe makes a mild salve that should be suitable for most skin types, even sensitive skin. You may increase the percentage of menthol crystals for stronger potency, but increase slowly to ensure your skin’s tolerance. We have encountered recipes ranging from 3%-20% menthol crystals, this recipe starts at 4%.


Olive Oil Continued – Salt Scrub


One of my favorite things to have handy in the bathroom all year-round is a salt scrub.  So simple to make and so useful to exfoliate dry hands, feet, elbows, knees and more!  Here is a great go-to recipe for personal use and gift giving!


1.  First I gather all my ingredients together.  For this recipe, I used:

  • 16 oz – Fine Ground Salt
  • 1 oz – Olive Oil
  • ½ oz – Essential Oil

2.  The salt I used is a beautiful Velvet Ground Breton Organic Grey Sea Salt (that was a mouth full!) Its texture is similar to sand, but lighter and softer.  There are a ton of different salts out there, so work within your budget and needs.  If you only have coarse salt around, grind it down to a fine consistency that will work well in a scrub.  Weigh out your salt and olive oil in a large bowl and mix together.  Find an essential oil or blend of oils to add to your salt.  I added my favorite blend of lemon verbena, sweet orange, and honeysuckle.  The way I always describe this blend is bright, but homey.  This is your part to get creative.  Let me know what blend you would use with this recipe!

3.  You can leave the recipe at that or you can add something to make it a little more special.  I decided to go with ground rose petals.  Other great additives are ground oats, lavender petals, ground seaweed, or orange powder.  Keep in mind what essential or fragrance oil you are using and how it all fits together.

4.  As you can see I only added a few pinches of rose petals.  I didn’t want it to overpower the blend, or be too messy in the sink when I use it.  It adds some little specks of color in my salt as well.

5.  If you’re making this for yourself, put it in a zip lock bag or mason jar and store in a dry place.  Or find a cute jar and gift this salt scrub!

6.  We always have cute jars and containers around our Abbey Brown shop.  I found this mini milk jar that was the perfect size for my 16oz salt scrub.  Tie a cute tag on with twine or wraphia and these make the perfect wedding favors or hostess gift!

- Kristina

Olive Oil in Skincare: Where Quality Trumps Novelty

We believe in using olive oil because it is an awesome beneficial remedy for skincare. Olive oil comes from the fruit of olive trees, which are mainly grown in the Mediterranean. They produce an incredible fat that is high in oleic acid, with a balance of omega-6 fats and omega-3 fats, vitamin E and oleuropein, a powerful antioxidant.  The ingestion and topical application of olive oil is good for skin and health. Grecians use olive oil for everything including, massage, preventive for sports injuries, to relieve muscle fatigue, and eliminate lactic acid buildup.

At my company, Abbey Brown, we use olive oil in every bar of soap.  In fact, each bar is 58% olive oil. We want to share a few of our favorite olive oil recipes.  I hope you enjoy and don’t forget to leave feedback!



Olive Oil in Haircare

We all know that olive oil makes a great salad dressing, a heart healthy cooking oil, and a drizzle over some hummus makes the perfect snack, but did you know that olive oil is also beneficial for you on the outside? When used in haircare, olive oil can strengthen, moisturize, and smooth your hair, preventing breakage, increasing shine, and stimulating flexibility.

So you don’t want to look, or smell, like you are massaging your scalp with cooking oil? No problem! Follow this recipe for a quick at home Conditioning Hair Treatment that smells great with the added benefits of essential oils.

Start with…

¼ cup of Olive Oil

Add in…

3-6 drops of essential oil

Dry hair? Try Lavender essential oil. “Normal” hair (whatever that means!), try Rosemary. If your hair is naturally oily, you might not find this treatment necessary, but an olive oil cleanse can be beneficial for even your hair type. Try a few drops of Lemon essential oil to balance out the oiliness of the olive oil. Not sure what hair type you have or does it seem to change? Rosemary essential oil is perfect for all hair types, and works great for scalp conditions and dandruff as well.

Use about two tablespoons of your scented olive oil on damp to wet hair. Start at the scalp, using massage to stimulate blood flow. Work through the roots and lastly through the ends of your hair. Leave on hair for at least 5 minutes, longer is better. Shampoo twice to remove oil. Still oily? Enjoy this extra hydration as the conditioning treatment continues to work, maybe a day or two, until washing out entirely! Everyone’s hair is different and more porous hair types might soak up the oil better than others.

Save the extra 2 tablespoons of oil in a small airtight container in the refrigerator and use within two weeks for a follow-up treatment.