As we say goodbye to our interns and send them on their long way home, we want to express the joy they brought into our lives and workplace. Having interns seems like a lot of work…and it is; it takes us away from our day to day, there are language barriers, much time is spent teaching and sharing information. However, what these interns bring to the table is an abundance of energy, eagerness to learn and a fresh eye on any subject matter. This year we were blessed with Camille and Arnaud from France who spent the last two months in our Abbey Brown family. When they arrived they looked a bit overwhelmed, as did I, but we settled in and got down to the core of what they needed to accomplish as well as what we could learn from their valued insight. I thank them for that and everything they brought, especially their new ideas and thoughtfulness. It was awesome. We look forward to next year’s interns. This being only our second year of doing this program, I am delighted with the caliber of the program and students and what each of us has learned. To Camille and Arnaud we say Chapeau, Merci Beaucoup & Au Revoir.
Spearmint, or Mentha spicata, is mellow, refreshing, with a sweet, sharp, pleasantly pungent flavor backed by hints of lemon. Use this refreshing herb in a variety of dishes to reap the benefits of its rich nutritional profile or to punch up a nice summer salad. The fiber in mint leaves offers many health benefits, including helping to reduce cholesterol levels.
Spearmint has healing qualities as well; it promotes calmness and balance, helping to release emotional blocks. It is useful for balancing dry skin, used as an astringent or antiseptic. Spearmint is an anti-inflammatory.
Spearmint has gray-green or dark green leaves and stems and pink flowers. When choosing spearmint, whether from your grocer, farmers market or your own garden, look for evenly colored, fresh-looking leaves with no signs of wilting or discoloration at the edges.
Store your fresh mint in the refrigerator, where it should keep fresh for several days. Dried mint should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place, where it will keep fresh for about nine to twelve months.
(Note: Women should avoid spearmint essential oil during pregnancy.)
Happy Father’s Day with a nice shaving gift for the man’s man. We just made a fresh batch of shaving soap. They fit so nicely in handcrafted scuttles by MoonStar and a natural bristle brush.
Because the best Dad deserves the best natural shave.
Shaving Soaps: $8
Many of our products make great gifts for men. Especially our Man’s Man line up of Olive Oil soaps!
We 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!
It’s that time of the year again- the holiday season. It’s our busiest time of the year! Our products make great gifts so our shop and website are busy with customers while we haul our goods to local shows. We just haven’t found the time to write a blog post recently, but here’s what we’ve been up to…
The One-of-A-Kind Show
Now that the One-of-a-Kind Show is over we can all hunker down and look back on what we did for the show.
We always think that we contribute a nice local feel to the show along with over 600 artists that sell everything from high-end pieces to everyday use items.
We work extremely hard getting everything ready; it’s our largest show of the season and it takes all hands on deck to make sure we have a good representation of Abbey Brown products. We spend up to the last minute packaging by hand, making sure all of the bows are nicely done and everything looks supreme including our booth. Why I love doing this show so much is it allows me to see all the people that we normally see throughout the year all in one place around the holidays. We have a wonderful time at OOAK and I can’t express how fortunate we are to be included.
Not only is Abbey Brown represented, many companies that we provide private label products for are there as well so it’s a win-win for everybody. You can really sense the customer loyalty for supporting local goods. We’d like to thank all of our customers, the new and the long-timers, for coming out to see us at OOAK. Can’t wait for next year!
Ahhhh… 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.
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%.
Shea butter is derived from the nut within the fruit of a wild grown tree in the savannah regions of East and West Africa. It’s a tree with many names, sometimes known as the Shea tree, the Mangifolia Tree, or our favorite, the Karité tree, which means the “Tree of Life”. The tree produces fruit once a year and lives for 300 years. Shea Butter has been used traditionally for cooking, healing, and personal care within tribes that produce it long before its introduction to the global cosmetic and food industry.
The production of shea butter is intensive! First the fruits are harvested, the nuts extracted, boiled, dried, sorted, crushed, roasted, cooled, and milled. The pulp is mixed with cold water, kneaded, separated, boiled, purified, solidified and packaged. The result is a pale yellow butter with a slightly nutty scent.
After it is shipped to our door we use this precious butter as part of our soap base for all of our soaps, an ingredient in our Shea Balms, Body Butters, and Lip Balms. Its healing, moisturizing, and hypo-allergenic properties make it an essential part of our recipes to soothe dry or sensitive skin.
While we love shea butter and its beneficial properties for the skin, the soap and cosmetic industries only use a fraction of shea butter produced. Interestingly, it is the chocolate industry that uses the most shea butter!
There are so many reasons to use shea butter every day. It soothes dry and itchy skin, rashes, cracking, sunburn, and peeling. It softens rough skin like on your heels and elbows! It relieves muscle tension and aches through massage. Shea butter heals skin damage from cold, frost bite, wind, stretch marks, and wrinkles. It is also perfect for treating skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, small wounds and burns.
Not all shea butters are created equal! Be aware of refined and processed shea butters. Some are deodorized and/or bleached and sold at markets where they can be adulterated with lesser quality additives.
We’re excited to present our very first Abbey Brown Soap Artisan blog!
When we aren’t busy whipping up new recipes and old favorites, selling our products at one of our three locations, or running the day to day operations of our small, woman-owned business, we LOVE to research, read, and learn about what is new in the world of bath and body. We care about our skin and yours, and hope that this blog will both teach and inspire our readers to feel the same! We encourage YOU to comment, ask questions, even email us pictures of your creations and we’ll post them up!
Check back for weekly posts about current topics in soap, bath, body, skincare, health, herbalism, aromatherapy, and MORE! We’ll share tips, tools, recipes, tutorials, and all of our tried and true favorites, from herbs to essential oils. What are you interested in? Suggest a topic!
Ever wonder why we use Olive Oil in our soaps? Or just HOW we turn all that oil into a bar of soap?? Interested in aromatherapy and want to know what essential oils every aspiring aromatherapist should own? Love to make simple and fresh skincare products at home and need some go to recipes? We’ll share it all and then some!