The Tree of Life


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.


Top 10 Best Carrier Oils for Skincare


Is it their high quality, nutrient rich silky-smoothness, or superior ability to moisturize dry skin that makes us love these carrier oils more? We’re not sure, but we couldn’t live without them!

Carrier oils are an important part of any budding aromatherapist’s pantry. Because of the powerful and potent nature of essential oils, they must be diluted in one or a combination of these carriers before applying to skin.

Here’s a Top 10 list of our favorite carrier oils in alphabetical order. 

1. Sweet Almond Oil:  This oil is a favorite for aromatherapists because it is suitable for all skin types. It provides great lubrication when used as a massage oil. Its light scent makes it perfect for blending into a scented body oil. Be careful it doesn’t stain your sheets when using in massage!
2. Apricot Kernel Oil: Perfect light oil for face care including moisturizing oils and serums. Can be used as a light massage oil as it is easily absorbed. Good for all skin types, especially sensitive or dry, dehydrating, or maturing skin. High in oleic and linoleic fatty acids for skin nourishment. 
3. Avocado Oil: This oil is packed with vitamins and nutrients for skin repair and healing from the outside in! It is a thicker oil, so use it in a blend of carrier oils to create a nutrient-rich body oil. 
4. Fractionated Coconut Oil: This is a light, clear, and odorless oil, making it is a great carrier for essential oils. It’s also the perfect massage oil as it provides good lubrication and nice slip against skin.
5. Hempseed Oil: Put this oil on and step into the sun! This oil has many powers, from being a natural sun block, anti-inflammatory, and even contains high amounts of Vitamin E and antioxidants.  Perfect as a light moisturizer that won’t clog your pores.  And it wouldn’t hurt to add this oil to your diet, it’s known to make skin glow, nails stronger, and hair shinier! 
6. Jojoba: Jojoba is a rich and luxurious liquid wax that is great as part of a body oil blend. It has a lightly nutty scent and is high in Vitamin E. It’s composition is similar to the skin’s natural oil, sebum. It is relatively expensive, but ideal for skin conditions and absorbs readily into skin.
7. Macadamia Oil: Macadamia is a luxurious oil that is great for especially sensitive skin. It is great for massage and moisturizing dry skin. Simply wonderful for babies!
8. Olive Oil: Olive is a good oil for skin care, especially dry skin.  It makes an excellent conditioner for hair and nails. A good oil for making soaps, salves, and herbal infusions. And easy enough to get from your local store!
9. Sesame Seed Oil:  This oil is nearly clear, with a golden hue, and is packed with Vitamin A and E. It is great in salves, lotions, and body oils for normal to dry skin types. Wonderful for aging skin like mine.
10. Sunflower OilAdd this oil to your bath or apply to wet skin after a shower.  This oil will help keep your skin soft and youthful.  It has a soft nutty smell and is light in color.  It also makes a great addition to your scrubs and massage oil blends! 

To prolong the shelf-life of your carrier oils, open several Vitamin E capsules into the oil. This acts as a natural preservative and boosts the benefits of your oils. Also keeping your oil cool or refrigerated will aid in the lifespan.

What are your favorite carrier oils and why? Comment below!

Global Oils: Far-Reaching and Universal


What’s amazing about oil is that it’s everywhere … and I’m not talking petroleum! You’ve been hearing us talk about different types of oils such as olive and essential oils, but I want to take a moment to focus on oils in general.  Let’s just start with an understanding of the magnificent usage and production of the oils derived from fruits, trees, and plants.

What do you think about this fact: People consume nearly 150 tons of oil per year. Soybean is the most produced oil in the world, followed by palm oil and many other oils that millions of people use in their daily diets and healthcare needs. Because of the multiple concerns related to soy and GMOs, we don’t use soy in our products at Abbey Brown.

Many oils are sustainable and the production methods are honorable to the people and regions that are producing the oils.  It should be a priority for producers to provide sufficient quality and quantities for the locals that traditionally utilize them. As consumers we should make conscious choices regarding the oils we are purchasing whether in foods, bath, or healthcare products. Ask yourself: What are the ingredients and where did they come from? Were they sourced with care and in a sustainable manner?

A serious concern arises when crops are compromised or adulterated, making unsustainable oil. The concern is directly related to biodiversity, soil degradation, land rights, the local people and the ecosystem; it is troubling. Above all, be a diligent consumer. Read labels, look for certifications, and always ask questions.

COMING SOON: Knowing your oils – Ingredient spotlights on many oils that we use everyday from coconut to shea butter and more.

Would you like to hear more about topics like these? Leave a comment and let us know!