Elixir Collective No. 18 ~ Afterglow Potion
The July Elixir Collective offered a vibrantly 'fresh' serum ~ Afterglow Potion ~ in a 2 oz bottle as an exclusive batch item. The following details were sent to subscribers alongside this supercharged serum:
Throughout the realm of elixir alchemy, there is one type of potion that I seldom dare to create: lotions! Why, might you ask, are they such a challenge? Lotions are special (and especially tricky to make) because they intermingle oil and water — two substances that are otherwise found at an arms’ length from one another — into a temporary ‘suspension’ of their molecules known as an emulsion. Oil always sits on top of water because of what’s known in chemistry as polarity: water molecules are ‘charged’ (polar) while oil molecules are not charged (nonpolar), and for this reason each is only attracted to itself. To force them into playing nice, a molecule that has both nonpolar and polar aspects can act as an intermediary and bring them together on a micro level.
While many conventional lotions (and pretty much any store-bought moisturizer that lists both water and oil in the ingredients) use some sort of chemical emulsifier, they are not required when the conditions are just right. Very specific ratios of ingredients, at the exact same temperatures, mixed in a particular way can intersperse oil and water (or rather, suspend molecules of one into the other); when combined flawlessly, they won’t separate out — they’ll stick together.
The height of summer feels like the time of year when lotions are ideal: because of their dual nature, they are inherently lighter on the skin and absorb easily without feeling heavy. The Afterglow Potion was conceived to be the perfect aftersun care formulation — every ingredient within this velvety smooth serum is there to help your skin repair from long days in the sun. Apply liberally to your face and sun-exposed areas of the body in the evening before bed. Please note that while this elixir can be used on sunburns and any other type of minor burn, proper burn protocol is crucial. Do not use any type of oil (including the Afterglow Potion) on sunburns or acute burns for the first 24 hours to avoid ‘sealing in’ heat. Run cool water over a newly afflicted area for 20 minutes, and only apply aloe vera (ideally the gel from a fresh leaf) or honey directly over the burn. Afterglow Potion can be used on sunburns the following day, when the skin no longer feels hot to the touch!
Packed within this vibrant orange potion is a plethora of burn-repairing, skin-regenerating, inflammation-soothing botanicals. Organic Calendula blossoms and Turmeric rhizomes from the North Shore of Oahu and fresh Comfrey leaves from my own garden were infused into Maui Sunflower and organic extra virgin California Olive oils to serve as the herbal base. Calendula has long been beloved for its soothing properties, and the antioxidants within its petals speed all types of healing and calm the epidermis. Comfrey contains a compound called allantoin, known for its ability to encourage the growth of new skin cells, while research suggests that curcumin, an active component of Turmeric, helps burns repair faster and also reduces associated pain. Both Sunflower and Olive oils have been shown in studies to accelerate the regeneration of burned skin, while moisturizing and enhancing the complexion.
I also incorporated two extra potent organic oils — Tamanu and Sea Buckthorn Berry — that both possess a reputation for their medicinal effects. Tamanu, a deep green oil, originates in the South Pacific and is used there widely as a first aid panacea, including for burns. The beautiful hue of your Potion is attributed almost entirely to Sea Buckthorn Berry, which yields a deep crimson red oil that boosts collagen synthesis, improves skin tone, and soothes skin irritated from the sun. I’ve also witnessed the miracles this single oil can perform at reducing or eliminating sun spots!
As for the aqueous ingredients, I selected a steam-distilled Aloe Vera juice and organic Lavandin (a unique variety of Lavender) hydrosol, plus organic Lavender essential oil. Aloe (in pure form) is generally considered the best immediate treatment for burns, due to its circulation-encouraging, antibacterial, skin-renewing properties. Lavender enhances collagen formation, speeds wound healing, and also reduces pain at the receptor site (making it useful for painful burns).
Organic, fair trade Shea & Cacao butters and Hawaiian Honey and Beeswax all act as natural emulsifiers in Afterglow Potion. Shea and Cacao are two of my favorite ingredients for their abilities to deeply nourish the skin, improve elasticity, and restore nutrients to your complexion after a long day at the beach. Raw Hawaiian Honey is a humectant, meaning it helps the skin retain moisture (ideal for cooling sunburns), and its antimicrobial properties act as a mild preservative. Beeswax adds its own hydrating properties, and plays a crucial role of holding the formula together and stabilizing the more fragile ingredients for an overall longer shelf life.
Because of the delicate nature of water-in-oil emulsions, they are best enjoyed as quickly as possible: the Afterglow Potion should be considered a ‘fresh’ elixir and will only last for about six weeks. Keep it in the fridge to maximize its life, only touch the dropper with clean hands, and avoid getting water in the bottle. Please take note of the scent when you first receive it: as soon as the smell changes, or if you notice anything funky appearing within, it is no longer beneficial for your skin. My hope is that you will use it up quickly and enjoy every last drop while it’s still glowing with nutrients!