Elixir Collective No. 20 ~ Citrus Cream

The September Elixir Collective featured the Limited Batch Citrus Cream, based on a traditional Thai shampoo recipe and crafted entirely with Hawaii grown ingredients. Following is an excerpt of the note that accompanied each package along with a video of behind-the-scenes alchemy that went into this elixir. Citrus Cream is available seasonally for purchase here. 

Woven into every culture is a rich tapestry of wellness rituals — age-old practices to worship our bodies with the plants growing around us. While many of my creations involve intuition and experimentation, I always find wisdom and inspiration in the recipes of yesteryear that have long been passed down. As usual, some of the best-kept secrets are not written in books, but rather are kept alive through family traditions and found in some of the more remote and exotic places on the planet. This month’s offering is my take on a beloved recipe from Thailand, by way of a friend who traveled there and experienced a magical shampoo made from one very special local ingredient: Kaffir Lime!

These special citrus fruits, which smell akin to sweet lime, have long been revered in Thailand for their ability to encourage healthy hair growth. Not only does Kaffir leave the hair soft, smooth and shiny, but it stimulates growth and works as a great remedy for dandruff. While I’ve gathered a few different variations on its use, all the methods I encountered feature this strangely bumpy skinned, vibrantly aromatic lime as a beloved way to wash the hair. Several recipes also infused Butterfly Pea Flower, a brilliant blue-purple bloom that releases a gorgeous indigo color when soaked in water. Amongst their long list of benefits, Butterfly Pea Flowers help encourage growth for a thick, healthy mane.

Because I sought the most authentic experience, I followed a Thai recipe of what seems to be the most popular traditional style. Citrus Cream consists of only two ingredients, and I was able to source both from the North Shore of Oahu! All of the Kaffir Limes came from Lokoea Farms in Haleiwa, while the fresh Butterfly Pea flowers were grown nearby at Petal to the Mettle Farm in Waialua. First I cleaned the limes thoroughly, chopped them into quarters, and simmered them for two hours until soft. After letting them cool to room temperature, I blended the cooked limes with water and strained the mixture through cheesecloth. I then heated the Butterfly Pea Flowers in water to bring out that bright blue color; because the flowers are acid-sensitive, the tea turned purple as soon as it touched the lime cream! I brought the whole mixture to a boil and bottled it hot, then cooled off the bottles with cold water — these last steps were to aid in preservation. 

Citrus Cream can be used in a few different ways, depending on your preference. Try it as a rinse in addition to your usual hair care routine, as a substitute for your normal shampoo or conditioner, or to replace both shampoo and conditioner! You can also mix it 1:1 with your regular shampoo to add some suds (since it won’t suds up on its own). I personally have been loving it as the sole product to wash and condition my hair — it feels so invigorating on the scalp, and has been leaving my locks softer than ever. Start with a quarter size amount, and work through wet hair while bathing; use more as needed to cover all your strands from root to tip. Give your scalp some extra love by really massaging it in with small circular motions. Once your mane feels thoroughly covered, rinse clean and follow up with your favorite post-shower hair care (for me that consists of coconut oil and Tropical Locks). Work it into your regular washing routine, or incorporate once a week to replenish and help remove buildup from products. This concoction can last up to six months, but I recommend storing in the fridge if you’re using it infrequently. Make sure to fully breathe in that invigorating citrus aroma — as long as it smells just as fresh, Citrus Cream is still at its best!