The Wondersmith
Rewarding curiosity and gifting magic all over the Pacific Northwest
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This blog is an exploration of daily magic, featuring wild plants, creative recipes, meaningful ceremonies, and writings about our shared humanity. 

Welcome to the Wondersmith's Writings! Here you can find magical recipes featuring foraged ingredients, musings on food and ceremony, and meaningful rituals to explore your own everyday magic. Don't forgot to subscribe if you'd like to get a notification anytime I post a bit more magic! And if you'd like to support my goal to spread magic far and wide, consider contributing to my patreon program!

Wildflower Amber Facial Serum

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The way the sun shines through the heavy air this time of year reminds me of amber, a gemstone imbued with thousands of years of lore and magic. Amber was revered by ancient Greeks and Romans, who believed it was the essence of sun rays that had dropped into the sea during sunset, hardened, and then washed up upon the shore. Ancient Greek poets wrote of amber as being relics of the tears of grieving tree-nymphs. Other poets saw them as the tears of exotic birds or the solidified urine of a lynx. Still more prescribed amber as a magical remedy, viewing it as the glowing essence of the brilliant rays of the setting sun. Even The Odyssey by Homer holds a reference to this golden gem: 

“Eurymachus

Received a golden necklace, richly wrought,

And set with amber beads, that glowed as if

With sunshine. To Eurydamas there came

A pair of ear-rings, each a triple gem, 

Daintily fashioned and of exquisite grace. 

Two servants bore them.” 

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No matter the story, this glowing yellow gem formed from fossilized tree sap was honored and treasured in many ancient cultures. It was one of the first substances used by man for decoration; no doubt its shimmery golden color captured the eye of some of our earliest ancestors. It’s no wonder that amber has long been viewed as magical - what other gem captures the details of ancient plants and insects in such crystal-clear clarity? What else appears to glow with captured sunbeams and feels so gently warm upon the skin? 

This facial serum is inspired by that gentle warmth and glow so present in chunks of amber. It’s made of rich oils blended together, then infused with the healing and soothing properties of late summer’s golden flowers. The balance is gentle, soothing, and not too oily - a balanced blend suitable for many skin types. A few drops of this liquid gold go a long way. Just rub a tiny bit onto your face after a bath or shower and you’ll experience those soothing results for yourself! The recipe below allows you to make your own, but if you'd rather purchase a bottle to try out (instead of making a big batch), I do still have a couple available in my Emporium

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Each ingredient in this serum has a purpose, so I thought I’d give a brief summary of their function as I list the amounts. For each ingredient, I’ve listed two amounts: one if you’re making a large batch to give to friends, and the second in parentheses for a small approx 1 1/2 oz bottle. Also, this post contains Affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase the ingredients listed. You can learn more about this program on my disclaimers page

6 oz. (or 2 Tbs. ) Sweet Almond Oil: This gentle oil is easily absorbed and won’t clog pores, making it the perfect base for this nourishing face serum. Pressed nut oils date back to Biblical times, when they were infused with herbs to create ointments. Almond oil is particularly good for infusions, which is why it’ll be infused with healing flowers before being mixed with all of the other ingredients. 

1/2 c. (or 1 Tbs.) dried Calendula Petals: The yellow or orange petals of this daisy-like plant have also been used for centuries as a very gentle and healing herb, from the rituals of the Romans to the beauty treatments of Ancient Egyptians. It lowers inflammation and provides antioxidants. It’s also well-known for soothing irritated skin conditions and rashes. 

1/4 c. (or 2 tsp.) dried Pineapple Weed Flowers: This wild relative of chamomile with a pleasant herbal pineapple-like scent has many of its same properties: anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic. It’s also very calming and soothing to red or reactive skin. 

1/3 c. (or 2 tsp.) dried Elderflowers: These creamy flowers have long been used in skincare recipes for their softening, anti-inflammatory, and beautifying properties. They are especially well-known for rejuvenating older skin and reducing fine lines. 

First, infuse the Sweet Almond Oil with the dried flowers for 4-6 weeks, then strain. Mix the resulting oil with: 

2 oz (or 2 tsp.) Rose Hip Seed Oil: Pressed from the small seeds inside rosehips, this oil is high in antioxidants, especially Vitamin C. It regenerates the skin, as well as helps to protect it from the sun (though it is not a substitution for wearing sunscreen!) It helps to repair damaged skin such as burns, scars, eczema, etc. 

1 oz (or 1 tsp.) Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil: Derived from the seeds of the sea buckthorn berry, this oil has been used cosmetically for centuries. (You can find references to it in ancient Tibetan texts and Greek mythology.) The oil itself should be dark in color, a deep rich orange or red but be warned - it can stain skin when used alone but is deeply nourishing when used in a blend. It penetrates and hydrates and is well-known for its ability to relieve inflammation and redness. It’s super high in vitamins C and E and other phytonutrients. It also contains all Omega fatty acids.

4 oz (or 1 Tbs. + 1 tsp.) Jojoba Oil: This oil makes a great basis for a serum, since it locks in moisture to help your skin feel hydrated all day. It leaves a gentle barrier on your skin to protect it from toxins and contaminants. It goes on smoothly and is deeply moisturizing. It’s also antibacterial, which helps control acne. 

7 drops (or 1 drop) Ylang Ylang Essential Oil: This heady floral scent is very soothing, and is sometimes considered an aphrodisiac. It smells floral and exotic and can often be found in luxury spa products. It is balancing and gentle and helps irritated skin from sun damage or breakouts.

25 drops (or 4 drops) Frankincense Essential Oil: This resinous essential oil has been treasured since ancient times. It’s no wonder since in addition to being uplifting and pleasant, it’s also anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and slightly astringent (among many other wonderful qualities.) It helps to gently tighten and rid the skin of acne-causing bacteria. 

10 drops (or 2 drops) Lavender Essential Oil: This pungent essential oil is best used for its relaxing effects. It’s also sometimes used to soothe headaches or migraines and in products designed to help you sleep. 

6 drops (or 1 drop) Grapefruit Essential Oil: This oil is uplifting and happy, giving a nice balance to the scent blend created so far! It blends it all together into a custom scent that will be both relaxing and uplifting, perfect for morning or evening.  

5 capsules (or 1 capsule) Vitamin E Oil: This rich oil helps to soften and heal the skin, but also acts as a natural preservative so that your serum will last longer.

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Directions: 

  1. Mix together the dried flowers and flower petals (note: you should always use dried plants when infusing in oil since the moisture content of fresh plants can make the oil spoil over time.) Cover them with the sweet almond oil and let infuse for 4-6 weeks.
  2. Strain the oil from the flowers and add the rest of the oils and essential oils. Pour the serum into clean serum bottles, leaving a little room at the top so it doesn't overflow when you add the topper.
  3. Your serum is now ready! To use, just dab a couple of drops in your palms after a bath or shower, in the morning, or before going to sleep at night and gently rub into your skin. 

Now is a great time to bottle up some of summer's soft light to nourish dried skin all winter... so raid your cupboards, gardens, and farmers markets for some healing florals and start brewing a batch! 

I hope you've enjoyed this post. As always, it is supported by my wonderful Patrons, who make it possible for me to take the time to write, photograph, and share these educational articles for free so all of you can benefit. If you'd like to learn more about this program and sign up as a contributor, you can do so on my Patron Page!

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