The seaweed used in Phoenix & Providence skincare is foraged from the shores of my island home, just one hundred metres from where the products are made.
Different varieties of seaweed
The beautifully clear waters of the Isles of Scilly are home to a rich and diverse marine life and one of the only places in the UK you can find seagrass beds. As well as providing a habitat for secretive seahorses and snake-lock anemones, seagrass can absorb and hold up to thirty five times more carbon than the equivalent area of rainforest.
Alongside marine life and seagrass you can find an abundance of seaweed. Many different varieties can be found around the islands from the long strands of sugar kelp growing in deep waters, to the delicate fronds of feather weed and the favoured edible varieties of sea lettuce and purple laver. The variety of seaweed I harvest is bladderwrack. Bladderwrack is in plentiful supply at low tide meaning it can be sustainably sourced without any concern of over harvesting.
Method of seaweed harvesting
I harvest the seaweed using scissors, trimming the plant to allow regrowth, and transport the bladderwrack home using my trusty wheelbarrow. As I use this method of harvesting seaweed on the Isles of Scilly the Marine Management Organisation confirmed I do not need a license. Only if I use mechanical means of harvesting the seaweed, such as with a quad and trailer, would a seaweed harvesting license be required.
The bladderwrack seaweed is dried on my purpose-built seaweed drying racks. The drying process can take anywhere from a couple of days to a week depending on the weather conditions. I have learnt that it is important to remove the seaweed from the racks at the optimum point of dehydration having been caught out by the morning dew on more than one occasion!
The dried seaweed is infused for a full lunar cycle in cold pressed organic oils. This method was inspired by the age old practice of herbal maceration. Herbs are dried and infused in a carrier oil for a period of time, allowing the oil to soak up the herb’s constituents. The active constituents in plants are the chemicals that have a medicinal effect on the body.
In the case of my seaweed infusions the cold pressed oils are soaking up all the beneficial properties of the seaweed. Seaweed is packed with vitamins K, B, A, and E, that help improve skin tone, texture, and elasticity. High in Vitamin C, these natural antioxidants promote collagen production which help plump skin and smooth fine lines. Packed full of humectants seaweed is also beneficial as it helps skin hydrate and retain moisture.
After one month the seaweed is drained from the oil, leaving behind a beautifully nutrient rich ingredient base for all Phoenix & Providence skincare.