DIY Facial Serum and Beard Oil
(This is a post from my dear friend, Jill, who helps around the blog and has written super helpful posts here in the past: See all of Jill’s posts here, including more like these: Homemade Deodorant Powder, 6 Elements of Nutrient Dense Foods, How Real Foodies Care for Their Loved Ones with Cancer, and How to Fight Depression and Anxiety Naturally. Note that there are affiliate links below to help support the blog, but the cost is the same for you. Here’s Jill…)
After I learned how to make my own cleansing grains and facial toner, I began making my own facial creams. They *usually* turned out well (and when they didn't I could *usually* fix them), and I loved the fact that I could customize my formula and that it never had creepy, synthetic chemical ingredients.
However, when it comes to facial moisturizers I've seen the light…
I now prefer facial oil serums over creams, and here's why:
- It’s much easier to make a serum than a cream. There is no special skill or careful process or equipment required to ensure successful emulsifying of oil and water based ingredients, as there is with making creams and lotions. ANYONE can make a serum.
- Along the same lines, whenever water-based ingredients are involved, there is a potential for bacteria or mold contamination, and the product must either be used quickly enough to beat the microbes, refrigerated, or preserved. The problem with preservatives (which inhibit microbial growth in the water-based portion) is that I have yet to find one that I would eat. Since much of what is put on our skin can absorb into our bodies, I make it a point to avoid applying topical products with even remotely toxic ingredients.
- My skin actually feels the best when I use serums as opposed to creams. Maybe it’s the fact that serums don’t contain wax (moisturizing creams usually contain either beeswax or emulsifying wax), or maybe my skin just absorbs straight oils better than it does oil and water emulsions. Customers who buy my serums say the same thing: their skin just feels better and glows more, regardless of what skin type they have.
I was first introduced to serums through Crunchy Betty’s super simple 3-ingredient facial oil moisturizer recipe, but I wanted to elaborate a little more for my formula.
I like her idea of combining one base oil with one nourishing/treatment oil, but I also like having room for more options. In my own products (which I sell at our local farmer's market), I use at least 4 oils per serum, not including essential oils, because I don’t want to limit myself to the benefits offered by only a couple oils. Of course you can use as few or as many as you like in yours.
How to make a DIY Facial Serum and Beard Oil for Moisturizing
- A tinted glass bottle with dropper lid, like these. You want a tinted bottle (usually either amber or blue) because light (as well as heat and oxygen) contributes to rancidity of oils. Keeping oils “in the dark” helps keep them fresh.
- Small funnel (optional, but helpful) like these.
Instructions/”The Formula” (detailed ingredient suggestions and information below):
- Fill bottle 1/2 full with base oil (suggestions below). Use small funnel if you have one to help prevent dripping down the side of your serum bottle.
- Fill remainder of the bottle with therapeutic oils or another base oil of choice. Be sure to leave enough space to put the dropper back in the bottle without the oil spilling out the top (oil suggestions below).
- Add a few drops essential oils of choice (suggestions below). Start small and work up. I usually use about 10-12 drops total per one ounce bottle. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out. 😉
- Add a couple drops vitamin E oil to help prevent oxidation/rancidity. (Poke hole in end of vitamin E capsule and squeeze a couple drops out.)
- Screw on the dropper lid and roll the bottle between your hands to mix.
To Use: after cleansing and toning (see posts on DIY cleansing grains and facial toner), squeeze a few drops of serum on fingertips or palm, rub hands together, and smooth or pat onto face, neck, and upper chest area. Allow a few minutes to absorb.
Normal to Oily/Acne
- Grape Seed Oil: A “dry” feeling oil, absorbs quickly and leaves no oily residue.
- Hazelnut Oil: Considered an astringent oil, very appropriate for oilier skin types. Unrefined hazelnut oil will smell nutty (like hazelnuts).
All Skin Types
- Argan Oil: Amazing, hydrating yet light oil for every skin type, from oily and acne prone to mature and dry. Feels crazy awesome on skin and absorbs quickly. You might want to find a refined/deodorized version, since the scent can sometimes be a little strong.
- Camellia Seed (tea seed) Oil: Oil from seeds of the tea plant, as in green and black teas. I lean slightly towards dry/mature types with this one because of it’s silky, refining qualities—though it absorbs quickly and feels very light. I love this oil.
- Jojoba Oil: Technically a liquid wax that closely resembles human sebum. I lean a little away from acne skin types with this one because it is very slightly comedogenic. One special benefit to jojoba oil is it is a VERY stable oil that will help prolong the life of the other oils you mix it with.
- Almond Oil: Takes slightly longer to absorb, so I lean a little away from very oily skin types. Considered a nourishing oil, good for sensitive skin.
- Hemp Seed Oil: A “nutritious” oil, loaded with antioxidants and fatty acids beneficial for eczema and irritated skin conditions. Leaves a slight oily feeling on skin, so not for very oily skin types. A fragile oil, so be sure to use vitamin e in the serum if using hemp seed oil, and store the unused oil in the refrigerator or even freezer if it will be a long time before it’s all used.
- Apricot Kernel Oil: This is a very popular oil for drier skin types. It is rich, nourishing, loaded with carotenes, and has a light but beautiful scent reminiscent of almond. Good for sensitive skin.
- Sunflower Oil: A vitamin and mineral-rich oil. Leaves a slight oil feeling on skin.
- Sesame Oil: A vitamin and mineral-rich oil. Leaves a slight oil feeling on skin.
- Evening Primrose Oil: Not for oily skin, as it can leave a slightly oily feeling on skin. Loaded with beneficial fatty acids, rich, anti-inflammatory, and soothing. Dilute with a lighter carrier oil.
- Rose Hip Seed Oil: Fantastic, very fast-absorbing, light (“dry”) therapeutic oil for all skin types. Helps to heal sun damage and fade acne scars, loaded with antioxidants (A, C, and E), but go ahead and add vitamin e oil because this polyunsaturated oil can go rancid easily, and store unused portion (the bottle it came in) in the refrigerator. Can also be used as a base oil.
- Tamanu Oil: Incredibly healing oil for acne and other wounds (abrasions, burns, etc.). Fades stretch marks and scars as well. Absorbs quickly, even though the oil is thick (and dark green). Because it has a strong nutty/earthy scent, I dilute it well in my oily/acne serum. For acne, I like using both Tamanu Oil and Rosehip Seed Oil in the same formula for their combined benefits.
- Avocado Oil: Very rich and moisturizing, loaded with vitamins. Not for oilier skin types.
- Borage Oil: Very rich, loaded with gamma linoleic acid (GLA) and vitamins, helpful for mature, dry, sun damaged skin types. Too heavy to use undiluted with a lighter oil.
- Macadamia Oil: Similar to skin’s sebum, healing for damaged skin (scars, sunburns, irritations), protective and absorbant, but leaves a slight oily residue so dilute with lighter oil.
- Kukui Nut Oil: Penetrating and soothing for dry, chapped skin, psoriasis, eczema, and healing for acne. Leaves slight oily feeling on skin.
- Black Cumin Seed Oil: Healing, medicinal oil for many skin conditions. Strong odor, leaves slightly oily residue.
- Pomegranate Seed Oil: Luxurious, penetrating, antioxidant, nourishing oil helpful for damaged, aging, and irritated skin, including eczema and psoriasis conditions.
Essential Oil Suggestions (choose one or more from the following)
- clary sage
- helichrysum (Use sparingly-1 drop per ounce of carrier oil–very strong scent, but healing.)
- carrot seed oil (Use sparingly-1 drop per ounce of carrier oil–very strong scent, but rejuvenating & healing.)
- Anti-Age Synergy (A little pricey but smells beautiful, feels refreshing, and will add amazing therapeutic properties)
- Soft Skin Synergy
- clary sage
- tea tree
- peppermint (Take it easy with this one to avoid irritation.)
- rosemary (Use sparingly–1 drop per ounce carrier oil. Avoid if pregnant.)
- helichrysum (Use sparingly-1 drop per ounce carrier oil. Very strong scent, but a healing oil.)
- Acne Fighter Synergy
Normal Skin: Whatever smells best to you. 🙂
To avoid irritation, I recommend avoiding “hot” oils for facial care like cinnamon, clove, and ginger, as well as very strong herbal oils like oregano, and thyme. Rosemary can be helpful for oily/acne-prone skin, but use it extremely sparingly and very diluted since it is also quite strong. Avoid rosemary essential oil if pregnant.
Sample Recipes (essential oil amounts appropriate for 1 ounce serum bottles)
Oily/Acne Skin Serum:
- 1/2 Grape Seed Oil
- 1/6 Argan Oil
- 1/6 Hazelnut Oil or Rose Hip Seed Oil
- 1/6 Tamanu Oil
- 5 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil
- 5 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
- 2-3 drops Vitamin E Oil
Dry/Mature Skin Serum:
- 1/2 Camellia Seed Oil
- 1/6 Evening Primrose Oil
- 1/6 Rose Hip Seed Oil
- 1/6 Avocado Oil
- 5 drops Geranium Essential Oil*
- 5 drops Lavender Essential Oil*
- 2-3 drops Vitamin E Oil
- * For sun-damaged skin, try this essential oil blend based on this trial formula for pre-skin cancerous lesions solar keratoses and early stage basal and squamous cell carcinomas. 3 drops each: sandalwood, frankincense, sweet orange, and geranium
Beard and Facial Serum for Men:
- 1/2 Hemp Seed Oil
- 1/6 Argan Oil
- 1/6 Rose Hip Seed or Jojoba Oil
- 1/6 Broccoli Seed Oil
- 2-3 drops Vitamin E Oil
- About 10 drops Essential Oils, more if a stronger scent is desired (see blend ideas below)
Simple Essential Oil Blends for Men
Sexy and Snuggly:
Earthy and Refreshing:
Smoky and Mysterious:
Ingrown Hair Prevention:
More Complex Fragrances for Aromatherapy Benefits:
- 10 drops of synergy of choice, such as Meditation, Relax, Let It Go, Tranquil, Invigor-Aid, Clarity, or other favorite synergy.
- Store carrier oil bottles (both base oils and therapeutic oils) in the refrigerator to ensure freshness for the next time you make new serum. If making your serum in small (1 ounce) bottles and adding vitamin e, you should have no trouble using your serum up long before the oils go rancid.
- Store essential oils in a cool, dark place, such as a cupboard, to preserve freshness.
- Don’t feel you have to limit your choice of oils to the ones above. Research and experiment. 🙂
- Experiment with using some of the therapeutic oils as base oils or using any of the oils alone. You might absolutely love just straight argan oil, rosehip seed oil, or camellia seed oil.
- Some of these oils are fantastic for hair as well. Try rubbing a couple drops camellia seed or argan oil onto your hands, then smoothing over the ends of your hair. If these oils comprise most of your serum, you can have a skin and hair serum in one. Another hidden gem for hair care is broccoli seed oil, sometimes called the “dimethicone” of the plant world because of the way it leaves hair shiny, smooth, and detangled.
- Speaking of broccoli seed oil and its dimethicone-like hair texture improvement qualities. I didn't include broccoli seed oil in the list of base oils or therapeutic oils because I think it is better suited for hair than for skincare, which makes it an especially nice addition for beard serums.
- For beard serums, be sure to choose essential oils with guy-friendly scents like citrus oils–bergamot and grapefruit are popular choices, woody/earthy oils like sandalwood, cedar, vetiver, frankincense, juniper, and/or some herb and spice oils like sage and cardamom. Think: How do you want your guy to smell when you snuggle up to him? 🙂
- It goes without saying, but remember to keep your hands, work area, bottles, funnels, droppers and anything that touches the product you are making clean and dry. I actually use isopropyl alcohol and paper towels to wipe down surfaces, tools, containers, and even my hands before and during my product making sessions. When making serums, I keep my droppers that are waiting to go on the bottles on a clean paper towel on my clean, previously alcohol-wiped table or counter top. Even though oil serums don't contain water-based ingredients that can grow bacteria and mold, keeping it free of contamination will give you a pure product you can feel good about using and giving as gifts.
Related posts… Or not:
This is Kelly again, here are some random posts you may have missed…
- The kids & I made these TASTY ginger cookies yesterday with a recipe from my new favorite cookbook – not sure why ours were so much darker, maybe our organic brown sugar was darker? Anyway, they turned out great. All organic, all with einkorn flour. Read more here about why einkorn is what I use mostly in my kitchen now.
- Heart attack on a plate? That's what some would call this recipe, but not us real foodies! Our son is coming home tomorrow and requested this dish! 🙂 (He also requested these Fajitas, those are our family favorite. Click here to see what each person's favorite meal is in our family.)
- Struggling with eczema? I've heard this book, The Eczema Diet, is really good.
About Jill: My husband and I live in Waco, TX, along with our two awesome young adult kids. I have a small business, selling handmade personal and home care products at our farmer’s market and local retail sites. I am also Kelly’s blog assistant. 🙂 I am passionate about real food nutrition, natural health, local food, and I love to cook. Fortunately we have access to lots of local food via our fantastic farmer’s market, nearby farms, and even a grocery store that sources much of its food locally.