How to Make Your Own Plant Based Skin Serum

I have been in the process of making my own skin care serums for over a year now. In these I include a carrier oil and some essential oils to provide my skin with the nutrients it needs to fight off acne, prevent signs of aging, and to keep a hydrated complexion. In this post, I will share a little about how you can make your own skin serums cheaply at home! All you need is a few carrier oils and a few specific essential oils.



For those of you that don’t know, for a short time I had my own natural body care and wellness company called Pure Elements. I eventually stopped managing it on a larger scale because I wanted to focus on my online content and personal training business, but it provided me with the experience of learning how to research and create effective, plant based skin care.


Oil serums are amazing for your skin in so many ways. I have often heard many people say they don’t want to use oil on their skin because they think it will make their skin oilier. That is totally false! Using oil on your skin will actually make your face LESS oily! I talk more about that in this blog post here, as well as a bunch of the benefits of oil based serums, so check out that read to learn more.


For now, I just want to share a few ways to make your own facial serums.


BEFORE GETTING STARTED

I typically recommend going organic when picking ingredients. Whatever you put on your face will be absorbed into your skin and body, so limiting the chemicals used on the ingredients is best.


You will need a base carrier oil or two. Carrier oils, such as almond oil or rosehip oil, are used to help dilute the essential oils. I will discuss some of the oils below as well as their benefits, and that will help you choose what might work best for your skin type.


You will also want to pick two or three essential oils from the list below that will be the best for the specific skin care benefits you are looking for. I will share about the ratios for diluting your essential oils in your carrier oils later in the post.


My two favorite companies that I highly recommend for high quality ingredients are Mountain Rose Herbs and Plant Therapy. I will link to the products below.


DISCLAIMER

I am not a certified aromatherapist, dermatologist or doctor. All the information in this post is research I have done on my own for creating effective, research-based skin serums. I will include as many of the research studies as I can below, but I encourage to you learn how to research on your own! If you hear an ingredient or product has a certain benefit, make sure to look at the research yourself to see if it truly does.


CARRIER OILS


Here are some of my favorite carrier oils and the benefits they have when it comes to skin care. Pick one or two to create your facial serum out of.


Grapeseed Oil – Because grapeseed oil is lighter and similar to the skins own sebum, it helps reduce the amount of oil that the skin produces on it’s own. If you have oily or acne prone skin, this would be a good carrier oil choice for you. It is also anti-mocrobial – another reason it helps prevent breakouts. [i]


Sweet Almond Oil – Like Grapeseed Oil, it is similar to the skins sebum, so great if you have oily, acne prone skin. Can also help with itching and prevent structural damage caused by UV radiation. [ii]


Rosehip Oil – One of my favorites for anti-aging benefits. This is a powerhouse oil. It is high in anti-oxidants and has inti-inflammatory properties. It is also high in Vitamin A and C, which have been shown to reverse sun damage and reduce the look of wrinkles. It is a beautiful orangeish color, and will briefly leave your skin a little yellow. You can dilute with another carrier oil to minimize this, but it goes away shortly either way. [iii],[iv]


Fruit Oils (Blueberry, Strawberry, Raspberry, Pomegranate, etc) – Fruits tend to get their bright colors from anti-oxidants, which are very beneficial when it comes to anti-aging. You can expect fruit oils to have these anti-aging benefits. [v],[vi],[vii]


Castor Oil – Castor oil is great if you have dry skin. It is full of fatty acids that are humectants, which help retain moisture by preventing water loss through the skin. Castor oil has a thicker feel to it, so I recommend diluting it with a lighter oil, such as grapeseed, jojoba, apricot or sweet almond oil. It is also great for acne because it has some anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It helps inhibit the growth of bacteria and help with inflammation.[viii],[ix]


Jojoba Oil – Another oil that is very similar to the skins sebum. It is a great choice for acne prone, oily skin. Also has an anti-inflammatory effect, which helps with irritated acne spots and sensitive skin.[x]


Avocado Oil – Great for dry, damaged or chapped skin. Healthline, a researched based wellness site that I love, has some great DIY skin care recipes using avocado HERE. [xi]


https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/avocado-oil-for-skin#research

Argan Oil – A great choice for helping improving skin hydration. It helps improve the skins elasticity, which means it is great for combating wrinkles. [xii]


Oat Oil – Great if you have skin conditions such as eczema, rashy, red itchy skin and burns. Colloidal oat extracts have been shown to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it is great to use colloidal outs in bath salts if you have dry, itchy skin. I have not personally used this oil in my skin care, so if you try it, let me know how it goes! [xiii]


There are so many more oils that you can dig into to try out, but these are a great start! Stock up on one or two of them so that you have them on hand to make your own cheap oil serum carrier oil base. Here is a quick cheat sheet of what I think the best oils are for skin types:


Acne Prone/Oily – Grapeseed, Sweet Almond, Castor, Jojoba


Anti-Aging – Rosehip, Fruit (Blueberry, Strawberry, Raspberry, Pomegranate, etc.), Argan


Sensitive/Irritated/Itchy Skin – Castor, Jojoba, Oat Oil


Dry Skin – Castor, Avocado, Argan


Combination – Try them all! Create a mixture of them for different benefits.


ESSENTIAL OILS

Just few a quick notes – essential oils high in antioxidants are usually very beneficial in preventing or reversing the signs of skin aging. Essential oils with high antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties are best for helping with acne. Anti-inflammatory essential oils are great for sensitive skin. In doing my own research, I have also found that citrus essential oils can make your skin photosensitive, causing you to sun burn easily. I typically do not add any citrus essential oils, such as lemon or orange, to my serums.


If you are pregnant, nursing, taking mediation or suffering from a health condition, then consult your healthcare practitioner before using essential oils. Dilute essential oils in a carrier oil before applying to skin (discussed in depth later in post).


Lavender – Lavender is great if you have sensitive skin because it has anti-inflammatory properties. Great for soothing, and can also help soothe any irritated breakouts[xiv],[xv].[xvi]


Geranium - Another great essential oil for soothing sensitive skin. This oil is antimicrobial, antibacterial and has anti-inflammatory properties. Rose Geranium is a specific type of geranium that has been shown to have a TON of benefits, such as anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. [xvii],[xviii], [xix],[xx],[xxi]


Tea Tree – One of the best essential oils for treating breakouts because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Has been shown to help reduce “oiliness” of skin and can help with wound healing.[xxii],[xxiii],[xxiv],[xxv],[xxvi]


Frankincense – Frankincense can help with inflammation, so it can beneficial for sensitive, red skin or for inflamed blemishes. [xxvii],[xxviii],[xxix]


Rose – Rose essential oil can be helpful with acne because it has strong anti-bacterial activity. Studies show that it may also have other benefits as well, but more studies still need to be done. [xxx],[xxxi]


Ylang Ylang – Has antioxidant effects that can lead to skin cell renewal and anti-aging benefits. It has also been used to help with eczema, acne and oily skin. This oil has a sweet but very potent smell, so go light on it when adding it to your carrier oil base. [xxxii],[xxxiii]


Rosemary – This is great for anti-aging as well as acne. Lab studies have showed that rosemary essential oil can kill off acne bacterial strains. It is also full of anti-oxidants, which help prevent free-radical damage and provide the anti-aging benefits. [xxxiv],[xxxv]


Hyssop – Although I have never personally used this essential oil in skin care, research has shown that hyssop is high in antioxidants, which help prevent the signs of skin aging. It also is anti-bacterial. [xxxvi],[xxxvii]


Neroli – Has been shown to be anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. Great for sensitive and acne prone skin. [xxxviii],[xxxix]


My advice to you is to be diligent about doing your research. For example, I have had people tell me that Frankincense has TONS of skin care benefits, such as anti-aging, skin smoothing, etc. A variety of websites said this as well. But in doing my own research, the only studies about it’s skin care benefits I could find were related to reducing inflammation. Just take what people and websites have to say with a grain of salt…make sure there is evidence to support it before relying on it for it’s benefits. Frankincense may have all those benefits, but until I am shown the research backing it up, I won’t be claiming it has those benefits.


DILUTION

Essential oils need to be diluted in a carrier oil before you apply it to your skin. You typically want a 1-3% dilution of essential oil in a carrier oil. I good place to start is 3 drops of essential oil per 2 teaspoons of carrier oil. I would suggest erring on the side of using less to begin with. Perform a patch test with your serum. At that dilution, you shouldn’t have any negative reactions unless you are allergic to a specific oil.


PATCH TESTS

This is great to do any time you are trying out new oils on your skin. Choose a small area of your skin, such as on the inside of your elbow or a patch of your arm. Apply a few drops of your serum mixture. If you notice any reaction within 24 hours, then you could be allergic and should discontinue use. You can also try fewer drops of essential oils in your serum.


BRANDS

If you aren't sure what brands to use for your oils, here are some of my favorites as far as quality goes:

Mountain Rose Herbs

Plant Therapy

Starwest Botanicals


RECIPES

Here are a few recipes you can try for different benefits:


Acne Prone:

2 Tsp Jojoba Oil

2 Tsp Sweet Almond Oil

1-2 Drops Tea Tree Essential Oil

2-3 Drops Lavender Essential Oil


Anti Aging:

1 Tsp Rosehip Oil

1 Tsp Argan Oil

2 Tsp Grapeseed Oil

3 Drops of Rosemary or Hyssop Essential Oil


Sensitive Skin:

1 Tsp Oat Oil

1 Tsp Castor Oil

2 Tsp Jojoba Oil

2 Drops of Frankincense Essential Oil

2 Drops of Lavender Essential Oil


Dry Skin

2 Tsp Avocado Oil

2 Tsp Argan Oil

1-2 Drops Ylang Ylang Essential Oil


Play around with these recipes and find one that works for you! There is an art to choosing ingredients that give you the desired benefits as well as choosing ones that blend together well. If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below or send me a direct message.


If you don't want to make your own oils, then you can check out one of my favorite serum brands here. I also share about my favorite anti-aging products in this post!


Have fun! :)



RESOURCES

[i] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/


[ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/


[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/


[iv] https://www.healthline.com/health/rosehip-oil-benefits#benefits


[v] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15686403.


[vi] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/


[vii] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/215523935_Characteristics_of_raspberry_Rubus_idaeus_L_seed_oil


[viii] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/castor-oil#section2


[ix] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4942971/


[x] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/


[xi] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/


[xii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/


[xiii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/


[xiv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4880962/


[xv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4880962/


[xvi] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26247152


[xvii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25514231


[xviii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25414073


[xix] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/224806606_Chemical_composition_and_antimicrobial_activity_of_the_essential_oils_of_Geranium_columbinum_L_and_G_lucidum_L_Geraniaceae


[xx] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3793238/


[xxi] https://www.healthline.com/health/rose-geranium-oil#Researched-benefits-of-rose-geranium-oil


[xxii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17314442


[xxiii] https://clinmedjournals.org/articles/ijdrt/journal-of-dermatology-research-and-therapy-ijdrt-2-032.php?jid=ijdrt


[xxiv] https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2012.0787


[xxv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1360273/


[xxvi] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924857914003458


[xxvii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5801908/


[xxviii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3924999/


[xxix] http://www.znaturforsch.com/ac/v58c/s58c0230.pdf


[xxx] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19688375


[xxxi] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3586833/


[xxxii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4534619/


[xxxiii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5435909/


[xxxiv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17893831


[xxxv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4227022/


[xxxvi] https://journals.tbzmed.ac.ir/PDF/APB/Manuscript/APB-1-63.pdf


[xxxvii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11518428


[xxxviii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24163946


[xxxix] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11418-015-0896-6