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Build your own personalised serum

Written by Chelsea on October 11th, 2019.      5 comments

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Serums are incredibly popular and for good reason! They're nothing but super concentrated goodness. Moisturisers and creams are approximately 80% water (you can find yourself paying a LOT of money for mostly water!) plus they contain emulsifiers and preservatives, which even if you're using the best ones are always going to be man made and have a chemical makeup. We're not saying that emulsifiers and preservatives are a bad thing, they do their job very well, but if you want to avoid them, purely oil based serums are an excellent way to do so.

In this blog we've outlined a handful of carrier oils and essential oils so you can make an informed decision on which are right for your skin type. This is by no means a full list, there are plenty more to play with!

Here's an incredibly simple formula you can use to build your very own personalised face serum designed specifically for you. Or for a lucky friend! (Personalised serums make excellent gifts!)

We recommend using 2 -3 different carrier oils and 2 - 3 different essential oils but feel free to mix it up!

Makes 100ml

99g | 99% Carrier oil/s
0.5g (6 drops) | 0.5% Essential oil/s
0.5g | 0.5% Vitamin E (helps naturally preserve, giving your serum a longer shelf life)


  • Weigh out your ingredients (mini scales are very useful)
  • Stir until everything is evenly blended (a mini silicone spatula is helpful for this but you can use a spoon)
  • Pour into bottles and you're done!

5ml and 20ml dropper bottles are great or you could use a 10ml roll on bottle so you can pop it in your bag and always have it on hand.

Now for the fun part, making your choices!

Carrier oils and their benefits

Barbary fig aka prickly pear seed oil, organically grown

Barbary fig (aka prickly pear seed oil), organically grown

  • Light and easily absorbed
  • Exceptionally high in vitamin E and linoleic acid
  • Rich in vitamin C
  • Rich essential fatty acids, antioxidants, active minerals and amino acids
  • Said to protect against free radicals
  • Stimulate cellular renewal
  • Calm inflammation

Overview: Barbary fig aka prickly pear seed oil, penetrates below the surface of the skin for maximum benefits without leaving any oily residue. It has an almost silicone feel to it rather than oil. It's great for all skin types, supporting skin repair after trauma and providing protection from environmental stress. Excellent for mature skin as it helps address signs of ageing, while the high fatty acid content plumps skin to help smooth wrinkles and increase firmness. Also highly beneficial to dry hair and scalp, soothing irritation and boosting shine.

Brazil nut oil

Brazil nut oil

  • High in antioxidants and moisturising properties
  • High selenium content
  • Rich in vitamins A and E

Overview: Often used for skin, hair and graceful ageing products. Said to be wonderful for helping nourish and rejuvenate hair and skin. A rich oil, good for a night serum.

Camellia oil, certified organic

Camellia oil, certified organic

  • Dry (fast absorbing)
  • Helps skin retain moisture
  • Deeply penetrates
  • High in omega-9
  • Helps firm and tone skin
  • Can help prevent fine lines and wrinkles
  • Won’t clog pores
  • Soothes irritated skin

Overview: Camellia oil is rich in vitamins and fatty acids and has a very low comedogenic rating which means it won’t clog pores and aggravate acne or acne prone skin. Makes a good day oil as it’s very non-greasy. Also makes an excellent and inexpensive makeup remover.

Cherry kernel oil organic copy 3

Cherry kernel oil, certified organic

  • Dry (fast absorbing)
  • non-greasy
  • High in omega-9
  • Won’t clog pores
  • Promotes collagen production
  • Helps cell rejuvenation
  • High in vitamin A
  • Helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles

Overview: Light and fast absorbing. High vitamin content. Works well as a day oil.

Chia seed oil organic copy 3

Chia seed oil, certified organic

  • Dry (fast absorbing)
  • High in vitamin B3
  • Powerful antioxidant
  • Great source of zinc
  • Richest botanical source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Plumps skin
  • Relieves drying
  • Helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles

Overview: Light, fast absorbing oil that works well for a daytime oil. Very hydrating yet non-greasy.

Grape oil, certified organic

Grape seed oil, certified organic

  • Dry (fast absorbing)
  • Helps balance out dry and oily skin
  • Soothing for acne and ezcema
  • High in linoleic acid
  • Helps reduce scarring
  • Helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles
  • Helps firm and tighten skin
  • Restores collagen

Overview: A beautifully smoothing and light, fast absorbing oil. Helps brighten skin and regenerate new cell growth. Great for a day oil when teamed with another light/dry oil.

Hemp seed oil, certified organic

Hemp seed oil, certified organic

  • Nutritious and moisturising for dry skin
  • Balances oil production
  • Doesn’t clog pores
  • Cell regenerating
  • Contains omega 6 gamma-linoleic fatty acid (GLA)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Calming on irritated skin such as acne and eczema
  • Helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles

Overview: A great oil for those introducing oil into their everyday routine. As it has an an extremely low comedogenic rating it won’t clog pores and is very unlikely to cause breakouts. Medium absorbing oil can work for day or night depending on what it’s blended with.

Jojoba oil organic copy

Jojoba oil, certified organic

  • Dry (fast absorbing)
  • Resembles skins natural sebum
  • Won’t clog pores
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Balance out oil production
  • ​​​​​​Deeply penetrates
  • Hydrating
  •  Non-greasy

Overview: Jojoba oil is an excellent all round oil and because it so closely resembles skin’s natural sebum (the oil your skin naturally creates) it makes it easy to absorb and helps balance oil production in oily skin by tricking naturally oily skin into thinking it has produced enough oil. Also very moisturising for dry skin. Jojoba is full of nutrients like vitamins E and B, as well as antioxidants and minerals like chromium, copper, and zinc, which all nourish and protect skin. Organic, cold-pressed, jojoba oil has the highest level of antioxidants and nutrients.

Kukui nut oil

Kukui nut oil

  • High in vitamins A, C, E and antioxidants
  • Contains healthy fatty acids, linoleic and Omega 3
  • Soothing for the skin
  • Excellent moisturiser
  • Soothing for dry skin, eczema or sunburn
  • Helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles

Overview: This natural non-greasy oil from Hawaii is known to be an excellent moisturiser. Works well in a day or night serum.

Macadamia oil copy

Macadamia nut oil, certified organic

  • Long (slow absorbing)
  • Close match to naturally occurring sebum of the skin
  • Cell regenerating
  • Softening and moisturising
  • Contains omega 6 linoleic fatty acid (LA) and omega 7
  • Rich in vitamin E
  • Non-greasy
  • Deep penetrating
  • Helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles

Overview: Helps balance oily skin. Great for dry and mature skin. A rich oil that works well in a night oil.

Marula oil, certified organic

Marula oil, certified organic

  • Fast absorbing and non-greasy
  • Rich in protein, amino acids, antioxidants
  • Contains omega fatty acids 6 and 9
  • Great source of vitamins E and C
  • Penetrates deeply
  • Boosts skins natural ability to produce collagen, regenerate and repair itself
  • Can reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and redness
  • Promotes skin firmness and elasticity.

Overview: Good for all skin types, it can penetrate deep into the skin, is easily absorbed and leaves skin glowing but without oily residue.

Passionfruit seed oil

Passionfruit seed oil

  • Contains essential fatty acids (linoleic and oleic), magnesium, calcium
  • Rich in Vitamins A and C
  • Non-greasy and fast absorbing
  • Helps protect against free radicals and environmental stresses
  • Helps hydrate and plump skin
  • Helps smooth out fine lines and wrinkles
  • Smells divine!

Overview: This fresh and delightfully fragranced oil feels like summer smoothie for your face!⁠ It’s full of amazing nutrients which are delivered to your skin in an oil which is hydrating, yet light and non-greasy. Vitamin C and antioxidants help firm your skin while vitamin A helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and the fatty acids set to work plumping and rejuvenating. Giving you an overall healthy glow.

Pumpkin oil, certified organic

Pumpkin seed oil, certified organic

  • High in Zinc, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and antioxidants
  • Rich in Vitamin E
  • Non-greasy
  • Good for the treatment of acne
  • Helps reduce scarring
  • Cell regenerating

Overview: A great choice for acne prone skin and skin suffering from acne scarring. Said to help firm skin and help with cell renewal.

Rosehip oil, certified organic

Rosehip oil, certified organic

  • Dry (fast absorbing)
  • Hydrating and moisturising
  • High in vitamin A (retinol), vitamin C and vitamin E
  • Cell regenerating
  • Collagen boosting
  • Skin brightening
  • Helps reduce fine lines, scarring and damage to sun exposure

Overview: Deeply penetrating, rich in vitamins. Works in day or night oil depending on what other oils you blend it with.

Sea buckthorn fruit oil, certified organic

Sea buckthorn fruit oil, certified organic

  • Dry (fast absorbing)
  • Rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E and K
  • Contains omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9
  • Collagen boosting
  • Skin brightening
  • Helps plump skin and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles
  • Inflammation reducing
  • Can reduce acne breakouts
  • Helps repair damage from free radicals
  • Helps diminish hyperpigmentation

Overview: With its deep orange colour, thanks to its rich beta carotene content, and its array of powerful antioxidants and minerals, sea buckthorn fruit oil is renowned for its anti-ageing and skin healing benefits. It's said to be excellent for reducing acne breakouts thanks to its ability to signal oil glands to stop creating excess amounts of sebum. Very rich in colour so best used diluted and as a night oil, just be careful applying right before bed as it might stain your pillows!

Tamanu oil

Tamanu oil, certified organic

  • Properties include: antioxidant, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory
  • Hydrating and moisturising
  • Said to accelerate healthy tissue growth
  • Good for treatment of scarring, bruising, acne, rashes, eczema and after sun care
  • Promotes water retention
  • Helps skin stay soft and elastic
  • Helps smooth and soften fines lines and wrinkles.

Overview: Also referred to as “Green Gold” or “Beauty Leaf Oil” the tamanu fruit kernel produces a rich and healing oil. This magic little oil can be used directly on skin & has a distinct earthy, nutty scent, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea! If you don’t love the smell but want the array of benefits, it can be diluted in a more neutral carrier oil such as jojoba & you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil.⁠ We have two tamanu oils available: thicker, unrefined, spray free version which is golden brown and a certified organic liquid oil which has a deep green-gold hue.

A little about what it all means

Linoleic Acid is an essential building block for ceramides, one of skin's main moisturising elements. Our bodies can't make this essential fatty acid, so we need get it from our food or put it on our skin. Topical use of linoleic acid helps reduce acne breakouts.

Vitamin E is naturally anti-ageing. Vitamin E can help improve fine lines and wrinkles by providing an antioxidant boost that protects from sun damage and encourages the healthy growth of new skin cells.

Vitamin A thickens and stimulates the dermis where your collagen, elastin and blood vessels are, so it can reduce wrinkles and increase blood flow to the surface of the skin. Vitamin A increases the deposition of collagen and slows the normal ageing breakdown of your collagen and elastin.

Zinc aids in healing the skin and prevents acne by regulating the activity of the oil glands. Zinc promotes a healthy immune system and the healing of tissues. It is also an antioxidant which helps to fight and prevent the formation of free radicals. Acne can be a sign of zinc deficiency. Due to its anti-inflammatory effects, zinc is especially beneficial for inflammatory acne and related scarring.

Omega-3 fatty acids benefit skin by regulating oil production to boost hydration and prevent acne, and by delaying the skins ageing process to stave off wrinkles.

Omega-6 fatty acids replenish the lipid structure of the skin and are vital to maintaining your skin’s barrier, keeping it smooth, moisturised and elastic. By applying oils rich in both the omega-6 fatty acids, linoleic fatty acid (LA) and gamma-linoleic fatty acid (GLA), you are ensuring your skin is receiving the optimal fatty acid nutrition required to maintain healthy, glowing skin

Omega 7 fatty acids benefit your skin in many ways and aids the collagen in your skin, which helps heal various types of damage. Skin problems can also be eliminated with omega 7 fatty acids. This includes acne and other problems caused by inflammation. In addition, healthy, hydrated skin helps prevent loss of skin elasticity so that skin is protected against wrinkles.


Essential oils and their benefits

Bergamot essential oil Go Native NZ

Bergamot essential oil*

Can help:

  • Even out skin tone
  • Promote healing of acne and eczema
  • Remove dirt from pores
  • Reduce scarring
  • Boost blood circulation
  • Relieve stress and uplift mood
Bergamot essential oil is available in certified organic and non organic

*Citrus essential oils are photosensitive so exposure to sunlight should be avoided. Best not used in day serums.

Fenugreek essential oil Go Native NZ

Fenugreek essential oil

Can help:

  • Soothe itchy and irritated skin
  • Prevent the formation of new blackheads
  • Prevent and reduce acne inflammation
  • Reduce redness
  • Moisturise and prevent moisture loss
  • Prevent the formation of wrinkles
  • Repair skin cells

Frankincense essential oil Go Native NZ

Frankincense essential oil
Can help:

  • Prevent fine lines and wrinkles
  • Regenerate skin cell and tissue growth
  • Prevent acne
  • Regulate oily skin
  • Dry and sun damaged skin
  • Soothe inflamed skin

Geranium essential oil Go Native NZ

Geranium essential oil

Can help:

  • Tighten and firm skin
  • Dry and chapped skin
  • Prevent fine lines and wrinkles
  • Lighten mood
  • Heal scarring
  • Moisturise and prevent excess oil
Geranium essential oil is available in certified organic and non organic

Lavender essential oil Go Native NZ

Lavender essential oil

Can help:

  • Heal acne and eczema
  • Reduce redness and blotching
  • Brighten skin
  • Relieve stress
  • Firm skin
  • Boost circulation
  • Regenerate skin cell and tissue growth
Lavender essential oil is available in certified organic, non organic India and non organic New Zealand

Lemon essential oil Go Native NZ

Lemon essential oil*

Can help:

  • Fight acne
  • Prevent fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reduce excess oil
  • Tighten and lift skin
  • Reduce large pores
  • Prevent blackheads
  • Brighten skin tone
  • Fade acne scarring
Lemon essential oil is available in certified organic and non organic

*Citrus essential oils are photosensitive so exposure to sunlight should be avoided. Best not used in day serums.

Orange essential oil Go Native NZ

Orange essential oil*

Can help:

  • Control and balance oil
  • Fade dark spots and acne scarring
  • Prevent acne
  • Prevent wrinkles
  • Improve skin elasticity
  • Boost blood circulation
  • Reduce pores
  • Tighten and tone skin
Orange essential oil is available in certified organic and non organic

*Citrus essential oils are photosensitive so exposure to sunlight should be avoided. Best not used in day serums.

Patchouli essential oil Go Native NZ

Patchouli essential oil

Can help:

  • Reduce scarring
  • Dry and chapped skin
  • Boost blood circulation
  • Prevent and reduce fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reduce puffiness
  • Balance sebum production
Patchouli essential oil is available in certified organic and non organic

Tea tree essential oil Go Native NZ

Teatree essential oil

Can help:

  • Relieve dry and irritated skin
  • Remove excess oil
  • Prevent acne
  • Heal scarring
  • Reduce and unclog large pores
  • Firm and tone skin
Teatree essential oil is available in certified organic Australia, certified organic New Zealand and non organic

Ylang ylang essential oil Go Native NZ

Ylang ylang essential oil

Can help:
  • Balance sebum production
  • Prevent fine lines and wrinkles
  • Prevent acne and speed up healing
  • Soothe irritated skin
  • Balance out combination skin
  • Calm and uplift mood


Danielle Smith says ...
This is such awesome info, thanks for sharing! Just a question in regards to the different carrier oils, would I do equal parts of each of my 3 chosen oils to make the total amount, or do you suggest more of one and less of another for example?

Thanks again!
Go Native NZ says ...
Hi Danielle.

Thank you! We had fun putting it together and plan to keep adding to it. To answer your question: you can choose! If you're wanting to use a particular oil but maybe it's a little more expensive, like prickly pear for example, you could bulk out the rest of the serum with a lesser expensive oil. You can use 10 different oils if you want! Just as long as they add up the the 99% of your entire serum.

Thank you!
Alaria Papa says ...
Firstly thankyou so much for all the time and effort you put into researching & sharing all the wonderful recipes and info
so we can experience the joy of creating natural skincare and makeup too!!!

when I spoke to you on the ph a couple of weeks ago I asked about the hyaluronic day serum recipe, as I wasn't having much luck with it and you said you would post it ,on blog, I assumed
is that still possible please?
thankyou and in gratitude
Helen says ...
I have bought a few different oils from you and am looking forward to trying to use your recipes. Thank you so much for all your excellent information. Can I ask you are the carrier oils the Camellia, Rosehip, Barbery fig etc and do I then add the essential oil i.e. Ylang Ylang, Lavender etc. Do your bottles tell me that the oils are essential? Apologies for being so naive.
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