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Design your own personalised serum

Written by Chelsea on October 11th, 2019.      32 comments

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Design the perfect serum for your skin!

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!

NOTE: Take notes! You may think that you will remember your ingredients and ratios but (if you're anything like me) I promise six months later when you come to recreate your favourite serum you'll have no idea!

A little about what it all means

You'll see these popping up in the descriptions for oils so it's good to have an idea of what their properties are to help you make you choices.

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 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 the healing of skin and prevention of 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.

Carrier oils and their benefits

Avocado oil
Avocado oil
(certified organic, NZ or refined)

  • Comedogenic rating: 3
  • Slow absorption rate
  • Good for dry and acne prone skin
  • Contains vitamins A, D and E
  • Can help replenish dry skin
  • Helps calm irritated or itchy skin
  • Hydrates and moisturises
  • Fatty acids can help retain skin elasticity
  • Can help prevent the formation of fine lines

Overview: Rich in fatty acids it is an excellent skin moisturiser. With natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, high vitamin E content, potassium, lecithin, and many other nutrients that can help nourish and repair skin, helping it stay smooth, strong, and elastic. Its slow absorption rate means it can be better used in a night-time oil blend and is recommended for dry skin rather than oily skin.

Barbary fig aka prickly pear seed oil, organically grown

Barbary fig (aka prickly pear seed oil), certified organic

  • Comedogenic rating: 1-2
  • Fast absorption rate
  • Good for most skin types, particularly oily/combination skin
  • 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
  • Can help stimulate cellular renewal
  • Can help 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.

Blackcurrant oil

Blackcurrant seed oil, NZ

  • Comedogenic rating: 0-1
  • Slow absorption rate
  • Good for dry or sensitive skin
  • High in linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid
  • Natural antioxidant
  • Can help increase skin elasticity
  • Can help regenerate skin cells
  • Can help moisturise and prevent dryness
  • Can help slow the formation of fine lines and wrinkles

Overview: This sweet and earthy scented oil is extremely rich in gamma-linolenic acid and antioxidants, making it a very good anti-inflammatory agent. Said to increase skin elasticity and slow signs of premature ageing. Slow absorption rate makes it ideal for a rich night-time oil.

Borage oil NZ

Borage oil
(certified organic or NZ)

  • Comedogenic rating: 2
  • Slow absorption rate
  • Good for combination, oily, sensitive and acne prone skin
  • Hydrating and rebalancing
  • Very high gamma-linolenic acid content
  • High in linoleic acid
  • Can help calm and heal dry and damaged skin
  • Often used to treat eczema, psoriasis and rosacea

Overview: Great for sensitive skin, borage oil is very hydrating and can help restore moisture, smooth dry skin and provide relief for inflamed skin. Slow absorption rate means it's better used in a night-time blend or blended with a fast absorbing oil for daytime use.

Brazil nut oil

Brazil nut oil

  • Comedogenic rating: 2
  • Slow absorption rate
  • Good for dry and mature skin types
  • 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 that absorbs slowly, good for a night serum.

Calendula infused oil, certified organic

Calendula infused oil
certified organic
or non organic)

  • Comedogenic rating: 1
  • Average - slow absorption rate
  • Good for most skin types
  • Gentle, cooling and soothing
  • Assists with dry and damaged skin
  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Can help protect skin from drying out
  • Can help skin inflammation such as acne and eczema
  • Said to help boost collagen and aid in tissue regeneration
  • Rich in vitamin E

Overview: An excellent anti-inflammatory oil, said to be good for all skin types, including sensitive skin, and is used for treating skin damage such as wounds, scars, burns and inflammation. Sunflower oil contains useful amounts of essential fatty acids and a high amount of vitamin E and is good for all skin types.

Camellia oil, certified organic

Camellia oil, certified organic

  • Comedogenic rating: 1
  • Fast absorption rate
  • Good for most skin types
  • 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

  • Comedogenic rating: 2
  • Average absorption rate
  • Good for most skin types, particularly dry or irritated skin
  • Dry (fast absorbing)
  • Non-greasy
  • High in omega-9
  • Won’t clog pores
  • Promotes collagen production
  • Helps cell rejuvenation
  • High in vitamin A
  • Can help 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

  • Comedogenic rating: 3
  • Average absorption rate
  • Good for most skin types, particularly good for use as a body oil
  • 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: Very hydrating yet non-greasy.

Copaiba resin oil

Copaiba resin oil

NOTE: Should be only used at up to 5%
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiseptic
  • Astringent
  • Healing
  • Can help reduce and prevent acne
  • Can help reduce scarring
  • Can help tighten and strengthen the skin
  • Can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles




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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Wow! it is very cheap and easy to made personalize serum.
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