Serums are incredibly popular and for good reason. They're nothing but super concentrated goodness. Moisturisers and creams are approximately 80% water plus they contain emulsifiers and preservatives. We're not saying that emulsifiers and preservatives are a bad thing, they have an essential role in a great deal of skincare products, but if you prefer to avoid them, purely oil based serums are an excellent way to do so.
Here we've outlined some of our favourite 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 - use our Batch Size Calculator and the percentages provided here to easily adjust the volume of your batch.
99g | 99% Carrier oil/s
0.5g (approximately 6 drops) | 0.5% Essential oil/s
0.5g | 0.5% Vitamin E (helps naturally preserve, giving your serum a longer shelf life)
Example: Night repair serum
49.5g | Rosehip oil, certified organic
49.5g | Jojoba oil, certified organic
0.5g | Vitamin E
0.125g | Helichrysum essential oil
0.125g | Frankincense essential oil
0.125g | Geranium essential oil
0.125g | Myrrh essential oil
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.
Sourced using sustainable & renewable rainforest resources & practices, this berry is grown on the açaí palm tree, native to Brazil. Açaí berries are recognised as one of the most powerful antioxidant berries known, more so than fruits like blueberries and cranberries. This oil penetrates skin quickly, leaving little oily residue, acting as a powerful emollient and moisturiser. It can help to relieve dry and cracked skin, including eczema and psoriasis and acne, and protect skin from negative effects of free radicals, minimising the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Light and fast absorbing, with a high vitamin content. Works well as a day oil.
Great for an anti-acne oil. With its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent and healing properties, the topical application of copaiba resin oil is said to help reduce the appearance of acne, speed up healing and reduce the appearance of scars while its active components tighten the skin, helping it to look younger, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and strengthen the skin to prevent lesions or wounds as the body ages. Sourced using sustainable & renewable rainforest resources & practices.
A soothing light and fast absorbing oil which can help brighten skin and regenerate new cell growth. Great for a day oil when teamed with another light/dry oil.
Hazelnut oil is one of our personal faves, it has a high vitamin E content, which can help boost collagen, improving firmness and elasticity. AND its scent is reminiscent of Ferrero Rochers, which we certainly don't hate. Slow absorption rate makes it a great night-time oil.
A great oil for those introducing oil into their everyday routine. As it has a 0 comedogenic rating it won’t clog pores and is very unlikely to cause breakouts. Average absorbing oil can work for day or night depending on what it’s blended with.
Jojoba oil is extremely popular as it is an excellent all round oil. 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 by tricking naturally oily skin into thinking it has produced enough oil. Also very moisturising for dry skin. Jojoba is full of nutrients such as vitamin E, 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.
With high concentrations of vitamin E and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), kiwi seed oil can help retain moisture, improve skin elasticity and help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, blotches, large pores, acne, dark spots and other skin blemishes. Fast absorption rate makes it an excellent day oil or can be blended with a slower absorbing oil for night-time use.
This natural non-greasy oil from Hawaii is known to be an excellent moisturiser. Works well in a day or night serum.
Moringa oil’s exceptionally high (73%) oleic acid content means it penetrates easily and deeply into the skin’s surface, helping replenish natural oils and lock in moisture, making it an excellent oil for dry and/or mature skin. Oleic acid also contains antioxidant compounds that can help fight free radical damage caused by environmental aggressors such as UV rays, the top trigger of premature ageing, helping prevent fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots As an anti-inflammatory substance that stimulates wound healing, oleic acid can also help calm, balance and repair skin, even those with damaged conditions like eczema, rosacea and psoriasis. Oleic acid also contains compounds that reinforce the integrity of cell membranes.
Moringa oil is rich in vitamins A and E and antioxidants. These vitamins help improve the elasticity of skin, while antioxidants act as natural preservatives, making it a stable oil resistant to oxidisation and rancidity, allowing for a longer shelf life.
Moringa oil makes for a deep penetrating moisturiser, excellent for night treatments.
This fresh and delightfully fragranced oil feels like summer smoothie for your face! Passionfruit oil is light, quickly absorbed and non-greasy. Antioxidants can help firm skin while vitamin A and its high content of essential fatty acids makes it helpful in preventing wrinkles and dry skin. Works very well in a daytime blend.
A great choice for acne prone skin and skin suffering from acne scarring. Said to help firm skin and help with cell renewal.
High in vitamin A (retinol) which can help encourage skin cell turnover and reduce signs of hyperpigmentation. Rosehip oil contains linoleic and linolenic essential fatty acids which can help to keep cell walls strong so that they don’t lose water. It’s fast and easily absorbed, allowing antioxidants to reach deeper layers of the skin. Very fast absorbing makes it excellent as a day oil, though works well in a night blend too depending on what other oils you blend it with.
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!
Squalane is an unsaturated oil produced by our own skin cells and is part of our skin’s natural moisture. It can also be found in a variety of plants such as olives (our one), sugarcane, rice bran and shark liver (no thank you!). It is put through a hydrogenation process to make it a fully saturated, stable oil with a long shelf life. Squalane oil is non-comedogenic (won't clog pores) and suitable for all skin types, particularly good for dry, sensitive, oily or acne prone skin. A natural ingredient, it is fast absorbing and non-greasy and can be used directly on skin as a face oil. It is a highly effective emollient, natural antioxidant and all round excellent moisturiser, which leaves skin soft and hydrated with a silky skin feel. Said to help heal chapped lips, dry and irritated skin such as eczema and psoriasis, help regulate oil production and help protect skin from free radicals which cause premature signs of ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles.
Due to its very low comedogenic rating sunflower oil is non-irritating, highly absorbent, won’t clog pores and is typically suitable for most skin types. Sunflower oil is rich in vitamins A, C, D and E which act as antioxidants, helping regenerate damaged skin cells and eliminate acne causing bacteria. Vitamin E can also help protect skin from free radicals and from adverse effects of the sun, such as premature ageing and wrinkles. Also helping to trap moisture inside skin cells, improving skin hydration and maintaining the integrity of the skin’s outer layer. The omega 6 (linoleic) fatty acid in sunflower oil helps to maintain the skin’s natural barrier, supporting its ability to retain moisture. It can also help reduce skin inflammation and enhance the development of new skin cells.
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.
Rich in antioxidants, melatonin, omega 3, 6 and 9, and phytonutrients, walnut oil is said to help reduce skin pigmentation and scarring and help protect the skin from free radical damage. Also said to be great for hair growth and strength this is an excellent ingredient to include in hair products. Average absorption rate means it can be used day or night depending on what other oils you blend with it.