I always used to be afraid of putting oil on my skin. As someone who's suffered from acne for around a decade, I've tried a lot of stuff to get rid of it. And I learned that oil-based serums are actually wonderful for all types of skin ailments, including acne. The best part is: it's really easy to create your own custom DIY face serum.
Oils protect our skin. It's important to keep it clean, of course, but don't feel like you need to scrub your face till it's tight and keep it as dry as possible to avoid breakouts. In fact, that really does much more harm than good. Face oils & serums are a wonderful way to cleanse, heal, moisturize and protect your skin.
All you need to make your own DIY face serum is a carrier oil (or oils!) and essential oils (or oil!) of your choice. I've written about the properties of different carrier oils before as well as a few essential oils, but I'll summarize a bit!
First, choose your carrier oil. The oil you use will depend on your skin type and what you're going for. You can also blend as many carrier oils as you want as the base for your serum! There are so many to choose from, but here are my favorites:
Properties of Carrier Oils
Grapeseed Oil: A very light, nongreasy oil that absorbs easily. It's odorless, making it great for blending with essential oils. It's slightly astringent, meaning that it helps tighten and tone skin. Suitable for all skin types. (Get it here!)
Avocado Oil: Perfect for dry and aging skin. It's super hydrating and contains all kinds of yummy fatty acids and minerals to repair damaged skin. Sun damaged skin seems to react well to avocado oil too. (Get it here!)
Jojoba Oil: Jojoba is actually a liquid wax. It forms a super protective barrier on the skin so icky environmental crap like smoke and toxins have a harder time getting to your sweet skin. Inner-city chicks, take note! It's really amazing for ALL skin types and issues, so if you're not sure where to start, go with jojoba oil for your carrier. (Get it here!)
Sesame Oil: It has oil-pulling properties so I love it for broken out skin. It's also wonderful for soothing irritated, inflamed skin. If you're struggling with acne, sesame oil is where it's at. (Get it here!)
There are so many others, but these are the ones I love best. You can experiment with blending more than one oil if you think your skin would like it - mine, for instance, gets pretty glowy when I use a combo of sesame and jojoba.
Amazon has a great deal right now on a sampler pack of my three FAVORITE carrier oils.
JUST SO YOU KNOW, carrier oils can be really helpful just on their own. Don't be afraid to skip the essential oils if you want to keep it simple!
But I like to play around and mix em up, so here are my favorite skin-saving essential oils. It's important to remember that you don't need to use much of these at all.
Properties of Essential Oils for Skin Care
Tea Tree Oil: Use it for acne. It can be kind of harsh, so go easy - I suggest 5 drops max per 1 ounce of your carrier oil(s). I'm always amazed at how WICKED FAST it clears up my skin.
Eucalyptus essential oil is good for acne, too and it's quite a bit gentler than tea tree oil.
Ylang Ylang: Ylang ylang essential oil is soooo soothing. If you have irritated skin from breakouts or sun damage, try ylang ylang. I have yet to overdo it with ylang ylang, but 5 drops in 1 oz is a good place to start.
Rosemary: Rosemary essential oil is an all-around great oil for skin and hair, so it's another good one to start with if you're not sure, or if you're making the face oil for someone else and aren't quite sure what their needs are. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties so it's good for fighting acne. It's also beneficial for healing blemishes, improving skin tone and antiaging.
Lavender: Lavender essential oil is good for fighting acne and also for healing scars.
Carrot Seed: Amazing for people with eczema and aging skin.
This is not a comprehensive list by any means but Aroma Web has what looks like a list of every essential oil made if you want to scope some more out. I can help, too! Leave a comment below & I will be happy to answer any questions. This list is simply of a few of my favorites that cover a range of skin types.
DIY Face Serum
Put your oils in a bottle and shake it gently for 30 seconds or so - you're good to go! It's really that easy.
Any bottle that seals tightly is good. Store your serum out of light to prolong nutrient content. Amber or blue glass bottles are especially good for keeping light out and keeping your serum fresh longer.
That's really all there is to it! Apply a small amount to damp skin each time you wash your face.
If you want to move beyond making an oil based serum, you can learn all about working with different types of facial serum ingredients here (oils acids. and more!)
Corrine/Frock And Roll
INCREDIBLY useful information, Kylie! Thanks a bunch for sharing!
I never realized carrier oils have useful properties too! That's really cool. I've also never heard of rosemary essential oil but I think now I need to have some. Rosemary is my favorite herb, it smells so amazing!
The Gunny Sack
Great information! I love tea tree oil and lavender oil!
Little Brick Ranch
Thanks for all the info!! I absolutely LOVE ylang ylang!! 🙂
Thanks for popping over and commenting on my super easy pineapple slicing method...! am so glad I figured that out before - happy to have helped!!
Amazing! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
this is way cool, thanks for sharing:)
This is such a great thing, lovin it! I am featuring you at my party this week, grab a button if you want:) It will be up in a few:))
Hi Kylie! I saw this link on Pinterest and I bought Avocado oil and Carrot Seed for my essential oil. I was curious how many drops you'd put in of the carrot seed per one ounce of the avocado oil? Thanks!
Awesome! I would do 5 drops per ounce of carrier oil to start. Good luck! Let us know how it goes!
wich oil you recommend to eliminate expression lines around the eyes ?
Avocado, for sure!
Thanks for all the info! I am looking to change up my face regimen and ran across your site!
This is the first time I am trying Made from Earth products. It has been about three weeks and I am happy to notice the improvement of my skin. It feels firmer and more supple. I use the Made from Earth Vitamin Moisturizer and Vitamin Firming Serum.
I also notice that my face is not as oily as I have combination skin. I am excited to try the Green Tea Cleanser next !
What blend do you recommend for acne? I also have oily skin, so I don't want something that will leave my face feeling even oilier. Thanks!
Hi Jessica, I use tea tree oil for acne! Here's my post on that:
Thank-you so much for this information. I've made my own serum with jojoba, grapeseed, and eucalyptus. So far, it is great! How often do you use face serum? What is your daily skin care routine? (e.g. do you use/how often do you use moisturizer, soap, serum?) I don't want to over-do it. Also, do you have any suggestions for natural sunscreen? I have acne prone, oily skin and all suncreens aggravate it. Thanks again!
I use it morning and night! Sometimes midday as well, especially in the winter when the air is really dry.
I don't use sunscreen, because I live in ND and need all the vitamin D I can get, but some of my crunchy friends swear by Shea butter. 🙂
Wow! I really want to try the jojoba oil and the tea tree oil if that is a combination that can be used. I have seen the sesame oil and some fragrance used before. I recommend trying 1 drop of rose oil, to 2 drops of sandalwood oil, 2 drops of Frankincense oil (used by Kings) and 1 oz of avocado oil. I found the recipe on: homemademommy.net.
Also i sell my very own serum, Lotus Firming Serum made from real Lotus flower and i mix vitamins a, c, e and CoQ10, Lycopene from Israel's tomatoes and the all famous and amazing Grape Seed oil, and tasty Green Tea. I thought you might like to check it out at: Lotus Firming Serum . This would be a great add on to your skincare tool-belt. Much love, and thank you for taking the time to share your heart and your knowledge. Be blessed : )
I was wondering if you could explain the benefits of using coconut (fractionated) oil and EV olive oil as bases? I'm not asking about mixing them together, just each one. In the comments of your tea tree acne post, you mention that the olive oil could be used for a serum. I also already have the coconut oil on hand for uses with EO's. Looking forward to your reply, thank you!
I actually found my answers on a link at the bottom of your page from Scratch Mommy on how to choose carrier oils
Glad to hear it, Cassie! 🙂
I use the oil cleansing method to wash my face every evening. I love it but also want to add an anti aging facial serum like you mentioned. Can I add the serum to my face after already cleansing it with oil? Will that be too much oil do you think? Thank you! 😉
It might be too much ~ just go by how your skin feels. The oil should soak into your skin, not sit on top of it.
This is all amazing info, so thank you so much! I have a question about applying the serum: after applying to a damp face do you wash the oil off? And how many drops did you apply? Thank you!
2-3 drops is enough. And no, don't wash it off! Let it soak right into your skin. 🙂
so to make the serum, you mix the essential oils with the carrier oils? I recently started a new birth control and I think with the hormone change it is causing me to break out, I have 2 spots which are I believe cystic acne and they hurt! My skin is super sensitive and the slightest things seem to make me break out. What would you recommend? I currently use cliniques 3 step stystem and makeup but I'm not sure if the toner is making my face worse. Any and all advice is very much appreciated!
Eeek! Hormones can throw everything off. I think as your body adjusts, your skin will too. In the meantime use super-gentle oils on your skin, since it's irritated. I would be using jojoba oil and lavender in your situation.
Kate "Oh Hush" is the serum you'd want to use from the Etsy shop. And "LULL" for a toner. 🙂 Both are super gentle.
When mixing the two oils do you do equal amounts of each? I went and bought tea tree oi today after reading the post about using it for acne and then I checked out this post about making the serum and I definitely want to try it! I have been trying to find a way to get my acne under control for ages and hate paying the high prices for acne treatments lol time to try making my own!
You want about a 2-3 percent dilution for skincare, so use about 12 drops of tea tree oil per ounce of carrier oil. 🙂
thanks so much, I've had great success using the OCM. Do you have any tips for making such cute labels that aren't ruined by the oil/water? Thanks!
I had a question about the serum. You said to apply it to a damp face, does that mean you don't wash it off? Does it stay on overnight? Sorry I'm new to this :/
Right Angie! You use a small amount that blends into your face.
Hello! I love you post and will like to give it a try. I have acne and very oily skin. I purchased jojoba oil, sesame seed, lavender and TTO to make the serum! How should I mix them? Thanks!!
Yharis, I'm so glad you are going to give oil-based skincare a try! I would start with 1/2 ounce each of jojoba and sesame, and 6 drops each of lavender and tea tree. That will give you a wonderful acne-fighting serum.
Maria Del Castillo
Wow!! I'm so glad I found your site!!! for I have been looking for simple understandable explanations and instructions! I'm glad to say I finally found you!!! YAY!!!
I've been doing my own Natural beauty products for a while and I am always looking to improve. You have wonderful information! Thank so much for sharing!! Maria
So glad you're here, Maria! xo
Thank you for such fabulous information! and your blog is GORGEOUS. As a brand-new blogger, I'm completely inspired to keep working in hopes to be as wonderful as Everblossom someday!
I just wrote a post about my personal face serum recipe, and linked to your blog - haven't published it yet, but wanted to check in first. I'm all about women supporting women (not stealing or competing!!) so let me know if you'd rather I didn't reference your blog and I will absolutely remove that part! 🙂
Thank you again - keep on rocking!!!!
Happy Wife, Creative Life
You're so sweet! Thanks for the mention. <3
I just stumbled upon this post via pinterest. I just started making my own facial serums and was thinking about doing a blog post about them as well. Thanks for lots of inspo! Also your blog is absolutely gorgeous. I love that you have an integrated shopping cart as well!
I love Tamanu Oil. Have you used that oil at all? You don't mention it all.
Yay! I wanted to make a night moisturizer , but am thinking a serum might be better. Would you put this on before or after a toner? (I'm using an ACV toner)
Hey, thanks for all the great info. I am going to try this ASAP. I have a few questions: I started using aple cider vinegar as a toner and I don't know if I should use it before or after or at all with the serum? If I use it after, you said your face needs to be damp to apply the serum, so if it's damp from the toner is that okay?..
That's perfect! Use the serum after toner, and before any other moisturizers. 🙂
Hi! Thank you so much for this wonderful article. Recently I am in a country where sun is always out whole year. Now my face have blemishes due to over exposure of sun. My skin is neither too dry nor too oily, though the weather is very humid. I am thirty plus and wish have glowy and young skin. I would really appreciate if you could suggest any serum or essential oil. Will it be fine if I apply oil on my face during the time I am exposed to the sun. So sorry for the trouble. Thank you so much.
Hi, many thanks for all the wonderful and useful information. It has been lovely reading and trying to understand how and when to use essential oils. I wonder if I can ask for advice and information please. I am 59 and have psoriasis my skin is sensitive and prone to flare ups, but when a I found you via Pinterest your appeared so knowledgable and passionate that I continued reading right to the end! I really want to try the face serum and would like to use it at night so it can soak into my skin throughout the night. Would jojoba oil, lavender, frankincense and myrrh be okto use together as a face serum. Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to pass on your information.
Kalli J from the UK
i have acne scars, can you suggest a specific oil with the tea tree oil ???
Check out CLEANSE serum in the shop here! It's jojoba, sweet almond, tea tree, and lavender.
Nicole from Canada
I always hated when a young person tries to sell me something for my skin -- not having been there etc but....
I am just about to turn 62 and I still have the oily skin I had as a teenager sans the acne (at least that has ceased)
I was always foregoing the moisturizing part of my daily routine because I thought that my oil was enough -- and when I would be told to wear moisturizer,I would find that I was right -- I was so oily that my makeup would not last half the day BUT... I just started to use organic moisturizer and serum and am very pleased with them. It had sounded counterproductive but with time I saw a change in my old skin so....
With that said you've got a great thing going at an early age so go for it
Unfortunately I live in a northern town in Canada and it's harder to get the 'organic' skin care but I'm sure I'll find it
I'm almost 50, and would to know what combination of oils would be the best for wrinkles, aging, etc. I would really like to avoid getting any more Botox and go natural. I have combination skin.
I'm curious as to what ratio / recipe for the serums do I use? I don't see any amounts of each product to use.
I am 58 I want to try natural products my skin is dry I would like to know the right oils combination for to treat my skin
Thank you so much for your articles on treating acne. If I wanted to use multiple essential oils in a carrier oil, do you have to increase the amount of carrier? Example: If you were to use Rosemary & Tea Tree, would you put 5 drops of each to 1 oz carrier? or 2 oz carrier?
Can I use jojoba and sweet almond oil as the carrier oils and tea tree and lemon oil as the essential oils for making the anti acne face serum for combination skin
This post is just amazing! I’m going to make it tonight and I was just wondering what’s the shelf life of the serums... I’m just in love with your blog!
Regards from Brasil!
Hi I am acnes prone and I am hoping mixing jojoba and sesame oil for my skin, while I use sesame oil and rosemary esencial oil on my face as a serum,is it ok to do that?
Sounds like a very good combo for you.