DIY Moisturizing Skin Serum

Growing up, I was fed the beauty myth that oily skin is bad. The cosmetics industry pushes the use of harsh, drying soaps and products that strip natural oils to help you get rid of shine. However, those natural oils actually help moisturize your skin. Washing them away can result in overly dry skin, rather than soft and supple skin. Really what you want is skin-loving oils like the serum recipe below paired with a nice, gentle astringent for a balanced regimen.

Using natural plant oils is a wonderful way to help nourish and refresh dry skin. Some of my favorites are organic rosehip seed oil, pomegranate seed oil, and tamanu oil. I love how quickly they absorb into the skin, leaving my face soft, but not greasy. Organic plant oils like these are used in the base of most homemade lotion recipes. Lotions often include butters or waxes to help smooth the skin and seal in the moisture. Using oil neat will allow it to absorb into the skin very quickly, and I prefer using this preparation first for daily facial moisturizing. However, you can use this serum as an oil base in a cream recipe if you like. This serum is wonderful for softening the skin on arms and legs as well.

For high-quality skin oils, you want to make sure that they are certified organic and minimally processed. I like to use cold-pressed or expeller-pressed oils that are unrefined. It’s also important to keep them in a cool, dark place. I store mine in the refrigerator and buy often. Because they are minimally processed, high-quality oils can turn rancid if not properly stored. Keep in mind,  a little oil goes a long way.

Okay, it’s time to feed your skin some luscious serum! I use this recipe first thing after showering in the morning and again before bed. I find it especially helpful for dry or sensitive skin, but feel free to play with other carrier oils and essential oils to craft a serum that is perfect for you.

MOISTURIZING SKIN SERUM RECIPE

Ingredients

Carrier Oil Base
  • 2 oz. organic jojoba oil or organic sunflower oil
  • 1 oz. organic tamanu oil
  • 1 oz. organic rosehip seed oil
  • ½ oz. organic pomegranate seed oil
  • ½ tsp vitamin E oil
Essential Oils

Directions

Pour all carrier oils together into a glass bottle and roll between your palms to mix. Carefully drip each essential oil into the carrier base and roll again to distribute. Use less essential oils if you have skin or fragrance sensitivities. Invert the bottle several times and roll again. Use a coin-sized amount as a facial serum or allover body oil each day.

Make Your Own Green Tea Skin Serum

There is no point in stretching the truth…I am 60 years old and while I have tried to take good care of my skin over the years, my skin-care strategy is evolving as my body ages.As a teenager and young adult, it was all about absorbing extra oil and striving for blemish-free skin. Throughout my thirties and early forties, I used a water-based moisturizing cream with sunscreen daily, and that worked well to help combat the rigors of a busy life.

Recently, I’m finding my skin needs a bit more nourishment and moisture and I’ve been working on creating face and skin treatments that have more of the good oils and concentrated botanicals to meet the requirements of my ever-aging skin. I never would have dreamt of putting oils directly on my face when I was 21, but now my skin seems to soak it all in—leaving my face feeling soft and nourished.

I’ve been reading a great deal lately about the benefits of green tea antioxidants as one of Nature’s many gifts, especially in skin care applications. I thought I might give it a try and use it as a base for a skin serum created specifically for more “seasoned” skin…

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Green Sencha Skin Serum

This recipe makes approximately 1 cup of skin serum, which is quite a bit! You can use this as a whole body oil or divide it up and share. The recipe is also easy to half or quarter if you’d like to make a smaller amount.

The first step is to create an infused oil. I used about 1 cup of organic Green Sencha Leaf Tea and covered it completely with organic olive oil in a 1-pint mason-type jar. Allow this to infuse for 4-6 weeks, shaking regularly and making sure the tea stays completely covered with oil. After infusing, strain. Compost the tea.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and shake well to combine.
  2. Pour into a dark amber or cobalt blue bottle or jar to protect from light and store in a cool, dark place. This does not need to be refrigerated.
  3. Apply by pouring a small amount in the palm of your hand and gently spread on your face using non-dominant fingers (avoid using your pointer finger or thumb as they put more pressure on your skin.)
  4. You can also use a dropper to collect the oil for application.

Best Essential Oils and Their Benefits

Essential oils, also called volatile oils, are scented oils extracted from plants. Historically, they’ve been used in medicine, cosmetics, perfumes, food, and, more recently, aromatherapy. Essential oils are “essential” because they contain the “essence” of the plant, meaning the taste or odor.

Not only are essential oils popular, they have legitimate therapeutic use and the science to back it up. Although the exact benefit depends on the oil in question, some have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects. Others can affect cognitive function, mood, and memory. Some can even help alleviate stiff, sore muscles and joints.

Some essential oils can be applied to the skin, others are best taken orally. However–and this is important–do not ingest or topically apply any essential oils unless you are absolutely certain that they can be used this way. Not all essential oils are safe to take internally and some can irritate the skin. Essential oils are a concentrated source of many phytochemicals and some essential oils must be diluted with an unscented “carrier oil” to be used safely on the skin.

Health Benefits of Common Oils

One of the primary benefits of essential oils is that, when used properly, they offer many benefits and have few, if any, side effects. Many essential oils are effective against harmful organisms. Some can positively affect your mood and mental state. Some essential oils can even help you reduce a headache or feelings of nausea. Aromatherapy uses essential oils to improve quality of life and reduce unpleasant side effects of aggressive therapies and health conditions. Just be careful not to spill them; some surfaces, like painted wood, may react with essential oils.

Lavender Oil

Derived from fresh lavender flowers, lavender oil is one of the most well known essential oils. It appears to slow the activity of the central nervous system, improve sleep quality, promote better concentration, and help encourage hair regrowth in those suffering from alopecia areata, a type of hair loss.

Lavender may also help fight anxiety. In one study, encapsulated lavender oil was found to be effective for generalized anxiety disorder, without sedative effects or potential for abuse.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil, derived from the leaves of Eucalyptus odorata, a smaller variety of eucalyptus tree, is a powerful biocide. It’s antimicrobial, insecticidal (kills insects), herbicidal, acaricidal (kills ticks and mites), and nematicidal (kills nematodes). It’s especially effective against the bacterial strains Staphylococcus aureusHaemophilus influenzaStaphylococcus agalactiae, and Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Eucalyptus oil is great for respiratory health. Inhaling eucalyptus steam can help alleviate a cough and congestion. The aroma of the oil acts as an expectorant, helping to loosen phlegm in the nasal passages and lungs.

In one study, researchers found that the combination of eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil boosts cognitive performance. The same study also found the scent of these two essential oils reduce headaches and promote mental and muscular relaxation.

Peppermint Oil

 

Peppermint oil can help alleviate nausea, a headache, upset stomach, gas, indigestion, and anxiety. It works on the digestive system by speeding up the rate of elimination. Peppermint oil calms the involuntary smooth muscle of the stomach, producing an antispasmodic effect, and improves the flow of bile. It can help soothe discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and studies have shown that encapsulated peppermint oil can reduce IBS symptoms in as many as 80% of people who take it. Peppermint oil is effective because it contains menthol that interferes with the movement of electrolytes across cell membranes, stopping involuntary contractions.

Beyond digestive help, peppermint oil may offer relief for HSV-1 (Herpes simplex) outbreaks by permeating the skin and acting as a virucide directly on the virus. More research is needed, but preliminary results suggest topical application may fight outbreaks.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is another essential oil with strong antimicrobial properties. Also known as melaleuca oil, tea tree oil comes from “tea” or “paperbark” trees. In Australia, it has a long history of use as an antiseptic. Bundjalung aborigines native to Australia inhaled the aroma of crushed leaves to relieve a cough and used poultices to help heal wounds.

Today, we know that tea tree oil is antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiprotozoal. It fights harmful organisms by damaging cell membranes. Tea tree oil also inhibits the growth and sporulation of yeast and fungus. The oil can be applied topically to cuts to discourage infection.

Like peppermint oil, tea tree oil seems to have an effect on HSV-1. One study revealed that, while topical tea tree oil doesn’t prevent recurrent herpes outbreaks, it may reduce viral load by up to 98.2%.

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is derived from the seeds of the wild jojoba shrub, a small, woody desert plant native to Arizona, California, and northwestern Mexico. Historically, Native Americans used jojoba oil to help wounds heal. Jojoba oil contains unique fatty acids and fatty alcohol esters that are similar, but superior, to those found in sperm whales.

Unlike other essential oils, jojoba oil is not a volatile oil, but still offers plenty of benefits, primarily to the skin. With respect to wound healing, researchers found that jojoba oil accelerates the closure of wounds at a cellular level. To improve skin appearance and reduce acne, incorporate jojoba oil into your skincare routine. Evidence indicates that clay-jojoba oil facial masks might be an effective remedy for mild acne.

Blue Chamomile Oil

Blue chamomile oil is extracted from German chamomile. The vibrant color of blue chamomile oil is a result of the steam extraction process—the azulene content in the oil darkens to an inky blue, brilliant azure, or deep green. This color fades and turns dark yellow during storage, but, don’t worry, the oil’s benefits don’t fade.

Chamomile has been used therapeutically for thousands of years by Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians to remedy everything from skin conditions and injuries to fever and insomnia. As a traditional medicine, blue chamomile oil may help with eczema, wounds, bruises, burns, canker sores, mastitis, and other conditions.

Chamomile is also appreciated for its anti-inflammatory effects. One study found that chamomile inhibits and prevents a chemical process in the body that incites inflammation. Further, chamomile seems to inhibit the effects of the stomach-ulcer-provoking bacteria Helicobacter pylori.

Chamomile tea can help with insomnia, and inhaling the aroma of chamomile oil produces a mild sedative effect on the brain, which makes you feel sleepy. Like lavender, chamomile oil offers a mild anti-anxiety effect for those who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder.

Rose Oil

Rose oil is a floral-scented essential oil derived from the petals of several species of rose. In contrast, rose absolute is not an essential oil because the essence of the rose is extracted using a more intense chemical extraction processes. Like other essential oils, rose oil promotes a calm mood and fights harmful organisms. It contains tocopherol (a vitamin E compound), carotene, and high levels of phenolic compounds. Rose oil can make your skin more permeable so it’s often added to skin care products to improve efficacy.

Oregano Oil

Oregano oil contains carvacrol, a powerful organic compound with a long list of beneficial properties, including fighting harmful organisms. Carvacrol also supports liver health.

Jasmine Oil

Jasmine oil is derived from jasmine flowers. While many of the essential oils mentioned are sleep aids and relaxants, jasmine oil has a stimulating effect. When applied topically, jasmine oil increases alertness, breathing rate, and vigor. These effects may promote an uplifted mood and better sense of well-being.

Copaiba Oil

Copaiba oil is extracted from the Amazonian plants in the Copaifera genus. Copaiba oil contains copalic acid, which seems to halt the growth of common, but harmful, dental bacteria such as Streptococcus pyogenusStreptococcus salivarius, and Streptococcus mutagens. Copaiba oil also has strong anti-inflammatory effects. Unlike most essential oils, copaiba oil can be taken orally.

Bergamot Oil

Bergamot oil is known for its calming effects, but it may also encourage a healthy body weight and help with vascular and heart health. Researchers aren’t yet sure how, but bergamot oil encourages normal cholesterol levels and blood sugar.

Neroli Oil

Neroli oil is derived from the blossom of Citrus aurantium, also known as the bitter orange tree, which is native to tropical and subtropical Asia. The oil goes by many names but is frequently called “orange bitters” and “Seville orange.” It’s known as Neroli because of a 17th-century Italian princess, Anne Marie Orsini of Nerola, took a liking to the scent. Neroli oil is commonly added to diet pills due to its ability to act as an appetite suppressant. One of the major benefits of Neroli oil is that it helps relieve symptoms associated with menopause and stress. It also boosts the actions of the endocrine system, fights harmful organisms, and soothes irritation.

Lemon Balm Oil

Also called valerian, lemon balm is another essential oil that helps with symptoms of menopause, especially disordered sleep patterns. Lemon balm also seems to sharpen memory and boost problem-solving abilities. Some promising research indicates that it may improve recall for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Pomegranate Oil

Pomegranate oil comes from the many seeds of the pomegranate. It’s exceptionally rich in linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid. Some research suggests pomegranate oil may even delay the development of colon cancer and skin cancer. The oil also enhances the immune system.

Frankincense Oil

Frankincense oil is extracted from Boswellia tree sap and has a long history of therapeutic use. Most interestingly, frankincense promotes normal cell growth.

How to Use Essential Oils

Most essential oils are safe to use, but you have to pay attention to their intended use and stick to those applications. Some oils can only be used aromatically and should not be applied to the skin or taken orally. You may have noticed that many of the oils are effective against harmful organisms. Those effects aren’t always limited to harmful organisms—they might affect gut and skin microbiota, too. Others can kill cells indiscriminately, including normal tissue cells.

There are, of course, gentle essential oils that are great for the skin. Neroli oil, for example, promotes circulation and soothes irritation. Rose oil moisturizes the skin and is used as a gentle toner. To take advantage of some of the skin benefits of essential oils, AquaSpirit® contains Neroli, rose, jasmine, and lavender oil. It encourages healthy-looking, radiant skin and promotes well-being.