DIY Hydrating Skin Repair Serum

Heather Dessinger

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Be your own kind of beautiful” <- I’d never heard those exact words until a few years ago, but thanks to my mom I’ve seen them lived all my life.

So, I am beautiful when I’m laughing till I cry with my toddler . . . even when I haven’t showered in two days. And I am beautiful when I’m crying with my eight-year-old over the last chapter of Anne of Green Gables, or (yes I’m admitting it) a sappy commercial, mascara smears and all.

So, before I share an amazing face serum recipe with you that promotes collagen production, hydrates and plumps skin, helps to even skin tone and fade brown spots, supports scar healing, soothes eczema and psoriasis, and makes skin glow, let’s just get one thing out of the way.

You are beautiful.

Yes, this is really good stuff, but I am so over ads telling us we need x,y, or z to feel beautiful, so I wanted to clear that one thing up before we jump in. I hope you love this serum as much as I do, and that it makes you feel like the best version of yourself: radiant and nourished. Ready now? Good.

This two-ingredient recipe is so easy to make, and because it’s a “dry” oil that absorbs easily, it’s ideal for both morning application (before makeup if you’re putting some on) and in the evening before diving into bed. Here’s what it contains:

Ingredient #1: Rosehip Seed Oil

Cold-pressed from the seeds of a wild forest rose found mostly in Chile, rosehip seed oil has been shown in studies to support skin repair, elasticity and firmness. (1)

It also helps even out skin tone, particularly brown spots, say researchers from the University of San Marcos (2) This is probably no surprise to locals in the Chilean Andes mountains, who have long regarded it as a healing oil.

So what makes rosehip seed oil so exceptional?

The short version: It promotes collagen production, hydrates and plumps skin, helps to even skin tone and fade brown spots, supports scar healing (including stretch marks), and soothes eczema and psoriasis.

The long version: It contains trans-retinoic acid, which is a derivative of vitamin A. If you’re not familiar with the benefits of topical vitamin A for skin, one worth mentioning is that it stimulates collagen production. (3) So yeah, it’s kind of important.

Although synthetic vitamin A (in the form of retinol, retinyl palmitate, etc.) is sometimes touted as an “anti-aging miracle worker,” I don’t consider it a good option for many reasons. Before we get into the details, I just want to say that I don’t personally embrace the term anti-aging. I am pro feeling beautiful at every age. For me, part of that means taking care of myself inside and out.

Okay, back to the problems with synthetic vitamin A. First, it often comes with side effects like burning, redness, itching and peeling. Second, according to The Environmental Working Group, a US government study recently found that a synthetic form of vitamin A – retinyl palmitate – may actually accelerate free radical damage when applied to the skin.

In contrast, the natural vitamin A derivative found in rosehip seed oil comes with complementary cofactors that prevent it from being irritating – quite the opposite, actually! Rosehip seed oil is so gentle it’s considered appropriate for all skin types, even acne prone and very sensitive skin, and it’s often used to support healing for sun damaged skin. (1)

Why the difference? According to Dr. Campbell McBride, author of Gut & Psychology Syndrome, the body “has been designed to use natural forms of these nutrients and often does not recognize the synthetic forms and does not know what to do with them.”

Now back to those cofactors I mentioned earlier: Rosehip seed oil is incredibly rich in essential fatty acids. Over 70% of the oil is comprised of two in particular – linoleic and linolenic acid – which improve hydration and skin elasticity. (4)

It also contains a significant amount of vitamin C, which is essential for collagen synthesis. (5)

To recap, these vitamins and and nutrients work synergistically to:

  • Support scar healing (including stretch marks)
  • Promote the production of collagen
  • Help skin maintain moisture and plumpness
  • Even skin tone, particularly brown spots
  • Soothe eczema and psoriasis

Ingredient #2: Essential Oils

For this recipe I’ve selected oils that support skin repair and renewal, elasticity and firmness, and even skin tone. Some, such as helichrysum italicum, carrot seed, geranium, frankincense, rosewood and myrrh are also considered helpful for scars.

clear pump bottle of homemade face serum
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4.45 from 9 votes

DIY Hydrating Face Serum Recipe

This face serum recipe contains cold-pressed rosehip seed oil, which researchers say promotes collagen production, helps to even skin tone, fades brown spots, supports scar healing, and makes skin glow.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 oz.
Author Heather Dessinger


6-12 drops (or a combination of) one of the following essential oils or essential oils:


To Make

  • Add rosehip seed oil and essential oil drops to a container – I prefer a measuring cup because the spout makes it easier to pour.
  • Stir the oils together and transfer your serum to a small, clean, airtight bottle. I use a 1 oz. glass bottle with treatment pump that I recycled, but you can find similar ones here and here.

To Use

  • Apply to your face and neck before bed. Because it is a dry oil that absorbs quickly, you can also apply it in the morning if desired.


*Avoid these essential oils if pregnant or nursing. For a longer list of essential oils to avoid during pregnancy/breastfeeding click here, and for a list of oils that are considered safe for pregnancy/nursing click here.
In general a 1% dilution (6 drops for this recipe) is recommended for face application. However, it may be appropriate to go up to 2% (12 drops) if certain objectives – like softening fine lines – are desired.
Also, quick note: I added some rose and calendula to my bottle to make it pretty. Both are wonderful for skin but totally optional.

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  1. Quezada, Maria (2010) Finding Infinity, Vol. 1: an Easy Aromatherapy Guide to Blending Essential Oils (The Anti-Aging Secrets)
  2. Yahoo Lifestyle (2013) David Gandy reveals supermodel skin secret is rosehip oil
  3. Varani, J et. al. (2000) Vitamin A antagonizes decreased cell growth and elevated collagen-degrading matrix metalloproteinases and stimulates collagen accumulation in naturally aged human skin
  4. Declair, V (1997) The usefulness of topical application of essential fatty acids (EFA) to prevent pressure ulcers
  5. Radava R. Korać and Kapil M. Khambholja (2011) Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation

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Heather is a holistic health educator, herbalist, DIYer, Lyme and mold warrior. Since founding in 2009, Heather has been taking complicated health research and making it easy to understand. She shares tested natural recipes and herbal remedies with millions of naturally minded mamas around the world. 

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95 thoughts on “DIY Hydrating Skin Repair Serum”

      • I’m sorry i still don’t understand how to interpret the directions for this serum. Only select one of the oils besides rose hip? I have never done this before.

    • Is there a substitute for the rosehip oil? I know the question is kinda dumb being that the page is dedicated to rosehip oil but I only have a very small amount left in my bottle and would like to see if maybe I could add it to another with the same benefits. Also, I’ve had it for about 2 years. Does it go bad?

      • Do you have meadowfoam seed oil. You could try adding it to the rosehip oil to get a workable volume. Meadowfoam seed oil is light and ansrbs well. If not just measure out how much rosehip you do have and decrease the amount of the other adds to get the correct concentration. Noteworthy very small amounts of eo in face products is safest. Good luck

  1. Heather, do you happen to know which of the essential oils that is good for scars would be safe to use on a child (age 4)?

    • That’s a great question, Tara. I personally would opt for helichrysum, frankincense or geranium. If you’re interested in learning more about which oils are considered safe for use with children, I compiled this list ( based on the information found in Essential Oil Safety, which was written by world renowned essential oil expert Robert Tisserand and his co-author, Rodney Young.

      Considered the most evidence-based resource available, Essential Oil Safety took 10+ years to write and contains over 4000 citations. I hope you find it helpful!

    • I was in a car accident many years ago and sustained severe injury to my forehead and, of course scarring. 6 months ago, I started making and using this recipe using the oil and 8 drops frankincense and 8 drops myrrh. I didn’t think much about it and went on with life. 2 months in, I rubbed my head and was totally flabbergasted. These scars are 40 years old and they have reduced and smoothed out beyond my ANY expectation. Mind you, this is after dermabrasion. ?

    • Hi, Heather,
      Do you use this am and pm after using the hyaluronic cream (your recipe)? I am 86 years old and so appreciate all your wonderful and healthy recipes for every area of my life!

  2. Hi Heather 🙂 I love your blog. I started making lotion at home because of your blog.

    I have been doing a ton of experimenting and home tinkering with skin serums recently. I love the points you shared about rose hip oil, so I will try your recipe.

    My current regimen is to use pure gelatinous hyaluronic acid on my skin right after washing (made from a simple HA capsule contents dumped in small amount of water and allowed to gel). Then once that gel absorbs into my skin I apply an oil I made from coconut oil, vitamin E and the contents of a Co-enzyme Q10 supplement capsule dissolved in the oil base. So far I like the effects of this but I would have to be doing it for 6 months to make any claims about what I notice, so I will wait to give a verdict.

    The most important thing I wanted to share is that we should try to read dermatology studies and really do our homework about these ingredients. The claims made by ultra expensive beauty industry creams is shameless. They outright lie to us as consumers and prey upon society’s fear of aging (I was taught this fact in medical school during our derm lectures-today many savvy women already know this but many of us still do not and get taken advantage of). I firmly believe that serums we make at home, like this one, will be far superior to what the snake oil salesman cosmetic companies offer us for a small fortune. I found extensive reading and googling to be very helpful in deciding what to use.

    Of all the stuff out there that claims to be anti-aging, so far science does seem to say that only a few cause measurable changes, and the big winner is the active forms of Vitamin A. I’m still learning about this though as it seems sometimes it is inactive and doesn’t do much. I don’t know enough about rose hip oil to say yet. The research you bring up about the synthetic active form of Vitamin A possibly causing MORE free radical damage in the skin is very interesting (and almost common sense in a way, as so many women cannot tolerate the irritation from the Retin A/ Tretinoin products).

    There have been studies on both hyaluronic acid and coenzyme 10 applied to facial skin that seem to suggest some formulations of them do penetrate our skin cells and do make positive measurable difference (its key to understand that some molecules are so big and so charged that they will not penetrate the cell membrane and instead will just sit on the surface doing little to nourish and promote active changes of living skin cells…so ingredients have to be able to penetrate the cell membrane of our facial skin cells to be truly active- and this issue is often studied in dermatology and the cosmetic industry). That is why I chose to start experimenting with HA and CoQ10 at home. Rose hip oil and the active forms of Vitamin A were on my radar, but I am investigating in stages so I understand what works and what doesn’t. I did the hyaluronic acid alone for a few weeks before adding the CoQ10 serum, and was able to notice more soft, better moisturized skin with possibly less deep forehead creases.

    Sorry to go on and on. Mostly, I just wanted to share my own recent experiences learning about and tinkering with these things. Its worth it to experiment and research the heck out of the ingredients we choose. I believe we can make a far superior product at home to what the drug store or department store counter could ever sell us! And our own personal results will trump any study I guess- what works, works. But the studies seem to help point me on the right path as I experiment and help prevent me from wasting money.

    Thanks for your great blog! Your video of Levi’s water birth was beautiful. It touched my heart!

    • Great points, Marjorie. I have experimented with HA and COQ10 as well, plus vitamin C and other oils with both active Vitamin A (such as cod liver oil) and vitamin A precursors. In my experience, some people will experience better results with one combination and some with another – just like with different variations of traditional diets. This serum is one of many that I have been working on and will share as I feel they are ready, and I’ll continue to research and update posts with new info. 🙂

    • Thanks for the info Marjorie! You’ve done your homework and hopefully you’re seeing long term results. All the best to you and your skin.

    • Marjorie,

      I was just wondering after your experimentation, what serum or oil recipe did you finally end up using? I have mature skin and I didn’t really start caring for my skin until later in life so I need all the help I can get!


    • Hello heather ,

      I’ve got dry and inflamed skin. Can I use this facial serum ? Please help me with other details so that I could get rid of irritated skin.
      Awaiting for ur reply . Thank you.

  3. I’m really enjoying your blogs. I’ve also started making my own products at home with your recipes. I’m especially excited that you provided links to the “Plant Therapy” brand of essential oils. It’s so great to see such a well known expert like Robert Tisserand stand behind a good product made available DIRECT to the public. I’m looking forward to more DIY skin care (and other) recipes!

    • Just want to add an update: I’ve been using this serum for only just over a week, and I’m already seeing a distinct improvement of my skin tone, and almost no fine wrinkles. My skin seems more hydrated. I added the “Soft Skin” synergy EO.

  4. I love your blog and make so many of your recipes all the time. I added just two drops of carrot seed oil and now I am wondering how to mask/neutralise the odour of carrot seed oil. I’ve made some other recipes with carrot seed oil and have now realised that i utterly cannot stand the scent.


  5. Hello,

    For the pre blended anti age and soft skin, do I mix them with rose hip seed oil? How much would you suggest mixing? Thanks so much for everything you do!

  6. Can this be used with belly stretch marks? I slathered myself with all kinds of lovely homemade oils, but it didn’t help at all.

  7. Hi,
    Can I just apply this serum without any cream or moisturiser? And is it suitable to apply on eye area?
    Thanks for you amazing diy…

  8. Hi I am new at trying to make some of your recipes sounds very interesting.
    I would like to learn more about the essential oils. If I use a face serum made of oils and put it at night; can I still use my night cream on top of the serum?
    Also for the eliminating scars do you use the oils that you mention directly to the skin where the scar is or do you have to mix it with a carrier oil? Thank you for your help.

  9. Is palmarosa safe during pregnancy? I didn’t see it in either list. I was going to make this as Christmas present and use silky soft by plant therapy. It is one of their kid safe blends.

  10. Hi…. I have the same question as Alexa previously posted:
    For the pre blended anti age and soft skin, do I mix them with rose hip seed oil? How much would you suggest mixing?
    Thank you!

  11. I have ordered the rose hip oil to mix with the pre mixed Anti-Age. Is that enough or should I mix the Anti-Age in with my lotion as well? Not sure if that’s too much. I can’t wait to try it!

  12. Hello, I am wondering if it is OK to buy essential oils on Amazon? I saw you linked to Amazon with your oils…I am happy with that brand and ordered some off of I am just wondering as I am not familiar with ordering through Amazon ?

  13. Just a heads up: rose hip seed oil can cause breakouts for acne prone skin. I read that on Nature’s Gift website, and then experiences it over a year ago.
    I made a face oil blend which included rose hip seed oil for my three adult daughters, two of whom had issues with acne as teens, and myself (also probe to acne). I had been careful to include oils whose comedogenicity ratings were 0 to 2, with the average of the blend being about 1.8. The three of us who had acne prone skin all experienced break outs from uaing it, the sister with no history of acne had no problem with it. Not saying it will be a problem for everyone with a history of acne, just saying it can.
    I was so bummed! But there are other great oils so I use what I can ?

    • In response to Dorothy & her daughters who tried this recipe for the serum and who have had acne prone skin now or in the past: Just because you had a break out does NOT mean that rosehip seed oil causes break outs in acne prone skin. I would rather say that you need to continue to use it as your skin may be trying to expel contaminants for lack of a better word. There is a very great chance that this serum just had a drawing effect and brought things that were lurking beneath out into the open. I see that happens with my teenage daughter whose hormonal cycle is brutal. If she is lax in taking care of her skin when she does finally use a good product again, there is that time period where she now has to detox her skin and get all that nasty brought to the surface again to overcome it.

      P.S. I love what plain old baking soda does as an exfoliant on my face.

      • I have acne prone skin and have had no problems with Rose hip oil. Mine are definitely caused by hormones though. I think it depends on what triggers your acne.

  14. Your blog is a life changer!
    Love it! Thanks for all your time and effort and such great material!
    I got really excited reading about this in particular because My 6 month old has Extremely sensitive and irritated skin (eczema?)
    1. Is it safe for 6 month olds?
    2. Do you think it would help?
    3. Is there something else you would recommend? Our pediatrian just keeps saying Vaseline, hydrocortisone and Benadryl ?
    Thanks so much! Keep up the great work! ??

    • Hey Gina! Although sometimes it is appropriate, I generally don’t use topical essential oils on children under two. Although this serum is great for many things – supporting scar healing, for example – mamas who have littles ones with eczema have emphasized to me that supporting barrier function is key to soothing eczema. For that, they swear by tallow balm. Here’s the recipe I use:

  15. Heather! Not only do I find your DIY inspirational, but appreciate your words about embracing our beauty and ignoring fears! Thank you!

  16. I would caution using helichrysum if you have even the slightest allergy to ragweed! Helichrysum is in the ragweed family. Since I don’t react strongly to ragweed I thought it would be safe. I also thought the distillation process used to make EOs would save me. I ended up with a horrible case of allergic conjunctivitis- swollen corneas, the whole bit. Just a heads up. This serum looks great and I’m going to give it a shot with the geranium and frank. Thanks for all you do!

  17. Hi!

    My hubby and I are trying for baby and I saw this face serum which I can’t wait to make. Of course, doing all the research about what you can put into and onto your body during pregnancy has opened my eyes to what exists in commercial and high-end products.

    I see that you recommend to use EO sparingly in the first trimester. Would this serum be ok since I’d be using it every day? I’m also going to be using other products that may contain a little bit of EO in them, like my face wash, morning serum and feminine wash.

    Would love your feedback. Thank you.

  18. Great post! I am curious to know how you keep this oil in the refrigerator but still incorporate it into your daily beauty routine? Thanks!

    • I keep it on my bathroom counter. The recipe doesn’t contain any water and is therefore stable at room temperature for quite awhile.

      • Thank you for asking about the refrigeration, as I thought my rosehip seed oil needed to remain in the fridge at all times. I will keep storing it in the fridge, but let the serum stay in my bathroom.

  19. Apparently (?) there is no Vitamin C in Rosehip Seed Oil because Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and so won’t be present in the oil (?) .. see Wikipedia .. “The oil contains provitamin A (mostly beta-Carotene). It has been wrongly said to contain retinol (vitamin A) which is a vitamin solely made by animals from provitamin A. It does however contain levels (up to .357 ml/L) of tretinoin or all-trans retinoic acid, a vitamin A acid that retinol converts to.[1] Similarly, while the fruit is rich in vitamin C, the oil does not contain any, as it is a water-soluble vitamin. Rose hip seed oil is high in the essential fatty acids: linoleic acid or omega-6, and linolenic acid or omega-3”. … The good news is you can still extract the Vitamin C (and other constituents) using a water based solvent such as ACV, Honey, … etc. Try creating these other extracts and blend a little with the actual cold-pressed Oil. (Makes a beautiful night serum!)

  20. Hi, I’m really enjoying learning about the world of home skin care, thank you so much for sharing your fantastic blog! I was wondering what the shelf life is for the face serum with rose hip oil? Thanks

    • The shelf life of rosehip seed oil is around 2 years, but the shelf life of this serum can vary somewhat depending on which essential oil you choose and what its shelf life is.

  21. This is great. Thanks for sharing!

    Just a couple of questions, for this solution, no other mix like water? Also, if I may ask how many bottles of serum can you make with each 100 ml bottle of rosewood seed oil?

    Thank you! 🙂

  22. Hi!!

    When you say 6-12 drops of a combination of oils, does it mean a total of 6-12 drops of the combination or 6-12 drops of each oil I want to add to the serum?

    Thank you!

  23. “In general a 1% dilution (6 drops for this recipe) is recommended for face application. However, it may be appropriate to go up to 2% (12 drops)”

    Hi Heather, to clarify, do you mean that you are using only 6-12 drops of this mixture on your skin per application, or am I misunderstanding what you mean by 1% dilution?


    • Oops, I think I understand what you meant now. The 1% dilution is referring to the amount of EOs added to the Rosehip oil, correct?

  24. Hello Heather, I made this serum and it is was too oily it’s not soaking in after the DIY Hyaluronic Acid Serum. I did let the Hyaluronic Acid Serum dry first. Any ideas? Thanks so much

    • Hi Yoli! A little serum goes a long way, so you might try reducing the amount you apply. It may take a little while to absorb 🙂

  25. I’ve been using an essential oil face serum for years. I’ve been on the fence in trying Rose Hip as a carrier. Love your in-depth explanation of its benefits. I’m going to be giving it a try!

  26. Hi. This serum sounds beautiful. Lavender oil is not in the list but would it be beneficial? Or, are the essential oils you listed preferable (it’s just that I have lavender essential oil on hand :))

    • I haven’t tested it but carnuba wax might work. It much harder than beeswax, though, so you’d probably want to use less than the recipe calls for.

  27. Hi Heather, LOVE your blog. Thank you so much for all the great ideas and information. I’m confused about this recipe. So there are no base oils used in this? Only the essential oils and they are applied directly to the skin? You show it filling a once-ounce bottle but the recipe uses only a total of 8 to 14 drops. Are you just giving the ratio, and then you make it in larger quantities to keep on hand?

    • Hi Rachel! I’m so glad you asked – the recipe includes 2 tablespoons rosehip seed oil (which is a carrier oil), plus 6-12 drops of essential oil. You’ll find a list of essential oils I suggest along with the exact recipe under the “Ingredients” section.

  28. its also good to know that Vitamin A from Palmitate is known to cause Birth Defects, which is an ingredient in Pre-Natal vitamins. Now even though the amount is considered too low per the FDA, we do not know what mama-to-be is coming home and eating, there are other products that contain this Vit A from Palmitate so please read you labels.

  29. Hello,

    I ordered the Rose Hip Seed Oil and Carrot Seed Oil and they smell awful… Do these have an unusual smell or do you think something is wrong with the products I received?? I have several essential oils and none of them smell like these. I ordered Pura d’or Rose hip and Plant Therapy Carrot Seed Oil from Amazon… Any thoughts?

    • Rose hip is not a scent that everyone loves, and most people don’t like carrot seed either. I’ve found, though, that when I use some of the other essential oils listed above that the final serum smells good. 🙂

  30. Hi! Would you consider this safe to use on children, 2 years and older, for scar prevention and healing on the face?

    I made the recipe with the pre-made SoftSkin blend by Plant Therapy.


  31. Rosehip is a dry oil?? It stays greasy on my face for HOURS. I hate using it but I love using it for how it works…
    I put it on by the drop. A drop each side of my wet face…I use a dropper. The spray just clogs.

  32. Hi Heather,
    If I were to use this face serum, is it sensible to finish with the tallow balm or would that be redundant? In other words, I’m trying to understand if this face serum is complementary to a moisturizing tallow balm, or more of a substitute.

    Thanks for all the advice. Love the website!

  33. 5 stars
    No more little ones coming on board in the family but I read and love your site. Wish I’d had you around when I was a new Mom!

  34. Yes great but if your a breast cancer survivor they say that sunflower oil can interfer with estrogen hormones & cause growth tumors does rosehip seed distrupt with breast hormone receptors? Thank you

  35. I would like to make this serum. You call for rosehip seed oil. Can I use my rosehip seed herbal oil I made by infusing rosehips into jojoba and sweet almond oils? I do not have store-bought rosehip seed oil currently and wondered if my infused rosehip seed oil would be okay.

  36. Dear Heather
    With your Hydrating Face Serum, the 2 tbsp of rosehip seed oil you mention is this rosehip essential oil?
    Also with other recipes, I am not always sure if it should be an essential- or
    carrier oil.
    Let me know as I have to order ALL the ingredients from abroad and from
    different suppliers – even India (free shipping).
    I sent 2 comments recently, do you reply via email?
    Many thanks

    • It should be rosehip carrier oil. I do my best to respond to comments as I can but there are hundreds of active threads on this site plus more conversations on social channels so I’m not always able to reply.