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Why your DIY Face Serum isn’t working for you

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DIY Face Serums, I’m addicted to them and they are one of the main reasons I am in love with essential oils.

As I’m starting to get older, like most women, I have realized I want to keep a more youthful appearance. Giving up glowing skin for age spots and wrinkles just isn’t something I am looking forward to.

It doesn’t matter if you are in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, or greater, it’s pretty universal that almost all women want beautiful skin.

In truth, I want amazing skin but the thought of spending lots of money on popular beauty products just isn’t high on my list when there are other things I’d rather buy for my family.

Yes, I can be a frugal person at times.

But as I started to educate myself on the beauty industry and the potentially toxic chemicals that make up their products, I found I wanted something simple and more natural.

Not long after getting my premium starter kit of essential oils, I found I could use essential oils to make homemade serums for that glowing skin I craved. The results I found with that one simple DIY face serum recipe changed my whole thinking on Essential Oils.

Essential Oils work!

Up until then, I thought Essential Oils were for making really great DIY Room sprays and diffuser recipes I found online.

To be honest, I was lucky.

I had just the right skin type for the easy face serum recipe I created that first time. And it made my skin glow!

But not everyone is that lucky,

Unfortunately some DIYers, maybe even you, have run across a homemade face serum that was lackluster or just performed all wrong for you.

In this post, I’m going to cover the top 3 reasons your DIY face oil isn’t working for you and how you can correct it.

There may be other reasons for your face oil not working but I have found these three are most likely the reason.

*This post contains affiliate links to the essential oils and other products I talk about in the post.

lemon, lavender and frankincense essential oil bottles, essential oil diffuser and an amber dropper bottle with face serum inside.


Top 3 DIY Face Serum Recipe Mistakes-

  1. Not using the right carrier oil
  2. Applying products in the wrong order
  3. Not applying correctly

First, let’s talk about carrier oils and why we need them.


What is a carrier oil?

Carrier oils are vegetable oils that are created from the nuts, seeds or kernels of plants. The reason we call them carrier oils is we can use these oils to safely carry essential oils and other absolutes and then apply them to your skin.

There are some essential oils that you can not apply safely to the skin without the aid of a carrier oil. They are called hot oils

Carrier oils are also used to dilute essential oils and help to spread essential oils over larger sections of the body.

When I first started making my own DIY recipes with essential oils I thought the only important part of the recipe was the essential oils.

To me, which carrier oil to use in the recipe was an afterthought. I would basically dig into my pantry and see what I had or pick the cheapest carrier oil I could find locally.

Boy, was I wrong!

Carrier oils are actually what can really make or break your recipes for essential oil blends you use on your face. I dig in deep about the best carrier oils for skin in this article- The best carrier oils for skin


What to look for in a carrier oil.

  1. You want to purchase the highest quality carrier oil you can afford.
  2. Purchase Cold-pressed, unrefined oil with no additives.

Now I realize, why would I get some cheap not so great carrier oil and mix it with my best essential oils?

Going cheap with carrier oils, your not only diluting the essential oils in amount but you could also be diluting the quality of the oils by mixing with a less than great carrier oil for your skin.

three essential oil bottles, essential oil diffuser and an amber dropper bottle with face serum inside.


1. Not using the right Carrier Oils for your skin

There are 4 kinds of skin types-

Dry, Oily, Combination and Normal

What I didn’t know is that depending on your skin type you will want to use certain carrier oils to help support and give your skin what it needs.

Not using the right carrier oil for your skin type can actually prevent your face serum from performing at it’s best.

 Mythbuster– People with oily skin shouldn’t use Face oil: Wrong.

People with oily skin can benefit from the use of face serums without it causing a more oily appearance. Choosing the right Carrier Oil is Key to making an amazing DIY Skin serum for oily skin.

What is the best carrier oil for your skin type?

There are tons of carrier oils out there. So how do you know which is the best oil to use on your face? Well, I have a great list of my favorites to help you get started.

Best Carrier Oil For Dry Skin

For dry skin, you are looking for a carrier oil that is high in beneficial fatty acids. My top picks are

  1. Sweet Almond Oil
  2. Jojoba Oil
  3. Coconut Oil
  4. Sesame Oil

Knowing if your skin is dry or dehydrated is important in choosing the right carrier oil.

Best Carrier Oil For Oily Skin

Carrier oils high in linoleic acid should be used by people with acne-prone and oily skin. Low levels of Linoleic acid cause the skin to produce more oil and to clog pores.

  1. Grapeseed Oil
  2. Argan Oil
  3. Safflower Oil
  4. Sunflower Oil

Best Carrier oils for Normal and Combination Skin

  1. Grapeseed Oil
  2. Jojoba Oil
  3. Apricot Kernel Oil
  4. Hemp Seed Oil

**If you have nut allergies make sure you don’t use a nut-based oil.


Can I mix my carrier oils for face serums?


I actually highly recommend it. There are so many great benefits to different carrier oils that mixing a few to create your own special blend is a great idea.

Getting to know your carrier oils is key but once you understand their benefits you can create some amazing DIY beauty projects with them.

Not much of a DIY mixer.

Young Living has a great premixed carrier oil blend that works great for any skin type and with a Young Living wholesale membership you can get it at 24% off retail.

2. Applying products in the wrong order

Another busy mom and newbie mistake here. I usually am in such a hurry that if I can just get something thrown on my face I will call it a win.

But recently I read that there is an order to how you should use your beauty products.

Who knew??

There are apparently views for both sides and you may have to do some testing on your own to see which is best for your skin type.

Some beauty experts say to apply your face serum on first before your moisturizer so it has a chance to really soak into your skin, while others say to apply your moisturizer first and then your face oil so that the face oil locks in the moisturizer.

For me, I want the most benefits I can get from the essential oils that are a part of the face serum recipe so I like to apply my face oil first. Wait a few minutes then apply my Young Living moisturizer.

  • If you have a skin type that produces more natural oil you may want to apply your face serum first and allow it to sink in.
  • Dry skin types may do better if you use your moisturizer then your face serum.

(I want to caution against using beauty products that contain petroleum when you are using essential oils on your skin. The two may react badly with each other. To always perform a small skin test first.)


3. You are not applying it correctly

For some reason when I read this I think of the Karate Kid movie when he is stuck waxing cars.

Wax on, wax off, wax on, wax off

I think I just showed my age.

But my point here is rubbing in any product into your skin is not advised.

And if you are like me when you read that you are like,

well, how in the world do I apply my face serum? Why not rub it on?

What I found is rubbing on the beauty product essentially pulls the skin, which doesn’t allow the face serum to soak into the skin.

Our number one goal is for our skin to soak up and drink in all those wonderful oils we are applying.

So what is the proper way to apply a face serum?

The best way to apply a Face serum is to warm up a few drops of oil between your hands and then press and lightly pat it on. You can even hold your hands lightly to your face for a few seconds to help warm the oil more as it soaks in.

How to properly apply a face serum

  1. Apply a few drops of oil to your hands.
  2. Warm the oil in your hands
  3. Lightly press hands with the oil to your face
  4. Hold to your face for a few seconds to allow oil to penetrate
  5. Repeat to other areas of your face

I hope these tips can help you in finding why your DIY face serum isn’t working for you. If you have specific questions feel free to leave a comment and I will try and help you figure out what might be the issue with your face serum.


Nervous about making your own Face oil?

Watch this quick video to see how easy it is to make an Essential Oil Face Serum Recipe.


Looking for a fun face mask to use to create the perfect skincare routine along with your face serum? Honey face masks are super popular right now because of the benefits of honey for skin and you will want to try out our favorite one that uses Lavender oil.

Want to buy the best essential oils so you can make your own face serum that works? I'd love to help get you started!

When you sign up with me as your enroller you get amazing support and education for not only the oils you need for making a great essential oil face serum, but all the wonderful essential oils and non-toxic products Young Living has to offer.

I even have an FREE Essential oils reference app just for those that enroll with me! I want you loving your oils and getting the most out of them you can.

Ready to get started? Click on the below image and let's get the young living starter kit in your hands.

image of the premium starter kit you can buy from Young Living
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Tuesday 16th of July 2019

Hi Ruth! I am so excited to have come across your blog! I have recently purchased the starter kit from Young Living and have been struggling with my acne! I am 25 and have never had acne like this! I am hoping this recipe is the answer to my prayers! I was wondering if I could use Honest Body Oil as my carrier oil. I came across it at target and it has a ton a different natural oils in it! If not happy to get something else just wanted to see what you thought! Again so excited to have stumbled across your blog! Can’t wait to feel the change you have with your oils!!


Wednesday 17th of July 2019

Hey Sarah!

I haven't tried the Honest Body Oil so I can't give you an answer either way. You can definitely give it a try. But if it were me, I would go more simple with using jojoba as a carrier oil and then using the YL essential oils with it. I would be worried that a premix may have something that triggers more acne. You may also want to check out YL Progessence plus, it is great for supporting female hormones and helped me in so many ways. Hormonal acne is the worst! Let me know how it works and what you decide to try! Ruth

Betsy Auster

Wednesday 13th of March 2019

I am LOVING your blog! I've been using essential oils for my face after using a well-known, home-delivered, chemical-ridden, beauty routine that my husband dubbed "snake oil" for about a year. In just a few short months I've seen MORE results than I saw in that said year! I am very excited to make this serum, and have a quick question: I have HIGH quality, organic Rose Hip Seed Oil. I didn't see you mention this as a carrier oil, and I'v read that this is a fantastic carrier oil for your face. Thoughts?


Wednesday 13th of March 2019

Hi Betsy,

Yes, you can give Rose Hip Seed a try. I'd love to know how it goes so come back and tell us! Ruth

Monica Bennett

Sunday 10th of March 2019

I have dry to very dry skin during the winter and in the summer it is more of a combination of oily and dry. I find my skin to be sensitive to anything scented. The only scents I like are those from coco butter and coconut oil. So, do I need to use an essential oil to make a facial serum or can I use just carrier oils to make it.


Monday 11th of March 2019

Hi Monica, You can use carrier oils only but the essential oils will add so much more support for your skin than just the carrier oils alone. Frankincense and Lavender are both good oils for skin support and in the premium starter kit which is a good starting place if you are new to oils. you can check out the starter kit here.


Wednesday 7th of November 2018

I never see anyone mention this tip... Apply oils while your skin is wet - as wet as possible. I apply my face serum at the end of my shower, then avoid drying my face when I get out. I find that my skin soaks in the oil better and faster, plus doesn't leave that oily feel.


Saturday 9th of March 2019

Great tip! I like to do that too.


Monday 8th of October 2018

Would it be ok to also use my jade roller after applying the face serum?


Wednesday 10th of October 2018

Tanya, To be honest, I don't know much about the Jade roller. But if you are worried, I would use the face serum on another body part as a test area and then use your jade roller over it. This way you can see if your body has any reaction to the two together. Let me know how it goes!