Helichrysum (also called Immortelle or Everlasting) is one of my favourite essential oils. I love its soft, herbal/floral scent and its wonderful healing properties. The pretty yellow flowers of the Helichrysum italicum plant give Helichrysum its nicknames as they don’t lose their colour as they dry out and age. Anyhow, I was pleasantly surprised to see Helichrysum starring in a new cream from L’Occitane a few months ago—I happened to read about it in the paper, and saw baskets full of bright yellow blossoms and pretty yellow glass jars displayed at one of their shops. Colour me intrigued.
Their 5-patent formula has won awards and much praise for its anti-aging properties. The ingredient list, while very long (51 ingredients!), contained some good stuff, and some stuff I’d never heard of before, like Echium plantagineum seed oil and Menyanthes Trifoliata Leaf Extract. It also rings in at $114/50mL. Yikes.
Unfortunately (and likely by design) all those fancy never-heard-of-’em botanical ingredients are very hard to source. So, I decided a sort of tribute version was in order rather than any attempt of a dupe. I’ve taken some inspiration from the original, and included a few of my favourite skin healing and anti aging ingredients to create a light and creamy facial serum that absorbs quickly and leaves the skin hydrated and happy whilst boosting healing and kick-starting a regenerative party.
The basic gist of this serum is that it’s a lotion, but I wanted it to be on the thinner side, so I used the minimum amount of emulsifying wax I could. Every lotion has an oil part and a water part—I’ll start by going through the oil part.
The oil part is made up of evening primrose oil, borage oil, black currant seed oil, and vitamin E oil (plus emulsifying wax, of course, though it’s rather uninteresting). Evening primrose oil is a heavy oil, cold-pressed from the seeds of Oenothera biennis. High in gamma linoleic acid, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, it’s a popular oil for skin and hair, and is said to help fight eczema and the effects of aging.
Borage oil is a fantastic source of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Like evening primrose it’s quite oily, so it works best in formulas like this one, where you can get its benefits without feeling like an oil slick. Black currant seed oil is high in anti-oxidants and gamma-linolenic acid, and is said to increase the elasticity of the skin. And last, but not least, vitamin E oil—a potent antioxidant, it helps with healing and regeneration.
The base of the water part is aloe vera juice, a popular healing and soothing ingredient. To that I’ve added some vegetable glycerin for its humectant properties, to help soften and smooth the skin. Up next is some raw honey, which brings enzymes, probiotics, and antibacterial goodness to the party. Then some silk peptides, which are fantastic for moisture regulation and add a nice silky feel to the final product.
And last, but not least, is a new ingredient for me—allantoin. It’s a rather unassuming looking white powder that can be derived from a variety of natural things like comfrey, but is usually chemically synthesized (I am ok with this as it can also be derived from urine, and I’d prefer that not to be one of many possible “natural sources”). It’s a wonderful healer—it promotes cellular replication, encouraging the healing of burns and other booboos. Common in everything from lipstick to diaper creme to anti-acne products, it’s safe (o/10 on Skin Deep) and awesome. I’m super excited to have it in my DIY cupboard!
For essential oils I’ve kept it simple—just helichrysum and lavender. Due to the high cost of helichrysum I make a 20% dilution of it with jojoba oil to stretch out each bottle as far as possible, but this recipe is one of the few places I’ve pulled out my bottle of pure helichrysum for a few precious drops. If you can’t afford helichrysum right now (and I don’t blame you—the market price is really high right now), you can leave it out, and look at replacing it with something like carrot seed essential oil if you’d like. There’s already lots of great anti-aging and regenerative ingredients in here, and there’s no need to break the bank.
All of these lovely ingredients come together to create a light, silky serum that spreads thinly and easily across the skin, and sinks in like a dream. I am loving it after my face masks, and in the morning when my skin is tight and dry. It helps boost healing (brilliant for some stubborn stuff on my skin), but you might find the emulsifying wax sets off some acne if you’re prone to it (especially after extended use). It doesn’t have any fancy patents, but it’s also not over $100, so I think that’s a pretty good trade off 🙂
Immortelle Primrose Facial Serum
5 drops helichrysum essential oil
1 drop lavender essential oil
Once the oils have melted, add the aloe solution and leave on the heat for at least three minutes to ensure everything is heated through and melted. Remove the lotion from the heat and whisk as it cools—it will emulsify into an opaque white solution and will thicken (the thickening may take a few days if you are using a different emulsifying wax from emulsimulse/ritamulse).
Once the mixture has cooled, whisk in the essential oils and preservative. Decant into a pump-top lotion bottle. To use, spread a small amount over the face and neck, and enjoy!
Makes 100mL/3.3 fluid oz.
Don’t have the oils called for in the recipe? Check this out.
New to lotion making? Watch my basic lotion how to video!