This Cacti Q10 Anti-Aging Facial Serum features a base of beautiful plant oils spiked with some potent Coenzyme Q10. It’s rich in antioxidants, has rejuvenating properties, and leaves your skin positively glowing. It’s also a rather pretty orange colour, and comes together in a flash. Despite the name, you certainly don’t have to be looking for an anti-aging facial serum to enjoy this DIY—its got something lovely and pampering for almost any skin type!
I will happily admit to feeling a bit indulgent as I designed this serum. I wanted to include some beautiful skin-pampering ingredients from my pantry that I hadn’t yet had a chance to use. First off—some “Coenzyme Q10 Q-MAX” from Lotion Crafter. This product is a liquid active featuring 7.5% Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone. Coenzyme Q10 is a wonderful antioxidant that naturally occurs in the body. When applied topically it can help protect from and reduce the damage caused by UV exposure. This particular product from Lotion Crafter also contains 10% tocopheryl acetate, further upping the antioxidant factor. I included the Coenzyme Q10 Q-MAX at 3%, which gives us end concentrations of 0.225% Coenzyme Q10 and 0.3% tocopheryl acetate.
Another ingredient I was positively itching to use was some stunning organic prickly pear seed oil from Essential Wholesale. It’s a carrier oil I’ve been eyeing for a while, so I was incredibly excited and grateful when Essential Wholesale gifted me a bottle! It is undoubtedly one of the pricier carrier oils (it takes approximately 1 ton of fruit to produce 1L of prickly pear seed oil!), so I have kept the usage amount fairly low. I’ve also included an extensive list of suggested alternatives in the encyclopedia entry for prickly pear seed oil. Prickly pear seed oil contains beta-carotene and vitamin K, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a wonderful, silky oil that works beautifully as an emollient.
Up next—some sea buckthorn seed oil. Part of my reason for including it was wanting to amp-up the orange note from the Coenzyme Q10—between the two of them we get a really pretty orange serum. Sea buckthorn seed oil is also great for irritated skin thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties, and it’s rich in vitamin E. Antioxidants galore!
With all these pricey ingredients I figured it was high time to introduce something a bit more pocket-book friendly—some olive squalane. It creates a beautiful base for our more precious ingredients. Squalane is a lovely lightweight emollient oil. It’s quite thin, smooth, and colourless. While it’s less expensive than the other ingredients we’ve covered so far, it could be cheaper—I’d recommend fractionated coconut oil or medium chain triglycerides as a less spendy alternative.
The final serum is a gentle orange colour and has a slight nutty scent. It applies easily and smoothly to the skin, with a few drops vanishing quickly, leaving the skin supple and soft. I’ve been blending a couple drops in with a pump of my Soothing Facial Lotion (side benefit: it eliminates the soaping effect!) and really enjoying it.
Cacti Q10 Anti-Aging Facial Serum
0.36g | 3% Coenzyme Q10 Q-MAX
3.18g | 26.50% prickly pear seed oil
6g | 50% olive squalane (USA / Canada)
2.4g | 20% sea buckthorn seed oil
0.06g | 0.50% Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
Weigh all the ingredients into a 15mL/half ounce glass bottle with a dropper top. Cap, and shake to combine. That’s it!
To use, smooth a few drops over your skin after your watery serums and actives.
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this serum is 100% oil based, it does not require a broad-spectrum preservative (broad spectrum preservatives ward off microbial growth, and microbes require water to live—no water, no microbes!). Kept reasonably cool and dry, it should last at least a year before any of the oils go rancid. If you notice it starts to smell like old nuts or crayons, that’s a sign that the oils have begun to oxidize; chuck it out and make a fresh batch if that happens.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 12g.
- If you have powdered Coenzyme Q10 I would try gently warming 0.225% Coenzyme Q10 and 2.775% squalane to combine, and including that in the end product instead of the Coenzyme Q10 Q-MAX. If you have a different liquid Coenzyme Q10 you can use that instead; compare the concentration of Coenzyme Q10 in what you have with what I have and the final concentration in the end product (discussed in the blog project) and consider adjusting if allowed by the upper usage limit of the product you have.
- To learn more about the carrier oils used in this recipe, including what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. I’ve made sure the four key ingredients in this formula are in the encyclopedia, complete with substitution information.
The prickly pear seed oil was gifted by Essential Wholesale. The sea buckthorn seed oil was gifted by SIBU.
This sounds wonderful!. I make a serum with Sea Buckthorn, carrot seed, evening primrose, helichrysum, frankincense etc. I am in love with the Sibu products! I will have to make an order to Lotioncrafters to try this one. Thank you!
Oooh, stunning! And I would definitely recommend a LotionCrafter order 🙂 If you like makeup, grab some of their OptiBlur, too!
i am getting tablets of co enzyme q 10 in india..can i use them n then how much i am supposed to use to make it equilent to the given amount in receipe..hope this was not answered before..thanks in advance
I am also living in India and trying to collect all the ingredients here, sometime it is difficult. I also got co enzyme Q10 capsules in the chemist in India. there is oil inside the capsule and you can scale it. I am happy to know that some one in India following her recipe!
Thanku Fumie for the reply.. I would try finding it..
N yes of course I watch all her videos..she is a amazing formulator n kind hearted ..receipe are easy to follow..only thing is finding ingredients sometimes is a task
Thank you so much! 😀
hello Kirti, you can just ask any local chemist if they have Co enzyme Q10 capsules which contain 100% pure co enzyme Q10 oil inside the capsules. most of the chemist has it.
Yeah some ingredients are almost impossible to find in India. I normally search things in Amazon in, but when it is difficult, I try to check at India Mart. they accept mainly balk order but if you call them directly sometime they can sell small amount.
I recently purchased some “Neossance hemisqualane” from Lotioncrafters. I cant remember what recipe I got the ingredient from. Do you know much about it? It claims to be green, made from non modified sugar cane. I dont like the hazard label denoting it can be fatal if swallowed and enters airways. I understand that not many ppl would swallow it…. but- it alarms me. Is my concern unfounded? I sure hope so. Is it in any of your recipes? I usually shop for these items after perusing your recipes lol. I am having a very difficult time getting olive squalane. I dont use credit cards so Amazon is out. And “blue saffire ” wants $50 shipping. Voyageur is my fave but they have been out of stock for months.
Just shows how much of a Marie-fan I am, but I believe you’re talking about the Camellia Hair Serum!
Bang on! There will be a new formula in April using it as well 🙂
I love Neossance hemisqualane! I wouldn’t be worried about the warning—water can be lethal if inhaled, too. I suspect the reason it’s there for that ingredient in particular is because it looks so much like water, so there might be additional concern about somebody accidentally drinking it. I took a look at the MSDS and the full statement is “May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways” as you noted, with a specific “Aspiration hazard – Category 1” note—so it’s not just swallowing, it’s the going down the throat and into the lungs that is the real concern. Obviously don’t eat it, either, but definitely don’t funnel it into your lungs.
In addition to the hair serum Hanna mentioned I also used it in my snowflake moon drops—and I’ll have a new formulation out in April that uses it! It’s a really beautiful emollient. (Regarding the blue saffire… don’t give then your money, they have been known to keep it without shipping anything.)
Thank you for your response. I did go directly to the company and ask as well. Their answers concur. I think I panicked because I am a back woods type and labels terrify me more than the time I met head on with a bear lol. I have a long history of going out into the woods to harvest botanicals and then process them into my products. Definitely a noob at all these ingredients, but your products sound good. And…. when I do the research to find out what everything is made of, it’s not all that bad. I think the aspiration warning confused me as I thought it meant that just breathing the fumes could cause it. Now I will happily apply it to the recipes!
Happy making Colleen!
Blue Sapphire was the worst experience I have had in ordering online, basically they kept my money for something they said was out of stock, (which never once changed from “in stock” on their site in the months I argued with them) as they have a no refund policy. They gave me an in store credit, but I had waited for enough in my cart to not have to pay the huge shipping charges when this was ordered. The credit would not even cover the shipping if I ordered something else. Grrrr!
Voyageur and Windy point have been great!
I just ordered for the first time from Essential Wholesale. One item is missing from my order on the shipping notice, but total showed the same as if it were there. They replied promptly to my email, and said it would be adjusted….so hoping it will all be fine! I grew nervous when they said item was on backorder as in my notice, but they never sent me a backorder notice. I am just waiting to see what charges show up on my card……
Just got a new invoice from Essential Wholesale, they adjusted as promised and already shipped! They were great!
Yay for Essential Wholesale! I’ve been super impressed with them, too 😀
If you read the detailed leaflets in medicine packets, you’ll always be alarmed – everything from Vitamin C tablets via aspirin to cough syrup can apparently kill you!
Can only get Q10 capsules or tablets as health supplement in the UK 🙁 Like the sound of this, so will have to see if I can sub anything for it. Thanks Marie.
I believe Gracefruit sell it here in the UK.
Sorry Hannah, I’ve only just seen this, thanks for your help 🙂
You’re welcome! Hopefully Hanna’s tip pans out 🙂
Great write up. The color is luxe!I may have to pick up the Sea Buck thorn oil and the coQ10. I just started taking Coq10 as a supplement to help lower my A1C and Cholesterol but I never knew it has a topical application.
My Lotion Crafter cart is getting bigger and bigger!
While you’re at it, grab some of the double-ended metal spoon/spatula things! I have two and I LOVE them!
Got them! Great Suggestion. This oil serum is so good! I use it daily and only 2or 3 drops are needed it is so potent!
I’m so thrilled you’re enjoying it!
Thank you! I really love the orange colour, too—it looks so bright and happy! I wonder if the dietary supplement version of CoQ10 is different—I know many of the other vitamins we use in skincare are different in their oral supplement form. Hmmmm. A think to look into!
The CoQ10 oral supplements usually have some other oil in it, too. The one I find at my local drugstore has soybean oil in it, I believe. Just something to look out for if you plan to use the gel pills for anything.
Thank you so much, Brookelyn! That is pretty typical of dietary supplement things so I probably shouldn’t guessed that as well. If this particular thing wasn’t diluted it would be verrrrrrry pricey!
I have read/search about the most effective way to deal with aging/wrinkles, and they point to something cold “Retinol” or its plant alternative “Bakuchi”.
Is that correct, or is there any equivalent in these ingredients of Cacti Q10 Ageless Facial Serum?
Nothing in this serum will have an effect anything like that of retinol, which is a very powerful active. You could use this serum with a professionally formulated product that contains retinol, though.
I’m so excited to try this out soon! I need to get more adventurous with my skin oil/serum DIYing because my current blend – safflower and jojoba oils – is doing the bare minimum. Plus always love an excuse to make a lotion crafter or an essential wholesale order :]
And I’m always happy to provide you with an excuse to make an order 😀 Happy making!
marie, i’ve never heard of the soaping effect before. what is it?
The soaping effect is just when you apply a lotion and you get that white stuff as you massage it in. Many claim that it is because the product contains “cheap” oils, but I have many a lotion made with mango butter and argan and moringa go through the soaping effect. It’s pretty neat actually as it is your lotion saponifying! Cool eh?
Oh My, I’m so thrilled with this recipe! I’ve used liquid Q10 in a rejuvenating oil serum of mine…it’s wonderfull! I’ve combined it with purifying oil serum since I have acne too. I’ll definitely order more Q10. 🙂 Great timing with the beta-carotene. Marie, do you have an idea why this serum eliminates the soaping effect?
My suspicion is the oil balance in a formula has a large impact, though other batches of this serum I made with a different oil ratios no longer eliminated the soaping effect, so perhaps not. So, basically, not yet LOL.
Thanks. So far I have no idea either 😀 I’m thinking of giving Q10 a go (again I mean). I had difficulties finding optimal concentration – I found out that the one I used contains only 0,1-1 % Q10 and 1-5 % tocopherol acetate in olive squalane. That (kind of) explains a lot!
Hi Maria, you have made another great serum to try.
I have a question about how to use the serum correctly, can I use the cream after the serum or is it better to leave it alone?
This serum for the skin of the face how about an under the eyes area?
You have an excellent collection of recipes for skin care.There are great serums and lotions for the skin but there are no creams for an under eyes area.
Do you have any kind of non greasy anti-aging cream that will help fight wrinkles, lift and firm under eyes area?Is that difficult to make?
Any idea how to deal with vertical facial wrinkles?
Hi Alla, I’ve tried a couple of simple eye gel formulas with for example 1 % pure caffeine powder, 0.3 % hyaluronic acid and some green tea powder extract…I’ve only followed guide lines of my supplier extra carefully.
Gel formulas with xanthan are easy to make I think. There are many “skin brightening” ingredients also, I’ve used sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ruscus aculeatus extract, cucumber extract and boerhavia diffusa extract in under eye gel. It’s kind of hard to answer your question I think because it depends? 🙂 Developing a safe and suitable formula (for all of us) with too many ingredients is also another thing, I suppose. These have worked well in my eye gel recipes.
I usually use this towards the end of my routine; if I was going to use a cream I’d use it after the cream or mix the two together in my palm before application 🙂 I’ve happily used it all over my face, including the eye area.
I recently shared an eye gel 😉
I have been trying to find that itty bitty scale that you are using for forever! Could you share what kind of scale that is? I am in the U.S. I was also wondering if I join Patreon will they charge you for sending the money from U.S. to Canada? Thank you!
I’ve detailed the scales I use here 🙂
Patreon charges me to get the money, but it doesn’t cost you anything extra. They also charge to collect the money—that’s their business model, and the main expense associated with that platform. The currency conversion usually mostly makes up for it, though—I tend to get fairly close to what was pledged in USD in CAD when all is said and done 🙂 Thanks for considering being a patron!
Oh Marie with this a star is born! I just made this last night. I did not have any prickly pear so I used some monoi oil and added a bit of carrot seed and plum oil. It smells so divine! I used it last night and my skin loved it. I also used some for my middle daughter who has a hard to moisturize spot on her face. This morning her skin is soft and smooth she was so surprised! I was a bit concerned that we’d be orange but it did not oompa loompa us! Both of us are medium and dark brown skin. If any of your subscribers are African American and wondering how this would work.
WOO! I am so stoked you and your daughter are loving it 😀 I bet that plum oil smells fantastic in there, too—happy making!
Yes, it smells so divine! Good news the dark spot on her nose from her glasses rubbing has completely faded! I also have her using the hyaluronic acid serum too! Thank you so much for these recipes. Our skin is looking gorgeous! I feel so confident.
AMAZING! 😀 WHEEEE!
My Q10 oil and hyaluronic acid from Botanic Planet arrived at lunchtime today. I’m so excited to make this recipe and your Soothing Hyalyuronic Acid Facial Serum and Soothing Facial Lotion recipes that I forgot the eat my lunch! Sufficed to say, this afternoon I’ll be crafting instead fo the work I had planned.
Woohoo! I know the feeling—sometimes it’s so hard to be a grownup and do tax stuff and reply to emails with all my ingredients calling from the next room 😀 Happy making!
Hi, any idea how to incorporate “Matrixyl 3000” on this recipe?
Unfortunately, Matrixyl 3000 is water soluble. If you buy it from LotionCrafter, it comes to you as almost a gel like formulation. It would not work in this formula as this formula is an anhydrous serum. Incorporating the Matrixyl 3000 would change this to be more of a lotion product. I’ve also found that Matrixyl 3000 tends to work best as a gel based serum to be used under your lotion/moisturiser.
Is 18 too young to use this serum? What age would you recommend?
Good morning Marie’s Fan!
That’s a very interesting question as I’ve never found anything in any of the literature about topical application for Q10! The only true answer I can give you is my best guess; I’d drop the Q10 to about 1% for your body is still making all that it needs. And in your mid-20’s up it up to 2%. Hopefully this will help!
Hi Marie, I can’t wait to try this! I just ordered my Prickly Pear Seed Oil and it arrives next week. I was wondering if you could add any essential oils to this or would it take away from it? I’ve made other facial oil/serums and used an Age-Defying blend of EO’s in them and I love how they feel on my face. Now I need to figure out how to extract my own Prickly Pear Seed Oil as I live in the desert southwest and am surrounded by these cactus and the fruits are everywhere! Thanks again for another wonderful recipe to try!
Good afternoon Jill!
Of course you can add in your favourite blend of essential oils in this formula! Just be careful and follow their IFRA! When you figure out how to extract your own Prickly Pear Oil let me know! I’m keen to hear about your results! Don’t forget to share pictures of your attempts to #humblebeeandme on Instagram!
Speaking of LotionCrafter carts…I am tempted to try this Kit (https://lotioncrafter.com/collections/try-at-home-kits/products/antiaging-facial-moisturizer-kit) because it claims to have many anti-aging benefits. However, the ingredients look a bit scary. Honestly, do you think it would be worth it or are those ingredients just there to sound fancy. I love your Orange Blossom Face Cream but feel like I need a bit more firming power as I get older 😉 Thanks!
Personally, I’ve not worked with most of those anti-aging ingredients before, but I have heard of them during some of my research into anti-aging ingredients. When I first began soaping, lye seemed quite scary, as did using a preservative when I began making some emulsions. And now? I feel comfortable enough working with them. If I could, I’d buy that kit as it would make my life a heck of a lot easier than sitting around with various websites and journals trying to suss out the usages, what each ingredient is compatible with and all that fun stuff. It’s pre-done! Let me know if you end up getting it and how it works for you!
I’ve made this a few days ago with all ingredients from Aroma-zone(I live in Italy), I’m so satisfied with my skin. I’ll make another bottle for my mom for sure. Thanks so much!
That’s wonderful news! Don’t forget to share your creations on Instagram!
Hi, I love your website and recipes, you doing such a great job. Just one warning with Q10. Absolutely bad for Rosacea skin condition. I’m my own formulator for my skin products and never knew about it until I found out on my skin. After I had a reaction I started to research it and sure enough Q10 and Rosacea don’t go together. I have a mild case of Rosacea and I can’t imagine what it can do to people with moderate cases. For this reason I would not suggest it for people with any skin condition like Rosacea, Eczema or Psoriasis. Patch test would be highly recommended.
Thanks for the heads up! Patch testing is always a good idea, especially if you know your skin is reaction prone 🙂
Lovely face oil! I actually made something very similar to this last year and am on my 3rd batch! I used Olive Squalane, Argan oil, prickly pear oil, red raspberry seed oil, CoQ10 Max, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (a very stable and supposedly potent form of oil soluble vitamin C by Lotioncrafters, some oil soluble aloe Vera extract along with oil soluble green tea extract. Simply divine and chock full of skin loving goodies!!
That sounds fantastic, thank you so much for sharing! 🙂
I feel so blessed I found your website by a stroke of luck.
I just read this recipe and was wondering if this is a recipe I can add lactic acid or kojic powder to? I have this problem with my face being so dark with huge pores, and I have been looking for a recipe specifically to help fix my face(lol).
Or do you have any you can recommend?
Hey Lynda, and welcome! I recommend giving this FAQ a read 🙂 With those two ingredients you’re going to have solubility incompatibilities with this formula. If you’re a new DIY’er I’d leave formulating with AHAs and skin-brightening actives until you have more experience. AHAs need specific pH environments to work well, so you’ll need to be comfortable measuring and adjusting pH to work with them. Happy making!
Is coenzyme q10 suggested to be used incorporated at face lotion for 24-25 years old girl?
I am 24 years old , what do you suggest to me ?
For sure! Antioxidants can be great for skin of all ages 🙂
20% Sea Buckthorn?!
I’ve just ordered my own FIRST EVER prickly pear oil – been eyeing the thing for more then a year now 😛
Along side, also for the first time ever – my Q10 powder.
So almost ready to do your thing 🙂 but will tuck some Kakadu Plum seed oil in there too
The only thing I’m quite surprised about is the high % of Sea Buckthorn.
I use mine at 2% in lotions and much more then that leaves an orange hue.
So was wondering what happened to your 20% of it?
Seabuckthorn SEED oil! It’s VERY different from the fruit oil 🙂 Read up on the two of them in the Humblebee & Me DIY Encyclopedia (https://www.humblebeeandme.com/diy-encyclopedia/) to learn more.
Ciao bella Marie,
I truly believe this is a wonderful formula and I’m looking forward to use it. I have a question regards to sea buckthorn seed oil and I really hope you can help. I can easily find this oil in UK, but the website I’m ordering from provides only extract. Is there any rule to substitute oil with extract?
I studied a lot of your recipes, and I’m very grateful for your online presence and that you opened my eyes on the cosmetic industry. Yesterday, I looked into ingredients of one of my favourite facial oils (I paid like £20 for 30ml), and I noticed there is only one ingredient in it – olive squalene. Then I checked how much you need to pay for this ingredient and I found out, that it costs literally £5.00 for 100ml! it means that the 30ml bottle is worth not even £2.0!
Hi Alessa. You’re propably figured this out so far but I’ve replaced seabuckthorn fruit oil (not seed oil!) with seabuckthorn pulp CO2 extract several times, but depending on batch I have, I may need to tweak amounts a bit. I’d compare INCI names first to see if they have much in common. Also, I try to follow my supplier’s recommendation when it comes to usage rate. Tiny test batch could be good idea? My current seabuckthorn pulp CO2 is intense that I accidentally stained my skin.
Btw Marie, I haven’t tried prickly pear seed oil but I’m quite happy how refined wheatgerm oil, sometimes blended with jojoba, works as alternative in antiage projects. After some reseach, I agree fatty acid profile being a bit similar. I think texture feels mid weight / slow absorbing compared to some other oils I use but I sure like the price and performance, ha. It’s fabulous with squalane + seabuckthorn + rosehip.
I’m using my first batch of a similar facial oil – 20% each of squalane, camellia, rosehip and prickly pear oils, 5% each of red raspberry, pomegranate and calendula-infused-in-thistle-oil, 2% sea buckthorn and 3% Q10.
It’s blissful – I’d tried combinations of them (2 at a time) and all had benefits. The mixture is perfect for my skin – I’m 43, never really had spots or blackheads (fab as a teenager!) but also have always had to guard against ultra-dry skin. I’m also ultra-pale, Celtic blue-white skin which freckles, and this facial oil has been wonderful.
Hooray! I’m thrilled you’re loving your creation ❤️ Thanks for DIYing with me, and happy making 🙂