Today’s Cranberry Orange DIY is a silky, indulgent oil serum packed with antioxidants and some of my favourite natural carrier oils. A pump or two at the end of your skincare routine is all you’ll need to keep your skin soft and glowing through these dry, cold winter days. It pairs perfectly with the Cranberry Orange Facial Gel Cream I shared last week; I like to top the gel cream with a few drops of serum as the last two steps of my skincare routine. Swoon!
Want to watch this project instead of reading it?
The bulk of this Cranberry Orange Facial Serum is cranberry seed oil. Cranberry seed oil is comprised primarily of linoleic acid (38%) and alpha-linolenic acid (30%). It is said to be anti-inflammatory and aid with skin regeneration, and it has a really lovely skin feel—satiny and non-greasy. Cranberry seed oil yellowish and has a really lovely, subtle tangy/fruity scent that carries through gently to the finished serum, pairing beautifully with a touch of sweet orange essential oil.
I’ve blended the cranberry seed oil with a few other facial serum favourites of mine. Olive squalane is a beautiful lightweight, shelf-stable emollient that is non-irritating and generally downright lovely on the skin (learn more here!). Evening primrose oil has been a long-standing skincare favourite of mine for its ability to help irritated skin. Evening Primrose oil is about 72% linoleic acid and around 10% gamma-linoleic acid. Gamma-linoleic acid “has been shown to be one of the most effective agents for the treatment of skin disorders and for the maintenance of healthy skin… based on the strong research showing that it is of benefit in the treatment of various skin conditions, including dry skin, eczema, inflammation, wounds, and dermatitis” (Source).
Argan oil has been my longest standing oil love, so it’s no surprise I’ve included it in this beautiful serum. While argan oil has been used for centuries in Morocco, it’s only become globally popular for skin and hair care in the last decade or so. It is rich in vitamin E, with a silky skin feel and soft nutty scent. It’s beautiful used neat, or as part of a blended serum as I’ve done here. Sephora sells it for $127/120mL, while you can get 100mL (3.3fl oz) from New Directions aromatics for $12.42… so definitely don’t buy it from Sephora, ha.
To amp up the skin-goodness of all those beautiful carrier oils, I’ve also included some of Lotion Crafter’s “Coenzyme Q10 Q-MAX”. It’s a liquid active containing 7.5% Coenzyme Q10, aka ubiquinone. Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that occurs naturally in the body. When applied topically it can help protect from and reduce the damage caused by UV exposure. This specific product from Lotion Crafter also contains 10% tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), further increasing the antioxidant factor. At 3% in this formulation, we end up with 0.225% Coenzyme Q10 and 0.3% tocopheryl acetate in the end product.
The last two details in this serum are a touch of sweet orange essential oil and some vitamin E to extend the shelf life of the serum. The orange essential oil is optional, but it does pair beautifully with the scent of the cranberry seed oil and is not a photosensitization concern. If you don’t want to use it, just replace the essential oil with more of one of the carrier oils in the formulation.
Since everything in this formulation is liquid, go ahead and just blend everything at room temperature and then you’re done! I made it in a beaker, but you can also make it straight in the bottle you plan on storing the serum in. I used a 25mL “zelo” frosted bottle from New Directions Aromatics with a dispensing pump cap and I love how it turned out! Enjoy 😄
Want to watch this project instead of reading it?
Cranberry Orange Facial Serum
10g | 40% cranberry seed oil
5g | 20% olive squalane (USA / Canada)
3.75g | 15% evening primrose oil
5.31g | 21.25% argan oil (USA / Canada)
0.75g | 3% Coenzyme Q10 Q-MAX
0.125g | 0.5% Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
0.06g | 0.25% orange essential oil
Weigh all the ingredients into a small beaker, or directly into the bottle you plan on storing the serum in. Stir (or cap and shake) to combine. Transfer to a bottle (if you didn’t start there) and you’re done! A 25mL (roughly 1 fl oz) bottle is a good fit for this batch size. That’s it!
To use, massage a few drops into your face at the end of your skincare routine.
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 25g, which fills a 25mL bottle nicely.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this recipe, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- The orange essential oil is optional; you can replace it with more of any of the carrier oils in the formulation.
The cranberry seed oil was gifted by Essential Wholesale.