I have so been enjoying using this silky Raspberry Marula Facial Serum. Not only is it a joy to use thanks to its lightweight consistency and luxurious slip, it also leaves my skin dewy and glowing. Oil serums were one of my first DIY/natural beauty loves, but it’s been a while since I made one. A skincare sampler set I purchased in New York included an adorable wee bottle of some Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil (seriously, the bottle is beyond cute!), and playing with that reminded me of how much I love a good oil serum. It also helped remind me that I’ve got quite a bit of squalane and other fancy carrier oils that need to be put to good use, and I definitely think this serum qualifies!
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Our base oil is olive squalane—something I’ve been meaning to play with more for ages. It’s one of those oils that’s been hanging out in my cupboard for ages, patiently waiting for me to either a) pay attention to it or b) let it go rancid and throw it away (I know, I know… bad Marie!). My renewed love for it was kick-started by the wonderful F.C. over at Simple Skincare Science (an absolutely brilliant blog!) and his post Squalane for President: A Thorough Review of This Fine ASS Oil! (side note: I wish F.C. could teach me about everything, like taxes and managing paper bills, as he is hilarious and makes everything fun). Some highlights from his lovely article that you should definitely read: squalane has a very long shelf life and is a beautiful lightweight emollient. It is a bit naked in the fancy-actives-and-vitamins department, though, which is why we are blending it with some other lovely oils.
Raspberry seed oil is a relatively new oil to me, and so far I love it! Light and silky, it is comprised almost entirely of linoleic, alpha-linolenic, and oleic acids. It is slow to oxidize (it has a long shelf life), and its anti-inflammatory properties are “superior compared to those of other well-known oils such as virgin avocado oil, grapeseed oil, hazelnut oil, and wheat germ oil” (Oomah, et al 2000). Rich in tocopherols and omega-3 fatty acids, red raspberry seed oil offers good protection against oxidative stress. I’m really enjoying having it in my pantry, and it is a brilliant addition to this lightweight serum.
You’ll often read that raspberry seed oil has an SPF and can be used as a “natural sunscreen”. This comes from a study titled Characteristics of raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) seed oil. Lotion Crafter addresses this well in their product description: “This was merely a study indicating some sunscreen potential, but it should, by no means, be relied upon without further independent testing. Red Raspberry Oil is a natural crop and, as such, its constituents can vary from batch to batch or harvest to harvest. As with any cosmetic raw material, any sunscreen benefits would have to be proven or disproven through sunscreen testing of any sunscreen formulation.” The way I see it, relying on any natural plant oil for SPF is like relying on a lottery ticket for my retirement fund. It would definitely be nice if that lottery ticket padded my retirement fund, but I’d be a fool to count on it and fail to save for my retirement because I bought a lottery ticket. Formula Botanica has written a great post on this topic as well.
Marula oil is pressed from the nuts of the fruit of the African Marula tree, and is mostly comprised of oleic, palmitic, and stearic fatty acids. That saturated fatty acid content (<20%) means marula oil can be a bit prone to going cloudy if it gets a bit chilly, though that’ll go away as soon as it warms up again. This beautiful oil is gaining popularity as a luxury hair and face serum as it’s rich in antioxidants, has a light consistency, and is high vitamins C and E.
Combining these three beautiful carrier oils creates a beautiful, silky serum that leaves my skin very happy and hydrated. We’ll also add a touch of vitamin E to extend the shelf life of the serum by delaying oxidization. If you’d like to add a few drops of a gentle essential oil you can, but I opted to leave this unscented as several other parts of my skin care routine are scented, and I didn’t want to over-do it. I hope you love this Raspberry Marula Facial Serum as much as I do!
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Raspberry Marula Facial Serum
Weigh all the ingredients into a small beaker! Stir to combine, and transfer to a 30mL/1oz bottle. I used this 30mL bottle with a treatment pump lid, but a 30mL/1oz glass bottle that has a dropper top will also work beautifully.
To use, glide about three drops of the oil over your skin after applying any water-based serums. Enjoy!
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—and with a recipe as simple as this one, any changes will significantly impact the recipe. 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.
- You could use Neossance® Hemisqualane (USA / Canada) in place of the olive squalane
- You can replace either of both of the raspberry or marula oil with other oils your face loves, but if you do this you are no longer making this recipe; this is sort of like replacing the ground beef in burgers with ground chicken. You’re still making burgers, but the end product will be fundamentally different.