Last week I was watching a makeup tutorial with Adele’s makeup artist, Michael Ashton, and as he was prepping his beautiful model’s skin, he used two products that really intrigued me. One was a fancy-sounding French facial serum; Decleor’s Aromessence Rose D’Orient Soothing Serum. The second was a Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm (which was really a lotion, not a balm, but I digress). Michael raved about both products—the serum for plumping the skin and eliminating redness (the model also says it smells amazing), and the moisture balm for a natural strobing effect thanks to the tiny “gold particles” (gold mica) it contains. Anyhow, intrigued, but certainly not intending to spend upwards of $100 to try the originals, I thought I’d fuse the two ideas into a Rose Gold Facial Serum and see what happened.
The ingredient list for Decleor’s Aromessence Rose D’Orient Soothing Serum is really not all that earth shattering. It’s mostly sweet almond oil (USA / Canada) and black currant seed oil, plus some corn oil (an odd choice in such a premium product, in my opinion), and sunflower seed oil (USA / Canada / UK / NZ). To that they added some Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada), and essential oils of neroli, rose, chamomile, and carrot seed. All that together would result in a relatively light facial oil (the almond oil helping to lighten up the heavier black currant seed oil) that would be rich in gamma-linoleic, alpha-linoleic, and linoleic acid (which are fantastic for troublesome skin). It would also smell fantastic with those beautiful essential oils, and would be great for aging skin thanks to the carrot seed oil.
It took more Googling than it should’ve to find the ingredients for the Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm. The first six are as follows: “Water, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, PEG-4 Diheptanoate, Glycerin, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate“. Uh… what? The rest of the ingredient list is more of the same, with every fourth or fifth ingredient being a recognizable thing. There are 57 ingredients in this balm, and while there are some lovely plant and essential oils in there, it does appear to be mostly water and pretty foreign sounding ingredients. Some things that stuck out to me were the inclusion of caffeine, Evening Primrose oil, and many of the same essential oils that were in the rose serum… setting us up for a pretty fab hybrid.
I toyed with the idea of making this an emulsified facial serum, but in the end I decided to keep it 100% oil based so we don’t have to worry about preservatives. The base oils are a blend of sweet almond and sunflower, with your choice of linoleic-acid-rich oil to top it off; black currant seed oil, evening primrose oil, or borage oil. I know they’re all a bit odd and/or a bit pricey, so just use whichever you already have. I used evening primrose oil as that’s what I had (and my skin loves it). I also added some Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada) for extra skin healing boosting, and to help extend the shelf life of the blend (especially since oils like Evening Primrose have shorter shelf lives).
To that lovely base we’ve got a calming blend of rose, chamomile, and neroli essential oils. There’s also two optional ones; michelia alba leaf and carrot seed. Carrot seed oil is great for aging skin, but I do find it smells a bit earthy/musty, so while I don’t mind it in the scent department, if you don’t need it (or want to buy it), I’d probably leave it out. The michelia alba leaf is beautifully bright and sweet without being cloying, and I mostly added it to balance the earthiness of the carrot seed essential oil; without one you don’t need the other, though I do love michelia alba leaf in the blend with or without the carrot seed oil.
Now for the rose gold bit. A bit of gold mica brings that gold shimmer; just a touch, though, it’s not overly noticeable. You can use more if you want more gold shimmer, but I’d recommend starting with the amount in the recipe and working up to it. I’ve also included some silica microspheres, which are super cool (they’re in the book!). In this serum they bring two very cool characteristics; they help improve the appearance of the skin by diffusing light around it, giving a sort of soft-focus effect, and they help give the serum a bit of a dry-touch finish. If you haven’t played with silica microspheres yet, you should. Just be sure to wear your dust mask; they are very light and will float around with next to no agitation, and silica in your lungs is associated with some pretty nasty long-term health problems. If you don’t have silica microspheres, sericite mica (USA / Canada) will give a similar soft-focus effect, but not the dry finish.
So! To recap; we have a lightweight, soothing serum that’ll help troublesome skin, add a hint of brightness to the complexion, and has a beautiful, touchable dry finish to it. I love it, and I think you will, too!
Rose Gold Facial Serum
4g | 0.14oz sweet almond oil (USA / Canada)
5g | 0.17oz black currant seed oil or evening primrose oil or borage oil
4g | 0.14oz sunflower seed oil (USA / Canada / UK / NZ)
1g | 0.03oz Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
2 drops rose absolute or rose geranium essential oil
2 drops chamomile essential oil
10 drops 3% neroli essential oil dilution
4 drops michelia alba leaf essential oil (optional)
2 drops carrot seed essential oil (optional)
Weigh the oils out into a small dish, and then count out the essential oils. Stir everything together.
To use, shake before use and then spread a few drops of the serum over your skin and let them soak in. Enjoy! Your skin will be left hydrated with a teensy hint of shimmer, but no noticeable sparkle (unless you put on a lot).
Because this serum doesn’t contain any water it doesn’t need a broad spectrum preservative. You should get six months to a year out of it, depending on how fresh your linoleic-rich oil is.