welcome back to the DIY DUPE SERIES. today we’re formulating dupes for expensive face oils! this is part one… part two coming next week, with a couple big hitters.
as with all the other dupes, no companies will be named and the names of the products have been changed. i hope the names make you chuckle a bit. full and original ingredients lists are provided.
as always, NONE of the links provided are affiliates. i do not benefit in any way, i’m just trying to point you to reputable suppliers that i personally use if you want to try to DIY these.
there are some oils listed that i do not believe belong on your face, either due to comedogenic rating and/or high oleic acid content, but everyone’s skin is different. for that reason, the dupes will be listed as close to the original as possible and i will note which ones i do not prefer.
last thing to note, which i always harp on – oils do NOT hydrate. they moisturize. if a company is advertising a “hydrating” anhydrous face oil, walk away.
1. YOUNG CONDENSATION
*Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, *Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, *Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Prunus Domestica (Plum Kernel) Oil, *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, *Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Fruit Oil, *Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, *Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Oil, *Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) Seed Oil, *Borago Officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil, Aleurites Moluccans (Kukui Nut) Oil, *Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, *Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium Rose) Oil, *Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, *Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Oil, *Citrus Limon (Lemon) Oil, *Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, *Rosa Damascena (Bulgarian Rose) Oil, *Citrus Aurantium (Neroli) Oil, ***Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10), +Limonene, +Citronellol, +Geraniol, +Linalool, +Citral, +Eugenol.
this oil blend is only suitable for skin that can tolerate occlusive oils that are high in oleic acid. if you have sensitive skin or blemish-prone skin, please steer clear.
avocado oil carries a comedogenic rating of 3, moderate likelihood to clog pores in most people. olive oil and plum kernel oil are both high in oleic acid and are not good for blemish-prone skin. tamanu oil is thick and sticky, and high in oleic acid. i would not suggest it for acne-prone skin, although it ironically helps with acne scarring.
lastly, grapefruit and lemon EOs are phototoxic and absolutely do not belong on your face. we’ll stick to just using rose EO (and before you worry about the price, we’ll opt for a sample size for $3).
for formulation, we know the “1% line” is around the geranium EO, however, that EO is so incredibly strong that it’s most likely being used at much less than that. we also can see there are many EOs, and the combination of them should total up to be less than 2% (which is still a lot; i usually opt for 1%). i question this total % though, because this company makes a balm with a blue EO at a very high concentration for coloring. let’s just be kind and assume total EO blend is less than 1%, and i say 1% because of the sea buckthorn oil.
we know that sea buckthorn FRUIT oil (as compared to seed) is concentrated and extremely pigmented, so let’s use that as another formulation guideline, where no more than 1% can be used without staining light skin. as the rest of the oils are carriers, let’s apply the 1% to the rest of the list. additionally, we know that pomegranate oil and tamanu oils are pretty thick and sticky, so their concentrations, i would assume, would likely be low, for a better skin feel for the consumer. to put this into perspective, for the 1 ounce bottle, you’re getting about 6 drops of the ingredient if it’s used at 1%.
as for the carrot seed oil and coq10, we know our total EOs are 1%, so divide that over 7 EOs and you get about 0.15% each. why is this important? because now we know what the total weight contribution is for the carrot seed oil and the coq10, since they’re listed after. let’s assume 0.15% each for math.
lastly for formulation, since we are working backwards from the 1% SBFO, we see that we have a very hefty over 90% of our formula left. let’s divide that relatively evenly over the remaining carrier oils, even though that’s likely not the true formula. while it would be safe to assume this formula is mostly avocado oil, we have no way of knowing what the actual percent contributions are.
exclude phototoxic citrus EOs.
- avocado oil – 30%
- meadowfoam seed oil – 20%
- olive oil – 16%
- plum kernel oil – 15%
- jojoba oil – 10%
- sea buckthorn fruit oil (not seed) – 1%
- rosehip oil – 1%
- pomegranate oil – 1%
- tamanu oil– 1%
- borage seed oil – 1%
- kukui nut oil – 1%
- evening primrose – 0.7%
- bulgarian rose EO – 0.5%
- carrot seed oil – 0.15%
- coq10 – 0.15%
Squalane, Jojoba Esters, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil*, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel oil*, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil*, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil*, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, Arnica Montana (Arnica) Extract*, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Leaf Extract*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract*, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract*, Spiraea Ulmaria (Meadowsweet) Extract*, Caprylic/Capric/Triglyceride, Alaria Esculenta Extract, Tocopherol, Aroma
there are a lot of plant extracts, so let’s assume they’re being infused in olive oil for 4 months.
having jojoba esters as the 2nd ingredient is perplexing to me, as this ingredient is more commonly found in ‘thicker’ products like balms. you can use it in a 0.5% concentration for lighter oils, but that means the infused olive oil is less than 1%. i’m going to assume this is a mislabeled product.
the caprylic/capric triglyceride and alaria esculenta extract is actually mislabeled. this is a pre-formulated product known as Juvenessence® AD and should be labeled like this – “Caprylic/Capric/Triglyceride (and) Alaria Esculenta Extract”
excluded jojoba esters. excluded Juvenessence® AD and substituted with another anti-aging oil. excluded “aroma.”
- olive-derived squalane – 40%
- infused olive oil – 40%
- equal part infusions of: arnica, borage leaf, calendula, alfalfa, and meadowsweet
- use 1 part dried herbs to 3 parts olive oil and let infuse for 4 months
- argan oil – 5%
- sacha inchi oil – 5%
- camellia seed oil – 5%
- elderberry extract – 3%
- astaxanthin (in argan oil) – 1.5%
- tocopherol – 0.5%
argan oil, marula oil, prickly pear seed oil, olive-derived squalane, white peony root
(ingredient list no longer listed on website as of publication of this post)
first off, this oil is marketed as “100% non-comedogenic” and that’s simply not true. please do not put marula oil on your face. it’s rated a 4/5 on the comedogenic scale, clogging most pores, and is high in oleic acid, which will break out those with blemish-prone skin. it’s a great body oil, though! in place of this rapidly absorbing oil, we can substitute with another rapidly absorbing oil that’s actually non-comedogenic – amaranth – or we can increase the expensive prickly pear seed oil. let’s use the amaranth as a substitute.
next, infusing white peony root into an oil wouldn’t yield any skin benefits. this root needs to be decocted or extracted in alcohol. since no alcohols or water are listed, we know it’s being infused in one of the oils listed, which is unfortunately a waste of a precious plant material and highly misleading marketing.
substituting marula oil for a non-comedogenic one. removing white peony root, because it’s not being used properly.
4. BLUE METAMORPHIC ROCK
Squalane, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Aleurites Moluccanus Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Tanacetum Annuum Flower Oil, Jasminum Sambac (Jasmine) Flower Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Extract
olive-derived squalane, jojoba seed oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, kukui nut oil, tocopherol (vitamin e), blue tansy EO, jasmine EO, rose EO
caprylic/capric triglyceride is technically a fractionated coconut oil, but it’s been separated using chemical reactions, not manually with just heat. it’s probably used here as an emollient, but… why? most likely because it’s cheap (aka, it lowers their cost of production significantly, versus using another carrier), incredibly stable, and fast-absorbing.
tocopherols are usually used at 0.5%, which means everything after that is in small percent contributions. let’s use that as our line in the formula. the 3 ingredients listed after are EOs, so their total combined contribution will be 1%. because this formula is so blue, let’s assume a 0.5% just for the blue tansy.
as a side note, if you have very blemish-prone skin, kukui nut oil may be too high in oleic acid for you and cause breakouts.
increased the squalane to replace the caprylic/capric triglyceride. they’re both fast-absorbing.
- olive-derived squalane – 80%
- jojoba seed oil – 10%
- kukui nut oil – 8.5%
- tocopherol – 0.5%
- blue tansy EO – 0.5%
- jasmine extract – 0.25%
- rose EO -0.25%
whew. this was a long one, but i hope it inspires you.
leave your findings and formulations below for the community to learn even more!