cucumber gel serum

welcome back! today’s formula is super simple. it’s a lightweight, hydrating treat, perfect for hot weather.

cucumber gel serum!


this recipe is fully customizable, as usual, so get creative!

note the links provided are not affiliates and i do not benefit in any way. they’re provided only to help you find good quality ingredients.


  • cucumber hydrosol
    • deeply hydrating, calming, and conditioning
    • fresh and earthy smelling
    • gentle enough for all skin types
  • xanthan gum
    • gelling agent; used in miniscule quantities
    • found in your local grocery baking aisle
  • aspen bark powdered extract
    • water-soluble preservative
    • skin-conditioning
    • high in salicin
  • optional – a lightweight carrier oil
    • suggested: prickly pear seed oil or amaranth seed oil, both great for all-things-“eye”
    • note: xanthan gum can hold about 1% oil without needing an emulsifier, but it can separate over time
  • optional – water-soluble colorant



  1. in your bottle of cucumber hydrosol, sprinkle in your aspen bark powder and shake well.
  2. in the same bottle, gently and evenly sprinkle the xanthan gum across the top of the hydrosol. let sit for a few hours until the gum is fully swelled/hydrated. you can shake it after a few hours to make sure, but not before (or else you will get clumps called “fish eyes”)
  3. add up to 1% of your oil. shake well.

apply to clean skin before any creams or oils. store in a cool, dry area, away from sunlight. toss if the smell or color turns.

BONUS: you can easily turn this into a hyaluronic acid serum, since it’s mostly hydrosol. if you opt for that, omit the xanthan gum.




oil cleansing method: DIY oil blend

i first started oil cleansing about 5 years ago, and my taste in oils has gotten… ahem… snobbier more sophisticated.

this DIY oil blend is suitable for all skin types, but especially helps mature and/or sensitive, and/or blemish-prone skin. it’s also really easy to DIY.

i like this blend because the oil feels so rich and is the most beautiful golden color, but really cleans deep and leaves your skin glowing and feeling velvety, without risking blemishes. it also has a very earthy smell, which i find to be really grounding for a calming skincare routine.

as with all my DIY blends, you can easily blend in your favorite oils and essential oils, if you wish. if you do, please leave your formulations in the comment section below for the rest of the community to enjoy.


this blend has 2 oils – one carrier and one nutritive booster. see? super easy DIY, but super effective.

living in mexico, i’ve fallen in love with amaranth. you kind of have to… it’s in a lot of things. it’s not only great when ingested, but great when applied topically. naturally it’s a staple in my oil cleansing blend. but why? amaranth seed oil contains the most abundant form of plant squalene known to man. squalene is a highly effective antioxidant and emollient, helping to regulate lipids and restore the skin barrier. the oil itself is very lightweight and highly anti-aging, quickly improving skin elasticity and the appearance of fine lines. it’s also a great source of polyunsaturated fats, and is high in omega-6/linoleic acid.

our nutritive oil booster added to our blend is black cumin seed oil. it’s an incredibly nutritive oil that contains over one hundred identified nutrients, and a high content of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids – omega-3, -6, and -9. also, one of its components, thymoquinone, is a powerful antioxidant.

amaranth seed oil, to me, smells very earthy, sort of like soil after rain. black cumin seed oil is distinctively spicy. mixed together, this blend is really grounding and relaxing. if you find that earthy smells aren’t for you, maybe adding a skin-friendly essential oil, targeted for your needs, will help.



carefully drop 12 drops of black cumin seed oil into a 1 ounce bottle of amaranth seed oil. shake very well. done.

use as you normally would for the oil cleansing method*, and follow up with any additional steps you usually do. i pressed a layer of The Botanical Dew into my skin afterwards for good measure, because it’s dry season here in CDMX, and we’re already at 1.5x the altitude of Denver. talk about ‘yikes’ for skin and scalp conditions.


amaranth seed oil will run you between $20 and $25 per ounce (a far cry from the $85/ounce amaranth blends being sold).
black cumin seed oil will cost about $5 to $10 per 1 to 2 ounce bottles (supplier sizes varies).

don’t forget to leave your favorite OCM blends below!


* please note i wrote that OCM post almost 6 years ago. there are oils listed i no longer recommend. want an updated version? let me know!

top 5 / bottom 5 face oils commonly used

the green beauty world is saturated with oil blends right now (pun kind of intended). to help try and guide you, i’ve compiled a list of the top 5 and bottom 5 most commonly used oils, – – NOT of all time. that can be another post, heehee. if i was including the top 5 of all time, you already know i’d be including what i use in The Botanical Dew 😉

with less than 2 months left before this blog’s hiatus, i’m trying to arm you to be a more educated consumer as best as i can. it’s why i started this blog, after all!

skincare is incredibly personal, so what really works for one person could be disastrous for the next. let’s keep in mind this is all relative and meant to serve as a loose guide to understanding oils and their components. and plus – i think all of these are great for body and hair.

to rank these, i’m using what i’ve found to be the best way to cross-check if an oil would do well on your face – 1. comedogenic rating; and 2. oleic acid percentage.

comedogenic rating is how likely the oil is to clog your pores, on a scale of 0 (not likely) to 5 (very likely).

i use oleic acid as an indicator because i like to work off the norm, not the exception*. oleic acid is the naturally occurring omega-9 fatty acid, that your body produces. it commonly disagrees with oily, or sensitive, or acne-prone skin. linoleic acid, omega-6, is the better, and lighter, fatty acid that your body does not produce. it reduces clogged pores. this is not to be confused with linolenic acid, omega-3, which commonly clogs most people’s pores and should be avoided for use on your face.

here’s my take on the bottom and top oils most commonly used in face oils (not of all time).


5. camellia seed oil

  • comedogenic rating – 2 to 3
  • oleic acid – 60-80%

4. macadamia nut oil

  • comedogenic rating – 3
  • oleic acid – 65%

3. avocado oil

  • comedogenic rating – 3
  • oleic acid – 70%

2. marula oil

  • comedogenic rating – 3 to 4
  • oleic acid – 70-75%

1. coconut oil

  • comedogenic rating – 4
  • oleic acid – 10%


5. grapeseed oil

  • comedogenic rating – 1
  • oleic acid – 20%
  • linoleic acid – 70%

4. argan oil

  • comedogenic rating – 0
  • oleic acid – 45%
  • linoleic acid – 40%

3. squalene (plant-derived or in whole plant form like amaranth oil)

  • comedogenic rating – 0
  • oleic acid – n/a (ex: amaranth – 25%)
  • linoleic acid – n/a (ex: amaranth – 55%)

2. hemp seed oil

  • comedogenic rating – 0
  • oleic acid – 10%
  • linoleic acid – 60%

1. prickly pear seed oil

  • comedogenic rating – 1
  • oleic acid – 20%
  • linoleic acid – 60%
  • palmitic acid – 20%


do you disagree or agree with any? any you’d like to add? please share with our community.


*please note that oils high in oleic acid are sometimes favored by mature skin for deep moisturizing.