I have done it all in the name of beauty. I’ve slathered my face in snail slime (supposedly a K Beauty secret), slept with Scotch tape on my laugh lines, and put hemorrhoid cream on the bags under my eyes, just to name a few. Just when I think skincare can’t get any wilder, beauty companies find a way to reinvent the wheel. The newest addition to my beauty routine is solid serum. It’s a bar made from oils, fats and antioxidants that holds its shape at room temperature but glides over skin when warmed. Because it stays in bar form, it’s perfect for tossing in your suitcase, purse or bedside table for emergency applications, sans the mess.
This homemade solid serum is packed with antioxidants, thanks to vitamin E, rose hip oil and aloe vera, making it a fantastic anti-aging elixir to have in your back pocket. Combine it with mango butter, which boosts moisture and helps protect against aging and acne, and you’ve got yourself the perfect natural facial serum for healthy, younger-looking skin!
How to Make a Solid Serum
There are a couple secrets to making the perfect solid serum. First up, emulsifying wax is necessary to help bind the aloe vera and glycerin so they don’t separate over time. And second, cornstarch makes the serum feel a little less greasy on your skin.
As long as you have those two ingredients, feel free to tweak the recipe however you see fit. Instead of mango butter, you can use any solid at room temperature butter, like cocoa, shea or coconut butter. In place of rose hip or vitamin E oil, use carrot seed, grape seed, neem, or chamomile oils. And in place of aloe vera gel, try Manuka honey, matcha, sea buckthorn, or turmeric.
Solid serum ingredients
—4 ounces mango butter (by weight)
—2 tablespoons emulsifying wax
—1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
—1 1/2 tablespoons rose hip oil
—1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
—1/2 teaspoon vitamin E (or the oil from two capsules)
—1 teaspoon aloe vera gel
—Heat-proof measuring cup
—Ice cube tray or silicone mold
—Small bowl filled with ice water
Step 1 | Melt butter and wax
Combine the mango butter and emulsifying wax in a heat-proof measuring cup. Melt in 30-second intervals in microwave, stirring well each time.
Step 2 | Add cornstarch + other ingredients
Whisk the cornstarch into the melted butter and wax. Then add the rose hip oil, glycerin, vitamin E and aloe vera.
Step 3 | Use ice bath to thicken
Place the measuring cup in an ice bath and whisk continuously until it starts to thicken (this should take about 1-2 minutes). Don’t skip this part! It ensures that all the ingredients meld together as the mixture cools.
Step 4 | Put in mold to harden
Once the mixture reaches a loose pudding-like consistency, spoon it into the mold and place it in the refrigerator for an hour to cool. Remove bars from the mold and store in a plastic bag in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
How to Use Solid Serum
Simply hold the bar in your hand for a few seconds and let it soften slightly. Rub a bit of the oil into both hands and pat onto clean, dry skin. If needed, a quick, 3-second blast with a hair dryer can help your solid serum glide on more smoothly.
Solid Serum FAQ
Can I leave serum on overnight?
Yes, absolutely. Serum works best when applied once or twice or day without being rinsed off. Always apply it to clean, dry skin and let sink in fully before applying the remaining products in your skincare routine.
Do you need moisturizer after serum?
It all depends on your skin type. If you have dry skin, applying moisturizer after serum can help lock in the nutrients and encourage moisture to sink into skin. If your skin is naturally oily, extra moisture can be overkill. In that case, skip the moisturizer and just stick with a nourishing serum, like this solid serum.
How long do homemade serums last?
Like face oils, any oil-based serum should last at least 6 months when stored properly. Keep your serum in a cool, dry place where it won’t melt or be exposed to sunlight.
Can I use face serum under eyes?
It’s not safe to use oil-based serums near the eyes. As the oils melt, they have a tendency to get in the eyes and cause pain, redness and irritation. To be safe, I would just use an eye cream that won’t irritate eyes.