Would you be surprised to find out that you can make a serum that retails for $140, at home, using basic equipment, in under five minutes and for less than $5?
In this article we’re going to show you how easy it is! We’ve formulated our own version of Youth Dew by May Lindstrom and Rejuvenating Frankincense Facial Oil by Neal’s Yard.
The beauty of learning to formulate your own products is you can take inspiration from cult products and use them to formulate your own version (usually for a fraction of the cost).
Why do products from high-end brands cost so much?
It’s not just the cost of ingredients they have to cover but a whole heap of other expenses, too. These might include manufacturing, staff, marketing, certification and other business overheads. And of course the business needs to make a healthy profit so that is added on top.
How did we create these formulas?
A company is legally required to list the ingredients of a product on the product label. Ingredients are listed in descending order of concentration. You can read more about how to read and understand a product label here.
We’ve used that information and our knowledge of formulating, ingredients and marketing strategies to create a similar product formula. Join our Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation and you can learn how to do this too!
We are not claiming that the formulas shared here are the exact formula that is used by the brand. Nor are we trying to copy or be disrespectful of the companies featured who have worked hard to create not just awesome products but also awesome brands.
Instead, we are demonstrating that when you understand how a formula is put together and can read an ingredient list, you can take inspiration from a product you love and formulate a very similar product with the same ingredients for a fraction of the cost. Some people like to “dupe” their favorite product; we prefer to take inspiration from our favorite products. But the choice is yours!
Most commercial skincare products like to use a lot of oils for marketing purposes
They are usually included at a very small percentage, often for marketing purposes rather than to offer much skin benefit.
When you formulate and make your own products you can make them for a lot less AND you could also increase the percentage that the more specialist and exotic oils are used at, if you wanted to.
A note on how we costed these products
It’s fascinating to calculate how much these would cost you to make at home versus buying them from a top natural/organic brand.
We only calculated the cost based on the amount of ingredient used in the formula. We didn’t take into consideration wastage of ingredients or any other overhead like time/equipment. These products are quick and easy to make and require minimal equipment or time.
We found the cost of 100ml of each ingredient (unless otherwise stated) and calculated based on that. Of course in reality you may buy smaller amounts of each (for example 10ml of Coenzyme Q10) which works out slightly more expensive. We included organic oils where available as the original products use mostly organic ingredients.
The costs of ingredients obviously varies from one supplier to another and from one country to another. The price we have calculated therefore would vary depending on which country you are in and supplier you use, but even allowing for this, you’ll see just how much cheaper it is when you make your own.
The cost of packaging also varies greatly. We added on the cost for a bottle similar to the one used in the original product. Less expensive packaging options would also be available.
Rejuvenating Frankincense Facial Oil, Neal’s Yard
GBP £32 / US $44 per 30ml / 1fl.oz.
A quality facial oil, high in organic ingredients, from an iconic brand established in Covent Garden, London.
Make your own for £1.38 / $1.91 (Including packaging £2.03 / $2.90)
Saving: £29.97 / $41.10
INCI: Macadamia ternifolia (Macadamia) seed oil*, Adansonia digitata (Baobab) seed oil*, Prunus armeniaca (Apricot) kernel oil*, Ricinus communis (Castor) seed oil*, Oenothera biennis (Evening primrose) oil*, Cannabis sativa (Hemp) seed oil*, Vitis vinifera (Grape) seed oil*, Boswellia carterii (Frankincense) oil, Citrus nobilis (Mandarin) peel oil expressed*, Citrus bergamia (Bergamot) peel oil expressed*, Commiphora myrrha (Myrrh) gum oil, Curcuma longa (Turmeric) root extract, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) seed oil, Tocopherol, Citral, Citronellol, Limonene, Linalool.
*Organically produced ingredient.
87% Macadamia seed oil
2% Baobab seed oil
2% Apricot kernel oil
2% Castor oil
2% Evening primrose oil
2% Hemp oil
2% Grape seed oil
0.5% Essential oil blend consisting of frankincense, mandarin, bergamot, myrrh
0.25% Turmeric root extract (we couldn’t find an oil-soluble extract so used essential oil instead)
0.25% Tocopherol (vitamin E)
The Youth Dew, May Lindstrom
Sold for GBP £101 / US $140 per 30ml / 1fl.oz.
May Lindstrom has created just the most divine brand! The packaging, the way the products are described and the gorgeous ingredients used have made it an international hit. The Youth Dew is cult serum, adored globally.
Make your own for £1.67 / $2.39 (Including similar packaging £3.34 / $4.77)
Saving: £97.66 / $135.23
The ingredient list (INCI)
*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.
*Certified Organic ***Wild Harvested +Component of Essential Oil
75.5% Avocado oil
5% Meadowfoam seed oil
5% Olive oil
5% Plum oil
5% Jojoba oil
0.5% Sea buckthorn fruit oil*
0.5% Rosehip fruit oil
0.5% Pomegranate oil
0.5% Tamanu oil
0.5% Borage oil
0.5% Kukui oil
0.5% Evening primrose oil
0.6% Essential oil blend consisting of geranium, grapefruit, sweet orange, lemon bulgarian rose, neroli
0.2% Carrot seed oil
0.2% Coenzyme Q10
*Sea buckthorn fruit oil is very concentrated and bright orange and at too high an amount will stain the skin. So we have estimated its usage at 0.5%. All the ingredients listed after it will be used at the same or lower percentage, because ingredients are listed on a label in decreasing quantity.
Want to learn the skills to “dupe” your own favourite products? Or formulate even better one from scratch?
Anyone, regardless of prior experience, will be able to start formulating products with our Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation, because we provide a proven framework to follow. We provide templates, guides and examples. You’ll dive right in, learning about which ingredients can be swapped in simple, starter formulas, and then, as your skills develop, you’ll go more in-depth with percentages and specialized ingredients.
Download our free Vitamin C Antioxidant Serum formula!
Want the benefits of Vitamin C but confused about how to formulate with it? Perhaps you’ve heard about its potent anti-aging benefits but also that it is highly unstable and oxidizes very quickly. Don’t worry, we’ve created a free guide to help.
In our Quick guide to formulating with Vitamin C you’ll learn:
- What is Vitamin C?
- What are the benefits of Vitamin C?
- What type of cosmetic is it suitable for?
- Stable forms of Vitamin C and how to use them
- Plus we’ll share with you a Vitamin C antioxidant serum formula you can make yourself!
Vitamin C offers amazing benefits for the skin:
- It boosts collagen production, and thus helps to keep the skin healthy and plump.
- It’s an antioxidant and, especially in synergy with Vitamin E, it protects skin cells from oxidative stress and damage due to UV light exposure.
- Vitamin C therefore functions as a potent anti-aging ingredient.
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