Super Easy Hyaluronic Acid Serum Recipe: DIY for Beginners
Waddup everybody? Prepare yourselves cause today is our first official DIY post. If you were coming into this expecting one of those silly Pinterest recipes, you’re sadly mistaken.
Over here we care about science! That means looking like we’re one of Heisenberg’s BFFs, or as the lovely Acid Queen (owner of Stratia) put it:
“My version of [DIY] skincare is less of the Pinterest, make-a-scrub-out-of-things-in-your-fridge variety, and more of the latex-gloves-and-borosilicate-beakers, my-living-room-looks-like-a-meth-lab variety.”
Lmao. Makes me laugh every time.
Don’t worry though! Today’s recipe is one of the easiest you’ll ever try: a hyaluronic acid serum!
I thought it was only fair I don’t overwhelm newbies who are seriously considering making their own products, by starting them off with something even my dog can make.
If you want to know more about hyaluronic acid, and what it does for skin check out my recent article: Hyaluronic Acid for Skin: Literally EVERYTHING You Need to Know!
To quickly summarize some of the main points, hyaluronic acid is a humectant that moisturizers the skin by holding onto water molecules. This helps prevent transepidermal water loss, or TEWL for short, which is the fancy science way of saying “stopping water from leaving your face!”
Skin with high water content, is skin well-moisturized. To keep your face looking all nice and hydrated, it’s important that we prevent water loss whenever possible. Hyaluronic acid does exactly that.
Additionally, studies have shown that it increases skin elasticity, is great for wound healing, reduces the appearance of wrinkles, and may help treat eczema, facial rosacea, and seborrheic dermatitis. (1)
Let’s get started!
We only need 3 things!
There are many different “types” of hyaluronic acid. These vary depending on the molecular weight, or “size” of the hyaluronic acid molecule — something I went into a lot of detail in my hyaluronic acid guide.
In short, hyaluronic acid between 50 – 1,000 kDa is best for the skin, with ~130 kDa being the sweet spot according to human studies. Anything smaller than 50 kDa and there’s possibility of causing inflammation.
I’ve chosen to use 1000 kDA for this recipe, which you can get off LotionCrafter. This will give us the nice serum-y texture we’re looking for!
It has to be distilled water! No tap water, spring water, filtered water, lemon water etc. YUH GOTTA GET DISTILLED WATER!
This is a non-negotiable. Water is essential to life, and as such, is the perfect environment for microbes to grow and prosper.
For those of you who are all, “ewww preservatives! Those are cancer-causing chemicals!”
No, they aren’t. You wanna know what’s more dangerous than the minuscule amount of preservative in a product? An unpreserved, bacterially-infested, gonorrhea-causing mess.
Okay, maybe it won’t cause gonorrhea, but you get the point! They are important and mandatory. For reference, check out what happens to an unpreserved cosmetic product after only 8 days!
Don’t be silly. Use em’ preservatives. A favorite of many at home cosmetic brewers (including myself) is Liquid Germall Plus. It’s convenient, super easy to use, effective between pH range 3-8, and has broad-spectrum activity.
The Gadgets You’ll Need.
I’ll split this section up into necessities and “nice-to-haves.” We’ll start with the mandatory stuff.
- 100 mL Borosilicate Beaker (you only need one, but if you plan on venturing into more serious DIY in the future it’s easier to just get a set)
- Digital Scale (this is the one I use)
- Calibration Weight (might not be necessary depending on your scale)
- Pipettes (unless you have extremely precise, to-the-gram-pouring accuracy, you’re gonna need these!)
- 70% Isopropyl Alcohol
- Travel Bottle (or something to store your serum in)
And that’s really it for “necessities.” As for the “nice-to-haves.”
- Alcohol Wipes (more convenient alternative than just plain ole’ alcohol)
- Measuring Spoons (or something to scoop and pour powder with)
The Instructions, Jesse Pinkman!
Alrightly. “LET’S COOK.”—Walter White
Step #1: Plug everything into Batch Size Calculator.
Head over to wholesalesuppliesplus.com and use their free batch size calculator. I’ll be making a 3 ounce solution with the following quantities / ingredients.
- 98.5% Distilled Water = 83.77 g
- 1% Hyaluronic Acid = 0.85 g
- 0.5% Liquid Germall Plus (Preservative) = 0.43 g
Step #2: Disinfect your equipment!
Wash your hands, put on some gloves, then wipe down everything you’ll be using with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Let it air dry. For this recipe that includes your beakers and measuring spoons.
Step #3: Measure out the hyaluronic acid.
Pretty self-explanatory. Put your beaker on the scale and use the tare function (this sets the weight back to 0.00 grams). Now using your measuring spoons, carefully transfer 0.85 grams of hyaluronic acid into the beaker.
Step #4: Pour your water into the beaker.
Transfer 83.77 grams of distilled water into the beaker with hyaluronic acid. This is where your pipettes come in handy! If you like to live life on the edge, you can try doing this manually. Good luck. :p
Step #5: Congratulations! You’re a failure.
Woohoo! You’ve just failed your first DIY because hyaluronic acid will not dissolve in water, and now you’re left with a big clumpy mess. Get used to it. It will be one of many!
Just kidding! :p
Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its water weight, and you’re about to see that sh*t in action! All you have to do is cover the top of the beaker with foil and let it hydrate. In other words, just leave it alone, come back in about 8 hours, and viola — you got yourself some pure hyaluronic acid serum! 😀
(Don’t forget to add your preservative at the end.)
Super simple, isn’t it? Can you believe companies actually sell this stuff? For example, the Timeless Hyaluronic Acid Serum, which gets rave reviews. One reviewer actually said about it, “better than botox!” Lmao.
Step #6: Transfer the serum into a container.
Pour your hyaluronic acid serum into a glass bottle or something similar. Don’t forget to write down the date you made it! Because we used Liquid Germall Plus, it’s good for up to 6 months.
Customize It To Your Liking!
Something really cool about this hyaluronic acid serum is it’s infinitely customizable once you have the serum base! All you have to do is dissolve other water-soluble ingredients into it and BAM.
For example, say you want to add some niacinamide to help brighten your skin. Simply measure out 4-5% niacinamide by weight using the Batch Size Calculator, and dump it into your hyaluronic acid stock. Mix it until it’s dissolved and you got yourself a simple niacinamide + hyaluronic acid serum.
NOTE: don’t forget to readjust your preservative!
Wanna enhance the effectiveness of niacinamide? Add 2% N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG) to the solution. NAG words synergistically with niacinamide to fight against hyperpigmentation, or the skin discoloration caused by excess melanin.
Itching for some green tea extract? Add a couple drops and your done! Fancy SOMETHING ELSE, do the same thing! So on and so forth.
You can even reduce the thickness of your serum by adding more water! For example, say you wanted to make a 0.2% hyaluronic acid serum. All you have to do is add 20% of this 1% hyaluronic acid stock to 80% water. This will dramatically decrease the viscosity but it’ll remain slightly thicker than water.
And don’t worry, this won’t make hyaluronic acid less effective. Remember that studies have shown as little as 0.1% hyaluronic acid is beneficial for skin.
That does it for this blog post, folks. Let me know if you have any questions!