This Dr. Axe content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure factually accurate information.

With strict editorial sourcing guidelines, we only link to academic research institutions, reputable media sites and, when research is available, medically peer-reviewed studies. Note that the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) are clickable links to these studies.

The information in our articles is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by our trained editorial staff. Note that the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) are clickable links to medically peer-reviewed studies.

Our team includes licensed nutritionists and dietitians, certified health education specialists, as well as certified strength and conditioning specialists, personal trainers and corrective exercise specialists. Our team aims to be not only thorough with its research, but also objective and unbiased.

The information in our articles is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

DIY Rosehip Retinol Cream with Lavender


DIY retinol cream - Dr. Axe

Although the skin is subject to acne, other skin conditions and aging, as the body’s largest organ, it also has the potential to soak up a lot of healthy vitamins. One of the main vitamins our skin soaks up is vitamin D, which it absorbs from sunlight. The skin can also absorb vitamins from face creams and moisturizers, including retinoids, which contain lots of vitamin A. Retinoids may be the way to healthier, more youthful skin. Read on to learn more about retinoids, retinol cream and how you can make your own homemade retinol cream.

What Is Retinol Cream?

Retinoids and retinol cream products were originally developed in the 1970s as an acne treatment. They also are used as a way to help treat aging skin, psoriasis and warts. Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives. Vitamin A has been known to help with eyesight and it also helps keep the skin healthy. Retinoids are derived from animal sources and include retinol. Other sources come from carotenoids, originally from plants, and include beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. The major carotenoids are lycopene, lutein, and zeaxantuin, and are filled with  antioxidant and photoprotective properties. (1)

Retinol face cream has many uses, such as minimizing the appearance of wrinkles, helping keep the skin thicker, maintaining the elasticity of the skin, slowing the breakdown of collagen, which helps keep the skin firm, and lightening those annoying brown spots caused by sun exposure and age. Retinoids can speed up the cell turnover of the skin. This process helps even out skin discoloration and smooths the skin.

Commercial Retinoid Products

You may have heard of Retin-A. Retin-A was the first prescription retinoid, Tretinoin, that the FDA approved nearly 40 years ago, but even today you cannot get it without a prescription. (2However, a study shows that after several weeks of use, over 50 percent of participants had a reduction in wrinkles. (3

Types of retinoids: alitretinoin, isotretinoin and tretinoin, etretinate, acitretin, tazarotene and adapalene, differin, seletinoid G

Common brand names: Panretin, Accutane, Roaccutane, Accure and IsotrexGel,, Tretinoin, Renova, Retin-A and Vesanoid, Tegison, Soriatane, Tazorac, Fabior, Avage, Differin, Targretin

The peeling that often occurs when beginning to use retinol actually helps to thicken the skin, giving it a more youthful appearance. And this sloughing off of dead skin cells is what helps get rid of the dark spots by diminishing the production of melanin.

Regardless, the process requires about three to six months of consistent daily use to make a difference. Some prescription versions are more potent and could be more effective in a shorter period of time. However, they may cause more peeling at first than the over-the- counter options.

 Side Effects

Some common side effects include:

  • a burning sensation
  • warmth to the skin
  • stinging and tingling
  • itching
  • redness
  • swelling
  • dryness and peeling
  • mild irritation
  • discoloration of the skin

In some rare cases, side effects include hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing. This could be an allergic reaction. You may need to stop and consult your doctor. (4)

Now that you know a little about retinol, how about making your very own retinol cream? Because retinol is a form of vitamin A that can come from plant sources, it is easy to find the right ingredients to help you have amazing skin! Let’s get started.

Related: What Is Ferulic Acid? Benefits for Skin & Beyond

How to Make Homemade Retinol Cream

First, you’ll want to pour some carrot seed oil and rosehip oil into a glass measuring cup (see the full recipe at the end of this article). Carrot seed oil is high in antioxidants and a great natural retinol, and it comes from the seeds of Daucus carota, also known as Queen Anne’s Lace. (5)  Rosehip oil is great because it is high in vitamin C and provides anti-aging benefits such as protection from age spots.

Next, place a shallow pan on the stove with about 2 inches of water in it and heat the water on low. Place the measuring cup in the pan, acting as a double-boiler. Now, add the almond oil and the apricot oil. Almond oil is great because it acts as a moisturizer and does not clog pores. Apricot oil is also a great moisturizer while offering vitamin A. Add these ingredients and stir, keeping the heat on low.

Add the shea butter and green tea extract. Shea butter will add creaminess to the mixture while providing amazing skin healing benefits. Green tea is known as the anti-aging tea. Green tea extract benefits the skin much in the same way due to its numerous polyphenols it contains. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits include helping reduce acne while fighting the signs of aging.

It’s no secret that shea butter is great for the skin. Shea butter is rich in both vitamin A and vitamin E, making it the perfect choice for this anti-aging recipe! Once added, stir until you reach a creamy texture.

Lastly, add the anti-aging essential oils, lavender and frankincense. Lavender essential oil does more than relax you; it gives the skin a boost because of its antimicrobial and antioxidant characteristics. Additionally, lavender and frankincense both help reduce age spots. Frankincense also helps eliminate acne, wrinkles and scars. 

Lemon essential oil contains a ton of vitamin C and while you don’t want to over do it because the skin can be very sensitive to the potency of pure vitamin C, one drop added to this mixture can offer some amazing skin-glowing benefits by reducing photoaging. (6

Make sure to blend all ingredients well. Remove from heat and allow it to cool. Once cooled, place in a glass container. Using a dark glass container will help it to last longer or you can store it in the fridge.

Related: Bakuchiol: A ‘More Natural Retinol’ That’s Equally Effective for Skin

How to Use Retinol Cream

Apply a small amount to the skin at night before bed. Make sure to apply it to clean skin. Use my Homemade Honey Face Wash, then pat dry.


When using retinoid or retinol-based products, it is best to start with applying them every third day. Given that retinoids can cause some initial irritation, it helps to allow the skin to get used to it before going to daily use. Using it at night helps because using it while in the sun can cause sensitivity to the skin. Regardless, you will need to wear an all-natural sunscreen anywhere that you may be applying the retinol cream.

If you are pregnant, check with your doctor before using retinol or high doses of vitamin A.

Make sure to clean your skin and pat dry before applying the retinol products. To minimize skin irritation, it is best to avoid using with other skin care products — especially if they contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol or salicylic acid. Using tretinoin with certain medications may cause your skin to be more sensitive to sun exposure. (7)

Because this blend includes citrus oils with phototoxicity traits, be sure to avoid exposure to sunlight for 12 hours after applying it to your skin.

Read Next: Homemade Eye Cream with Frankincense & Shea Butter


[webinarCta web=”eot”]


DIY Rosehip Retinol Cream with Lavender

Total Time: About 10 minutes
Serves: 1; Makes about 2.5 ounces


  • 1 tablespoon organic rosehip seed oil
  • 10 drops organic carrot seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic almond oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic apricot oil
  • 1 teaspoon organic shea butter
  • ¼ teaspoon green tea extract
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 1 drop lemon essential oil
  • small glass measuring cup
  • shallow pan
  • glass storage container


  1. Pour the rosehip oil and carrot seed oil into a glass measuring cup.
  2. Place a shallow pan on the stove with about 2 inches of water in it and heat the water on low.
  3. Place the measuring cup in the pan, acting as a double-boiler.
  4. Add the almond oil and the apricot oil to the oils in the measuring cup.
  5. Next, add the shea butter and green tea extract to the mixture.
  6. Add the lavender, frankincense and lemon oils and blend well.
  7. Remove from heat and allow it to cool. Once cooled, place in a glass container.
  8. Apply a small amount to the skin at night before bed. Make sure to apply it to clean, dry skin.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.1 / 5. Vote count: 24

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Josh Axe

Get FREE Access!

Dr. Josh Axe is on a mission to provide you and your family with the highest quality nutrition tips and healthy recipes in the world...Sign up to get VIP access to his eBooks and valuable weekly health tips for FREE!

Free eBook to boost
metabolism & healing

30 Gluten-Free Recipes
& detox juicing guide

Shopping Guide &
premium newsletter


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Sharon on

    Why not turn it into a cream using ceteryl oils. 3 grams. I use pinch? .. Water. Distilled. 70 grams. Put in water bath heat safe container
    . once all products melted… Oh yeah hot water bath. Low on stove.. Pour water into oils. Once beaten.. Add oils after cool… I always suggest not essential oils but fragrance oils designed for skin…. Thanks Dr axe for clue how to mix this. Get results

    • Lori Cubbedge on

      I came here looking for an answer to the same question. Its all oils. How is it supposed to firm up. Or be white for that matter? Mine is orange from the carrot seed oil.

  2. Jane Cecil on

    I am using this Retinol cream at night and like it very much but not sure which of his creams I should make for morning use

  3. Giovanni Dominoni on

    What’s the point of adding green tea if Polyphenols are only water-soluble? It will not get absorbed by the skin, no?

  4. LAURENS on

    I have just made your cream and find it nourishing for the skin. I have left the frankincense and green tea extract out of the preparation wanting to concentrate only on some properties of the cream. My question, what is the storage life of this cream once prepared? Thank you.

  5. Leelahenry on

    Carrot seed essential oil does not contain vitamin A, This is only found in the root of the plant. The essential oil is distilled from the seeds which don’t contain any vitamin A. This is a nice recipe to use but it shouldn’t state that it contains Vitamin A.

  6. Stella Flores on

    Can I leave the lemon oil out. I have Roceasa and citrus seems to dry it out and make it red.
    Thank you

  7. Julia on

    Is it OK if green tea extract has alcohol?
    I wish you had links to products you recommend :-)
    Also – roughly what % retinol do you think this translates to?
    And, can you confirm this mixture is non-comodogenic?
    Thank you!!!

  8. Shary on

    Hi, can I use this rose hip cream recipe after I do derma-rolling? Retinol is supposed to really get absorbed better in the skin when derma-rolling is done.
    Or will this cause irritation?

  9. Deborah Adams on

    I noticed it starts having little tiny balls in the jar, is thot normal and should I put in frig?
    Retinol Cream with Lavender

  10. Gabriela on

    Hi Dr Axe,
    Thank you for your wonderful recipes for the skin. I would like to ask you if I use Tretinoin 0.25 %, Could I use jojoba or argan oil or other oil as a moisturize at night when I use the Tretinoin? Thanks again.

  11. Mrs imran on

    We need CARROT ESSENTIAL OIL or CARROT SEED OIL for this recipe ? there is huge difference in both of them.please mention.

  12. Sylvia on

    Another of your posts mentions that carrot seed oil does not contain vitamin A (but carrot oil does). Could you please clarify? thanks.

  13. Mimi on

    Dear Dr. Axe,
    I really enjoy your articles and your generosity for sharing your knowledge. Please clarify, this article states that carrot seed oil is contains high levels of Vit A, hence it is a “great natural retinol.”
    In another article on your site, you describe the difference between carrot seed oil (mentioned in this article) as NOT containing vit a.

    “Sep 27, 2017 · Carrot seed oil and carrot seed essential oil do not contain vitamin A (although they have several antioxidants), while carrot oil, derived from the actual carrot plant, does contain a large amount of vitamin A.”

    Should the recipe call for carrot oil instead? Thanks!

  14. Kathy on

    Hi. Is there a difference between carrot seed oil and carrot seed essential oil?
    Where do you usually get these supplies from? Thanks.

  15. Vanessa on

    I made this recipe following the ingredients list and recipe directions. It is not a cream, but a rich feeling oil. I put it in a dropper bottle and I’m using it every night. But I’d have preferred the retinal cream consistency. As I made it, I thought one teaspoon of shea butter did not look like enough to result in a cream, and I was right. Next time I’ll double the shea butter.

      • Vanessa on

        Yes, I see a difference but it’s not a miracle worker. I use it at bedtime and by morning when I cleanse and moisturize, my skin looks nice. I noticed a difference in my neck too. Smooth and firm. By the way, I also use Dr Axe’s recipe for moisturizer. The benefit to me is that all ingredients are healthy, so even if it only does as well as commercial products, it’s still a win.

    • Teresa on

      I made the recipe, and thinking it would be runny, I did double the shea butter. It is room temp now and still an oil, so I have put it in the fridge.

  16. Kathleen Keenan on

    Hi can you simply explain the Retinal cream. Can it be used on very dry sensitive skin. If so, can you tell where l would find the ingredients l need for it.

    There seems to be a lot of ingredients, which l don’t have any.

    I think this cream is going to cost me a lot of money, wish l don’t have.
    Is it possible you might be able to send me some samples first please. Thank very much xx

  17. Elizabeth on

    I tried this recipe and love it! I used liquid green tea extract. Just seemed to make sense. Is there any reason I shouldn’t use this during the day? Are there any ingredients that react in the sun? Thanks!

    • Janine on

      I just made a batch too! Mine is still liquid though, and I even tried putting it in the fridge. Did you find the same thing? Thanks!

      • Janine on

        Mine was liquid also. I wonder if the Shea butter measurement is correct. Putting in the fridge didn’t help

      • Rabiya on

        I added a teaspoon of beeswax to it and it really gave a great balmy texture. I also strongly brewed used liquid green tea but I’m wondering if that means it won’t keep for long? Any thoughts?

    • Mary on

      Lemon essential oil is photo sensitive and should not be used in leave on products if you will be in the sun within 12 hrs of application. Always use a good natural sun screen.

  18. Cat on

    Dear Dr Axe, First of all thank you so much for sharing all your recipes, advices, informations, so precious for all. I suscribe today and I love so much you website! Thank you! My comment have not link in this article but I learned a lot with your article but couldn’t comment on this one. I am a cleaning woman so very concerned by this. I do my own soap, my own laundry dish, my own toothpaste. Thanks to you I will do soon my own dish detergent, but I am very interest to do my own cleaning detergents for my own health, my money save, and my clients own health also, of course. I really hate the odor and taste of vinegar even if I know that is a real good natural cleaner. But I will try to do my own with castille soap and or black liquid soap. The comments were unavailble to the link I share here and also with the link of homemade laundry detergent, but I just want to share this: in the last link the first comment I saw was about HE (High Effenciency) of …. but HE in french mean Huile Essentielle, which is mean Essential oil so it make me smile to see High Effenciency for Essential Oil………… I beleive in all this and I thank you a lot for all what I learn on your website. It’s a very impressive great job you do! I hope you will understand well my english because I am French

  19. Lisa Biggica on

    I just bought all the products to make this cream and the measurements are no longer available. Can you please send them to me.

    Thank you

  20. Sandy on

    There is no rose hip retinol recipe at the end of this article. Can you please provide the amounts of each ingredient and directions?
    Thank you!

  21. Ilene on you give the measurements for each product in your

    I I just wrote your recipe for RETINOL but how much shea butter,
    how much green tea, and are the anti-aging oils the ones
    mentioned in the recipe?




More Beauty