DIY 10% ‘tetra’ C, E, and 2.5% CoQ10 collagen boosting Serum

Having worked with a number of different actives in the past few months in my serums, I’m going back to my DIY roots and embracing the oil soluble vitamin C (tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, AKA ‘tetra’) that I used for my very first serum. I’d have to say that this is my favourite active so far- so easy to work with and I just love what it does for my skin.

When Sarah from Dempeaux blog asked me whether I wanted to do a combined lotioncrafters order (she also adores ‘tetra’ C) I jumped at the chance to get my hands on some ‘tetra’ with split shipping.

Ingredient Overview-

‘Tetra’ C (Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate)

This is the stable, oil soluble form of Vitamin C. It reduces fine lines by increasing collagen synthesis, lightens and brightens skin tone by inhibiting melanin, and protects your skin from free radical damage.

For more detail on this active, and the recipe and instructions from my very first DIY post (*awww*) , go here.

To see my before/after photos from using my first ‘tetra’ C DIY serum, go here.

Coenzyme Q10 (aka CoQ10, aka Ubiquinone)

There has been a bit of a CoQ10 craze in skin care in recent years, with loads of products both high and low end marketing the use of  this new ‘wonder’ ingredient- but what exactly does it do for your skin?

CoQ10 is a strong antioxidant which neutralises the free radical damage that your skin is subjected to everyday. The body also needs CoQ10 to produce energy (ATP) within each cell, so if your natural CoQ10 is reduced (as is usually the case after the age of 30), then supplementing the skin’s CoQ10 supply means that your cells can produce more collagen, and other skin supporting molecules.  []

recommended percentage of CoQ10 is 1-3%

note: even at 1% Coenzyme Q10 will turn any serum or lotion bright yellow. If a cream says it has CoQ10 and is white… chances are there is probably not much CoQ10 in there at all.

 Carrier Oils

I’ve used Jojoba, Argan, and Borage oils because I know that my skin loves them, and they all have their unique nutrient profiles.  I’ve posted plenty on them in the past- to read about Argan and Borage oils go here, to read about Jojoba oil, go here.


2g ‘Tetra’ C (Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate)   from

1g Vitamin E oil                                                    from

5g Jojoba Oil   (I use The Jojoba Company Pure Australian Jojoba Oil from my local pharmacy)

5g Borage Oil                                                     from

6.5g Argan Oil                                                      from

0.5g pure CoQ10 (powder)                          from

note: you can substitute the Jojoba, Borage, and Argan oils with whatever carrier oils work well with your skin. Just stay away from mineral oil!

Step by step instructions:

1. Measure out your oils into a shotglass (start with an empty shotglass zeroed on a digital scale, add your first oil, ‘tare’ add your second oil, then ‘tare’ – super easy)

2. Measure out your Coenzyme Q10 powder in a small container, then when you’ve got the exact amount add it to the oils.

3. Stir to dissolve. It is fully dissolved when the mixture is a clear orange with no suspended fine particles.

4. If you have trouble with dissolving the CoQ10 like I did (we’re in the middle of winter and my oils sitting in cupboards are often nearing zero degrees), warm the mixture gently by sitting the shotglass in a bowl of warm-hot water.

keep reading after the jump!


5.  Add the Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate liquid, and the vitamin E to the mixture being careful not to pour too much at once! We are adding it in the end to minimise heat exposure to the vitamin C and E, however miniscule (it’s called being paranoid, and obsessive compulsive)

6. Bottle your serum! I used an amber dropper bottle to protect my actives from UV light exposure (UV light increases oxidation of your ingredients).

dissolved CoQ10 in Jojoba, Argan, and Borage oils before adding tetra C

dissolved CoQ10 in Jojoba, Argan, and Borage oils before adding tetra C

Results so far…

This is possibly the my favourite DIY serum I’ve made so far. My skin feels and looks better than it has for months (remember when I was whinging on twitter about how winter had ravaged my skin? I started on this serum a week later and no more complaining!) My skin looks clear and glowy, feels soft and bouncy, and the fine lines under my eyes are starting to soften within several days of using this.

I think that the addition of CoQ10 to the original serum works better than 10% tetra C on it’s own.


Check out my more recent work on my photography blog

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Posted by on Jul 4th, 2011 in DIY Skin Care | 29comments

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29 Responses to “DIY 10% ‘tetra’ C, E, and 2.5% CoQ10 collagen boosting Serum”

  1. […] off the bat, this Tetra C serum is not my recipe.  The recipe was formulated by the magnificent Jen of My Funny Valentine, with a tweak from me (the beauty of […]

  2. […] collagen boosting effects. I’ve already written in detail about this super ingredient in my DIY 10% tetra C, E, and 2.5%  Coq10 serum post so I won’t repeat myself. The percentage of CoQ10 is, unfortunately, not listed so I […]

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