After delving into the world of mineral-based cosmetics, with the hallmark of good natural makeup resting on its simplicity—often composed of five or fewer minerals—I wondered how hard could it be to make my own. So, I decided to try my hand at creating my own mineral makeup.
When the film-cartridge sized vials and baggies of powders arrived in the mail, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. However, an hour later, after lots of trial and error, I found myself with hand-crafted natural mineral foundation and blush – thinking, this makeup is the shit, if I do say so myself.
- Titanium Dioxide
- Zinc Oxide
- Serecite Mica, Rice Powder, and/or Silk Powder
- Kaolin Clay (optional)
- Iron Oxide: Yellow, Red, Brown, and Black
- a few drops of essential oil (optional)
- Blender (could be anything from a small grinder, a cusinart, or mortar and pestle)
- Mixing Bowls (go for smooth ceramic, plastic, or glass)
- Tiny Spoons (like these) of various sizes
- a Teaspoon
- Jars, Pots, and Baggies (to store your makeup and give to others)
- Facemask (or, be extremely careful not to inhale particles, as they can cause irritation or become embedded in the lungs. For the same reason, use “micronized” minerals and not “nano-sized” particles to avoid health risks.)
- Gloves and/or Apron (to avoid getting pigment on your hands and clothes)
- A foundation that matches you, or Mirror
- A notebook
Make sure to order cosmetic-grade ingredients from a reputable source, like this one, while avoiding nano-particles, which, when inhaled can potentially cause lung issues. The alternative is to order a starter kit like this one which will come with similar ingredients.
Now, this tutorial will definitely appeal to the more adventurous sort. The initial cost of supplies and minerals can be expensive, but you’ll find that even small amounts will go a long way, and the final cost per gram of makeup is way cheaper than anything you’d find in stores. If you have crafty friends, you might even want to throw a party, buy ingredients together, and split the costs.
1. Cover your working space with newspaper to protect surfaces. Put on your facemask, gloves, and apron, and have all your ingredients and mixing bowls ready.
2. Start by adding a ratio of 2 : 1 : ¾ of Titanium Dioxide to Zinc Oxide to Sericite Mica – so, for example, 4 tsp of Titanium Dioxide, 2 tsp of Zinc Oxide, and 1 tsp of Sericite Mica, Rice Powder, or Silk Powder. Titanium Oxide will determine how pale your foundation will be, and Zinc Oxide can add coverage and is a source of natural SPF, but can also create a gray caste over the color – so be wary not to use too much. Sericite Mica adds a silky texture to your foundation, as do Rice Powder (which may be superior when it comes to absorbing oil) and Silk Powder.
3. Next, (following the earlier example-ratio) add 1 tsp (or a ¼ ratio) of Kaolin Clay. Kaolin Clay is a natural clay that is thickening and oil-absorbent.
4. Finally, add a few drops of an essential oil of your choice. As these are quite potent, do this very, very sparingly! A drop at a time is best and goes a long way. And definitely don’t go over 5 drops. Many have been known to add essential oils of all sorts: vitamin E for moisture, tea tree oil to keep acne at bay, or lavender for antiseptic, anti-inflammatory properties. However, not all essential oils are created equal – and even natural products can cause allergic reactions, so be sure to research any other oils you might add.
5. Now, here’s where the fun begins: we’re going to develop the color with the naturally, intensely-pigmented Iron Oxides in Yellow, Brown, Black, and Red. Yellow serves as the base – so, (according to the earlier size example) start with maybe a 1/4 tsp or so; Brown Iron Oxide will darken the color – so, add a pinch (this is where the tiny teaspoons come in.) And then, add an even smaller pinch of Red Iron Oxide to add pinkness.
6. Start grinding and mixing the ingredients together until a uniform color emerges, and no streaky white pieces remain.
7. From there, it’ll take a series of trial and error, of adding pinches of yellow (to lessen redness), brown or black (to darken), red (to add pinkness), and titanium dioxide (to lighten.) Here’s where the old favorite foundation comes in – having it on the counter can serve as a guide to help steer your DIY makeup in the right direction. In addition, having a mirror out can help you test out the color on your skin, as you get warmer and cooler to the perfect match.
8. Although measurements may be imprecise, taking notes in a notebook can help recreate the mixture into the future. You’ll thank yourself later when you stumble upon the perfect consistency and color.
9. Finally, once you have found the right mixture, pour it into a plastic bag, cut off a tiny corner, funnel it into a sifting jar, and wear your special, hand-crafted mineral makeup with pride.
Other directions you can take your DIY makeup-making:
- To make a bronzer or blush: use a very similar process, with a grinder, spoons, and mixing bowl – starting with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Then, for blush, lean more heavily on the red iron oxide. For bronzer, moreso on the yellow and brown oxide. In addition, for glowy goodness, add some mica of your choice (there’s a variety here.) Note: some individuals are mica-sensitive or allergic, so you might want to try a small swatch on your skin before using products that are mica-heavy.
- To make a super easy DIY tinted moisturizer, just combine your favorite moisturizer with your mineral powder and mix it into a new jar.
- To make a primer, serecite mica works by itself.
- To make a tinted mineral veil, add a pinch of your mineral foundation to just rice/silk powder or serecite mica.
- To make concealer, add more zinc oxide for coverage to your mineral foundation.
Too busy to make your own? Try a few independent mineral-cosmetics companies with ethical products that can make you feel beautiful inside and out. (This should be a link to the Mineral Makeup 101 article)