Those who know me know that over the years, I’ve transitioned to non-toxic home and body care products. I make my own deodorant and toothpaste, I wash my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar, and I moisturize with natural oils. I clean most of my home with baking soda, vinegar, and elbow grease.
One thing that took longer to change up was makeup. Yes, the best thing to do would be to give up makeup entirely. I am not a high-maintenance girl, and I wish I could do that; but man, I have the worst skin. I have had terrible acne since I was 11 and it is not letting up at all in my thirties.
I . . . I don’t want to talk about it. It really bums me out. Suffice it to say, I’m really self-conscious about my skin and I feel better with a bit of makeup.
I tried a few commercial brands of less-toxic makeup, but they were very expensive, the ingredients were still kind of sketchy, and they didn’t work as well. Making my own makeup just seemed too hard. How would I get the right shade for my skin? How could I get homemade mascara to not run?
The first thing I changed in my makeup kit was my eyeliner. I started making my own eyeliner out of activated charcoal. That was super-easy and inexpensive, and also really effective.
But the rest? It stayed the same for years. I’d been buying the exact same CoverGirl liquid powder foundation for the last 13 years. (I’m from the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it camp on just about everything.)
I live in a small Canadian town, so I don’t have access to a lot of local shops making small batches of homemade lotions and makeup. And shipping is bonkers is expensive here. Buying makeup online is risky because you can’t test it out. What’s a girl to do?
Mineral Makeup: Almost Right?
Finally, a few years ago, I got a chance to try mineral makeup, which I’d been wanting to try for years.
Mineral makeup uses minerals such as iron oxides, talc, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide, which are ground and milled into tiny particles to create makeup. It sits on the skin rather than being absorbed into it, making it safer. It’s free of parabens, chemical dyes, and perfumes, and are healthy for all skin types. Many brands even claim to nourish the skin rather than damage it.
But real mineral makeup always comes in a loose powdered form. One of the main reasons is because the ingredients that turn makeup into a liquid are generally the most toxic ones.
Basically, you need harsh ingredients to create a liquid makeup that won’t go bad.
Microbes thrive in water, so liquid formulations must include some kind of preservative. If you don’t want nasty preservatives in your makeup, you can’t have it in a liquid form.
So I gave powdered mineral makeup a good try. I watched all the YouTube videos on how to apply it and bought the fancy kabuki brush.
Brush, brush, brush, brush, brush, I went. And then brush, brush, brush, brush, brush some more. (Mineral makeup is hardcore, you guys. So much brushing.)
I couldn’t get it to work for me.
Like I said, I have really crappy skin: I have constant acne, and it’s always simultaneously dry, too. Powder always looks cakey on me, and it takes a ton of it to cover all my blemishes.
Mineral makeup is expensive. And I’m lazy. I can’t be brushing powder all over my face for ten minutes every day.
I wanted the natural-ness of mineral makeup, but the creamy texture of my favourite CoverGirl liquid powder foundation. But none of the toxic ingredients necessary for a commercial liquid makeup.
It was time to turn my powdered mineral makeup into a DIY liquid foundation.
(So in case it wasn’t clear yet: my DIY recipe uses pre-purchased mineral makeup powder. This is not one of those recipes that uses cinnamon and cocoa powder to provide colour. So you will have to go out and find a good mineral makeup that matches your skin tone to follow this recipe.)
MY DIY Liquid Powder Foundation
I realized that if I wanted to make my own liquid makeup, I would need to make it in small batches to prevent contamination and growth of microbes.
And if I needed to make it frequently, the recipe needed a minimum of ingredients to make it quick and easy.
One DIY recipe I came across online demands that you make a small batch every single day to prevent the growth of mould. Sheesh! I’m not that concerned about contamination. So I make a batch that lasts me about a month. I figure that most makeup you pick up from the drugstore shelf is probably already a month old by the time it gets into your shopping cart, so I’m at least doing better than that.
That same recipe claims to have only “two ingredients,” but one of the ingredients is a homemade lotion consisting of five other ingredients. So . . . no thanks. I wanted something quicker and easier.
After experimenting with a few different natural oils and butters, and playing with the proportions, I found one that made me happy. Just plain shea butter was too thick and pastey, so I added skin-friendly jojoba oil to thin it and add some slip. You may want to play around with it, too, in order to control the amount of coverage it offers and how thick you like it.
Okay, so now you’re wondering, Does it work? How does it look?
Here are my before and after pictures. I am being very vulnerable showing you my untouched, blemish-riddled “before” picture, so be nice. I really hope this isn’t the image that gets pinned. (I did not retouch these photos at all.)
So maybe I don’t look like a model in a shampoo commercial, but I feel a lot more confident leaving the house looking like the “after” than the “before.”
(P.S. the homemade eyeliner recipe can be found here.)
This creates a thick, creamy foundation similar to CoverGirl’s Ultimate Finish Liquid Powder. It’s not pourable at room temperature. It can also work as a concealer.
- 1/2 tsp shea butter
- 1/2 tsp jojoba oil
- 1 tsp loose powder mineral makeup*
*I buy mine from a small store in London, Ontario. I’ve heard good things about Jane Iredale and Bare Minerals, available at Sephora. I’ve also purchased a decent mineral makeup from the Body Shop.
- double boiler (I just put a ceramic bowl over a small pot of boiling water)
- small container (I use a Tupperware pill box)
- makeup sponge
Place three ingredients in double boiler, and warm just until shea butter is melted. Then stir well. Scrape it into a small container and allow it to cool.
Apply to skin using a good-quality makeup sponge.
That’s it! I make a batch about every 6 weeks, but then, as a stay-at-home mom I rarely apply it.