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Personally, I am not a fan of the cosmetic industry. The one of the biggest problems I have with them are that they load up their products with nasty ingredients like lead and other carcinogens which sit on your skin all day.

No. Thank. you.

natural makeup (no harsh chemicals)


Cosmetics companies may use any ingredient or raw material, except for color additives and a few prohibited substances, without government review or approval. About one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. To top it off, U.S. federal law allows companies to leave many chemicals off labels, including nanomaterials, ingredients considered trade secrets, and components of fragrance.

The scariest of all? More than 500 products sold in the U.S. contain ingredients banned in cosmetics in Japan, Canada or the European Union. and here we are, buying this stuff up like it’s the cool thing to do.

So what are you looking to avoid in your makeup products?

Well, a lot of stuff. A LOT. Go grab a couple hair or skin products you have and check for the dirty dozen (also check their toxicity here).

 DIY Natural Make-Up and Why You Need to Switch

  • BHA and BHT – endocrine disruption; possible carcinogen
  • Coal tar dyes – possible carcinogen; may contain heavy metals toxic to the brain
  • DEA – reactions formed can be carcinogenic
  • Dibutyl phthalate – reproductive toxicant; endocrine disruptor
  • Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives – known carcinogen
  • Parabens – suspected endocrine disruptor; may interfere with male reproductive functions (i’ll showcase this debate in a TNT)
  • Parfum (fragrance) – allergies; asthma; known carcinogen; neurotoxicity
  • PEG compounds – possible carcinogen
  • Petrolatum – possible carcinogen
  • Siloxanes – endocrine disruptor; reproductive toxicant
  • Sodium laureth sulfate – possible carcinogen
  • Triclosan – antibiotic resistance in bacteria; endocrine disruptor

The full cosmetic Dirty Dozen list from the David Suzuki Foundation to learn more.

Solution? Make your own makeup OR buy organic and/or natural makeup from trusted companies. It’s an easier transition than you think!

Alright, convinced to switch? Make these organic and/or natural makeup products:

Basic Ingredients You’ll Need: 

  • Kaolin clay or arrowroot powder (Foundation Base)
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Activated charcoal
  • Cinnamon (please make sure it’s Ceylon)
  • Dried hibiscus, alkanet root powder, and/or beet powder
  • Mica powder
  • Iron oxides (Red/black/yellow/brown for pigmentation)
  • White organic face lotion/moisturizer (For liquid foundation only)
  • Aloe vera gel (For eyeliner)
  • Shea butter (For eyeliner)

Grab a bowl, spoon, and sieve to mix each thing!

1. Powder Foundation

  • Mix your base powder with very tiny amounts of iron oxides at a time to get the perfect shade.  As you add the pigments, mix very, very well before adding more. Note that the color of this powder when dampened might be different, and you can test it on the back of your hand. Zinc oxide can also be mixed in for full spectrum sun protection! I personally use plain kaolin clay – no pigments – for a setting powder.

2. Bronzer

  • Mix a base powder with cocoa, cinnamon, iron oxides, and/or mica to get the color you like. If you want more of a contour color without the shimmer, leave the mica out.

3. Eye Shadow

  • Mix any ingredients above to get the colors you want. This is really one DIY makeup product that you have to play around with! I always feel like a mad makeup scientist – it’s so much fun! Right now I have kaolin clay mixed with brown iron oxides and activated charcoal for different shades of brown. You can add mica for some shimmer, too!

4. Blush

  • Mix your base with the dried and powdered hibiscus flower, alkanet root powder, and/or beet powder until you get a color you like. You can add cinnamon, cocoa powder, or iron oxides for more pigmentation too. Note that it will look darker mixed than it will be on your skin, so you’ll need to test it as you mix. Also, alkanet root powder will be darker than hibiscus. Also also (ha), you will need to add a few drops of water to get the hibiscus to make a blush with the base powder (no more than about 1/4 teaspoon) for a small batch of blush. Add mica for some shimmer!

5. Liquid Foundation

  • Make your powder foundation and then mix with an organic white cream/moisturizer.  You may need to make your base powder a tad darker, depending on the shade and which cream you use. This foundation will be light coverage. You can also add a small amount of zinc oxide for full spectrum sun protection.

6. Eyeliner

  • Mix 1 part activated charcoal, 1/2 part black iron oxide, and either 1/2 part aloe vera gel, or 1/3 part shea butter for black eyeliner. You can add a small amount of mica powder for a little shimmer. Mix very well and store in an air-tight container. You’ll have to use a brush to apply. Feel free to play around with the ratios to get the perfect consistency for your eyelids. You can add cocoa powder or brown iron oxide for brown eyeliner.

Need your makeup to stay in place for awhile?

Homemade Makeup Setting Spray

Grab a little spray bottle. Put 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin in it. Add 1 teaspoon water. Add 1/2 cup rose water. Shake well and apply before you put makeup on. Keep this in your fridge! OR you can just mix 1 part glycerin to 3 parts water and use the same way. Easy peasy – and best of all – it will not clog your pores!

Enjoy your DIY, toxin-free makeup! 

*Note – Please do not inhale any of these powdered products! Inhalation of mica and iron oxides can be toxic.

Lead image source: Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock

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65 comments on “How to Make DIY Natural Make-Up and Why You Should Make the Switch”

Click to add comment
1 Years Ago

It is very hard to define \'natural\'. Everything is made of chemicals. We are made of chemicals and so called \'natural\' products are all made of chemicals. So you could separate natural and synthetically made, but then things such as extracts are vegetable derivatives blurs this line. Some of the most toxic chemicals are found in nature while some of the safest and skin loving chemicals are made in a lab. Natural does not equal good. Using things like cinnamon can cause burns on your skin. Additionally, the FDA makes regulations based of long term scientific studies and makes regulations based on the potency and percentages of ingredients going into the product. Things like parabens are said to be carcinogenic yet there is no official study that proves this case. There are unofficial studies that are not regulated or tested that makes these claims. Professionals only have a doubt about these ingredients and are not certain. Additionally, parabens are used as preservatives. There is a misconception that preservatives are bad. Preservatives are used at around 0.01%~0.5% in cosmetics. This is an extremely small amount. When surpassing these amounts, preservatives can become harmful. But when no preservatives are added, it makes a truly toxic potion where harmful and deadly bacteria can grow. The bacteria and microbes that grow are more harmful than the preservatives added. Additionally, the FDA has not approved of any food baed products (like vegetable or fruit powders) as these are actually more harmful in cosmetics than synthetic colourants. If you want to make your own makeup, you should really do the full research and actually get to know the science behind it before making things based off your knowlegde from the media

2 Years Ago


Fionnuala Murphy
2 Years Ago

I use coconut oil on all my body. That's all you need. It leaves your skin soooo soft. Just wipe off the excess. It's great as sun protection too. No need for chemicals

25 Jun 2017

I also just use pure coconut oil......my skin is youthful looking and I\'m not so young,

Fionnuala Murphy
2 Years Ago

I use coconut oil on all my body. That's all you need. It leaves your skin soooo soft. Just wipe off the excess. It's great as sun protection too. No need for chemicals

Andre Schep Elle
2 Years Ago

Dana Elimor !!!

Lisa Maurer
2 Years Ago

Hmmm is that why I ended up with Graves' disease?

Sofie Lund Petersen
2 Years Ago

Sidse Lund Petersen

Daniela Dean
2 Years Ago

Kirsty - or at least try and buy organic brands

Luna Violet
2 Years Ago

This is all well and good , but where i live more than half these ingredients aren't available . Could you suggest a few substitutions for them ?

Marina Lövström
11 Oct 2016

Do you have lush in your country? Such awesome company, it's a bit more expensive buy it's totally worth it ?

Luna Violet
12 Oct 2016

Afraid not . I live in Syria

Kay Amaretto
11 Dec 2016

Marina Lovstrom - Before you recommend their products as being awesome, please be aware of the following: They mix clean ingredients with all sorts of parabens and other harsh chemicals, and under the ingredient list - they mark them as being "SAFE SYNTHETICS". In order to find TRUE CLEAN products please consult the database maintained by the EWG -where you can check a very large number of individual ingredients. Here is a link to learn more about the nasty parabens that LUSH finds them safe:

*I used to love their products about 10 years ago but not anymore.... I called them once to complain about the parabens and they said in their opinion parabens are totally safe. To me it just defeats their purpose of creating clean products. Why not keep up with the latest science and eliminate harsh chemicals from their current formulations, is beyond me.

Elisabeth Scarborough Millar
2 Years Ago

Sara Caulson..we should look into this.


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