your natural self

How to Make DIY Makeup: Mascara, Foundation, Powder, & Blush

Published on October 18, 2023

By Kristen Boye BS, Natural Health

Kristen Boye

Kristen Boye is a natural health expert, writer, copywriter, and editor. Kristen was raised on an organic farm in British Columbia which inspired her life’s work. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Health, is a Certified Natural Foods Chef, co-owner of a medicinal herb farm, and is a natural foods and children’s health advocate. Kristen lives with her husband and two children on their medicinal herb farm in Western North Carolina.

Clean beauty products (skincare and cosmetics made without harmful chemicals) are all the rage.

But did you know you can make your high-quality DIY makeup at home for a fraction of the cost (without any background in chemistry)?

In this article, you’ll get ahead of the clean beauty trend by learning how to make your own natural and non-toxic DIY makeup, including:

  • Mascara
  • Foundation powder
  • Blush
  • And makeup remover

    Why Make DIY Makeup?

    Clean beauty products offer a multitude of benefits for people and the planet.

    For people, they help reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals and contaminants used in cosmetics.

    Why are harmful ingredients used in cosmetics in the first place? 

    Unfortunately, the cosmetic industry is barely regulated, and it’s been that way for over 80 years.REF#3033 Therefore, few cosmetic ingredients have been tested for safety. 

    If that’s not concerning enough, your typical drugstore or cosmetic counter product likely contains ingredients that have demonstrated safety concerns. 

    • Phthalates, a plasticizing ingredient used widely in fragrances, are known hormone disruptors.REF#3034 
    • Formaldehyde, used as a preservative or produced as a byproduct of certain cosmetic ingredients when combined, is a known carcinogen.REF#3035 
    • Talc, a known lung carcinogen contaminated with asbestosREF#3036, is still widely used in facial powders, foundations, and more.
    • Heavy metals, such as lead, have shown up in alarming concentrations in eye shadows, lipsticks, and children’s face paint.REF#3037

    These represent a fraction of the potentially harmful ingredients lurking in most synthetic cosmetics and skin care products.

    Given the cosmetic industry’s history of prioritizing profits over safety, it is wise to consider DIY makeup and/or switching to non-toxic, sustainably sourced brands.

    There are environmental benefits to making your own makeup, too.

    Most chemicals that are harmful to humans are no friend to the environment.

    The cosmetic industry is also a massive contributor to climate change and various ecocides. Some examples of environmental harm from cosmetics include:REF#3038 REF#3039 REF#3040

    • Air pollution (cosmetics emit VOCs, mostly from fragrances, that degrade air quality)
    • Animal testing
    • Coral degradation and kills-offs (ingredients like controversial parabens bleach and kill precious coral reefs)
    • Non-sustainable sourcing of raw materials, like palm oil and minerals
    • Excess use of water in places where residents are in dire need
    • Reliance on plastics, single-use plastics, and plastic-based chemicals
    • Use of forever chemicals, like PFASs, in long-wearing makeup
    • Use of fossil fuels to ship cosmetic products overseas and long distances

    All this, coupled with the promise of cost-savings, has spurred a trend in DIY makeup.

    NOTE: If you’re looking to enhance your skin, hair, and nails, consider an herbal supplement with ingredients like horsetail and nettle that you take orally.

    Next, we’ll share how to make your own makeup at home using natural, non-toxic, and sustainably sourced ingredients.

    DIY Mascara

    Don’t let the long list of ingredients on your favorite mascara bottle deter you. Making DIY mascara is incredibly easy.

    All you need are just a few natural ingredients and basic supplies.

    DIY Mascara Supplies

    • A clean mascara container, available online. 
      • You can also clean out an old mascara container with a straw cleaning brush and hot soapy water, then squirt with rubbing alcohol to sterilize.
    • A dropper (like those found in herbal tinctures) or a plastic pipette.
    • A small spatula
    • A small whisk


      • 1/4 teaspoon activated charcoal for black mascara (available in natural food stores and online)
        • OR 1/4 teaspoon fair-trade cocoa powder for brown mascara
      • 1/4 teaspoon natural clay for drying action (bentonite, green clay, etc.)
      • 3/4 teaspoon aloe vera
      • 1 teaspoon olive oil, coconut oil, argan oil, or castor oil

        How to Make:

        1. Mix everything in a small bowl, adding more aloe vera or oil as needed to get the desired consistency. Add a little more charcoal or cocoa powder if it's too thin.
        2. Drop into the clean and sanitized mascara bottle using your dropper or pipette, leaving some headspace for the brush.
        3. Insert the brush (if it overflows, just wipe it off and fill a little less next time), close the lid, and you’re done.

          DIY Foundation Powder

          Most mainstream foundations contain questionable chemicals, artificial colors, and pigments, forever chemicals, fragrances, and preservatives.

          Mineral foundations can be the exception, but even they may contain preservatives, like parabens or talc. And nanonized minerals, such as titanium dioxide, have been shown to potentially contribute to aging.REF#3041

          Instead, try this talc-free, nanoparticle-free, preservative-free DIY foundation powder you can customize to suit your skin type.

          How to customize your foundation color:

          The cocoa will create a warm base that will work with most medium-light, medium, and medium-dark skin types. 

          However, it may take some experimentation to get your exact shade.

          Here are the best herbs, spices, and natural substances to add for your perfect foundation color:

          • For a lighter powder, decrease cocoa by 1-2 tablespoons and add 1-2 tablespoons Nutmeg, Ashwagandha, or Cardamom
          • For a warmer powder, decrease cocoa by 1-2 tablespoons and add 1-2 tablespoons cinnamon or equal parts Cinnamon and Paprika (you’ll need to experiment)
          • For a darker powder, add more cocoa to reach desired consistency. You can also add some activated charcoal, a little at a time, for very dark skin.
          • For a less red powder, add French green clay, ground Sage (or any ground green herb), or Matcha, a teaspoon at a time.
          • For more yellow or orange-ish tones, add Ginger or Calendula powder, a teaspoon at a time.
          • For more blue (helps with darker skin tones and off-sets red), add spirulina powder, a teaspoon at a time.

            DIY Foundation Powder Supplies

            • A medium bowl
            • A small whisk
            • A storage container such as a mason jar or clean and sanitized loose powder bottle


              • 1/4 cup arrowroot or non-GMO cornstarch
              • 2-4 tablespoons cocoa powder or cocoa powder combined with the appropriate herbs for your skin type
              • Optional: 2 tablespoons natural clay to enhance oil absorbency
              • Optional: 2 tablespoons zinc oxide for fuller coverage
                • Zinc oxide is a non-toxic mineral that supports various aspects of skin health. It is widely available from online suppliers

              Some recipes recommend the addition of essential oils. However, since they can cause clumping, we do not recommend them.

              How to Make:

              1. Whisk everything together in a medium bowl.
              2. Add optional ingredients for your skin color and type.
              3. Store in a small mason jar or sanitized facial powder container or compact.

                DIY Loose Powder Blush

                DIY blush follows the same general principles as DIY foundation. The difference is how you color it.

                Fortunately, there are now many plant-based color powders and powdered herbs and spices widely available for your blush.

                Since making pressed powder and blush requires special equipment, this DIY blush recipe is for a loose powder blush.

                Color Options for DIY Blush

                You can either procure plant-based, all-natural color powders, or make your own using these ingredients:

                • Red: Paprika or red clay
                • Bright pink: Beetroot powder, option to combine with charcoal or cocoa powder 
                • Soft pink: Powdered pink sweet potato or very little Beetroot powder, combine with a bit of cocoa powder or cinnamon
                • Yellow or Orange: Ginger, Annatto, or Calendula powder
                  • Turmeric is not recommended due to its staining qualities
                • Purplish pink: Hibiscus powder or purple sweet potato powder
                • Bronze: Cinnamon, Cocoa, or Nutmeg

                  DIY Blush Supplies

                  • A medium bowl
                  • A small whisk
                  • A storage container such as a mason jar or clean and sanitized loose powder bottle


                    • 2 tablespoons of non-GMO or arrowroot, cornstarch, or kaolin clay
                    • ¼-1 teaspoon natural color powder or herbs of choice
                      • The amount will vary based on the type and intensity of the color you want. Start with less, mix, test on the back of your hand, and add more or additional ingredients if desired.

                      How to Make:

                      1. Mix everything in a bowl using a fork or whisk.
                      2. Store in a powder bottle, mason jar, or cleaned and sanitized blush container.

                        One-Ingredient DIY Makeup Remover

                        Removing most makeup can be achieved with soap or your favorite cleanser, water, and friction. 

                        However, oil-based makeup, like mascara or foundations, or heavy make-up applications may require a separate makeup remover.

                        Our recommendation is straightforward in both cases: a natural and nourishing oil.

                        This one ingredient will dissolve all types of makeup without stripping your skin. Follow this up with your favorite facial cleanser, and you’re done.

                        Note although any oil will work, look for non-comedogenic oils that won’t clog pores. Some options include:

                        • Olive oil
                        • Hazelnut oil
                        • Jojoba oil
                        • Rosehip oil
                        • Castor oil
                        • Grapeseed
                        • Hempseed
                        • Neem oil
                        • Sunflower oil
                        • Calendula oil

                          For Eyes: 

                          1. Gently rub a small amount of your favorite oil into your eyelashes.
                          2. Remove with a damp cotton ball, pad, or face cloth.

                            For Face:

                            1. Gently rub a small amount of your favorite oil all over your face for about 1 minute.
                            2. Remove with a warm washcloth.
                            3. Cleanse skin as usual.

                              DIY Makeup FAQs

                              Q: Will DIY makeup produce the same results as store-bought?

                              It can, provided you follow the recipes and take the time to adjust them to your ideal skin tone, color, and skin type.

                              Little additions like zinc oxide to foundation powder and clay to mascara can make all the difference.

                              Q: What about DIY liquid foundation?

                              A: You can absolutely make a DIY liquid foundation to rival any store-bought chemistry concoction.

                              However, DIY foundation takes more steps, skill, and special ingredients. Therefore, we did not include it in this beginner tutorial.

                              Q: How can I be sure I’m sourcing sustainable raw materials for my DIY makeup?

                              A: Homemade doesn’t necessarily mean sustainable. It’s the ingredients that matter.

                              As noted in the recipes, the main things to look for in DIY mascara, powdered foundation, and blush are:

                              • Fair-trade cocoa powder
                              • Non-GMO cornstarch (if using cornstarch)
                              • Organic and sustainably-sourced oils, aloe vera, herbs, and powders

                              Q: Will DIY makeup clog my pores?

                              No. These recipes all contain ingredients that will not clog pores.

                              You can add some (or more) natural clay for extra oil-absorbing power.

                              Q: Will DIY mascara harden?

                              A: Yes, so long as you add the recommended amount of clay. If it doesn’t harden enough, add a bit more clay.

                              Want More Natural DIY Beauty Care Recipes?

                              Looking for more DIY personal care and beauty care tutorials? Check out the following articles:


                              • 1. , "80 Years Later, Cosmetics Chemicals Still Unregulated", Environmental Working Group..
                              • 2. , "Phthalates and Their Impacts on Human Health", Healthcare (Basel). .
                              • 3. , "Completed RoC Evaluations", US Department of Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program. .
                              • 4. , "Asbestos Contamination in Talc-Based Cosmetics: An Invisible Cancer Risk", Environ Health Insights. 2020 .
                              • 5. , "Lead in Cosmetics", United States Food and Drug Administration. .
                              • 6. , "EPA Researchers Investigate the Impacts of Everyday Products on Air Quality", Environmental Protection Agency. .
                              • 7. , "Review of Evidence of Environmental Impacts of Animal Research and Testing", Environments .
                              • 8. , "What Are Parabens, and Why Don’t They Belong in Cosmetics?", Environmental Working Group.
                              • 9. , "Toxicity and penetration of TiO2 nanoparticles in hairless mice and porcine skin after subchronic dermal exposure", Toxicol Lett. .