Homemade Cosmetics 101

In this post…

  • How Is This Legal?
  • Is Homemade Makeup Safe?
  • Is There Quality in Homemade Makeup?
  • Starter Kits
  • How I Make Mine


How Is This Legal?

Fun fact!  The FDA does not really evaluate or approve finished cosmetic products, just the colorants as ingredients.  From the FDA website,

    “The law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, to have FDA approval before they go on the market, but there are laws and regulations that apply to cosmetics on the market in interstate commerce.

    The two most important laws pertaining to cosmetics marketed in the United States are the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). FDA regulates cosmetics under the authority of these laws.”


Is Homemade Makeup Safe?

My rule of thumb is if you’re old enough and mature enough to handle and cook raw meat without getting sick, then you can make your own cosmetics without any negative side-effects.

Many people have reactions to store-bought makeup, and these things can easily be solved in a product made at home.  You get 200% control of the ingredients in your creations and are able to safely test your reactions to some ingredients before using them – made easier by the fact some suppliers sell small quantities of individual ingredients in sample sizes [about a teaspoon] for about two dollars.

Much like when you trust a chef enough to prepare your food, you are putting an awful lot of trust in companies who manufacture cosmetics to not only know what they’re doing, but to do it well.  I’m so often hearing of companies managing to violate the few standards the FDA has for cosmetics, having nasty things pressed into their powders, mold, insects — the list could go on.

The advantage homemade has over store-bought is it’s freshly made.  You add preservatives in pressed makeup and make sure to use eyeshadow tins that won’t rust, and this alone should generally keep you safe.


Is There Quality In Homemade Makeup?

Cosmetics are largely the same few ingredients, just in different quantities, and each brand has their own formula.  When they list their ingredients on the packaging, it’s in order — the first item listed is the ingredient that is used in the largest quantity, and the last item in the list is the smallest quantity.

It’s easy enough to make a dupe of most products, even high-end.

Product packaging serves no purpose other than to market and make a product stand out from the rest, but it bumps up the cost of makeup considerably.

A lot of people shell out for pretty packaging and say they’re going to keep it on their vanity for decoration, which I can understand.  However, instead of purchasing another overdecorated palette and having the clutter and waste [extra brushes, mirrors, puffs], why not just dupe the product and replace it yourself?

Reduce & Reuse 😀


Starter Kits

TKB Trading


Not sponsored


How I Make Mine

Let’s start off by saying I’m no trained expert or something like that – but I have made quite a bit myself and figure I could share my processes.

Gloves and a mask are a must and a minimum – something to protect your eyes might be a good idea as well since a lot of these powders are very lightweight and tend to go airborne really easily, and you don’t want to get them in your eyes or lungs.

You’ll also need a space reserved just for cosmetics – I hold the belief that kitchen cosmetics are dangerous because these powders are very light as i mentioned before and they’re not something you want around the food you ingest.  You can never be sure that the scrub down you gave your counter will be good enough to prevent anything nasty from transferring onto your food.

What I like to do is tape newsprint paper down onto a TV tray and work on that surface, since it’s easy to throw away afterwards.

Using my gloves and mask, I use small clean jelly jars for my mixtures.  I like mixing my base powders and pigments separately before combining them.  This way I can make sure I get the exact right color for my shadows.

If you’re using a premade base, your preparation time is cut in half!

For pressing, I prefer to only press sparkle and shimmer shades right now, and I like to use dry pressing, which is pressing with oil rather than alcohol.

I am working on pressing mattes, which is more difficult, and once I figure it out I’ll share my process here 😀



FDA Authority Over Cosmetics: How Cosmetics Are Not FDA-Approved, But Are FDA-Regulated, FDA.gov

Lime Crime & The Scary Truth About Product Safety, Refinery29

Hair Found in Highlighter! Third Time’s The Charm!, KarinaKaboom


Bugs & Food Particles Found In Kylie Cosmetics Products, Em Venditte

Preservatives from TKB Trading

How To Press A Matte EyeshadowMeggieXOXOXO


Formulating A Base- New Chart!

You may need several base powders for different pigments in your shadows, highlighters, blushes, contours, and foundations.  Different pigments require different base properties.

Micas as colorants won’t need as much aid in oil absorption and color retention as iron oxides do.  Opacity isn’t an issue for iron oxides but poses problems in mica-colored shades.  And now, companies are releasing copper powder-based colorants among other things.  There are many types of pigments for cosmetics and they all have their own inherit properties that need balancing out.

Since I love making and organizing notes on my desktop, I figured I could put together a chart and share it here.

I’ve tried to keep the charts vegan, but if I didn’t, let me know so I can fix it~

Mica Powder

Not sponsored

Bright, colorful, sparkly mica isn’t the only thing around, but it is known for being a dream to work with and press.  But you can’t use them when making mattes, which makes a basic matte eyeshadow difficult to formulate.

Plain, uncolored [sericite] mica’s role in base powders is mainly to absorb excess oils and help preserve the color of your product.

However if you add a fair amount of it to a little bit of iron oxide coloring, you’ll get a really beautiful sheen or satin-y finish.  This makes a “matte” mica quite useful in creating highlighters, so they don’t appear glittery and chunky but as more of a shine.

When you are pressing with oils, which many do, you run the risk of discoloration over time if you don’t have an ingredient that has high absorbency.  This is mostly true when you add an iron oxide, as they do not contain any micas.  Iron oxides are typically used most heavily in matte eyeshadows, so a matte mica added with it helps maintain the color you worked so hard to mix in the first place.

The typical usage is adding up to 50% to a formula, so you can add as much or as little as you need to maintain the desired finish.

To alter the finish, add some to your pigment until you get a sheen.  For the base powder, add a little at a time until you get the right amount to absorb the oils used in pressing.

All photos taken from MakingCosmetics.com





Here I am with another pigment recipe~  This time the photos are less than stellar so I can go easy on my back for a while, unfortunately.

This one I call Murky; it’s a cooler shade of dark brown.  I typically wear a warm brown but decided to switch it up for a minute when I received my sample of Psi Blue.

The recipe is 3 parts brown iron oxide and 2 parts psi blue.  Just a warning, not only does psi blue photograph differently in different lighting types, but it’s very potent, so you need to mix extra well.  Sadly for me, I don’t have a grinder just yet and even with hours of hand mixing, I still got blue spots in the pressed result.  It doesn’t affect the application, though!

After you get this mixture, you can change the finish of the eyeshadow with plain mica.  In mine, I did about 2 parts mica and 3 parts oxide/ultramarine blend.  This gave it a nice subtle sheen that wasn’t glittery, and made pressing much easier.

Hopefully soon I can get photos of myself wearing it :3


Sparkling Armor

Since I got a day job recently, I only have time to play with photography and makeup on the weekends.  However, I recently made a sparkly golden bronze shade I love and decided the pigment recipe was so simple, I should write about it here.

I’ve also come closer to improving my matte formulas 😀

The pigment recipe I used is 1 part Forged Gold and 1 part Dark Brown Oxide.  3 parts for each 1 part base.

Forged Gold is probably my current favorite, as you can tell.


I like the name Armor for this eyeshadow.

I’ve been looking at and purchasing from another shop lately and I plan to write a little bit about how I use my favorite buy from there.

But in the meantime, here’s some inspiration for Armor, plus me wearing it.




[Pt. 2] LipSense Worries + MAKE YOUR OWN SAFELY!

[This is part two to my LipSense Worries post]

Luckily, making your own from-scratch dupe of a budge-proof liquid lipstick has been made very easy by most cosmetic ingredient suppliers like TKB Trading and MakingCosmetics, as they have pre-made base formulas, colorants, and other additives readily available.  TKB even has videos demonstrating how to exactly use their product.

As I’ve discussed in a previous post, there are ways to reduce paper and plastic usage for these kinds of processes if you’re worried about that, especially since it’s being made for you by you.

The ingredient I discussed before is sold as Film Fix by TKB, but as the lipstick formula includes water, it will be tricky to add to the base.  In the second video, in the coloring stage, they add Dimethicone.  This is probably when I would attempt to add the Film Fix, but as I have never used a liquid lipstick and am injured, I can’t test this right now.  😦

With research, I found some tips from others for using similar ingredients in the process.  What I’ve read all points to adding this to the oils or waxes before mixing those oils or waxes with anything else

Here is a useful reference from TKB as well, though they do not include Film Fix.

I’m sorry I took so long to get this one out, but as I mentioned before, I have a bit of a really painful back injury and have a hard time concentrating on anything.  I’ll be back soon though, I have a lot of ideas for this blog.


Make Your Own Matte Liquid Lipstick Base


Nars-issism [no graphic images, not a hit piece]

[ Firstly, my blog will never feature shock content – images and videos of what unimaginable cruelty I may end up unfortunately covering will never be seen here, and any comments featuring it will be blocked as will the poster.  Talk about it freely, just don’t show it.  The cat’s name is Buttercup, by the by.  :3 ]

extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration

Personally, I have never used a Nars product as I prefer using my own, since it gives me a much more fulfilling feeling to do so.

Upon hearing the news that they are no longer cruelty-free, I decided to check in on the brand and it’s history.  Somehow, I’m very far from surprised to hear about their poor decision.


Let’s start by acknowledging that vegan and cruelty-free mean two very different things – vegan means no animal or insect product or by-product, and cruelty-free means not tested on animals.  Some find it impossible to be cruelty-free without being vegan since animals and insects are harmed to make things like Carmine.  I could go on about this, but let’s keep our train of thought on track.

The owner/founder of Nars being vegan means almost nothing to me and tells me nothing about his ethics and morality.  I’m sorry to say that there are plenty of dietary vegans who actually don’t like animals at all, and avoid eating meat just because of their dislike of animals.

I am NOT accusing Francois Nars of this at all, I am merely explaining my lack of blind trust in anyone who can slap the label ‘vegan’ on themselves.

As a brand, Nars is not especially known for vegan products, as they have more than a few products that contain animal by-product, including lanolin.


Even when Nars was cruelty-free themselves, that does not mean their parent company was.  People concerned about truly cruelty-free cosmetics have been trying to bring this to light for a while, so this is a good way for that conversation to finally take place.

Now, I’m not very big-business savvy, so my knowledge of what a parent company is and what their role is is limited – but my understanding is that it’s basically a hierarchy, which means the brands you may be buying from probably don’t even get to make all of their own decisions.  It’s in the name – “parent” company.  This indicates the subsidiary [in this case, Nars] doesn’t really stand on their own two feet and don’t make all their own discerning choices about their own the way adults generally do.  Parent companies can practically run the show depending on how much money they invest into the subsidiary.

Considering the fact this parent company has stated they are not cruelty-free…

Does this mean Francois Nars sold out?  Or does this mean he was caught in a power struggle and lost?  Well, none of us were there, so we’ll never really know for sure.  Company statements mean less to me than the label of ‘vegan’ if you want to know the truth.

My take on this is… I have no clue.  Really.  I can’t ever know because I wasn’t there when the decision was made.  Surely I can hypothesize and read into things all day and night, and it still won’t bring me an inch closer to what really caused this sudden, very unfavorable change in a very big and popular brand.  The only thing I as a consumer can do is go the route of making my opinion known with my wallet and hope enough like-minded people do the same.

Though, truthfully, as lovely as the concealers seem, I never would have purchased from this brand to begin with because I know they are not an independent brand.  Parent companies get a cut from their ethical brands, even if the amount of profit varies.  Even if I knew & trusted Francois Nars himself with my own life, I wouldn’t be able to trust those who run the show.  Think of it as that person we all know who is a really good person who happens to surround themselves with not-so-great individuals for some reason.