Do You Do DIY Makeup?

If you’ve read the book (and if you haven’t: tsk! tsk!) you know that we did our share of experimenting with DIY makeup.

It takes a committed kind of girl to make her face from scratch—a girl both of us admire, but that neither of us naturally is. (And click the link at the bottom for some recipes we wrote for ReadyMade magazine!)

So instead of pretending, we boiled our DIY makeup section down to simple ingredients that translate into great makeup. I’d venture to say that the two most successful were beet juice as a lip and cheek stain (truly amazing) and activated charcoal as an eyeliner.

What’s activated charcoal, you ask? It’s the stuff they used to give people for food poisoning that you can buy OTC for tummy aches—it’s also the stuff in your Brita filter. Given my sensitive stomach, I always keep these capsules (pictured above) around the house, and one fine day decided to open one up. What I found inside was the purest, darkest, most perfect black powder. Hello smokey eye.

Now, is this substance the most perfect clean eyeliner? Arguable. The texture is a little rough and I’ve heard that it can dry-slash-irritate the skin—which would make sense because its tremendously porous. I never had any problems with it myself but I’d be very careful not to get it in my eyes either—a rule that applies to most things. Eyes don’t tend to like foreign substances so much, clean or not. The results are lovely though, and it sure beats some of the toxic potions out there, not to mention the eye charcoal out of India that I so adore (but that used to be contaminated with lead and still makes me nervous). Just look at Kathryn (left), one of our readers who tried it on her eyes. Rarr!

Have you ever attempted making your own makeup? Did you try our suggestions in the book, or are you the girl who cooks up magic potions in her kitchen? (Total badass moves.) Either way, we’d love to add some recipes to our repertoire or hear about your experience in the comments. We’re smelling a challenge coming on…

Image via a ReadyMade article, where we shared some DIY tricks

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20 Responses to “Do You Do DIY Makeup?”
  1. Rebecca says:

    I’m into DIY skin care creams/oils, but never tried makeup. Unless you count my DIY chocolates that I end up wearing around my mouth for hours after testing my batches in progress (gotta remember to look in the mirror after eating chocolate). And I eat lots of beets so I know it does make a good lip stain : )

  2. Aster says:

    I am experimenting with deodorant cream. But no definite success yet. But I did just find a good recipe, something that looks a lot like soapwalla to me,

  3. Beka says:

    Like Rebecca, I’ve been making my own skincare stuff, but not makeup. I don’t really wear makeup too much, maybe once every other month? So I haven’t really felt the motivation to make my own. Kathryn’s eyes do look awesome, maybe I will have to give it a try!

  4. Steffie says:

    Actually my best lip “stain” is my own teeth. Licking my lips, rubbing them together and roughing them with my teeth while they’re pressed together makes them darken nicely. I learned that trick from my mom, who nearly never wears lipstick because of this. We both have women asking us constantly “What lipstick are you wearing?” Almost all women can do this, and the best part is, the shade will always match your skin tone perfectly!

    Other DIY make up? Not yet. DIY hair dye? Yes. I <3 henna. I love controlling exactly what goes into my mixture and how long it stays on my head and I love watching the red deepening to this nearly purplish hue over the next couple of days. I love how it's been healing the damage from conventional dyes and I love how I'm actually losing less hair when I brush it. Henna is what got me started on natural beauty in the first place – my gateway drug.

  5. Naomi says:

    Unfortunately a lot of the DIY cosmetics sound very strongly pigmented and as a fair haired, somewhat fair skinned person I need to use much more subtle colours than beet and charcoal – I’d look like a kiddie playing with Hallowe’en make up! I continue to work on having the best skin possible and therefore using as little make up as possible. Then a lick of mascara and lip gloss will be all I need – dare to dream!

  6. Scarlett says:

    I practically snorted my tea through my nose when I read this post because: a) I had just clicked over from online shopping for natural pigments to make my own eye and lip colours; and b) I spent all weekend doing mad science cookery trying to MAKE my own pigments from fruit and vegetable dyes (I managed a pretty rose tone and a completely unexpected olive green – I was going for red). I am, and always have been, “the jam girl” you refer to in the book (except I’ve never actually made jam – but I make clothes, shoes, sourdough bread, wine, beer, paper…)!

    I’ve made my own beeswax lip balm in the past, and since reading the book I’ve been using the charcoal liner and beets for a day look, though I’m still trying to find a way to make the charcoal stay put a little better; olive oil makes it slip into the crease, and water’s alright but makes it a bit clumpy to apply smoothly.

    I’ve switched all my body and hair care over to mostly homemade clean products, but the makeup bag is proving tricky because I’m broke, and I NEED lasting, vibrant colours for my job (I’m a circus/stage performer). If I can get my mitts on a few good pigments, though, I can make my own completely clean kit for less than the cost of one mineral powder foundation. Well, completely clean except for my giant collection of glitter, that is.

  7. Moksha says:

    Would it be possible to combine the charcoal with beeswax and olive oil to create the consistence of really thick lip gloss? Wouldn’t this stay on better?

  8. I have used the charcoal as eyeliner and found it works great! I have also experimented with a homemade deo and so far, so good, but we haven’t had any really hot weather yet where I live. And I have just started using Grapeseed Oil mixed with a bit of lavender oil as my moisturizer.

  9. Kerry says:

    I make my own mineral foundation, veil and eyeshadow and won’t wear shop bought stuff anymore because mine is so much better! The foundation is a perfect match for my skin and feels great and best of all I can add what ever soothing raw ingredients I like to the base. My Mum was skeptical but tried some and she is also very happy with the result. I’ve made my own lip balm base which is beautiful, so all I need to do now is add some pigment and voila! a lipstick. To do all this you do need to fork out for some basic equipment, raw materials, take necessary precautions with sterility, and protect yourself with a mask whilst blending, and have a bit of spare time on your hand! Initially a little trial and error may be involved, but if you really want to know what is in your make-up then this is a great way to do it.

  10. Sara says:

    I adore cooking beets in vegetable glycerin over a double broiler to make cheek stain a la Benefit. I got this off a website but I can’t from the life of me remember what the site is.

    I make all my own skincare, body and haircare too! Well at least I “no poo” and oil cleanse my face as well as using a home made ACV toner.

  11. Asil says:

    i made almond kohl powder and it was gritty. evethough I grindeded it with a pastel and coffee grinder. Do you have any advice as to what should be used to make a home made kohl eyeliner.

    I put the alomonds on fire until they burnt out. then I grinded and pesteled them. The powder looked great. However, when I mixe it with seseame oil and appliecd it to my eyeline it felt like rock in my eyes. very painful. is your activated charcol recipe the same ?

  12. Caylee says:

    I have made gel eye liner! Its very easy…… All you have to do is mix petroleum jelly and crushed eyeshadow in a bowl. Then you can transfer it to an empty makeup container. Put it in your freezer for 20 minutes andthen it should be ready to use! :)

  13. Michelle says:

    I’ve made my own translucent face powder some time ago and still use it. I stay matte all day and I love that it’s natural. All I used was some cornstarch, zinc oxide, pink clay, and grounded ginger. I want to do my own foundation, blush and eyebrow tinted wax. Even though I have a good amount of makeup, it makes me happy that I”m curious to do my own cosmetics from scratch.

  14. mangomadness says:

    I don’t make my own make-up but the idea is nice as I DIY many things (clothing, jewelry, skin care, hair care, etc.)

    The Minimalist Beauty blog has lovely natural DIY make-up posts — especially regarding DIY Translucent Face Powder and DIY Mineral Makeup

  15. kittykutenes says:

    I make my own blush and powder although im working on lipgloss.

  16. Huma says:


    I just made a blue color gel liner with petroleum jelly & blue surma. but my concern is, won’t it melt on my eyes due to my body temperature & leave \prints\ all over my eyes? I didn’t used Vaseline petroleum jelly, instead I used pure one (it’s really soft & white in color unlike Vaseline which is sort of yellow). Will this make any difference? Are Vaseline petroleum jelly & other petroleum jellies the same?

  17. Oliana says:

    Huma – The word “petroleum” is your first red flag. This is toxic to the skin, and a bi-product of oil. Stick to natural oils that are a bit dry like jojoba and caster oil for cosmetics.

    I wish there was a good recipe out there for homemade concealer using things like chocolate, beetroot, and turmeric. I am working on it in my kitchen. I want to create one like the stick ones. I don’t know of a good moisturizer that doesn’t break me out, and it all natural. What happened to the recipe links?? They link to home decor ideas. Bummer. Ho hum……

  18. Billie says:

    I’m on a mission to make my own foundation/concealer, apparently Fuller Earth is a good base for mixing it with, its a clay and very good for the skin, i’v seen it used in ingredients of Coastal Creations, they make very natural concealer only problem is I cant afford the post and packaging from America, one little pot is 40 dollars postage! so they use:::: Ingredients: Fuller’s Earth; Kaolinite; Brown Iron Oxide. and that’s it. and it works apparently, so I guess that may help you Oliana. as a base fullers earth powder?
    i’m ordering some now to see what I can do with it
    p.s Its also used as a facemask too.

  19. Cathy says:

    My sensitive eyes are rarely in top condition. With very light, short eyelashes and a lot of eyelid real estate, I am drawn to eye makeup to enable those around me not to go screeching into the night, cursed with nightmares forever. My eyes used to be able to handle anything, but as I age, 57 now, they, as I (LOL), have become picky as to what touches them.

    So, tonight I was on an internet search trying to find the perfect eyeliner for sensitive eyes. Some suggested such as Bobbi Brown, Almay, Clinique, and Physician’s Formula I have already tried with no luck, although I could wear Almay self-sharpening silver-cased pencil the longest, i.e., day after day with removal at night.

    Then I found this sight, and others like it, promoting activated charcoal as eyeliner. The recipes varied somewhat. So I ran to Walgreen’s and bought a bottle of 260mg capsules of activated charcoal. I had a couple of pots of Bobbi Brown gel liner that I emptied and cleaned, one for black and one for brown (using cocoa powder – another recipe I found). First I tried the 1/2 t aloe vera juice and 1/4 t of coconut oil to 1 capsule of activated charcoal (or 1/2 t cocoa for the brown). Had to nuke the oil for about 6 seconds to allow the dry ingredient to mix in. Excited, went to the bathroom to apply the liquid concoction. Tried the cocoa and couldn’t get it to stick to my dry, clean eyes. Cleaned and dried eye. Then applied the charcoal. It went on, but found it was thin and greasy. Thought I’d wear it for awhile to see what happened. My eyes slowly began to get irritated. So, I washed the first batch off my eyelids and emptied and cleaned the eyeliner concoction pots for the second experiment. After learning I didn’t want oil in the concoction to allow it to melt into my eyes nor aloe vera juice to introduce another foreign substance into my eyes, I used probably 1/2 t of distilled water to 2 capsules of activated charcoal (I didn’t try the cocoa yet). It mixed in easily. Excited once again, I ran into the bathroom, and, using a clean eyebrow brush, I lightly dipped into the pot then onto the back of my hand to dispel the excess, then applied, using the one dip, to both eyes. It brushed on smoothly. I made a placement mistake, and this dries fairly quickly, so I rinsed the brush under clear water, blotted it on a tissue, and then brushed the mistake away. I also found that the liner can be toned down, once dry, using a very slightly damp/almost dry brush, brushing over the top of the liner. I have not figured out how to smudge it, if it is even possible.

    It has been 2 hours and my eyes feel as though there is nothing on them. YAY! They felt great immediately after application, unlike when using the coconut oil/aloe vera recipe.
    I hope this helps others with the sensitive eye thing going on! PLUS! The cost savings is going to be great! YAY! You can thank me by checking out The Itsy Bitsy Spider On The Farm at Great little book for 2-4 year old tykes! Took time out from illustrating book #2, The Itsy Bitsy Spider And The Fat Fly, to write this. Had to share my findings on the eyeliner recipes! Merry Christmas!

  20. Debbie says:

    You could try mixing the charcoal with aloe gel and a little arrow root powder. The arrow root smooths it out a little ( not so clumpy) and the aloe makes it a great consistency for applying. Just don’t over do it on the arrow root because it’ll turn grey instead of black. This lasts on me all day without smudging either.

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