Creating Mineral Makeup–Powder or Liquid


I’ve been enjoying the process of making my own makeup as well as matching my complexion better than foundations that I have bought in the past.  I have also learned more about what ingredients change the consistency of cosmetics.  In Make Your Own Mineral Makeup I had created the perfect shade for my complexion, yet had not created the proper consistency of makeup to create the coverage that I desired.  My first simple recipe was more of a very pigmented powder than the coverage that I love from foundation.

The key ingredients to create coverage in foundation are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, although you don’t need to use both ingredients in your formulation.  Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are also the ingredients that provide sun protection as it is used in all natural sunscreen.  What I’ve never loved about natural sunscreen is that on darker complexions you have an ashy film from the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.  Usually titanium dioxide in foundation is only in small amounts based on where it is in the ingredient list.  Although in mineral makeup it tends to be one of the first ingredients.  The pigments in the iron oxide mix wonderfully with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.  The amount of titanium dioxide or in this case zinc oxide mixed with iron oxides (your foundation color) can be used in any cosmetic base to create the foundation and coverage that you desire.

Loose Mineral Makeup

When creating a loose mineral makeup, you will need to use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide with iron oxides and mica.  The best recipe that I have found was mentioned in Make Your Own Mineral Makeup.  You can find that recipe here.

Liquid Mineral Makeup

I am so excited about the liquid foundation that I created with great coverage that I can hardly contain myself.  What was so completely shocking was how simple this was.  I love simplicity!  First you will need to know how you create your foundation pigment to match your complexion.  With lighter complexions it is the zinc oxide that brings the color to perfection.  Without zinc oxide or some powder to brighten the mixture of brown, red, and yellow oxides or red, yellow, and ultramarine oxides the color pigment still isn’t correct.  I also suggest trying using sienna oxide that is obviously not as dark as brown oxide and may be a color that is easier to work with for some.  You may still use both sienna and brown oxide as well.  (My perfect foundation color was created with sienna, brown, and yellow oxide without any red.  You can find the exact recipe here.)

So let’s get to it!  The easiest way to create a mineral foundation with good coverage is to mix 20-40% of your iron oxide pigment mix with a natural sunscreen that already contains either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.  I prefer to use a sunscreen with zinc oxide as it is gentler on sensitive skin.  In The Best Chemical-Free Sunscreens I share my favorite sunscreens and the ingredients in all of them.  Zinc Oxide is the key sunscreen in all of them.  In my foundation is used Badger SPF 30 Unscented Natural Sunscreen.  I mixed my iron oxide pigments (sienna, brown, and yellow iron oxides) with the sunscreen in a tiny bowl with a spoon and that was it.  I am still shocked with the results.  It was so easy!  For a tinted mineral foundation you can mix your iron oxide pigments with a face lotion, or even aloe vera which I mentioned in DIY Sheer Liquid Mineral Makeup.

By working with iron oxides and mica the possibilities are endless.  I love that whatever color I desire I can create myself and even create the formula that I want my makeup to have whether it is a powder, cream, or liquid.  Check out Make Your Own Mineral Makeup to view a video on how Monave Mineral Makeup is created.

(I am currently looking for a new company that sells the ingredients needed to make your own makeup to recommend again.  The company that I was recommending previously has reformulated some of the products with ingredients that are extremely unhealthy to use and has not listed them online.)

Creating your own mineral foundations may take a bit of time at first, yet it is much easier than you think!

(Image by Kevin Sinclair)

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  1. Kekewan says

    I love your website, particularly the current article about natural sunscreens. Thanks for the tips! I bought a natural sunscreen off amazon recently. Its called Moisturizing Face Screen, SPF 30, Medium Tint by Veronique. It’s pricey but the ingredients are really good. I’m a dark skinned African so this wasn’t suitable as a daily sunscreen even though it was their darkest available tint . It made me look like I was wearing a white mask, literally when I applied it. However after reading your article, I purchased some brown iron oxide, mixed a little into the sunscreen and voila! I got the perfect shade for my skin. Thanks so much for the information in your blog. I think I will try out the Badger brand when I run out. The ingredients are awesome.

    I can’t really say the same for the ingredients in the Burt Bees brand recommended above since I’m seeing ingredients like aluminum hydroxide, fragrance(a bit to generic and sometimes is sourced from petroleum). I personally try to avoid using any product containing aluminum on my skin. To this end, I also make my own deodorant.
    Nevertheless, thanks for a great article. I look forward to reading and sharing more.

  2. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Kekewan,
    I’m so glad that you were able to adjust the sunscreen that you bought so easily. I’m no longer discouraged to try natural tinted moisturizers and sunscreens any more because they are so easy to fix. Also thank you so much for pointing out the aluminum hydroxide in the Burts Bee’s Chemical Free Sunscreen! Aluminum hydroxide is a neurological and reproductive toxin that I completely missed when offering that suggestion. It is crazy that even brands that are known for having promising ingredients can still miss the true health value. Fragrance is also a very misleading ingredient. I removed it from the blog.
    Happy Spring,
    Dawn Michelle

  3. nikki says

    awesome blog dawn :). i just found this website today while googleing ”diy liquid mineral foundation” (im trying to switch all my skin care and make up too more natural and healthier stuff). can i ask you something? how do you think yellow and sienna iron oxide would mix in a sunscreen/liquid foundation ? i want too know because i have very pale skin. do you think i should maybe leave out the yellow oxide and just use the sienna oxide too avoid a possible yellow undertones affect? by the way , im half Caucasian and Hispanic. so that should give you an idea of what my skin tone looks like.

  4. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Nikki!
    The best way to really see what color mix work well is to try it out. Use small portions of the iron oxides until you get the perfect mix and write down your amounts and results each time. The sienna oxide has almost a slight orange undertone so the yellow oxide wll help balance it out. Some yellow undertones in foundations usually work well with most Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, African, and African American women over pinkish undertones in many cosmetic lines. I have a mix of yellow and red undertones. More red when I have been in the sun. The iron oxides are so resonably priced on Coastal Scents, and you can also purchase small quantities if you are unsure. I also have a link in the post for another way to create lighter toned mineral makeup. I hope that is helpful and I’m so glad you like my blog.
    Best Wishes,
    Dawn Michelle

  5. Margaret says

    Hi Dawn,
    I have decided to try to make my own foundation as well. I am so tried of bismuth oxychloride and other ingredients causing breakouts. I am more olive/warm undertone and will try the sienna and yellow oxide. Coastal Scents is a great place to order from and I have always had great results from their products. Thanks for these amazing tips.

  6. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Margaret!
    That’s great! Let me know how it turns out. The sienna and yellow oxide will be perfect. Remember to take notes on your specific recipe.
    Best Wishes,
    Dawn Michelle

  7. nadine says

    Wow! I am soo happy to have found this blog! I am an avid flaxseed hair gel creator with natural ringlets and that link had a ton of add-ins I’m gonna try. There is no other blog like this! This entry sparked my interest as I am a woman of color that loved mmu– and making my own- wow- I will be researching the cost of it all. BTW– me being puerto rican I LOVE the pic of the model you chose! Keep representing women of color of ALL shapes and sizes—–

  8. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Nadine,
    Thanks for your comment and yes I will keep representing beautiful women of all nationalities! I’m glad you like my blog too!
    Peace and Sunshine,
    Dawn Michelle

  9. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Nola,
    Organ failure is pretty major! I’ve never heard about this but know that almost every cosmetic line that I’ve heard of including all mineral makeup used iron oxides to color their cosmetics. There is only one cosmetic line that I know of that doesn’t use iron oxides and that’s 100% Pure. They have fruit pigmented makeup and it really is good! I’m hoping to try out more of their cosmetic line soon. Have a beautiful day!

  10. nola says

    thank you for your reply, i will try those products. i am from australia and trying to get a hold of tamanu oil is there something else we can use .

  11. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Nola,
    You may want to order tamanu oil online if you can’t find it elsewhere. It really is an amazing natural oil for healing skin and giving it a beautiful glow. It does have a potent smell so if it is too strong for you mix it with another great carrier oil like coconut oil. Best Wishes!

  12. says

    I am so HAPPY I found this blog! I am ordering so much stuff from Coastal Scents right now! I can never find a foundation to match my skin tone…it kills me! I also use Pond’s (ancient) but it is my moisturizer and is not too heavy. I checked and from what I can read no TiDO2…lol I use Straight Vitamin E two drops nightly in the winter and just two fingertips of Pond’s Rejuveness after a straight warm towel in the morning… a lot I know but I am 41 and no one believes my 21 year old is my son! I really hope I can play around with my samples and create a nice color…but with your blog at least I feel in control of the outcome…thanks for equipping me! Blessings!

  13. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Kindle,
    I’m sure that you will be able to make the perfect foundation match. It takes a bit of trial and error, but you will be so surprised that it isn’t really that difficult. After trying many foundations that needed a bit more yellow, or were too pink/red, I was able to clearly see when I was creating the correct shade for my complexion. Best wishes creating cosmetics and Coastal Scents is so amazing, especially for the prices of sample micas. You can create your own cosmetics will very little pigments and spend 1/10 of the cost or less than buying store bought makeup.
    Have a beautiful day,
    Dawn Michelle

  14. nadine says

    We need a step by step picture tutorial on how to make quality mineral makeup. Complete with where to get ingredients, how to concoct the right shade, etc… I am interested in it and i am surd the rewsrd outweighs the risks however, it is still intimidating.

  15. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Nadine,
    Because there are so many different complexions, to create a picture tutorial wouldn’t really show everyone how to make their own makeup. What you are requesting would work out so much better for a workshop setting. I have linked in this article a picture tutorial for creating powder mineral makeup for medium beige complexions which you can go to here as well as my own liquid mineral makeup recipe here which I simply mixed together by hand. It may take some trial and error, but isn’t too difficult. Hope that is somewhat helpful.
    Best Wishes!

  16. says

    I see this post is a few years old now, but…

    I have some questions about making your own makeup. I have no problems using zinc. I want to avoid titanium. What else can be used in creating a base for the iron oxides? I have seen you mention rice powder. But I have seen you state using arrowroot as a setting powder. Would it work as a base as well? Is mica necessary? Does it cause skin irritation? Does it make the makeup adhere better to the skin at all?

    I cannot wait to get my hands on the sunscreen you mentioned and try to make a liquid tint.

    (I just started this all natural and minimalist care, and I am in my first week. The information you have shared here has DRAMATICALLY changed my skin already.)

    So any new information on making your own makeup would be a great help.

  17. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Nikole,

    I’m so glad that you have had such dramatic improvement in your skin using simple natural skin care! As for liquid makeup, I found that zinc oxide helped to give the makeup coverage. When adding iron oxides to a face lotion without zinc oxide it was just more of a tint. Rice and arrowroot powder both work well for creating a translucent face powder.

    Iron oxides and mica are your pigment colors. Some may be sensitive to either which is why brands like 100% Pure created fruit pigmented makeup which is amazing. I haven’t experimented that much with making my foundation any other way because I like making it with the Badger’s Sunscreen. I think that any zinc oxide sunscreen will work as a wonderful makeup base.

    Enjoy your day!

  18. says

    Dawn Michelle,

    I plan on trying out your method of using badger sunscreen as a base. Which I am really excited about. Plus I seriously need a sunscreen that is easy on my face.
    I would like to try 100% pure, but I think I may not be in there color range. I am hoping to try them out soon to find out.

    Thanks So Much!

    P.S. I did enjoy my day!

  19. says

    I had a few questions about this since I last messaged you. One, What do you keep your liquid makeup in? Do you use plastic or a metal tin container? Does it matter? Two, do you know anything about or had experience with Kaolin Clay in makeup and do you use it at all? I am pretty pale and had to use a lot of zinc and rice powder to get my color.
    Thanks so much Dawn Michelle!

  20. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Nikole,

    I usually reuse a clean container for my DIY foundation. Currently the container I’m using is plastic. Plastic in general isn’t the best to use for a number of reasons. I’d prefer glass but don’t have a tiny glass container at the moment. I usually try to use what I have.

    Also I haven’t had a ton of experience with kaolin clay. I’ve used rhassoul and bentonite clay much more. I’m glad that you were able to create you own natural makeup. It does take some trial and error but it really is worth the effort and the money saved!

    Best Wishes,
    Dawn Michelle

  21. says

    I don’t know if you ever use concealer but I accidentally made some. I used a similar powder to sunscreen mix about half sunscreen to half powder to get the liquid foundation to have the fuller type of coverage. I had looked up the ingredients to the “high end” makeups I have tried before for my skin type (oily and pale) and saw that one of the natural ingredients that it included was xanthan gum. So I added a smidgen (1/32 of a teaspoon) to the mix (mix being 2 teaspoons of powder to 2 teaspoons of sunscreen), mixed until everything seemed super even. It thickened the mix enough to create a fuller coverage. However what turned it into a concealer is that I thought I would heat it in the microwave for 20 seconds so that it would fit inside the plastic container more smoothly. I thought it would stay the same consistency, however by the next morning, it was thick. Thick like a cream concealer. And when applied looked and acted like a cream concealer.

    (silly me I thought I could get away with trying to use it as a foundation still, and it looked like I had heavy concealer all over my face)

    So for anyone here looking to thicken your liquid for a fuller coverage (cause of scars) or is in need of a concealer, there you go.

  22. Dawn Michelle says

    That’s awesome Nikole!! Thanks for sharing this. I use my DIY foundation as concealer as well since it gives good coverage yet now I’m curious about playing with the recipe a bit more.

  23. AmberP says

    This is Amazing! I have been on a search to find a good way to make mineral powder foundation into a liquid, I’m excited to try the primer also! Is there any way to make the mineral liquid sweat and water proof? I do makeup for photoshoots and need to have that feature so the makeup doesn’t melt down the models face. Thank you so so much for providing all of this great information! One more question, how did you gather all of your knowledge and figure out your recipes for makeup/skincare/haircare? I would love to get my career headed in this direction of developing clean makeup, skincare and haircare, thank you for a great start!!

  24. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Amber,

    My DIY foundation recipe uses Badger SPF 30 Unscented Natural Sunscreen as the base. It has a thick yet blendable consistency which has proven very sweat resistant on dance jobs and for auditions. As for how I’ve come up with recipes, ever since working in cosmetics I’ve been extremely interested in learning about ingredients in products. My formulations come out of doing a lot of ingredient research, intuition, and trial and error.

    I would definitely encourage more makeup artists to go this route as it is so much healthier for your clients and every model who sits in your chair. A very high quality natural makeup brand that I love is Nvey Eco. You may want to check out their line as well as 100% Pure to create a clean makeup kit in the process of creating some of your own products.

    Best Wishes!

  25. Iraida Ruano says

    Hello my name is Iraida I came across you blog and its been really hopeful because I trying to make my own foundation because I’m so tired of trying to matched my skin tone and and tired of people trying to sell me things that make me look like a lumpa upa . I’m Hispanic Italian and south Arabian and I have extremely olive medium skin tone I tan really easy the closes color to my skin tone was EDM in olive medium in intensive witch it seems that it was the perfect matched for my skin at times mostly summer time but by winter I had to mixed all the shades in the olive family to create the color that I need if ! But they have discontinued 2 of the shades that I need so here I go again with my search! So I was wondering if you able to help me out ??? It will be really appreciated :-)

  26. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Iraida,
    I honestly haven’t tried making a variety of shades at this point since I am only working on a skin and hair care line. I have included some information on how I created my own foundation color which is linked above as well as a link to a medium beige color in the article to share some variations on how it could be done. With that said I was hoping that this article would give others the encouragement to experiment with creating their own color as well. It does take some trial and error yet it can be done. Try making small batches and write down exactly how much you use of each color and zinc oxide sunscreen base. I hope you are having a beautiful day and best wishes!
    ~Dawn Michelle

  27. Gina M. says

    Hi Dawn-I absolutely love your blog!! I have been oil cleansing with jojoba, tamanu and tea tree and using raw honey with and without rhassoul clay. I am finally starting to love my skin for the first time in my life! Thank you so much for all the great information. I can’t wait for my next shipment from mountain rose herbs to start my hair cleansing routine! I really want to make my own mineral makeup also and was wondering if you have found a good site yet to purchase materials from? Thanks for all that you do to make this blog it has been life changing for me!!

  28. Dawn Michelle says

    Thank you so much Gina! I am so happy that your new simple skin care regimen is working out well for you. That is so awesome! As for mineral makeup supplies try Organic Creations. Best wishes!

  29. Gina M. says

    You are well deserving of any and all praise! Thanks for suggesting Organic Creations. They seem to be reasonably priced. I was wondering, I have a light skin tone(scandinavian decent)with pink undertones. Would the sienna,red and yellow oxides work for me also? I know it will be trial and error, but I am so excited to try and be rid of more toxins in the products that I use everyday! And saving money in the long run doesn’t hurt either!! Thanks again!

  30. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Gina,
    I have yet to play with minerals enough to create various shades other than my own and my mother’s. I did link to a video by Monave in the article just to give another example though. I do think that you would be able to create the right tone with the pigments you mentioned though. The only difference is that you would add more zinc oxide to lighten the color to your own shade. The zinc oxide is like mixing the color white with the other mineral colors if that makes any sense. Remember to make small batches and write down your formulations as well so you know what works and what doesn’t. Best wishes!

  31. Renee says

    Hi Dawn,

    I made the liquid mineral foundation using the Badger suncsreen, but the mixture felt grainy when I applied it and I could even see a few grains once I finished. Is this normal, or do I just need to find a new supplier for my colored oxides?


  32. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Renee,
    I’ve never experienced a grainy texture with my DIY foundation. If the Badger sunscreen isn’t grainy and the actual mineral pigments are not grainy it could be that it isn’t mixed thoroughly. Check to see how the mineral pigments feel to the touch. They should be finely milled. Hope this helps some <3

  33. Tee says

    Thanks for sharing your passion and gift with others! Do you still recommend Organic Creations for purchasing the oxides to create DIY foundation?

  34. Dawn Michelle says

    You are so welcome Tee! Organic Creations is a great company to order from for iron oxides. Have a beautiful day!

  35. Fatimah says

    Hi Dawn Michelle,

    I just ordered Badger Sunscreen unscented SPF 30 online to make my own liquid make up and plan to order iron oxides. I have acne prone skin. I have read your great information about the oleic and linoleic balance to minimize acne breakouts. I read the ingredients in Badger sunscreen. It has oils high in oleic acid like olive oil, Shea butter. How can I correct the balance when making my own liquid make up? Should I just add grape seed oil in the mix to increase linoleic acid? Your advice? My skin has been incredibly smooth when I stop using jojoba oil for my oil cleansing and use grape seed instead.

    Your thoughts? Have you experienced breakouts with the badger sunscreen due to high levels of oleic acid?

  36. Fatimah says

    Hi again,

    I love your beauty DIYs! They are the safest way to ensure that our body stays chemical free. I am bummed to learn that my favorite toothpaste product Toms’s which is fluoride free has sodium laurly sulfate. It is a wake up call that I need to be a better ingredient reader. What toothpaste do you use? Do you make it yourself. I have read other DIYs for toothpaste. I want to know what you use to clean your teeth.
    My husband grew up never using toothpaste in Africa. He didn’t even have dental problems when he moved to America. he explained that he used stuff from trees to clean teeth. Very interesting! But they rarely ate sweets in Africa.
    As for body wash, I have a Dead Sea salt scrub product with Hugo. I have been leaving it unused when I was using castile soap! I want to know if I can
    use regular sea salt when making my own sugar/salt scrub.
    Many thanks!

  37. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Fatima,
    Badger’s offers a few different kinds of SPF 30 sunscreens. The one I have is “active” and unscented and contains sunflower oil, beeswax, seabuckthorn extract, and vitamin E. Hope this helps!

  38. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Fatima,
    I wrote an article on natural dental care here. Also you can use fine sea salt to create your own body scrub. Now making my body scrubs I prefer to use vegetable glycerin instead of oil to avoid the bath tub from getting slippery. I did mention that in the DIY Body Scrub article too. <3

  39. Annie says

    Hi Dawn Michelle,

    Thank you for this wonderful blog. Can you share or direct me towards a concealer recipe? Something that is comparable to coverage of Kryolan Dermacolor or Veil Camouflage cream



  40. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Annie,
    I am not familiar with the concealer brand you mentioned but I use my DIY Foundation as spot concealer. Lately I’ve been mixing that with the brightening concealer from 100% Pure to create a thicker consistency. The DIY Foundation is very concentrated. You can see my recipe here. You will have to play around to create a perfect match for your complexion so make sure you take notes and make small batches.
    Best wishes!

  41. Joan says

    I have been collecting tiny glass jars from when I travel. Breakfast sometimes comes with jam or honey in those tiny little glass pots. I eat the jam/honey and then wash out the pot and re/use. I think those little pots would work great for this purpose! Even better, if you have a friend who travels a lot, they can save some for you. :-)

  42. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Joan,
    This is a brilliant idea! I am usually looking for small containers for DIY makeup items and never thought of this. Thanks so much for sharing!

  43. Ashlynn says

    After scanning the comments on this post, I would like to add some thoughts about minerals. I make my own makeup and absolutely love it. I use Zinc, titanium dioxide, serecite mica, and vegetable derived magnesium stearate with iron oxides. I use my magic bullet to blend and a very small mason jar with a solid lid (that I got in a mason jar glass cup set, not the lid of two pieces). It is important to use non-nano particle size zinc and titanium. I use more zinc to titanium dioxide as well. Titanium dioxide is also like an oxide pigment, it is what adds opacity to your foundation, as well as iron oxides. If you want fuller coverage, you will at lease need zinc, but you will get fullest with titanium. Non nano means the particles are larger and will not sink into your skin. This is essential for your health. Zinc is actually vey good for skin too, as it is soothing. Serecite mica is a no luster mica and it is not irritating at all. I have extremely sensitive skin also. The magnesium stearate is for “slip” ad adheasion, so that your foundation will mix uniform and blend well on your skin and stay there, but mica also has good slip so this is optional. This is no added in large amount though, its about 15-20% of it. So, if you want to make a very conservative mineral foundation, use Zinc, serecite mica, and iron oxides. It will be about light to medium coverage but it is buildable and coverage depends a lot on application. I use all Eco tool brushes and the large dome kabuki brush give great coverage, as well as the flat top, but stippling with brushes causes breakouts and irritation so I don’t do this anymore. I hope this helps! I also get my ingredients from TKB trading online 😉

  44. Dawn Michelle says

    Thanks so much for sharing this Ashlynn! Great info! Zinc oxide is really good for skin. <3

  45. Helga Stintzcum says

    I have made tinted lipglos with alkanet root. I am excited about trying my hand at creating my own beauty products. All I need is recipes.

  46. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Helga Stintzcum,
    I hope you do enjoy all of the beauty recipes on Minimalist Beauty! You can see the list of recipes by groups in the footer of the site below or under DIY in the top menu. Have a beautiful day!