DIY Translucent Face Powder



Creating your own makeup isn’t as difficult as it sounds.  There are simple and natural ingredients that you can use to make your own cosmetics.  I recently purchased a matte mineral foundation from Bare Escentuals to use for my latest photo shoot.  The overall finish was beautiful, yet I still had to adjust the color with iron oxides to match my complexion.

Going back to using my own DIY Cream Foundation with a simple DIY Transluscent Face Powder actually had better results than the store bought mineral makeup.  The color was a perfect match still providing the flawless matte finish I love.  My own DIY makeup is formulated specifically for my skin tone and blends seamlessly.  You can read about my process of creating mineral makeup in Creating Mineral Makeup–Liquid or Powder, and see my exact foundation recipe in Minimalist Beauty’s Makeup Bag.  Now back to making your own translucent face powder!

DIY Translucent Powder Ingredient Options…

Rice Powder

Arrowroot Powder

Kaolin Clay

Rhassoul Clay

Raw Cacao (natural tint)

Carob Powder (natural tint)

Turmeric Root Powder (natural tint)

Last year I was using rice powder for translucent powder which is a great natural powder alternative.  This year I’ve been enjoying the amazing results of arrowroot powder.  Arrowroot powder is traditionally used for it’s thickening properties in cooking clear sauces, jellies, and also as a flour substitude in some recipes.  For cosmetics it can also be used as a safe talc free alternative to baby powder.

Arrowroot powder has a very light and smooth texture on the skin which makes it perfect as a base for a translucent face powder for all skin types.

There are a many ingredients that you can add to arrowroot powder to create a customized finishing powder specifically for your skin.  Using arrowroot powder by itself may not be the very best option unless you have a very fair complexion.  Both kaolin clay and rhassoul clay work very well for absorbing oil and keeping a matte finish.  Adding a clay to your powder is especially important for combination and oily skin types.  You could even use a bit of raw cacao powder, carob powder, or turmeric to give your DIY Transluscent Face Powder an all natural tint.  Use turmeric very very sparingly as it can stain the skin and can dominate the overall color results.

Creating Your Unique Yet Simple Face Powder

For extremely fair complexions you can use the arrowroot powder as is adding a bit of clay if needed.  If you have a light complexion with redness that you’d like to color correct, try adding a tiny bit of turmeric powder (yellow iron oxide for a cosmetic ingredient).  For tan to medium complexions try a tiny bit of raw cacao/carob powder and tiny bit of turmeric powder (sienna/yellow iron oxide for a cosmetic ingredient).  For darker complexions mix more raw cacao/carob powder and even turmeric if you have yellow undertones (sienna/brown/yellow iron oxide for a cosmetic ingredient).  You can even add a bit of mica for glowing skin.  My DIY translucent powder pictured above only uses cocoa powder for a tint.

FYI… Talc is in many cosmetic formulations, and may cause irritation for sensitive or acne prone skin which is why simple natural alternatives are definitely better.  The health concern with talc is that it may contain abestiform fibers/asbestos which is extremely toxic.  Read about talc on the Cosmetic Database here and abestiform fibers here.

Be creative and play around with small batches until you find the exact color you prefer.  If simple natural makeup interests you, Minimalist Beauty has more ideas and recipes for DIY makeup!

(Image by Dawn Michelle)

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  1. Dawn Michelle says

    I completely agree with you Chase. The quality of their products is amazing! I love buying fresh herbs, teas, oils, butters, pretty much everything from Mountain Rose Herbs.

  2. Marisa says

    I haven’t been able to find arrowroot yet to try this, however, I have been using corn starch and use a kabuki brush to brush it over my face after I’ve put foundation and blush on. I’ve found that it really helps to “hold” the make-up and keeps my face from getting shiny (as it’s prone to do). It also really “polishes” up the look and reduces the appearance of uneven skin. Just an idea for others who can’t get a hold of arrowroot.

    Oh, I also use Bare Escentuals Matte Mineral foundation. LOVE it-but it struggles to compete with my combination skin and the coverage stays on better with cornstarch. Fortunately/unfortunately, I am super fair, so their lightest shade is a perfect match for my skin.

    Is Bare Escentuals an ok make-up to use? I haven’t quite braved using natural or organic make-up yet…partially because it’s hard to find the right ingredients where I live and partially (at least with organic make up) it’s a bit outside of my budget. I always splurge on BE mineral foundation when I’m in the States though and it lasts for months making it worth it.

  3. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Marisa,

    Thanks for the tip on cornstarch. With powdered mineral makeup I’ve been reading more on the differences with titanium dioxide used in cosmetics. Some say it is fine to use in solid makeup but there is concern with inhaling micro particles in powdered form. I plan to do more research yet haven’t used powdered mineral makeup for a long time. Because of so much conflicting information improving your skin is better so that you can begin to wear less and less foundation over time. 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Makeup has been the cleanest makeup line that I’ve seen so far yet some products still have titanium dioxide.

    Dawn Michelle

  4. Sharon says

    I read this post a bit ago and used its info to make my “own” face powder. I have some natural body powder that is made of just arrowroot powder and some essential oils such as lavender (the company that makes it is called Homespun Naturals). I also had some leftover Bare Minerals powder, that was too dark for me anyway, and put some of the arrowroot powder into the Bare Minerals container and shook it to mix the powders together.
    I don’t know if it is the arrowroot powder, the essential oils in it, or just coincidence, but when I use this powder I mixed myself my acne seems to improve.
    I would like to try making my own completely from “scratch” someday now. Thanks.

  5. Dawn Michelle says

    You are so welcome Sharon! Arrowroot powder is pretty awesome. Best wishes on your own recipe! It is so rewarding and money saving!

  6. amanda says

    I am going to be making a homemade face powder after the holidays. I am planning on using arrowroot powder, french green clay, cocoa powder, and perhaps some Rhassoul clay. What do you think about using these ingredients? (all organic ofcourse)

  7. Dawn Michelle says

    This sounds great Amanda! Play around with very small batches until you create the exact mix that you like. Definitely write down your formulation each time. The clays will help absorb excess oils in the skin and the cocoa powder will help with tinting along with all of the natural antioxidants in cocoa powder. You may want to use kaolin clay versus French green clay simply because of the coloring. I’ve never used French green clay though but if you already have it definitely try it out first before getting more ingredients. Arrowroot powder is wonderful! Best wishes and happy holidays!

  8. Amanda says

    I just made a face powder out of french green clay powder, moroccan clay powder, and kaolin clay powder. SO easy and works great!

  9. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Amanda, I’m so glad that you found a mix that works so well for you! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  10. BrownCurls says

    I am ignorant about mineral make up and just starting to learn about them. So very basic question here. When I hear words like mica, iron oxide etc, they just sound very alien and like maybe they wouldn’t be good because they will clog pores and “dirty” the skin. So the fact that they are considered healthy, is it because they just sit on top of the skin? They won’t be absorbed into the pores? Thanks for clarifying! I know minerals are all the rage but I am new to them (necer used commercial foundation either, only translucent powder, the compact kind, and of course now I know about the toxic ingredients in those!)

  11. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Brown Curls,

    I wouldn’t say that iron oxides and mica are “healthy” for skin the way natural oils or herbs are, yet there is varying information about iron oxides and mica online. The best thing anyone can do is take the best care of your skin so that you do not have to wear heavy foundations, yet sometimes it is inevitable. Mineral makeup is the craze because it is supposed to have less filler ingredients and toxic stuff than regular foundation. It also diffuses light differently than regular foundations because of the high concentration of “minerals” and feels light on the skin. At the same time titanium dioxide is mainly used in mineral makeup and is in almost all makeup and isn’t the best for skin or the body.

    Iron oxide is a natural pigment color and mica is what makes cosmetics glimmer or illuminate yet some mica is also matte. If you are interested in making a translucent powder you really don’t need iron oxides or mica. There are more natural ingredients that you can use. I have more info on how to make mineral makeup here. I prefer to use a zinc oxide base versus titanium dioxide.

  12. BrownCurls says

    Question: i just got a sample of pure silica powder. I’ve put it on my t zone and. Under eyes for controlling shine. It works so far. Is silica an ingredient on your “good” list and can it be mixed with rice and arrowroot? Thanks!

  13. Taylor says

    Hi there!!!! I want to make a full coverage powder foundation without the use of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Is this possible? What adheres to the skin best to get that full coverage look?

  14. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Taylor,

    I’m honestly not sure how to make a full coverage foundation without at least zinc oxide. It is zinc oxide which the pigments adhere to that create the coverage. There may be another way but I really don’t know.

    Peace & Sunshine,
    Dawn Michelle

  15. Mia says

    Is there a reason you prefer arrowroot powder over rice powder? I’ve never even heard of it before :)
    I’ve been looking for something like this for forever, though. Thanks!

  16. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Mia, I just love the texture of arrowroot powder! Both are great though. Enjoy your day!

  17. Jennifer says

    Have you tried taking pictures with the arrowroot powder makeup? I wonder if it has a whitish cast when taking pictures? If it does I would want to maybe add the mica.

  18. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Jennifer,
    I always mix my DIY Translucent Face Powder with either natural pigments like raw cacao or carob powder, and most often mica and/or iron oxides which I also use to make my mineral foundation. When I use some form of colored pigments I never have a white cast. If you have very fair skin you can get away with using arrowroot as is. Otherwise it really helps to add colored pigments.
    Hope this helps!

  19. Okta says

    Hello, I tried to make face powder from corn starch, turmeric, and cocoa powder just for trial and error. But what I felt in my face was the powder can’t integrate well with my skin like talc.

    Is there a way to make it integrate well? So when my mother kissed my cheek there will be no remaining granules powder in her lips.

  20. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Okta,
    For my DIY powder I use either arrowroot or white clay. They are both fine powders that absorb very nicely into The skin. I’ve never used corn starch before so I wonder if that caused the issue. Arrowroot is really light and white clay is great if your skin is combination/oily. Hope this helps!

  21. Love beauty22 says

    Hi there i know this is late but in your opinion which is better at absorbing oils, rice powder or arrowroot powder?? please reply back because i really want to quit talc based powder for my oily skin. THANK YOU :)

  22. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Love Beauty22,
    If your skin is very oily add kaolin clay to either rice or arrowroot powder for extra oil absorption. Rice or arrowroot powder are both wonderful yet not as absorbing as kaolin clay. Hope this helps! <3

  23. Pat says

    Currently using Bare Mineral Makeup line. I’m in the process of going completely to a organic and natural lifestyle: food, makeup, health care… You get the picture. Would you recommend that I continue using this product. I am a 62 years old fair skin, a Black woman.
    – Pat

  24. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Pat,
    It just depends upon how your skin responds. I personally have very irritable skin issues with bismuth oxychloride which is one of the ingredients in a lot of mineral makeup. I do my best to avoid all chemical ingredients because I am chemically sensitive. I think that our body has enough trying to remove daily pollution from our body so I try not to add to the load with topicals or food. Do what you feel is intuitively best for you.