Homemade makeup: 3 DIY foundation recipes to try

Cosmetic foundation cream and powder with brush
Photo credit: master1305/Getty Images

Creams, powders, liquids, pigment drops, and the list of foundation types could go on. If you’re a makeup-lover, you probably already know that. The world of foundation can be a difficult one to navigate. Walking into a Sephora can feel like you’re adrift at sea. From finding your shade match to getting the right formula, and also knowing which one works for your skin type, getting a complexion match is kind of heinous. Why not make it yourself?

Yes, I’m going to be your DIY foundation-making guinea pig. Don’t worry.

Despite being a walking Pinterest fail, I am going to attempt to create three different foundations using three different recipes for three different types of bases. You’ll hear about homemade foundation in action in cream, powder and liquid forms (pigment drops were not really possible without chemists and makeup artists, and I didn’t want to end up sporting that orange tan I had in high school).

I kept the recipes as simple and as basic as possible, with none featuring over four components. After all, part of making your own foundation partially comes down to knowing exactly what’s in it (health and wellness and all that). Let’s get started.

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DIY Foundation #1: Cream

Cosmetic foundation cream and powder with brush
Photo credit: master1305/Getty Images
  • 1 teaspoon mineral makeup
  • Facial moisturizer

For this recipe, all you’ll need is an existing mineral foundation and a lotion or thick moisturizer. For me, I had the classic BareMinerals mineral makeup on hand, but there’s a great drugstore option in L’Oreal’s True Match Mineral Foundation. Essentially, you’re transforming a mineral makeup into a cream, and it’s perfectly easy. All you’ll need to do is add a teaspoon of the mineral powder to a facial lotion or moisturizer you love. Mix it and apply. That’s seriously it.

I applied this mixture with my fingers. I then used the Peach & Lily Starlit Glow Moisturizer because it adds a bit of luminosity to my dry skin. Using my fingers made the most sense because I was essentially applying a cream. Honestly, it worked so well.

This recipe was by far the best, likely because it involved two products already formulated for use on your face. The product matched my skin perfectly, and thanks to BareMinerals’ high pigment content, the usage of the moisturizer didn’t detract from any sort of coverage. The only drawback? The mineral foundation did end up becoming a bit dry over time because the mineral makeup couldn’t be buffed in as directed (fun fact: mineral powders turn into creams when buffed into the skin).

However, if you’ve got normal to oily skin, this recipe is a winner.

DIY Foundation #2: Powder

Face Powder
Photo credit: lisegagne/Getty Images
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 cup kaolin clay
  • Cocoa powder

Here’s where things get a bit crafty. For a powder foundation, you’ll need powders that bind together and work well on the skin. While that sounds difficult to find and purchase, surprise! It’s not. Thank you, Amazon. While getting the mixture just right for this recipe is more trial and error than anything else, the ingredients are surprisingly easy to find and affordable. To create your own powder foundation, you’ll need arrowroot powder, kaolin clay and cocoa powder.

Here’s the lowdown on getting the mixture correct. You’ll need equal parts kaolin clay and arrowroot powder. After that, you use cocoa powder to get your shade as close as possible to your skin tone. It’s that simple.

Let’s talk about how this foundation worked. If you’re looking for coverage, this is not the one for you. There’s little to no coverage for things like blemishes, redness and hyperpigmentation. Another problem? The cocoa powder can only darken the foundation so much. This recipe will absolutely not work for those with deep skin tones. Finally, you can’t layer concealer on top of the powder to add coverage. You’ll need to place it beneath. If you do that, however, the powder then grabs on to the concealer, creating a gloppy mess on any spot where there is concealer beneath it.

It’s not all bad news, though. If you are on the fairer side and are fine with a sheer coverage that will mattify your skin, this could be great for you. It’s definitely more of a loose powder than a traditional powder foundation.

If something that soaks up your oil and just barely tints your skin sounds good to you, this may be the best recipe for you.

DIY Foundation #3: Liquid

Liquid Foundation Cream Smear and Brush
Photo credit: master1305/Getty Images
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 cup kaolin clay
  • Cocoa powder
  • Marula or jojoba oil

Like I said, I’m basically a walking DIY disaster, but that being said, I maintain that this recipe for homemade foundation and its ensuing failure is not my fault. Again, I’m not going to make you try something that’s going to require beakers and and goggles. For this, you’ll just need the same powder ingredients as the ones used for your powder foundation plus a facial oil. The measurements, however, are different.

If you’ve ever used cocoa powder to bake, you know that as soon as it comes into contact with oil, it darkens significantly. That’s the same case here. If you have a deep complexion, this recipe is going to be much easier for you to find a shade match (minus the fact that you can’t adjust your undertone). To lighten it up, you’ll need to keep adding equal amounts of arrowroot powder and kaolin clay. It takes a lot of it.

Upon initial mixing, the concoction is so incredibly thick that even swatching it on my arm made me cringe. The opposite option, however, is basically adding an incredible amount of oil to the mixture to thin it out. Once that’s done, though, you’ll basically get a face full of oil. If you’ve got dry skin, the oil may be good for you, but thanks to the powder, it can’t absorb into your skin like using the oil in your skin care routine would.

Overall, this recipe was a fail. It’s difficult to find the right consistency without absolutely obliterating your skin in the process. You’ll basically need your favorite spot treatment on hand to battle the post-application blemishes. Sometimes, even if you know what’s in a foundation, it doesn’t mean it’s better for your skin.

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So is it worth it to make your own foundation?

If you’ve been curious about making your own foundation, here’s the verdict: It’s better left to the professionals. The best recipe by far was the first, converting mineral makeup into a cream, and I definitely recommend it to make a product more versatile. Not only do you have a foundation that you know will match your complexion, but you’re also using a moisturizer that’s good for you at the same time.

In the end, with quality and clean foundations on the market, homemade foundation may not be where it’s at after all.

Using natural cleaning products is just as important as using natural makeup products. Learn how to make 4 natural cleaning supplies below! 

Have a DIY foundation you love? Let us know. Tag us on Instagram @makeitgrateful and #makeitgrateful!