DIY Files: Homemade Cosmetics

Over the past few years, I’ve been dipping my toes into DIY culture. So far I’ve embraced backyard and container gardening, tried my hand at sewing (which I love — but boy, do I need A LOT of practice), and dabbled with homemade balms, scrubs, and lotions.

 

Tools of the trade

One of the many things that really speak to me about doing or making stuff on my own — aside from the feeling of satisfaction I get when an experiment turns out even a little bit right — is building a relationship between me and my things. There’s something different about using a scrub you whipped up at home with ingredients from your pantry or your local market versus one picked off the shelf of a pharmacy after far too long spent squinting at the fine print on the back of a package and still not knowing what the heck the stuff is made of.

To me, the store bought scrub is just a thing. It doesn’t mean much to me, and just makes me feel cruddy about the money spent, and the mystery effects of any toxic ingredients. But, when I make something I can eat, wear, or use, I get a sense of connection on top of the gratification that comes from creating something.

And that relationship feels different to me. Intimate even. Not only do I know what’s in it (natural ingredients) and where it came from (my kitchen), I also know where it’s going (into a reusable bottle, then on my hair or skin). That feels hyper-local to me, kind of like bringing my ideals home to roost. Guilt-free, even. It’s a feeling I want more of.

Until recently though, my DIY aspirations always slowed to a crawl in the cosmetics department. Not only have I never tried anything more complicated than a honey-beeswax lip balm, I was pretty certain there wasn’t much a DIYer could do when it came to actual makeup. Then, while researching a previous post on DIY sunscreen (though really a quick Google search could have pointed it out much sooner), I discovered I was entirely wrong. Turns out there’s a full gamut of natural, homemade makeup options for all of us adventurous aficionados to try. Everything from lip stain to lipstick to eyeliner, to blush, to mascara — and beyond.

What I’m personally SUPER excited about giving a go is also my main beauty go-to: foundation. I discovered a great recipe for one that offers smooth cover (with sunscreen!) from Jessica Healey of Pronounce & Scratch Mommy fame, which I’m sharing below.

As for me, I’ll be breaking out my double boiler as soon as my current foundation supply runs dry.

Smooth Finish DIY Organic Foundation with Sunscreen (5 Oz) by Pronounce

Tools

  • Double-boiler (or glass bowl over pot of shallow, simmering water)
  • Kitchen scale
  • Whisk
  • Container

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Almond Oil (or an (unrefined, raw, organic) carrier oil of your choice
  • 1 oz Shea Butter (organic, raw, unrefined)
  • ½ oz Cocoa Butter (organic, raw, unrefined)
  • ½ oz Beeswax
  • ⅛ teaspoon Vitamin E (non-GMO)
  • ½ oz Zinc Oxide (uncoated, non-nano, not micronized)
  • Cacao (cocoa) Powder (organic)
  • ⅛ teaspoon Cinnamon (organic)

Process

  • Using the scale and the tare function measure and combine the first five ingredients into the double-boiler
  • DO NOT add the zinc oxide, cocoa powder, or cinnamon
  • Melt the first five ingredients, completely, whisking occasionally
  • Remove from heat. Cool for a few minutes. Wipe excess moisture from the outside of the bowl
  • Place bowl back on the scale, hit tare, add 5 oz of zinc oxide (approximately 10 SPF) Whisk to combine
  • Add cinnamon; whisk to combine
  • Add cacao powder — a little at a time — until you reach desired shade
  • Start with ½ Tablespoon of cacao powder — whisk. Do a colour test on the inside of your wrist, and add more (½ teaspoon at a time) until you reach the perfect concentration
  • ½ Tablespoon gives a light/fair coverage
  • ½ Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon creates medium tone
  • ½ Tablespoon + 2 teaspoon provides a medium-dark result
  • Pour into container. Cool
  • Store in a cool, dry place

Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based freelance writer, bartender, and editor of the Whole Family Happiness Project. She lives in Halifax, with her son and a penchant for really strong tea, yoga, hammocks, and hoppy beer.

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The Whole Family Happiness Project is a group of moms exploring our connection to our individual purpose, our family happiness, and the happiness of the world around us. Come join us on Facebook.

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