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Homemade Foundation Powder

Affiliate Disclosure | in DIY Beauty | by | with 56 Comments


Pssst ~ Mineral makeup may accelerate aging

It’s true. Many cosmetics, especially mineral-based products, use nano-particles to “protect” skin from the suns rays. The theory goes that since  regular-sized particles of zinc and titanium are a non-toxic way to prevent skin from burning, smaller particles can do the same without creating the “lifeguard nose” effect. Essentially, they absorb and/or reflect light differently so that your skin doesn’t turn chalky white after application.

Unfortunately, new research indicates that nanoparticles react differently with skin and may accelerate aging, cause DNA damage, and increase the production of free radicals associated with cancer. (Source 1: Many “Healthy” Sunscreens May Accelerate Aging, Source 2Source 3Source 4,)

For that reason, and a few others, I prefer to use whole, non-nano sized materials in my foundation powder. You can buy non-nano powder here, but it’s pricey.

This homemade version . . .

Costs roughly $0.40 per ounce and provides a soft, translucent finish. Though the majority of your tint will come from cocoa powder, you can easily adjust color tones to complement your skin type: Cinnamon for warmer tones, bentonite clay for cooler tones. French green clay can also be added to soften reddish hues.

(Not up for making your own yet? This mineral-based powder does not use nanoparticles)


Homemade Foundation Powder

Base Ingredients:

    Optional Additions

      * Mixed with honey, cinnamon has a long history of topical use for acne. However, large amount may irritate skin, which is why I recommend it as a subtle addition to this recipe rather than the main source of color.


      Blend 1 tablespoon cocoa powder and one tablespoon arrowroot, then check color intensity against your skin. I usually test on the inside of my wrist. Add additional arrowroot if a lighter color is desired, additional cocoa if a darker color is desired.

      To add warm tones to your powder foundation: Mix in 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Add additional cinnamon in 1/4 teaspoon increments until the desired hue is reached. One thing to keep in mind is that the amount of cinnamon used should be small in comparison with the other ingredient, because large amounts may irritate skin.

      To add cool tones to your powder foundation: Mix in 1 teaspoon bentonite clay. Add additional clay in 1/2 teaspoon increments until the desired hue is reached.

      To reduce reddish undertones: Mix in 1 teaspoon French green clay. Add additional clay in 1/4 teaspoon increments, testing as you go. To test this formula, I recommend applying a little to the face and allowing it to sit for a few minutes. It may look a bit greenish initially, but as it absorbs a bit that will disappear.

      To Apply:

      Apply with a soft makeup brush.

      Looking For More Recipes?


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      56 Responses to Homemade Foundation Powder

      1. Lizz says:

        I’ve tried a similar recipe before and it works great! Thanks for the links to research about nanoparticles. Do you know if there’s any research about the nanoparticles in mineral makeup specifically?

      2. Faith says:

        I was just thinking about where to look for a powder with no harmful ingredients. I am glad that I found out about this post :)

      3. Becky says:

        Great idea!!! I wanted to point out that there is a typo :) It says toes, “To add cool toes to your powder….” LOL:)

      4. Amy says:

        Mine didn’t work. It didn’t stick to my skin. I tried adding some coconut oil and that just made it clumpy. What am I doing wrong?

        • Heather says:

          Hi Amy, you didn’t do anything wrong. My guess is that if you applied a little moisturizer before application you’ll find that it sticks. You’ll definitely want it to absorb fully before applying the powder or it might set unevenly. I thought about mentioning this in the instructions, but whether it’s necessary depends on the individual. For some, this step would yield too much moisture on the skin and possibly prevent the powder from distributing evenly. Maybe I should go back and edit!

          • I tried my own powder with similar ingrediants, after research last year, and had the same trouble. I thought that adding a few drops of a nice essential oil like lavender might help it hold together a little better so it wasn’t *so powdery* (if that makes sense). But I think I’d need a food processor or at least a spice grinder to get it all really mixed well (and non-clumped). Since I don’t own either, it’s kindof on the back burner of DIY projects for me, until I do.
            But thought I’d mention it incase someone else might find it helpful. If not, let me know how it worked, either way!

        • Mindy says:

          I had the exact same problem and even after applying it after putting moisturizer on I had issues with it being the wrong shade. I have a yellowy hue to my skin, I also have pretty dark skin (for a white girl) and by the time I did match the shade to me it burned my skin! Never again. I will swallow my pride go without makeup or take my chances with the nanoparticles.

          • For others with yellow-tinting, yellowy ginger powder is recommended as an added color ingredient. And it’s always a good idea to get well-sourced or organic spices, from your natural foods stores & the like.

          • Heather says:

            Hi Mindy, I’m sorry you had trouble with the powder! I agree with Krystal that ginger powder might be a good addition to this recipe for those with olive/yellow tones. I’m wondering what you included to tint the powder with – was it cinnamon? As I mentioned int the post, I would definitely keep the amount of cinnamon used low in comparison with the other ingredients as it can irritate skin. None of the others should, though!

          • Alice says:

            Kinda late, but turmeric powder is also good for a yellow undertone!

      5. Melody says:

        Does Larenim’s pressed foundation powder also not use nanoparticles? Thank you!

      6. Melody says:

        Does Larenim’s pressed foundation powder also not use nanoparticles? Thank you!

      7. Oli says:

        Could you use this as a liquid foundation? so many are so heavy and it feels like my pours are clogged and suffocating. I am tired of buying brands and then I get allergic to them. So the bottles just sit there. I want to be able to make all my own makeup.

      8. Alexia says:

        I just have to comment on this! What a neat idea! And so inexpensive. I have all of these items in my house right now (well except the clay lol)! I cannot wait to go home and experiment with this! How creative! Thank you for this beauty recipe!!
        I do have to ask, does this powder stain? When using cocoa powder in other recipes it tends to get everywhere! :-)

        • Heather says:

          I have not had any issues with it staining. Like all makeup, you want to be careful not to get it on your collar when dressing and such, but that’s about it.

      9. Becky says:

        I’d like to point out that although you are correct about the nano-particles being harmful to skin, they aren’t in cosmetics. This is simply because it would be pointless to have a foundations that absorbs into the skin. The point is so that it lays on top of the skin to provide coverage. I do appreciate your post on a homemade foundation. This would definitely be a way to help people who are sensitive to avoid bismuth oxychloride!

      10. Susan says:

        Hello Heather:
        I am really happy to have found your website. Right now I am trying to put together a sunscreen powder and have been advised to use cornstarch, and zinc oxide. I a
        Seeing this recipe for foundation powder makes me wonder if it could be made into a combination foundation with zinc oxide for spf coverage. I have a niece who is out in the sun in Arizona much of the day and needs something that is effective, good looking, as well as affordable and I’m thinking this might be the ticket.
        What do you think?
        Thanks so much for any insight.

      11. kerry says:

        For people needing a little yellow in their powder, try turmeric. I use it in mine and it works great.

      12. […] Homemade Foundation Powder @ Mommypotomus […]

      13. Paxton Campbell says:

        If you find out how to make tinted moisturizer with SPF please let me know : )

      14. […] Mommypotamus taught us how to make foundation powder. […]

      15. Mel says:

        Thanks for sharing the recipe for this homemade foundation. Just might try it. Those nanoparticles scare me.

      16. Melody says:

        Best part, in a pinch, you can make your own hot cocoa when out and about. :)

      17. Liz says:

        Does this powder provide any sun protection? Or do you use something else?

      18. Jessica says:

        I can’t wait to try this, Heather! I have your DIY Beauty Recipes and I LOVE it! One question: do you think raw cacao powder would work the same?

      19. Patti says:

        Heather, can you tell us where you get your empty containers for this foundation?

        • Liz says:

          I like to use They have a great selection of bottles and containers!

        • Troobeesez says:

          I’ve gotten various little pots and such (even a I.D. “sifter top” dupe), from Coastal Scents. Also you might look at The Container Store’s offerings, tho I suspect they’d be a little spendier. Coastal also sells brush dupes of the “original” Mineral Makeup we all know and love. Cheeeeeeeap!

      20. Candy Gardner says:

        Thanks for all your helpful information. I travel a lot so I don’t always have the time or inclination to make my own, which is why I appreciate you giving out information on where to buy quality products. In addition to the all natural foundation makeup, I’ve also discovered Lemongrass Spa Products. They are made in the USA in Colorado. I have been using them now for over a year and am very happy with them. You have to buy them through a consultant, (on line ordering, no personal contact necessary) so I will give you my link:

        If you sign up to sell/buy the products you can save 25% which is essentially the shipping and handling costs. Love your blog and follow you closely so I can pass along your expert information to my daughter-in-law who has just given birth to my first Grandson.

      21. haley says:

        Hi, I love the look on my skin, except the cacao powder seems to give me pimples every time I use it.. I got the organic all natural 100% cacao powder.. Has cacao powder give anyone pimple? I don’t know if I should keep trying. Thank you! : )

      22. Elsje says:

        Oh, I love you. :-) Thanks for always having such stunning useful goodness to share. :-)

      23. Great post!! Sounds awesome and I can’t wait to try it.
        One quick question: What is the shelf life for this powder?

      24. Olia says:

        For those sensitive to cinnamon: I think turmeric powder can be used to add warm/yellow tones instead of cinnamon.

      25. Add some coconut sugar and voila…icing sugar ;)

      26. Yvette says:

        Love the idea. I have oily skin and currently use arrowroot powder under my make up to minimize the oil slick at the end of the day. I do all the right things for my skin otherwise and don’t use harsh soaps (washing my face with raw honey- works really well). I have noticed though that using the arrowroot powder seems to make me break out more. Does anyone know why this might be or an alternative to it?

      27. Karen says:

        a thought on the foundation – as a teen I had electrolysis for facial hair and the lady always put calamine lotion on my skin after treatment because she said it would protect from the sun. after a while I started using it all over instead of makeup. I never had acne until I was older and started using store bought foundation. I don’t know of any scientific proof about it, but here is a list of ingredients
        I plan on using this from now on. It can be a bit pink, but I covered it with a beige corn silk powder and it looked great!

      28. Billie says:

        Didn’t work at all for me…… It wouldn’t cover a thing!

      29. Jeannie says:

        Am I the only person who is concerned about walking around smelling like chocolate and cinnamon? I love the idea but don’t want to smell like a baked good!! Any feedback on this?

      30. Ella says:

        I love this idea! But i was just wondering will the cocoa powder cause someone with oily skin to break out in spots or should it be ok?

      31. Ginger says:

        This recipe works great, you are awesome Mommypotamus! I am using a 4 oz. mason jar to keep mine in. I started off with a small batch, 1 tbsp of arrowroot, 1/2 tsp cocoa powder, and 1/8 tsp of cinnamon to give the color a little warmth. I bought my cocoa powder loose from the herb section of Whole Foods so I didn’t have to commit to a whole pound of it. It has held up in humid Tennessee weather better than any high end foundation I have ever tried. Good bye silicones and chemicals!
        I dust this over a homemade sunscreen cream I use for my morning moisturizer after letting my cream absorb for a few minutes. The homemade foundation powder is just the right thing to take away any shine from the cream.

      32. Kendra says:

        Can you use organic raw cacao powder instead of cocoa powder?

      33. I have tried a recipe for a natural foundation powder. It seems to wear off my face in a somewhat splotchy pattern. I like the idea of it but haven’t perfected it yet. I’m interested in trying the french green clay.

      34. Emily says:

        is it suppose to cover like regular foundation? or is it a powder to control oil?
        cause it does control oil great, but it didnt cover anything for me. am i doing something wrong?

      35. jm says:

        Only makeup I really *need* is a little eyeliner (liquid because it dries and doesn’t transfer into my crease, I have kind of droopy eyelids I guess) and mascara. Any ideas for making those without harsh chemicals?

      36. Priscila Santiago says:

        Can you use Raw Cacao?

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