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Homemade Foundation Powder

Affiliate Disclosure | in DIY Beauty | by | with 77 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.


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.

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77 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!

      • Krystal Wight Armstrong says:

        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.

      • Krystal Wight Armstrong says:

        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. Delightful Links for the Weekend says:

    […] Homemade Foundation Powder @ Mommypotomus […]

    • Samantha says:

      Hello Heather!

      Is this recipie just for white to tan skin tones? Is there also a good recipie for dark skin tones and other races? I’m not sure what main ingredient to use when making makeup for these skin types.
      Thank you!

  13. Paxton Campbell says:

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

  14. Link Round-up: DIY Beauty Tips, Easter Treats, Energy Bites, and More says:

    […] 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. The Rocking Chair Writer says:

    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. Stephanie Moram via FB says:

    Add some coconut sugar and voila…icing sugar 😉

  26. Body Unburdened via FB says:


  27. 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?

  28. 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!

  29. Billie says:

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

  30. 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?

  31. 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?

  32. 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.

  33. Kendra says:

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

  34. Lindsey James says:

    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.

  35. 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?

    • Ashlynn says:

      No, it is not the typical foundation. It is wonderful for oil control. I know that clays cover a little because they consist of some minerals, and they are wonderful for oil control. But food grade ingredients are not opaque like minerals, meaning that they don’t have “coverage”

  36. 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?

  37. Priscila Santiago says:

    Can you use Raw Cacao?

  38. Carmen says:

    I love this foundation. I have extremely oily skin that is usually glistening by the end of the day. The powders in recipe this keep my face virtually shine-free for the entire day. My complexion is slightly pink and the above recipe was a little too brown for me so I added a smidge of hibiscus flower powder to get more of a pink tone to it. It worked perfectly.

  39. Jenny says:

    Thanks for the recipe. Just wondering, is arrowroot powder, the same as arrowroot flour? Thanks again

  40. Ashlynn says:

    This is a great idea! I have tried and experimented for about a month with this and it wasn’t quite for me. I have very fair skin and a stronger yellow undertone, just arrowroot and cocoa powder were far too pink looking, turmeric stains before it is yellow enough (doesn’t take much at all to stain your skin) and ginger doesn’t do a thing for color until it consists mostly of ginger. I found cinnamon too gritty and nutmeg out of the question gritty. I finally ventured into the mineral makeup world and started making my own! I found, after much research and inquiry to bulk mineral sellers, that there are simple, non nano particles that are far too large to sink into your skin, rather, they sit nicely on top of the skin. I use Zinc, titanium, serecite mica, and iron oxides to color and it is wonderful. Not all minerals are nano, so please do research before saying so. I really wanted the food powder to work for my face, but getting a good color is difficult for some of us and it also gets blotchy once you sweat or get a little mist to the face. I still love arrowroot for a setting powder though, it is fantastic! I am currently working on making a clay powder using colored earth clays (pink, green, white, yellow, brown) along with arrowroot and rice powder. The mineral seller I buy from also sells rice, pearl, and silk powders which are so incredibly lovely for the skin! I am sure they can be colored too with clays =)

  41. Nicole says:

    Do you know anything about Youngblood cosmetics natural loose mineral foundation or the website and brands on

  42. nicole says:

    and do you know anything about LaurEss pure mineral cosmetics?

  43. Tayiba says:

    I just followed this recipe to make foundation powder and am so surprised at how well it works!! My skins feels clear and super soft. Thank you for this amazing recipe. I love your blog, it has been extremely helpful for me in making the switch to more natural and homemade products. I really appreciate your posts and thanks again! :)

  44. Erika says:

    Hi I tried the recipe and I love how it looks however the texture is just not right. First it tends to be coarse. I can see feasible powders that do not sit nicely on my skin and I have to dust it away. How can I make it finer so that it goes smoothly on my skin? Second I live in a tropical humid weather so with sweat + humidity it tends to clump on my skin. I really really want this to work so I can eliminate chemicals from my skin. Please help

    • Ashlynn says:

      Hi Erika!

      I tried this too and had the same issue. Try leaving out cinnamon. I used just arrowroot, coca, and a little turmeric since I am a yellow tone (leave out if you are not!) and it was very smooth. Nutmeg and cinnamon are more gritty. Bentonite clay can be a tiny bit gritty too. You could try grinding them all in a coffee grinder or use a milling blade for a blender. Bentonite clay should not come in contact with metal though. I only use this powder to set my mineral makeup which I make myself, since I need some coverage. As for humidity, this doesn’t withstand water, sweat or moisture well, I found. It is food, and like clay, it gets muddy and dark when wet. Minerals do not and they are not toxic, just be sure to use non-nano size minerals. If you want some sun protection with this and a little coverage, you could add just Zinc oxide with the arrowroot and other herbs. Hope this helps!

  45. Kaitlyn says:

    Heather, what are your thoughts on the makeup line from “100% Pure”? They have all sorts of products that are organic and fruit-tinted/dyed including foundation, eye brow filler, mascara, etc. Could you take a look and let us readers know if this is a product line you’d recommend? I’m not ready for diy makeup just yet. Thanks!

  46. Homemade Lotion Recipe (Video Tutorial)Mommypotamus | says:

    […] homemade beauty products – lotion bars, deodorant, homemade foundation powder and coconut oil soap for example – have a relatively long shelf life because they […]

  47. DIY "Breathe Easy" Aromatherapy Inhaler – MommypotamusMommypotamus | says:

    […] toddler shoe, vanilla beans, Dermabond (because, boys!), and foundation powder that doubles as dry shampoo for days when grabbing a shower just doesn’t happen. And of […]

  48. Julie D says:

    I was very interested in the Larenim makeup link you added until I realized theirs has nano particles.

    • Heather says:

      Thanks for letting me know! When I researched for this post they were listed as non-nano, but it seems things have changed. I’ve removed the recommendation from the post and will be on the lookout for another option.

  49. Robin says:

    Made this. It’s really soft and absorbent. I color-matched it to the last of my previous foundation. So far it’s staying on. I used an essential oil serum first and let it soak in for 10 or 15 min. before applying the powder foundation. Yes, it rubs off easier but other than that it’s fun and easy to make and saves me money. Win win!

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