Natural Beauty: A DIY Makeup Adventure

I am no stranger to drug store makeup. That lime-green and pink tube of mascara? I have it. Lip stains that range in longevity from five minutes to 72 hours? They’re clogging up my purse. Still, in the last few years, I’ve given much thought and care to what I put in my body (losing 90 pounds will do that to you, but that is another story altogether). I’ve adopted the Michael Pollan food philosophy: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” So perhaps it’s a natural progression that recently I’ve started to give some thought to what I put on my body as well.

Do the products in my beauty routine boast not-so-beautiful ingredient lists? Would they violate my “Simple and Real” eating/living philosophy? Probably. So, I was thrilled to give Edible Cleveland’s all natural DIY makeup recipes a try.

The writer of the article in the Spring 2015 edition, Sarah Antonik, provided five recipes: lip/cheek stain, mascara/liquid eyeliner, face powder, blush, and eye shadow. A more than adequate supply for an everyday look. (Unless you wear false lashes every day, which I swear some celebrities must do. Nobody wakes up looking like that.)




Armed with the weirdest grocery list I’ve ever used, I made my way to the Mustard Seed Market in Fairlawn to secure my supplies. At Sarah’s suggestion, the ingredients for the recipes should all be organic and non-GMO, so I thought the Mustard Seed would be my best bet for a one-stop shopping trip. I was (shockingly) right. I found every single item I needed right off the shelf, with the exception of the charcoal, which happened to be out of stock the day I visited. I ordered it online, and went about studying the recipes.



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With my makeup mise-en-place all prepped, I got to work. First up was the lip/cheek stain. This was the only recipe involving cooking of any kind. So, I set up my makeshift double boiler and added the first few ingredients.



Once everything was melted, I added the beetroot powder (such a beautiful color!) and poured the finished mixture into a small container to harden. I must admit, this first recipe had me feeling like a cool Walter White/Martha Stewart mash-up. Making cosmetics in my kitchen? It feels like winning at life.



Next up was the mascara/liquid eye liner. The best part of this recipe was breaking open the charcoal tablets. So fun.



I should have mentioned this earlier, but Sarah recommends sifting all of the dry ingredients before mixing. Do. Not. Skip. This. Step. While your brownies might turn out fine if you don’t sift your flour and cocoa, clumpy mascara is not cute on anyone- not even Angelina Jolie.





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This mixture came together quickly and smells great thanks to the rosewater and rosemary oil. The mascara was quite dark, which I like, but I’m guessing you could ease up on the charcoal and use more cocoa for a nice brown shade instead.

To combat shine (which is such a nice word for grease, no?) and achieve a smooth baby-face look, you can use face powder. I’ve used it since seventh grade and have stuck with it because I feel like it helps “set” the rest of my makeup and ensure that when I inevitably touch my face a million times a day, my look holds up.


The recipe for face powder is mostly dry ingredients, so I sifted away and then added the oils at the end. The recipe made a huge batch. Maybe enough for six months or more.

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I also found the mixture needed a lot of tweaking to get the right shade. My art school studies included color theory and I still struggled to get it right. The second time I made the powder, I made a half-batch, added only a fourth of the cocoa, a bit more ginger, and the color was pretty spot-on. A little experimentation never hurt anyone, I suppose.


I don’t know whose kitchen this is. I would never drop an entire bag of arrowroot powder on the floor.


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Rounding out the beauty arsenal are recipes for blush and eye shadow. These were incredibly simple to make, the blush especially. You just sift and stir a few powders and you’re done.

IMG_2491The eye shadow could be endlessly customized based on what you like. I made both a dark and light shadow, using the light one on my lids and the darker shade in the crease for a dramatic look.

Yes, the stirring, pouring, and measuring was fun, but how did the stuff work?

Really well, actually. It made me want to DIY EVERYTHING! After using the products a few times, here are my thoughts:

Lip/Cheek Stain: This was my favorite recipe by far. It performs more like a gloss than a stain but is so pretty and smells so good, I wouldn’t mind re-applying. When used as a cheek stain, it gave my skin a lovely dewy appearance. I can see making up batches of this to give away to family and friends. Spoiler alert for next Christmas, friends.

Mascara/Eyeliner: For me, this worked better as a mascara. It went on easily and was the perfect black color. As an eyeliner, I had difficulty getting a clean, straight line. Perhaps my addiction to liquid liner has spoiled me.

Powder: Once you get the color-matching down, this is a nice alternative to whatever chemicals might be in commercial powders. I found it easiest to apply with a pad or sponge rather than a brush, as it didn’t want to stick to my skin.

Blush: This produced a lovely color (I have a new-found respect for beets), but didn’t want to stick to my cheeks. Maybe that powder was doing too good a job. I wet my brush and that seemed to help. Overall, though, I preferred the lip/cheek stain to this powdered blush.

Eye Shadow: Simple to make and easily adaptable, this shadow performs just as well as commercial products. Although, I like my shadow a little shimmery. Is there a natural substitute for glitter? If you know, please email me. This could be a life-changer.

Here you can see how the DIY makeup compares to my regular, everyday look (left: DIY, right regular makeup routine).

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Full disclosure, though, I’m wearing a tinted moisturizer and under-eye concealer under both looks. (I’m a fan of natural, but not au natural, if you know what I mean) There are some things no amount of kale juice can cure, and under eye circles are one of them. Thanks genes.

Overall, I am really happy with my foray into DIY makeup. I’m definitely going to be using the lip stain (gloss) on a regular basis. I won’t be giving up my drug store liquid liner just yet, but I suppose we have to choose our battles. My husband’s review? “You look pretty and smell like a Tootsie Roll.” I call that a win-win. Thanks, Edible Cleveland.


Story and photos by Gina Thomas McGee