Cosmetics companies may use any ingredient or raw material, except for color additives and a few prohibited substances, without government review or approval. About one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. To top it off, U.S. federal law allows companies to leave many chemicals off labels, including nanomaterials, ingredients considered trade secrets, and components of fragrance.
The scariest of all? More than 500 products sold in the U.S. contain ingredients banned in cosmetics in Japan, Canada or the European Union. and here we are, buying this stuff up like it’s the cool thing to do.
So what are you looking to avoid in your makeup products?
Well, a lot of stuff. A LOT. Go grab a couple hair or skin products you have and check for the dirty dozen (also check their toxicity here).
DIY Natural Make-Up and Why You Need to Switch
BHA and BHT – endocrine disruption; possible carcinogen
Coal tar dyes – possible carcinogen; may contain heavy metals toxic to the brain
DEA – reactions formed can be carcinogenic
Dibutyl phthalate – reproductive toxicant; endocrine disruptor
Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives – known carcinogen
Parabens – suspected endocrine disruptor; may interfere with male reproductive functions (i’ll showcase this debate in a TNT)
Parfum (fragrance) – allergies; asthma; known carcinogen; neurotoxicity
PEG compounds – possible carcinogen
Petrolatum – possible carcinogen
Siloxanes – endocrine disruptor; reproductive toxicant
Sodium laureth sulfate – possible carcinogen
Triclosan – antibiotic resistance in bacteria; endocrine disruptor
The full cosmetic Dirty Dozen list from the David Suzuki Foundation to learn more.
Solution? Make your own makeup OR buy organic and/or natural makeup from trusted companies. It’s an easier transition than you think!
Alright, convinced to switch? Make these organic and/or natural makeup products:
Basic Ingredients You’ll Need:
Kaolin clay or arrowroot powder (Foundation Base)
Unsweetened cocoa powder
Cinnamon (please make sure it’s Ceylon)
Dried hibiscus, alkanet root powder, and/or beet powder
Iron oxides (Red/black/yellow/brown for pigmentation)
White organic face lotion/moisturizer (For liquid foundation only)
Aloe vera gel (For eyeliner)
Shea butter (For eyeliner)
Grab a bowl, spoon, and sieve to mix each thing!
1. Powder Foundation
Mix your base powder with very tiny amounts of iron oxides at a time to get the perfect shade. As you add the pigments, mix very, very well before adding more. Note that the color of this powder when dampened might be different, and you can test it on the back of your hand. Zinc oxide can also be mixed in for full spectrum sun protection! I personally use plain kaolin clay – no pigments – for a setting powder.
Mix a base powder with cocoa, cinnamon, iron oxides, and/or mica to get the color you like. If you want more of a contour color without the shimmer, leave the mica out.
3. Eye Shadow
Mix any ingredients above to get the colors you want. This is really one DIY makeup product that you have to play around with! I always feel like a mad makeup scientist – it’s so much fun! Right now I have kaolin clay mixed with brown iron oxides and activated charcoal for different shades of brown. You can add mica for some shimmer, too!
Mix your base with the dried and powdered hibiscus flower, alkanet root powder, and/or beet powder until you get a color you like. You can add cinnamon, cocoa powder, or iron oxides for more pigmentation too. Note that it will look darker mixed than it will be on your skin, so you’ll need to test it as you mix. Also, alkanet root powder will be darker than hibiscus. Also also (ha), you will need to add a few drops of water to get the hibiscus to make a blush with the base powder (no more than about 1/4 teaspoon) for a small batch of blush. Add mica for some shimmer!
5. Liquid Foundation
Make your powder foundation and then mix with an organic white cream/moisturizer. You may need to make your base powder a tad darker, depending on the shade and which cream you use. This foundation will be light coverage. You can also add a small amount of zinc oxide for full spectrum sun protection.
Mix 1 part activated charcoal, 1/2 part black iron oxide, and either 1/2 part aloe vera gel, or 1/3 part shea butter for black eyeliner. You can add a small amount of mica powder for a little shimmer. Mix very well and store in an air-tight container. You’ll have to use a brush to apply. Feel free to play around with the ratios to get the perfect consistency for your eyelids. You can add cocoa powder or brown iron oxide for brown eyeliner.
Need your makeup to stay in place for awhile?
Homemade Makeup Setting Spray
Grab a little spray bottle. Put 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin in it. Add 1 teaspoon water. Add 1/2 cup rose water. Shake well and apply before you put makeup on. Keep this in your fridge! OR you can just mix 1 part glycerin to 3 parts water and use the same way. Easy peasy – and best of all – it will not clog your pores!
Enjoy your DIY, toxin-free makeup!
*Note – Please do not inhale any of these powdered products! Inhalation of mica and iron oxides can be toxic.