This silky Airbrushing Primer Stick is basically a fantastic hybrid of primer, stick foundation, and my airbrushing powder. It helps control oil, blur imperfections, even out your skin tone, mattify your complexion, and keep your makeup on longer—all awesome things, no? It also goes with a silky smooth, dry-touch finish that is downright luxurious. You can put it in a stick or a compact, making it all kinds of versatile (I’m definitely more skilled with the compact application). I’m loving it combined with a touch of concealer for a bit of lightweight complexion perfection, and I think you will, too.

Four ingredients work together to give this primer its luxxy feel and finish. I chose two lightweight carrier oils; camellia seed oil and argan oil. Both sink into the skin really quickly, leaving your skin softer without any oily residue. Cetyl alcohol is our thickener, and there really is no substitution for it. Unlike waxes, which create products with higher melting points and can leave your face sticky and your pores gummed up, cetyl alcohol is silky and creamy and wonderfully non-greasy. It’s amazing, and it’s amazing because it’s not wax; do not try to use wax instead. I also would not recommend stearic acid as it’s definitely not silky and smooth like cetyl alcohol is.

Silica microspheres are our fourth lovely luxxy feel ingredient, but they also help with oil control and that soft focus look that makes your pores vanish. Sericite mica also helps with the soft focus, and it’s a bit less enthusiastic about oil control. Silica is so darn good at oil control that it can leave your skin feeling too dry, so if you have dry skin, I really recommend trading out a few grams of the silica for sericite (perhaps 4g silica and 3g sericite mica). This will still give you that lovely soft-focus effect, but won’t siphon moisture out of your face.

For super-simple colour, we’re stirring in some of our pre-made mineral makeup. Bam! No fussing with incorporating microscopic amounts of different iron oxides—just add a bit of what you’ve already made and matched to your complexion. If you haven’t made your own mineral makeup yet then a very simple shop-bought one should work; look for something that’s a loose powder and is mostly titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, sericite mica, and iron oxides. Bare Minerals comes to mind as something that should work well.

Once you’ve got all your ingredients this is insanely easy to make; you’re just going to weigh everything into a heat-resistant glass container, melt it all together, and pour it into your tube or compact. It couldn’t be easier!

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Airbrushing Primer Stick

8g | 0.28oz camellia seed oil
9g | 0.32oz argan oil
7g | 0.21oz cetyl alcohol
6g | 0.18oz silica microspheres
3g | 0.1oz mineral makeup (from the blog or the book)
1g | 0.03oz sericite mica
2 drops vitamin E oil

Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a small saucepan.

Weigh everything into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup or small beaker. A dust mask is absolutely mandatory for this part as the silica is seriously light and floaty (just opening the bag is enough to create a small pouf of silica dust) and inhaling it is not good for you. Stir everything together to create a creamy, lumpy paste and place the measuring cup in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.

Once the mixture has melted through completely, remove the measuring cup from the heat, dry it off, and pour the mixture into a 30ml (1 oz) push up tube (I used this one and it’s doing great!) and/or a vintage makeup compact. If you happen to be anywhere near London, I’ve found some great ones at Camden Market.

Let it set up, and you’re ready to rock and roll! Glide the stick over your face and/or buff it in with a kabuki brush. It’s all kinds of lovely and silky and fantastic. I do find applying it from the stick and blending it in with fingers is pretty slow, while the brush + compact approach is comparable to applying any other cosmetic out of a compact (that is, much faster).

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