I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to share this recipe with you. Eyeliner is one of those things I have tried (and failed to make) many, many times. I tried many times, and ended up tossing a lot of small dishes of darkly coloured muck down the sink. However, I believe I have finally come up with something with which I am happy. Awesome!

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The base of this eyeliner is Australian red reef clay. It is highly pigmented, making it perfect for various cosmetic applications. I honestly wasn’t trying to make eyeliner with it—I was experimenting with lip stain, and I realized that the sort of “paint” I made was far more suited to skin that lips. After confirming its compatibility and staying power around the eyes, I set out to make something that was really make-up like.

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If you want to be quite reductionist, you can leave out the magnesium stearate (which is for slip) and the guar gum (which is both a thickener and emulsifier). The recipe should still work quite nicely.

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Red & Gold Clay Eyeliner

NOTE: I would HIGHLY recommend not making this recipe, and instead use the assorted eyeliner recipes in my book. They are much better, require far fewer weird ingredients, can be made in a full rainbow of colours, and are likely safer as well since these clays are no longer recommended for use in eye cosmetics, though they were when I purchased them.

2 tsp Australian red reef clay
1/8 tsp gold mica
Pinch magnesium stearate (optional)
Pinch guar gum (optional)
1 drop vegetable glycerin
A few drops jojoba (optional)
Water, as needed

Broad spectrum preservative of choice (why?)

Stir together the clay, mica, magnesium stearate, and guar gum.

Add the vegetable glycerin, jojoba oil, and preservative, and mash the mixture together, adding a drop or two of water as needed. Tamp the mixture down into a small cosmetics jar and leave uncapped to dry for a couple days.

To apply, wet a small eyeliner brush and apply like watercolour paint. This goes on more like a gel eyeliner than anything, so you may need to go back to get a strong line.

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