Today’s DIY is inspired by a product sold by a well-known natural cosmetic brand. A simple base of beeswax, castor oil, and coconut oil is heavily laced with a blend of shimmery micas to create a creamy highlighter that’s brilliant for illuminating cheekbones, brow bones, and anything else that could use a bit of eye-catching shimmer. It gives a subtle, buildable shimmer that’s beautiful as part of a full makeup look or as a stand-alone bit of brightness, and you can customize the colour to be perfect for your skin tone—or to have an entire arsenal of highlighters!
Want to watch this project instead of read it?
The majority of the base is castor oil and coconut oil, with just a touch (4%) of beeswax. I thought I’d need more beeswax—quite a lot more. Early versions were less cream and more rock-solid. I trialed the first version in Instagram live and it was so solid popped straight out the jar when I tried to apply it! I couldn’t even apply it like a crayon 😝 That first version had 25% beeswax, would would usually make a fairly soft balm, but with all the mica in here I didn’t need anything close to that much hardening. After the definitely-not 25% version I tried 16%, 8%, and then 4%. The 8% version wasn’t bad at all, and you might prefer it if you live somewhere quite hot (take 2% off each the castor and coconut oils to make room for the other 4% of beeswax), but I ended up liking the 4% version best.
Mica-wise, I chose a blend of a soft gold and a silver-white mica for a warm champagne-y highlight. You could definitely mix up the mica to suit what you have and suit your complexion; the champagne blend should work well for many skin tones, but I’m imagining some more bronzey, coppery, or golden ones would also be stunning. If you have quite cool undertones something more strongly silver would also be stunning, or you might like to incorporate a bit of pink for a slightly pearly effect. The sky—and your mica collection—are the limit!
The making part is very simple—almost everything is heated, and then you’ll stir in a tiny amount of vitamin E before popping the mixture into your jar. It’ll never get very liquidy thanks to the high powder content, so you’ll want to work quickly if you want a smooth top. I’d also recommend using a scale accurate to 0.01g given the small batch size—scaling it up to suit a less precise scale is a bit crazy as this 5g (0.18oz) is still a huge amount of product. You can read about the scales I’m using here.
Once you’re done you’ll have a pot of firm-yet-creamy luminizer that can be easy massaged into cheekbones, brow bones, the inner eye, your cupid’s bow, and anywhere else you please (try your collarbones for a night out!). I have been loving wearing this lately and I hope you will, too.
Want to watch this project instead of read it?
1.625g | 32.5% castor oil (USA / Canada)
1.5g | 30% virgin coconut oil
0.2g | 4% beeswax (USA / Canada)
0.75g | 15% gold mica
0.75g | 15% silver mica
0.15g | 3% silica microspheres (USA / Canada)
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a wide, flat-bottomed sauté pan.
After about 20–30 minutes everything should be completely melted through. Remove the water bath from the heat, remove the measuring cup from the water bath, and dry it off with a dish towel. Stir with a flexible silicone spatula to incorporate.
Quickly add the cool down phase, stir to combine, and transfer to a small 5g jar to set up. Once it’s set up, you’re done! To use, blend a small amount into brow bones, cheek bones, and any other part of the face that could use a bit of extra shimmer.
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this luminizer is 100% oil based, it does not require a broad-spectrum preservative (broad spectrum preservatives ward off microbial growth, and microbes require water to live—no water, no microbes!). Kept reasonably cool and dry, it should last at least a year before any of the oils go rancid. If you notice it starts to smell like old nuts or crayons, that’s a sign that the oils have begun to oxidize; chuck it out and make a fresh batch if that happens.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 5g.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this recipe, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- I do not recommend swapping out the castor oil.
- You can use refined or virgin coconut oil.
- Babassu oil will work in place of the coconut oil.
- You can use refined or unrefined beeswax. I do not recommend substituting the beeswax.
- You can use whatever blend of micas you like at 30%.
- Sericite mica will make an ok alternative for silica microspheres.