What precautions should I take when working with fine powders?

We work with lots of fine powders when we’re DIYing up a storm—clay, oxides, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, arrowroot starch, and more. They’re all light, fluffy, and can be easily inhaled, and we should take steps to avoid doing that as this can be a cancer risk.

When blending powders in your DIY specific coffee grinder I recommend leaving it capped for a minute or two after you’ve shut the motor off to let the powder settle down a bit. I also recommend getting yourself a dust mask for such projects to further minimize the risk of inhaling powders.

What about final products? You obviously don’t want to wear a dust mask every time you apply eyeshadow.

  • Many products have the powder totally wetted out/weighted down, like in soaps and lipsticks. There’s no inhalation concern here, so no worries.
  • Products that stay powdery will call for a few drops of a liquid oil. This is to help weigh the powder down so it doesn’t “pouf” up much when used. Don’t eliminate the liquid oil!
  • Do not make lines of your powdery concoctions and inhale them like they do in the movies (albeit with different powdery concoctions)

Posted in: Safety