I recently learned to use make-up (thanks, YouTube!), and along with that, I’ve learned about what seems really overpriced, and what seems less stupidly overpriced. Of course all make-up is overpriced to some degree or another (ahem, $50 mascara), but some things are worse than others.

I tend to think eyeshadow is worse than everything else. Well, everything else that I buy, so it’s pretty much just mascara vs. eyeshadow. I am clearly a very experienced cosmetics shopper.

I recently made some mineral makeup, and then branched out into blush and bronzer. Since all of those things are in the fluffy coloured category, so I figured eyeshadow couldn’t be too far away.

My initial hesitation against making eyeshadow was the colour issue; needing a different mica or oxide for everything. But I have come to the realization that I am rather boring, and pretty much just wear brown, beige, and beigy-brown eye shadows. I’ll branch out into something with green hints, but not really. I’m pretty dull. And I already had a brown iron oxide. And I’m tired of having a hard time finding non-sparkling eye shadows. So I had no more excuses.

The are a few minor differences between eyeshadow and mineral makeup. You want them to be more pigmented, a finer grind, and more opaque. So I used less titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, and more sericite mica (USA / Canada) and magnesium stearate. I used French Red clay since I was making brown shadow anyways, but if you wanted to do something in a cool colour, you would want to use a white clay.

The handyness of this process/recipe is that it makes a trio of eye shadows that blend together beautifully because you start with the pale colour, scoop some out, add some more oxide to get the medium shade, scoop some out, and then add some more oxide to get the dark shade. That way you get three eye shadows that are all part of the same colour continuum. And you only have to make one mess.

I recently discovered the brilliance of using an old coffee grinder to make mineral make-up. It does a beautiful job of crushing and grinding down the powders, like the titanium dioxide that I bought that’s fairly large grain. It also means far less powder pressing and bowl dirtying. Brilliant! So, before you do this, go to Value Village and get yourself a used $5 coffee grinder.

Homemade Eyeshadow Trio

1 tsp titanium dioxide
2 tsp sericite mica (USA / Canada)
1 tsp silk powder
1 tsp magnesium stearate

5 drops jojoba or argan oil (USA / Canada)

1 tsp red clay
Brown oxide, as needed
Red oxide, as needed

Before you get started, keep in mind that this is a light, fine powder, and the coffee grinder really gets it whipped into a frenzy. So each time you’re done blending, give it a minute or so to settle down or you’ll end up inhaling a bunch of it every time, and that’s probably not good for you.

Place the first four ingredients in the coffee grinder and blend, stopping to tap the lid and the sides every so often, for a minute or two. Once that’s been turned into a fine powder, add a few drops of argan or jojoba oil (USA / Canada), and blend until you can’t tell you added it. You’ll want to scrape the corners and the bottom of the grinder to make sure it all gets incorporated.

Add the clay and blend. Then start adding the brown iron oxide. Here’s what I did for my skin tone and preferences:

First off I blended in 1/32nd of a teaspoon of brown iron oxide, and then scooped out about 2tsp, enough to fill a 5g sifter jar.

Then I went back to the blender and added 5/32nd a teaspoon of brown iron oxide and 1/32nd of red iron oxide to warm it up a little. And that made my medium tone. So I scooped out another 2tsp to fill another sifter jar.

Then I went back to the mixture left in the blender and added 7/32nds of a teaspoon of brown iron oxide, and 1 or 2/32nds of red iron oxide to take it to the dark side.

Be sure to test it on your skin! And not just your skin, but your face. Use the same kind of brush you’ll be using to apply it later so you can see exactly how it will go on later. I used a “smidge” or “pinch” (or something) miniature measuring spoon that measured 1/32nd tsp and added one or two at a time. If your skin is darker, which it easily could be, you may need more oxides. If you’re paler, you’ll need less, of course.

Notes as of November 2018:

  • Make sure you wear a dust mask so you don’t inhale the powders after whipping them up—that can be dangerous to your health over the long term.
  • If you want to press this makeup, this is how.
  • Check out my book, Make it Up, for a better formula that uses fewer ingredients and is much more flexible. My book also has lots of colour blending tips and a few different starter colour blends so you can create a wide variety of different shades of eyeshadow.