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!
NOTE: Do not make 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 safer as well since these clays are no longer recommended for use in eye cosmetics, though they were when I purchased them.
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.
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.
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 safer as well since these clays are no longer recommended for use in eye cosmetics, though they were when I purchased them.
Red & Gold Clay Eyeliner
2 tsp Australian red reef clay
1/8 tsp gold mica
Pinch magnesium stearate (optional)
Pinch guar gum (optional)
1 drop vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
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 glycerine (USA / Canada), jojoba oil (USA / Canada), 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.
How original! Congratulations!
Thanks, Natalia 🙂
I just wanted to ask you where you get your clays from? Forgive me if you’ve already answered this question but I am new to your blog but LOVE your recipes!
If you scroll up from the comments section you’ll see a big grey box full of links to all my suppliers 🙂
Bravo! Nicely done 😉
Thanks! I was SO pleased when something finally worked 😛
That is almost a red berry color. I wonder how it looks as an eyeshadow? hmmm… Thanks! I rarely wear make-up these days- moose, elk, my garden, the husband or dog do not care if I do. (laughing) when I do, I use a deep red berry and pink eye shadows and dark rose (think pink-berry with a touch of brown? or that make sense?), blush. I am sallow, so need at least the blush. Reds/berry shades not only enhance my eyes, it “cancels out” yellows. I have a lot of gold flecks in my eyes. They literally turn yellow-gold if intensely angry (only happened twice in my life). The gold mica would not enhance the sallow tones, I would think. I may end up playing with make-up again, just for fun. Thanks, Marie. I like what you are coming up. You are enhancing your features and none of it looks phony or harsh. Great job!
You’re so lucky you can wear red/pinkish eyeshadows, Debbi! Whenever I try I look like I have an eye infection 🙁 I can just get away with this eyeliner, but mostly because it’s more of a ruddy brown when its on. I actually really don’t wear much make-up either, I generally cannot be bothered, especially with cycling to and from work each day (I’m not about to start applying make-up in the bathroom at work, haha). I play, I invent, and then I leave it at home and go for a bike ride 😛
I want to try it !!!
Awesome! Let me know if you do 🙂
Do you think because it contains water and no preservative there are bacteria risks with this? I’m frustrated over lotion and the risk and wondered if it applied to makeup.
Well, yes, there will always be bacteria risks with everything, really. For this eyeliner the water is really just so you can tamp the powder down into a more solid cake and it seems to evaporate almost entirely after that (in this dry environment, at least). That said, since it works best as a water activated eyeliner, you are always introducing new water into the mixture. Assuming you allow the powder to dry out well between uses it should last a long time. That said, you should always be on the lookout for signs of spoilage—colour change, consistency change, change in scent. (And be sure to use clean brushes.)
All that said… I wouldn’t fuss too much over the lotion. Eyeliner is a bit different since it goes right next to your eyes, but lotion is less of a worry. If you start with clean instruments and decant the finished lotion into a pump or squeeze bottle (rather than an open tin that you dip your fingers into) it will generally last quite some time (at least 2 months in my experience, and sometimes up to 5 or 6). Keep watch, of course, but unless you are seriously immune compromised, it shouldn’t pose much of a health risk. Better than store bought stuff that’s loaded with parabens, mineral oil, & artificial fragrances in my opinion, at least.
Hi! Awesome idea!
How long does the eyeliner stay on your skin?
Also, do they run down if they get wet when you cry or get wet on the face? xD Silly question I know. LOL!
It’s got pretty good staying power for me—5+ hours—but I have fairly dry skin. It might not work as well if you live somewhere humid or have more oily skin.
And no, it is definitely not waterproof 😛 Waterproof makeup is chemical wizardry, lol.
Can I make a black eyeliner out of this? Can I replace the gold mica with black mica or something like that? What are your thoughts? Or can I make a more brown eyeliner without the red undertone? Because red undertones don’t suit my skin. What can I add to the recipe? Thanks for the helf, I appreciate your time and your blog! 🙂
Sadly because the red clay is the base of this, the liner really does have to be red. Oxides are hydrophobic, so if you add any it an attempt to change the colour (which I definitely did) you will find they want absolutely nothing to do with your wet brush 🙁 You may be able to tip it to the brown side with a bit of a brown clay (not rhassoul, though, it’s too gritty), but you will lose some of the potency of the colour as the Aussie red clay is mucho stronger than any other clay out there.
The good news is I’m currently working on an any-colour eyeliner recipe. In fact, I’m testing it right now as I type!
Thanks for reading & DIYing with me!
What about subbing the mica with australian black clay?? like with the mascara? Or would it be too flaky with all the clay??
That substitution would probably work since the black clay acts more like a mica than a clay in that it doesn’t absorb moisture. I haven’t tried it, though, so let me know if you do!
Thanks for this recipe! I made it according to spec, and found that it was a bit too red for my colouring – so I just added some black clay that I had on hand, until it was a dark brown. Worked great! It also reduced the need to do multiple lines, as the colour comes out very solid on the first attempt.
Curious thing happened, though – I finished up my first little pot of this, and went to open my second pot and found a whole bunch of mold. Didn’t have this problem with my first pot. I wonder if it’s because the second pot was sealed and stored right after it was made, whereas the pot I was using everyday was getting exposure to air. Not a big deal, and I’m unsure if anyone else experienced this, but I’ll stick to making small quantities of it.
Thanks again for the recipe, and all of your other natural makeup revelations!
I’m thrilled to hear this worked out so well for you—great tweak! Your hypothesis about the second pot & the mould sounds totally correct to me as well 🙂 Thanks for reading & DIYing with me!
Hi! I will definitely try this!! Do you think I could use it in the waterline? Have you ever? I like to wear eyeliner in my waterline it goes to me very well!
Hi Danai! I wouldn’t use this in your waterline—it is in no way waterproof or water resistant, so it would end up in your eyes very quickly.
So I was searching up on some all natural eyeliners and came across this company that had the following ingredients in their liquid black eyeliner:
Purified Water, Vegetable Gylcerin, Mica, Oxides, Magnesium Myristate, Sclerotium Gum, Potassium Sorbate (Food grade preservative), Cosomcil Cq (Preservative).
It’s pretty similar to your recipe. I searched up on Magnesium Myristate and it also provides “slip” to mineral makeup products. The Sclerotium Gum thickens and provides the liner with a “gel” type base. The mica and oxides are for color.
Bear in mind they marketed their product as a liquid/gel type eyeliner and not cake like yours.
Since your previous comments talk about how the oxides won’t mix, i was wondering if activated charcoal would work in place of the clays and mica. I wanted a classic matte black liquid eyeliner that would last a decent amount of time on my eyes.
Hi Monica! Now I need to find some Sclerotium Gum to play with 🙂 It sounds like that might be the magic ingredient that allows the oxides to mix with the water. Hmmmmmm.
You can definitely try some AC—I know it does mix fairly well with water. I’m not sure it’ll help with adhesion, but it’s worth experimenting with at any rate 🙂
Absolutely been loving your recipies, and as I’ve run out of my The All Natural Face Eyeliner (which I absolutely loved!) I’m eager to attempt creating my own! Already done a spot on foundation and concealer and can’t wait to try highlighter and lippy things alike. Just wondering, regarding the colouring, would I be able to add activated charcoal instead of some kind of black clay to get a deeper brown? Thankfully I only use brown eyeliner and mascara around the eyes, makes my blue eyes pop! Thank you so much for your time and effort into such well-written and in depth diy’s, greatly appreciated and keep up the amazing work! x
Hi Kristen! I haven’t tried this with activated charcoal, but I think it should work as both are insoluble 🙂
I sent an email asking if you had an eyeliner recipe. I just discovered you had a red gold eyeliner recipe, but I don’t want red gold. I would like black or dark brown. So I’m still wondering if I can use the mascara recipe for an eyeliner? Thanks.
Hi Linda! I’m still working on getting other colours to work out, no luck yet. And in my experience, the mascara wouldn’t make a very good eyeliner, but you can try it if you like.
I appreciate that you share your knowledge and recipes with us, it is very kind of you 🙂 I was wondering if you’re considering to formulate gel eyeliner anytime soon? Thank you in advance
Hi Melissa! Gel eyeliner is something I’ve been working on for aaaaaages. It’s proving rather tricky :/
I worked on this recipe yesterday, but with purples because I don’t look good in reds or browns. I needed to try to replicate my favorite purple eyeliner that I can no longer wear because I’ve developed a violent allergy to carmine, which appears to be in all of the purples that look best on me.
I didn’t find a clay that looked like it would work well with the color I was aiming for, and I wasn’t sure this would work well without clay. I used 100% mineral colors. I also used some activated charcoal, just to see how well that works. And guess what? I nailed it on my first go! I’m really tickled with it. It works kind of like the dried cake-style water color paints we used in paint boxes as kids. And it’s really pretty.
I left it on for about 9 hours yesterday, just to see how well it wears. It didn’t smudge or budge on its own. But if you rub your eye, it will smudge. It didn’t cause my eyes to go red or tear up like the commercial stuff now does. And it came right off with water when I was done testing. I’m still learning how to apply it with a brush, since I’m so used to using a pencil. So it didn’t look as good as yours in your photo – yet. 🙂
Here’s my formula:
(I bought my pigments at http://tkbtrading.com/)
I used mini measuring spoons because I wanted to make a small batch, and also, I wanted to be able to replicate it easily if I liked it. The spoons are four sizes, and I’ll give a volumetric measurement equivalent:
Dash = 1ml
Pinch = .5ml
Smidge = .25ml
Nip = about 1 drop
7 pinches Deep Blue
5 pinches Patagonia Purple
1 pinch Midnight Blue
1 pinch activated charcoal
1 smidge magnesium stearate
1 smidge guar gum
1 drop vegetable glycerin
2 drops jojoba oil
I had to really mix and mix and mix all the dry ingredients first. Then I added the glycerin and oil and mixed and mixed and smashed and mixed. The water was the easiest part. The whole thing mixed well into a cohesive lump which just filled a nice little glass eye shadow pot. I left it open to dry out over night and it was a nice solid cake this morning.
This is so cool! It sounds like you might want to invest in a DIY coffee grinder in the future for mixing 🙂 And for anybody else reading, it is worth noting that the pigments Andrine is using aren’t pure oxides—they’re a blend of micas, titanium dioxide, and oxides, varying by the colour 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing!
Thanks Marie – I will most likely use my cosmetics grinder for this next time. And thanks for the additional input! The eyeliner is still working great. I can even go out dancing and it’s still on when I get home – as long as I don’t try to rub my eyes. 😉
I’m thinking I’ll have to try making my own “pigments” to play with 🙂
I think you might really have fun with it. I did a LOT of research into the ingredients of the pigments that I used, finding out about how they were heat treated and blended to achieve the various colors, and looking into what might cause any kind of reaction. I was so tired of having reactions to eye makeup, and super nervous about trying anything new. But I’m really glad I did. It’s been so nice to have my eyes back (my coloring gives me eyes that are fairly invisible without eyeliner). 😀
Fantastic! I might have to place an order with TKB for my next trip to the USA so I can have some new colours to play with—they certainly stock many that I cannot get up here 🙂
Or if you like, contact me privately and I can help out so you don’t have to wait. 😀
I have a trip coming up soon, but I will keep that in mind for when I don’t. Thank you so much!
Love this. I’m waiting for my ingredients to arrive to try it. But I’m looking to make my own make up to avoid artificial ingredients. What is Mica? All the different colors, how do they achieve all the colors? Same question for magnesium sterate & guard gum. Are these things ever found organic?
Thanks so much for sharing!
Hi Brooke! I’d recommend reading this, this, this, and this to get you started 🙂
this makes me wonder about solid/stick eyeliner. I’m assuming it would be oil, wax, and pigments, like an extra firm lipstick… I keep wondering how to get a long slender stick of the product in the right shape without breaking it and then somehow mount it into one of the screw up tubes that twist up eyeliner comes in… hm… perhaps you will figure it out before I do!
I’m working on developing an oil based eyeliner for the book 🙂 So far it’s proving quite difficult to make something that actually stays on the skin but doesn’t feel like an eraser going on! I’m moving in the right direction, but it’s definitely taking a while.
Hi, i was just wondering what do i use as a preservative
Hi Michelle! Please read the note at the top of the formula.
“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.”