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!


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

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.