I’m really excited to share this recipe with you guys—it’s a formula that’s been heavily requested, and I’ve been working on it and testing it for months now. This is a beautiful solid cream foundation that you can put in a compact or a stick for easy application. It glides on like a dream, blends beautifully, and offers both coverage and optical skin perfecting for all-around general awesomeness. It is more involved than the liquid foundation in my book, but I think the results are totally worth it.
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The colour and coverage in this Silky Cream Foundation comes from your already-completed mineral makeup from the recipe in my book, Make it Up: The Essential Guide to DIY Makeup and Skin Care. Since you’ve already done the colour blending and matching there it means this foundation comes together very quickly, and since the completed mineral makeup has already been thoroughly blended in a coffee grinder the powder is very evenly blended and incorporates into the rest of our base very easily.
I chose cetearyl alcohol as our thickener so we could have rich-yet-lightweight thickening without any wax. I wanted something a bit heavier than cetyl alcohol, but not quite as rich as stearic acid. If you don’t have cetearyl alcohol I’d recommend trying a blend of cetyl alcohol and stearic acid to get a similar effect—start with 50/50 and adjust as necessary.
For liquids I chose two lovely lightweight emollients—C12–15 Alkyl Benzoate and Neossance® Hemisqualane. Skin-feel wise they’re very similar to one another and you could easily use all of one or the other if that’s what you have, but I have both and I’m enjoying playing with them! They both have great slip and wonderful spreadability, making for a very silky feeling foundation that blends beautifully. I’ve also included some dimethicone 350 for extra creamy slip.
Last but not least, I’ve also included some OptiBlur Elastomer from LotionCrafter. They describe it as “a viscous, high molecular weight combination of dimethicone, beeswax, and cosmetic powders designed to create luxurious products that include optical blurring and soft focus properties, such as color cosmetics, facial products, and moisturizers with a unique velvety texture and matte finish.” It comes in a jar as a soft semi-transluscent clumpy-ish soft solid. Thanks to its high silicone content it has a really rich slippy feel, and it offers some serious optical perfecting powers. I love how it helps obscure fine lines and pores, making makeup look more real and skin more perfect. It also helps offer a bit of oil control and improve the overall feel of the foundation. I’ve been experimenting with it in quite a lot of foundation type projects I’ve been working on over the last year or so, and I’d really recommend getting some if you like making your own foundation.
The making is simple—gently melt everything together, blend it all together, and pour it into your container. If you’re using a compact I’d recommend pre-heating the metal dish of the compact with a hair dryer so the melted makeup doesn’t solidify on contact, making it difficult to get an even pour. If you’re using a tube simply work as quickly as possible and accept you can either have a perfectly poured end product or you can get all the makeup our of your mixing container, but you probably can’t have both 😝
The finished Silky Cream Foundation is stunning. I can’t decide if I like it better in a compact or a stick; the stick is insanely easy to apply with a kabuki brush in one hand and the stick in the other, but the compact is also crazy simple and I’m loving getting to use some of the beautiful vintage compacts I’ve collected over the years (watch for them at flea markets and vintage shops!).
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Silky Cream Foundation
4g | 40% mineral makeup (from the blog or the book)
1.6g | 16% cetearyl alcohol (USA / Canada)
1g | 10% Neossance® Hemisqualane (USA / Canada)
1.65g | 16.5% C12–15 alkyl benzoate
0.3g | 3% dimethicone 350 (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 small saucepan.
Weigh the heated phase ingredients into a small, narrow container—I recommend a 50mL beaker. If you’re going to use a small electric mixer to blend everything together (highly recommended) you’ll want to make sure you can corner the (relatively small amount of) melted liquid and not spray it everywhere.
Place the beaker in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.
Once the mixture has melted, add the cool down phase and quickly blend to combine. I recommend using a small electric mixer to get this job done quickly and efficiently. When the mixture is uniform, quickly transfer it to your container—either a flat makeup compact or a twist-up tube. If you’re using a compact I’d recommend pre-heating the metal dish of the compact with a hair dryer so the melted makeup doesn’t solidify on contact, making it difficult to get an even pour.
Let the mixture solidify, and you’re done! To use, spread some makeup across your face (straight from the tube or with a brush) and blend with a kabuki brush as required.
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this cream foundation 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 10g.
- 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.
- You could probably try a store bought mineral makeup if that’s all you have, though that will make this recipe significantly more expensive.
- If you don’t have cetearyl alcohol I’d recommend trying a blend of cetyl alcohol and stearic acid to get a similar effect—start with 50/50 and adjust as necessary.
- If you don’t have both C12–15 Alkyl Benzoate and Neossance® Hemisqualane you can use all of one or the other. For further substitution suggestions, please review their encyclopedia entries. I would also recommend reading up on the OptiBlur Elastomer as it has some solubility requirements as well, so not all possible alternatives are sure to work with it.
- You can try replacing the dimethicone with a natural silicone alternative like LuxGlide 350, or a very slippy oil.
- I have no good suggestions for replacing the OptiBlur Elastomer. I’d probably start with 4% silica microspheres, 2% cetearyl alcohol, and 8% more of either C12–15 Alkyl Benzoate or Neossance® Hemisqualane. I have not tested this, but the silica can bring some of the oil control/blurring while the cetearyl alcohol will help make up for the slight thickening the OptiBlur contributes.
The C12–15 alkyl benzoate was gifted by Essential Wholesale.