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Making Mineral Foundation

Written by Chelsea on June 21st, 2019.      53 comments

mineral foundation collage 1000

Making Mineral Foundation

My trials and experiences... and some pretty photos!

I wanted to talk about my practical experience making mineral foundation using Marie Rayma's (of recipe in her book Make It Up.

I won't be publishing her recipe online because it's not mine to publish, I'm just going to be adding some of my thoughts along with pictures of the process and pictures of my gorgeous friends with the colour blend recipes for the foundations we've made for them.

First of all I know it can all seem a bit overwhelming at first so we wanted to make the process of acquiring all of the ingredients you're going to need as simple as possible.

Watch our video tutorials on Making Mineral Foundation and Finding Your Perfect Tone

Mineral foundation kit

So we've put together a Mineral Foundation Kit which contains Marie's book with the recipe (and lots of others!), all the ingredients in enough volume that allows you to play so you don't have to worry about getting it perfect first time, all supplied in handy glass pots (much easier to work with than a ziplock bag), tools like mini measuring spoons (optional - if you already have them), a dust mask (because you'll be working with fine powders), an empty pot to keep your finished mineral foundation in and the option to make your loose powder foundation into a liquid foundation!

You're also going to need a makeup-specific coffee grinder. You don't want to be mixing makeup residue in with your morning flat white! You can find them pretty inexpensively from somewhere like Kmart or Dick Smith. I recommend getting one with a flat top because you're going to be covering it with baking paper (you'll see what I mean in the pictures).

As well as baking paper and paper towels for a quick clean up, I recommend a roll of toilet paper so you can quickly and easily clean off your spoons as you're moving between ingredients. 

You'll need a note pad or notes app on your phone for taking precise notes for when you're blending your pigments. Always note every measurement down so that when you find your perfect colour you can repeat it!

Now I'm fully aware that the outset cost of it can be a little daunting but I implore you to think for a moment about how easy it is to spend $50 - $100 (or more!) on a single foundation, a foundation that may only last a couple of months and only matches your skin tone for half of the year until the season changes. Think about all the empty bottles and plastic compacts you've thrown out, not to mention all the boxes and shrink wrapping included.

Then think about never having to spend money on any of that ever again! Also knowing exactly what you're putting on your skin and that it's vegan and cruelty free AND having the pride of telling all your friends

When you think about it like that it's a one-off investment on yourself, your skin and our planet.

Now, let's play!

 Leveling ingredients

When you're measuring your powdered ingredients always gently level them off with the blunt edge of a knife or the like. It's important not to pack down the powder because you're working with volume, not weight, and you want to get the same amount every time.

 Tiny measuring spoons web

Important measurements with the mini measuring spoons:

Tad = 1/4 tsp
Dash = 1/8 tsp
Pinch = 1/16 tsp
Smidgen = 1/32 tsp
Drop = 1/64 tsp

Powdered ingredients in grinder

Measure all your base powder ingredients into you grinder then place a piece of baking paper between the bowl of the grinder and the lid. This keeps the powder contained so that it doesn't go flying around and you don't lose too much of it on the inside on the lid.

Give the powder a whizz and then tap the edges and lid with your knife to unstick any powder stuck to the edges. Wait a couple of minutes for the dust to settle before taking the lid off and make sure you're wearing your dust mask. To be honest waiting for the dust to settle is what takes most of the time in this whole process but it is important to do.

Take the lid and paper off and give it a stir manually with your knife, concentrating on moving around ingredients stuck under the blades, to make sure everything is getting mixed in. Keep repeating this process of tapping, letting the dust settle and and stirring every time after you whizz the grinder.
Mineral foundation powdered ingredients

Now you're going to add the liquid ingredients a few drops at a time. They can be difficult to mix in and very difficult to get off the base of the grinder once they're on there so I recommend adding half at a time and making sure the drops sit on top of the powder, then give the grinder a gentle shake to cover the drops with powder then place the baking paper back on to and give it a whizz. Wait a couple of minutes for the dust to settle and repeat the process with the remaining half of the liquid.

*HOT TIP* When you're dealing with high numbers of drops or tiny teaspoons it's really helpful to count out loud so you don't forget what number you're at. It might sound silly and your family might think you're losing the plot but I promise (if you're anything like me) at some point you're going to get distracted and think... was I up to 12 or 13?? This becomes really important when you're dealing with pigment because it can throw your whole colour plan out of whack.

Now you're ready to add pigment!

Mineral foundation adding pigement

Choose the colour pigment recipe you feel is closest to your skin tone, either from Marie's book or from the photos below.

Remember it's very easy to add more pigment but much more difficult to over correct if you use too much and you may need to throw out your base and start again. So start lighter and build up. AND TAKE NOTES! You think you'll remember, but you wont remember! (Well, I don't remember.)

Place your pigments in the grinder, place the baking paper and lid back on top and give it a whizz.

Mineral foundation pigment blending

Test out the colour by dipping your makeup brush in and tapping it on the edge, making sure you only coat it lightly. Find a well lit mirror, preferably in natural light. Apply to one side of your face and see how you like it. Remember you will probably have started lighter than you need to be so look for tone that you feel like needs building, red? brown? yellow?

(Hint: it's usually yellow!)

It's almost impossible to tell if a colour is close to what you want while it's in the grinder, you've got to get it on your face.

mineral foundation bare face vs powdered face

It's helpful to powder one side of your face and then you have the other bare side of your face for colour comparison, then go back and adjust. Add pigment, take notes, repeat on the other side of your face and now compare to your original.

Then wash off the first side of your face and continue on alternating until you reach the shade you're happy with.

*HOT TIP* Whenever you're washing your face to make room for more tests be sure to moisturise and give your skin a few minutes to settle. You don't want to dry your skin out and the foundation may not perform as well without a moisturised base to work with. 

When you're done your finished powder should fit nicely in a 30ml clear glass pot or you might have a spare loose powder sifter lying around. 

In Marie's book she talks about how to press powders into compacts, you can buy or fashion a tool to do this however a handy 50c piece, some baking paper and good old brute force will do the job!

pressing powders

Pigment blend recipes

None of the ingredients used here have been tested on animals but I have been lucky enough to have some of my beautiful friends let me test on them!

So here's what pigment measurements we used for them so that you can find who your skin tone resembles the most and use that as a jumping off point.

1 base recipe

1 tsp titanium dioxide
7 smidgens yellow iron oxide
5 drops red iron oxide
1 pinch brown iron oxide

Lips: Farrah



1 base recipe
1 tsp titanium dioxide
1 tsp + 1 dash yellow iron oxide
1 smidgen + 1 drop red iron oxide
1 tad + 1 smidgen brown iron oxide

We got there in the end but this only really worked as a liquid.

As you can see we went nuts on the yellow iron oxide. Next time we try this I will leave out the titanium dioxide as it made it look ashy and it was very difficult to counter it with pigment once it was in.

For darker skin tones I would try making the base recipe with yellow iron oxide in place of zinc oxide.

1 base recipe
1 tsp + 1/2 tsp + 1 pinch yellow iron oxide
1 dash red iron oxide
5 pinches brown iron oxide
1 dash magnesium stearate
5 drops jojoba oil

We found for Ava this worked best as a liquid.

Lips: Naomi


1 base recipe
1 tsp titanium dioxide
1/2 tsp + 3 pinches yellow iron oxide
1 pinch red iron oxide
1 dash + 1 smidgen brown iron oxide

We added extra sericite mica for Tanya to make the coverage lighter because we didn't want to hide her beautiful freckles. Then we added a touch of silver satin mica to give it a glamorous shimmer. You can't really tell in the photo but in real life it turned out subtle and fun!

Sasha lip colour on lips and a touch on cheeks

 Chelsea makeup blog

(Oh look it's me! Sorry, mine's a selfie, that's what happens when you're the soul photographer.)

1 base recipe
1 tsp titanium dioxide
1/2 tsp + 7 smidgens yellow iron oxide
1 dash + 3 drops brown iron oxide
1 smidgen  + 1 drop red iron oxide

Silk cream foundation

This is one that I've made my mineral powder into a "Silky Cream Foundation" from Marie's recipe on

Following her substitution suggestions I replaced dimethicone with cococaprylate, used our olive squalane in place of C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate and Neossance Hemisqulane, and silica microspherescetearyl alcohol and more squalane to replace the OptiBlur Elastomer.

So it looks like this:

Heated phase
4g | 40% mineral makeup
1.6g | 16% cetearyl alcohol 
2.65g | 26.5% squalane - olive
0.3g | 3% cococaprylate

Cool down phase
0.4g | 4% silica microspheres
0.2g |2% cetearyl alcohol
0.8g | 8% squalane - olive
0.05g | 0.5% vitamin E

It's an added challenge and I felt super flash making it and I love how it applies and covers.
It's really great.

Find the recipe and instruction here...

Thank you so much, I hope this helps give you more confidence embarking on this exciting process yourself. And remember, once you know what your individual pigment blend is you can whip it up in ten minutes any time you need more!

If you have any questions feel free to email me at As I've said before, I'm still just at the beginning of my makeup making journey and I don't have all the answers but if I don't know the answer I won't pretend I do! I'll try to find the answer and we'll all continue learning.

- Chelsea

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