Make Your Own Eyeshadow with Spices, Clays and Minerals

Spice Shadow.jpg

If you know me well, you know that I'm not a huge fan the caked-on makeup look. In high school I pretty much never wore makeup, except for once or twice a year, eliciting many shocked and excited comments from friends, especially my mother, when I did. The older I've gotten, the more frequently I wear makeup, but often stick to just mascara and some lip tint. Going shopping at Sephora or any makeup counter, has always been sensory overload for me. Smells and colors and people trying to put things on is not my happy place. That's not to say I don't like the idea of makeup, I actually think it can be really fun to play around with. This time of year there seem to be more reasons to get dressed up and make my face sparkly.   

About 10 years ago I found a recipe online for a homemade face powder and it just so happened I had all the ingredients I needed on hand. The results were pretty great and since that time I have continued to create my own recipes for makeup. The results aren't always perfect and I have had to toss many a failure on the compost pile, but my most recent project I have been really happy with. The first time I made eyeshadow I was experimenting with inorganic pigments, mainly iron oxides. The colors were vibrant and beautiful and I really enjoyed using them. You can be very precise when color matching with inorganic pigments, however not *everyone* has a sample set of iron oxides sitting around the house. I am willing to bet that if you are reading this post, you probably have some cinnamon, cacao and maybe some turmeric in your spice cabinet right now.

Using spices and clays to make eyeshadows are not only convenient, but I feel SO much better about what I'm putting on my face. The ingredients found in common eyeshadows can be pretty nasty: aluminum, coal tar, formaldehyde and parabens, just to name a few. There are also a few companies that use nanoparticles in their mineral makeup. Nanoparticles can enter your bloodstream and accumulate in your body, not something we should expect to happen with makeup. The color from most cosmetic products come from iron oxides. Oxides are generally considered safe and the EWG considers them a low risk. That being said, the process of making pigments from oxides in a laboratory is pretty involved this video gives you an idea of how they are made. I found myself wanting something more accessible that has hopefully gone though less processing.

While lots of companies are starting to change their products due to public pressure, one way to make sure you know what is in your eyeshadow is to make it yourself!


Most of the ingredients I use in these recipes are easy to acquire (especially with the internet) if you don't already have them in your kitchen. 

Gold Mica Dust - Mica is a mineral that adds a bit of sparkle to your eyeshadow. When mica is wet ground it is like a fine glitter dust. A little goes a long way! 

Sericite Mica - Sericite Mica is an incredibly fine mineral that works to help the color adhere to your skin. It also helps to spread the color evenly. 

Beetroot Powder - For pinks and reds. You can purchase (or grow!) your own beets, slice, dehydrate and grind your own powder. Or pick some powder up at your local health food store. I like the Starwest Botanicals brand. Color will vary.

Cinnamon - Not only does it smell good, but it is a lovely warming color. 

Spirulina Powder - A blue-green alge that has numerous health benefits, also is an incredibly vibrant color of green. 

Turmeric - Another powerhouse spice that is amazing internally and externally. Add just a pinch for bright golden yellow. 

Cacao Powder - Cacao adds a light brown color and smells wonderful. 

Allspice - When I want a darker brown, allspice adds a nice depth of color. 

Activated Charcoal - Black. I've been using activated charcoal for years as an eyeliner. It makes a beautifully smokey shadow as well. 

Hibiscus Powder - Reds, pinks and purples. Hibiscus is high in vitamin c and great internally and externally. You can buy dried hibiscus flowers and grind them yourself or buy the powder ready to go. 

Tips and Tricks

Hibiscus eyeshadow dusted and hibiscus sparkle liner

Hibiscus eyeshadow dusted and hibiscus sparkle liner

When using spices for makeup, the effects will be more subtle then store bought products. While adding ingredients like mica help with adhesion and application, they are going to be more understated applied directly. If you are a fan of of the natural look, these recipes will be great on their own. If you would prefer a bolder look, here are some tricks you can use:

Moisturize Well. Applying oil or lotion to your eyelids will help the powder to stay put and adhere better. I like using argan oil. 

Arrowroot Powder. If you really want to show off the color, dusting your eyelid with arrowroot first will give you a good base.

Add Water. For a really clear line, you can wet your brush with a bit of water, dip in the eyeshadow. You can also use this trick with an eyeliner brush to turn your eyeshadow into a liner. 

Aloe Vera. Similar to water, you can use aloe vera juice on your brush to make a little paste with the colors and apply as a liner or eyeshadow. 

Concealer. By adding concealer to your eyelid you can make a nice clean palate to work with. Concealer recipe coming soon!


Activated charcoal eyeliner and smokey shadow

Activated charcoal eyeliner and smokey shadow

As you can tell from the pictures...I am not a makeup artist! I just mess around with techniques until I like what I see. 

Just a note on tools: in the recipes I mention the measurements dash, smidgen, tad, and drop. These are clearly non standard measurements! They come from my favorite tiny measuring spoons. When measuring using such small amounts, it really helps to have a uniform measuring spoon. If you don't have these spoons, just wing it! A tad is about 1/4 teaspoon, a dash is less than that, then a pinch, then a smidgen, then a drop. When you want to get really serious about homemade makeup we can talk about scales and spice grinders, but that will have to be another day. 

I should probably mention brushes as well. When you apply your shadow to a brush as loose powder, tap the end of your brush upside down on the counter before you apply. This will help the powder to set into the brush and help you avoid getting loose powder all over your face. All of these recipes can be used as eyeliners as well. A straight angled brush is a great tool for lining your eye and can work wet or dry. 

Have fun experimenting and don't be shy to make it up as you go!


Homemade Eyeshadow Recipes

Before you get started you want to get set up with a few tools: Small mixing bowls, a small whisk, measuring spoons, mini funnels (or roll a paper funnel), tiny measuring spoons (for all the dashes, smidgens, drops and tads you see below) and a small container to store your powder (old eyeshadow containers that have been sterilized work great!). Who doesn't love working with all these miniature tools?!

Precaution: You want to avoid breathing in the powders, as you are mixing by hand that should be pretty easy. If you want to be extra cautions you can use a dust mask while working. 

 Whisk all of the ingredients together and pour into your jar using a funnel.   

Deep Green

1/2 tsp Spirulina Powder

Pinch Gold Mica Dust

Tad Sericite Mica



1/4 tsp Beetroot Powder

Dash Cinnamon

Dash Sericite Mica

Drop of Gold Mica Dust (Optional)


Golden Brown

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

Dash Turmeric

Dash Sericite Mica

Drop of Gold Mica Dust (Optional)



1/4 tsp Cacao Powder

1/4 tsp Allspice

Pinch Activated Charcoal

Dash Sericite Mica

Drop of Gold Mica Dust (Optional)


Hibiscus Sparkle

1/2 tsp Hibiscus Powder 

1/4 tsp Sericite Mica

Drop of Gold Mica Dust 


These recipes are just a place for you to start. Play around with the colors and come up with your own combinations! Make sure to take notes so you can replicate if you like the results! And don't forget to come back and let me know what worked for you!

Anti-Inflammatory Synergistic Turmeric Paste

A few years ago I was having an off day. I felt sluggish and was pretty sure I was coming down with something nasty. I had two energetic boys running around who needed to eat something, but I could hardly get off the couch. As I rested on the couch this article about golden milk came up in my feed. I had been reading a lot about turmeric so I thought I’d give it a try. I didn’t have fresh turmeric, but whipped some up with the powder I had on hand. Within minutes after drinking it I was cleaning up toys and starting dinner feeling totally fine.

As of today, when you search PubMed for articles on turmeric there are 3,854 results. If you search PubMed for curcumin (the active component in turmeric) there are almost 10,000 results of published papers. Curcumin has been studied as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal and anticancer treatment [1]. In the article Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials, the authors review much of the research that has been done in the last 25 years and highlight the promising effects “observed in patients with various pro-inflammatory diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, uveitis, ulcerative proctitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel disease, tropical pancreatitis, peptic ulcer, gastric ulcer, idiopathic orbital inflammatory pseudotumor, oral lichen planus, gastric inflammation, vitiligo, psoriasis, acute coronary syndrome, atherosclerosis, diabetes, diabetic nephropathy, diabetic microangiopathy, lupus nephritis, renal conditions, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, β-thalassemia, biliary dyskinesia, Dejerine-Sottas disease, cholecystitis, and chronic bacterial prostatitis”

Basically, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are powerful enough to produced noticeable affects on inflammation, and inflammation causes: ALL THE PROBLEMS. Headaches, cancer, depression, high blood pressure, digestive issues…all stem from inflammation. While the best course of action is to address the cause of the inflammation, turmeric can help to reduce overall inflammation while you work to address the other factors causing the inflammation.

I have taken turmeric for headaches and sore throats with great success. I also notice my mood improves when I take turmeric resulting in me being calmer and having more patience with my kids (always something I need more of). 

While there are so many potential benefits of turmeric, one downside is that it can be difficult to reap those benefits when taken on its own. In this turmeric paste I add ingredients that will work together to activate the curcumin as well as provide additional positive side effects.

Here is the run down of each ingredient and why I include it in the paste:

Turmeric – see above!

Cinnamon – Benefits include being an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, anticancer, lipid-lowering, and cardiovascular-disease-lowering compound[2]. Many studies have shown that cinnamon taken internally can reduce the glycemic index of a meal up to 29% and lower blood glucose, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides[3]. Cinnamon also adds a nice sweetness to balance the strong flavor of the turmeric.

Ginger – Aids in digestion and detoxification. It is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory[4]. It is also the flavor bridge between the cinnamon and turmeric.

Coconut Oil – Turmeric is fat soluble[5]. Adding coconut oil increases the bioavailability of the turmeric. Coconut oil is a saturated fat (that’s the best kind!). The lauric acid found in coconut oil has strong anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties[6], making a great addition to this immune boosting paste.

Raw Honey – This is not a necessary ingredient for the mixture (unless you are trying to give some to my kids, then it totally is). Honey makes a great addition when trying to soothe a sore throat or making Golden Milk. Honey also has antimicrobial properties. If you have access to local raw honey (you should always look for raw!) it can also help prevent seasonal allergies.

Black Pepper – Increases the bioavailability of the turmeric. One often quoted study[7] mentions that by adding piperine (the active compound in black pepper) to curcumin it increased the bioavailability by 2000%. You can read more about the benefits of black pepper and turmeric here.

In addition to all that amazingness, each of the spices in this mix contain polyphenols. Have you read about polyphenols? They are amazing you should. This article on Chris Kresser’s blog discusses the ability of polyphenols to improve your gut bacteria.

anti-inflammatory turmeric paste

Anti-Inflammatory Synergistic Turmeric Paste

¼ cup organic powdered turmeric

2 tbs cinnamon

1 tbs ginger

¼ cup melted coconut oil

2 tbs raw honey (or more to taste)

pinch of black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a glass jar (turmeric can stain plastics and ceramics). Adjust spices and honey to taste.

Makes great turmeric milk as well! Just add a tablespoon to a warm cup of the milk of your choice.

We usually take a teaspoon of this paste after dinner to aid with digestion (and reduce the glycemic inde, while the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory affects help to detox and boost our immune system over night. 

How do you use turmeric? Let me know!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and have no medical training. I do my own research and enjoy sharing what I have learn here, but I encourage you to do your own research and discuss with a doctor you trust before making changes to your diet and lifestyle.



[3] Ferriss, Timothy (2010-12-14). The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Kindle Locations 3199-3202). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.



[6] Fallon, Sally; Enig, Mary. Nourishing Traditions:  The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (p. 20). National Book Network - A. Kindle Edition.