Homemade natural translucent powder

Hey friends!

I am beyond excited to share my latest DIY find with you, homemade all-natural translucent powder! I heard about this from a friend and thought it was worth a whirl…and it’s amazing. Can you tell I am RAVING about it!?!?!  I have super oily skin and this stuff blots the oil right out, stays put all day AND looks and feels totally natural. Perfect right?

PLUS!! It’s SO cheap! I got all these ingredients at Whole Foods for less than $10 and it’s gonna last a lloooonnnnggg time!!

You will need organic cornstarch and French green clay.

You can also tint a little with organic cocoa ( I like it)

Cornstarch is sometimes used in makeup because it offers great oil absorption. It is not a drying agent, it just absorbs what’s there. So if you have dry skin, don’t be afraid   It does have a shelf life, so make a note of that (1 year or longer).  I’ve read a few places that it could possibly irritate skin or cause acne, but I’ve had no such problems…in fact, my acne is better.

French Green Clay is often used in resorts for facials and spa treatments. It’s pretty great at absorbing dirt, oil and bacteria while being gentle on pores.

I’ve added links to purchase these products at the end of the post:)

In a small bowl combine 1 part cornstarch, 1 part green clay and a bit of cocoa.

1 part in a 1 to 1 recipe depends on how much you are making. If you want a gallon, each part would be 2 quarts. If you want 1 cup, each part would be half a cup.  If you are using a spice jar like I did, then about half a jar of each.

Mix together carefully, making sure to fully incorporate any lumps.

I used a spice jar as my makeup container. I prefer this one from Spice Islands because it’s glass with a metal screw on lid. Soak it to remove all the label…and the ground mustard, and let it FULLY dry.

Paint your lid if you want. I did, because it’s cute, and because I don’t want anyone mistaking this for some spice blend I whipped up.

EDIT: The silver paint I used is rubbing off a bit, but Amazon has some makeup containers that might be worth trying…link at the bottom of this post.


When everything is dry, funnel or scoop your powder in, and you’re all set!

I add a little to the cap, load my brush, tap excess off and apply.  Like all loose powder, it can be a bit dusty, but it brushes right off my clothes. Also, it’s going to look a little green, but once you brush it on the color matches your skin tone.

*tip: I use an organic moisturizer with SPF before putting this on. Most makeup these days has SPF, but this doesn’t…so protect yourself friends!

*tip: If you have darker skin, you may want to add more green clay and cocoa, the cornstarch is the white that’s going to be too light for your skintone.

Have a great day everyone!!

You can purchase all these products through Amazon below. I’m not at all trying to make money off tutorials, I just find this to be an easy way to share and purchase products if you can’t find it local.


UPDATE 8/16/13

Some updates from your comments are below. I haven’t tried all of these things, nor do I validate the truth of all of them, but I felt it would be good to answer some of the FAQ’s:

1. This color is green!!!???  This makeup DOES look greenish. It might even look a little green on your face for 3 minutes. Then it begins to blend.

2. Alternatives to cornstarch?  You might try Bentonite Clay or Arrow Root powder in place of corn starch if you can’t find/have allergies.

3.  Do the products need to be organic?

*Just an FYI, on the term “organic”. To be certified organic the corn and cocao to make the powders would have been grown without the use of artificial chemical fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, and the like. It would also encompass any chemicals used in the processing of the product, which aren’t necessarily listed on the ingredient list. Go organic for your health and the health of the planet!

*A whole lot of food allergies COME from eating GMO foods which are grown with lots of chemical weed killers and fertilizers. I would *strongly* recommend that you purge your kitchen of all Non-organic items. I had chronic IBS and wheat intolerance until I switched to a 100% organic kitchen. Nothing beats good health.

4. Other ways besides cocoa powder to color?  Nutmeg and cinnamon blended to desired shade and used as a bronzer (in the product or on top), or other readers tried Moroccan Red Clay Powder and Brazilian Pink Clay, and carob powder.

5. What if I have dark skin? Remember this is translucent powder, not tinted powder, so it shouldn’t be the color of your skin.  Also, I tested this on my bi-racial child who has pretty dark skin. It’s a little white at first, but in a couple minutes it fades into the skin. This is just how it acts on my skin.  Try it, and if you’re not happy after a few minutes, add a little more color to darken it.

6. Will this dry out my skin?  The products aren’t drying, they are oil absorbing. So if the oil isn’t there, it just won’t have anything to absorb.

7. What about sun protection? The ingredients listed do have naturally occurring SPF. In fact, some would argue that they are a better option than chemically created ingredients because they physically block the uv rays, instead of chemically absorbing them.

8. Can I add sunblock in just to be safe? There are two natural ways to add SPF via zinc oxide powder. If it is 20% of your mixture, it makes SPF 30.  So, you can get the powder and mix it with this powder or you can add it to your under layer. I basically just mix coconut oil and the powder — and this is my normal under layer moisturizer. Once it’s soaked in, then I put on my powder.

9. What happens if your face gets wet…does the makeup harden like a mask? Nope, it acts like regular makeup/powder.

10. What about acne? There are loads of comments and tips on treating acne, I’m not going to copy them all here, since this post is about the makeup, but if that’s a problem for you, read on!

Thanks to all the comments, especially those whose tips are copied above! I do hope this makeup works for you! But I also know that if one thing worked for everyone…well…the makeup industry would look a lot different. For me this project is about saving money, and ridding myself of chemicals. If you feel the same, and it’s not working out, then try some alternatives until you get something that works for you! Thanks y’all!

And thanks Laurie for featuring me on Tip Me Tuesday:)

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  1. I love do it yourself! I’ll provide the natural hair brushes :)

  2. I did try this, I used a half cup corn starch
    A half cup of French Green Clay power
    and a touch of cocoa powder the baking sort that I saw in your pictures.
    I’m sorry hon, but I had to throw it out. The shade of greenish grey was more than I could deal with. My batch looked nothing like your final product. I’ll just stick to using corn starch to lengthen the life of my cosmetic powders. Thank you tho for submitting this recipe. I may experiment with it and find something different to use.

    • I’m thinking one could use Bentonite Clay instead of the French clay. Bentonite is used as a binder in pharmaceuticals, is used mixed with lots of water for belly-aches, or little water for a facial mask or poultice. It is a light, tan-beige color.

    • There is another duy i use and love for face powder and no green tint lol 1 tbls cornstarch to 1/2 tsp baby powder and tint with baking cocoa! I love it!

      • Just a point on the baby powder – check out what it’s made from, I’ve recently had a baby and checked out the ingredients and was horrified at some of the stuff they put in Baby Powders.

        • Baby Powder is Corn Starch and Fragrance. It’s not that horrifying. If it causes irritation throw out the baby powder and just use Corn Starch.

          • Anytime a product says “fragrance” that is a polypareben which has been known to be found in breast cancer tissue. All of the products I use I know what they are exactly.

          • Baby powder is only cornstarch if that’s what the label says. It is traditionally talcum powder and a host of other ingredients including fragrance.

      • kim lambdin says:

        i wouldn’t use baby powder. they put talcum powder and that has been linked to cancer…just found this out!

    • you can omit the clay…. arrowroot powder and cocoa or nutmeg or cinnamon works fine without any green tinge. there is another blogger whom I took my recipe from so I know it’s out on the net. I just can’t recall right now… if green turns you off just use the cornstarch / arrow root powder (the whitening) with the tint from the aforementioned list and you should be good. be careful with cinnamon as some people can have a reaction to it on their skin.

    • why not try coconut flour instead of the cornstarch?

  3. Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Finding the time and actual effort to create a
    very good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never
    manage to get nearly anything done.

  4. Mary McKnabb says:

    When spay painting the Lid of any jar use a fine grade of sandpaper and sand the lid just a little bit to take the shine off then spray paint it. This will help the spray paint from rubbing off!

  5. I have not tried this yet, but I will be as soon as my finishing powder is gone. Just an FYI, if you have rosacea, or red marks on your skin, the green in the clay would camouflage or cover that somewhat. I use a primer for the redness on my face and it is green! It blends right in…give it a chance or use some other type of clay if it doesn’t work for you.

    • I too have rosacea, and right away when I saw the green clay, I figured this would work well for me. I am going to order the ingredients since we don’t have a Whole Foods near us.

  6. Bluberrymuffin says:

    Can you make it into pressed powder with alcohol?

  7. Rosa Martinez-Button says:

    You can use rice powder: http://powdered-peach.blogspot.com/2011/03/stay-shine-free-this-summer-with-rice.html and there’s no shelf life plus has SPF

  8. Rachael Gero says:

    Just made this and I LOVE IT!! Great coverage and it allows my natural blush from 100% Pure stick to it beautifully – easy to make and get the ingredients. Thank you!!!!

  9. Megan Griffith says:

    Do you have to use the green clay?

  10. Abisola J says:

    You can also try using Arrow Root Powder instead of cornstarch, I found that arrow root powder is a bit finer in consistensy and blends better onto the skin than cornstarch which sits on top of the skin and tends sticks to the facial hairs.

  11. My new favorite powder.

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  15. so, i tried this a week ago, with the nutmeg, cinnamon, instead of cocoa powder, and sweet potato starch in place of corn starch, not sure why i had it, but we certainly werent using it, just a pinch of the green clay, and a little bit of bentonite clay, and mixed it with a hempseed lotion i keep around for use as a base. my skin is incredibly sensitive, and not only did it not break me out, but the base, with the powder over, looked amazing. and it smelled good too!

  16. Hi! I love this post! I always love to learn ways to save money! :) You said certified organic means there’s no artificial chemicals/ pesticides etc on the plants when they are being grown. This is true to an extent, but if you do further research on organic products, you’ll discover not only they can use artificial chemicals (limited amounts) but they can use other “natural” products that are ten times more dangerous for the environment (and you) than the processed chemical ones. I have a Bachelors in Dairy Science and I have been farming for about 24 years, I just figured I’d pass on my knowledge :)


    That’s a good article to read when you get a chance! Have a good day!

  17. Hey there! This is a PERFECT idea! I’m allergic to ALL powders and foundations out there, except for the powder and foundation at Lush. I love Lush’s powder, but it’s in such a small container, for about $18…I don’t mind spending that much, but it is pricey for such a small thing. Would I be able to use this over my foundation at all? Or do you have another suggestion that I could wear a homemade powder over my foundation? Now, not wearing my foundation is NOT an option, as I am required to wear it to work. Thank you in advanced to replying to this, and again great post!!! (:

    • Christine-GreatOakCircle says:

      Hi Ashley!
      This is a basic translucent powder, it would absolutely work over foundation, help set it, and help keep the oil away.
      Thanks for your comment!

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  21. I have olive skin, so I am able to omit the green clay all together. But… to add better smoothness and blendability I do add rice powder (cosmetic grade) to the mixture of just 3T of cornstach, 1T of rice powder and about 1/2 tsp of cocoa powder and that’s it! I can add or omit, depending on whether or not I do get a little color in the summer to blend to match my forehead, that does sweat off most of the sun screen and ends up getting darker than the rest of my face. Works a lot better than any mineral make up! I do like the matte finish, rather than al of that mica that makes your face shiny. That too me makes your skin look oily and unclean. That is just my preference :) .

  22. Hi. Just stumbled on your site when looking for some ideas on making less-hazardous face powder, and here I am. First of all, thank you. You gave good options with understandable explanations, and good alternative products to try for those who may need something different. No product will be perfect for everyone, and no one should expect that. It is just a good jumping off place.

    One thing I didn’t see mentioned here in the comments is use of colloidal oatmeal. Really good for sensitive skin (ie, eczema) and a light tan color vs plain white like cornstarch and arrowroot, etc.

    God bless, keep up the good work—keep your little light shining!

  23. This really works! I was skeptical at first, but I am so glad I gave it a try. My wallet is doing a happy dance thanks to you, and my face is looking totally natural-chic right now.

  24. Where did you get the green clay? thanks for the idea and recipe!

  25. When I searched online for green clay, I also found red and yellow clays. I bought arrow root as well. I used 1 1/4t of arrow root and 1/4t each of the red, yellow, and green clays to make a small batch to see how it looked. Its so easy to match skin tones with these 4 ingredients!

  26. Just wondering what green clay is and where to purchase it.

  27. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems wigh tthe images on this blog loading?

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  30. I have not made this yet, but am going to as soon as I get off the computer lol. STOP HATING ON THE GREEN CLAY…it is used in most make ups to tone down the redness in your complexion from acne, rosacea and the like. if you are hesitant because you do not have redness in your skin, use less. better yet, make a very small test batch and when you buy the green clay, do not buy a large amount and share the costs with a friend. find someone who makes their own beauty products and ask for a small amount to buy, most will be happy to help. check out http://www.justtheessentials.ca

  31. Annette Justice says:

    Rice Powder also comes in different shades and can be purchased at Sallys Beauty Supplies

  32. Christina says:

    For a more natural tint, try adding a pinch of tumeric. Plus it’s good for your skin.

    • I totally agree! Turmeric will add a light golden tinge and tone down the green and it is a natural anti-inflammatory. So, it is excellent for rosacea and acne prone skin!!

  33. help im not sure on the exact amounts to use. also i have discolouration like a bruise on my cheek would this cover it?

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  35. I made a batch using bentonite clay, then mixed two different shades. It works for face sculpting – I could hardly believe it. I am considering adding some red powder (hibiskus? beet root?) and making a blush.

    Several weeks after using it my blackheads and pores are less prominent, and my skin looks normal, whereas before it used to look as if it were rubbed in oil after an hour since facial wash.

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  38. Katie Daft says:

    Thank you for this awesome post! Was looking through the medicine cabinet the other day and it occured to me that Burt’s Bee’s Baby Bee Dusting Powder has cornstarch, sodium bicarbonate, french white clay, natural clay, powdered rosebuds, powdered myrrh, powdered slippery elm bark in it. All really good ingredients for the skin. Going to try adding a little bit of cocoa powder to it to see how it works!

  39. Pretty! This was a really wonderful article.

    Many thanks for providing this info.

  40. Hi Christine,
    I just discovered this tutorial and tried it out with awesome results. Thanks so much! I posted my process on my blog: http://windy-city-musings.blogspot.com/2014/03/diy-natural-powder-makeup.html

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  42. Adding the zinc oxide powder worries me a bit. While spf is a great addition, you should never inhale the zinc oxide powder and I know all of us probably inhale a bit of our powder makeup when putting it on. Even when I make sunbock I wear a face mask to protect myself from inhaling the zinc. Very dangerous, not too great on the lungs either. Just a word of caution. Possibly try something with a higher natural spf rather than mess with zinc oxide powder.

  43. If corn starch irritates your skin try arrow root instead.

  44. I’m so gonna try this ! ilike to make new friends also , and I too am a believer!

  45. Hi…I am allergic to corn…is there any other item you think could be mixed with this?

  46. Thanks for stopping by Merrie!
    Seems like we are soul sisters;)
    Have a great day

  47. Hi!
    Some have said to try arrowroot powder instead. It’s not something I have tested, but worth a shot!
    Hope that helps!

  48. arrowroot?

  49. Linda Maue says:

    You could try rice flour, I am going to try this too, with a bit of talcum powder. :)

  50. Rosa Martinez-Button says:

    You can use rice powder: http://powdered-peach.blogspot.com/2011/03/stay-shine-free-this-summer-with-rice.html and there’s no shelf life plus has SPF

  51. Christine-GreatOakCircle says:

    Hey Toni!
    Arrowroot is a white powder for baking found probably in the baking section of a whole foods store or maybe the organic part of a reg grocery store. It’s pretty cheap…and also good in grain-free pizza crust;)

  52. Bridget says:

    I use organic arrowroot and it works wonders. My acne prone, oily, sensitive skin is FINALLY under control. ;)

  53. Do not use talcom powder it is hard on your lungs! Ok for babies bottoms but not your face or do NOT inhale at all when using!

  54. Talc is also linked to various diseases involving reproductive health in women who use it on their bottoms, so I would not say it’s safe for baby’s bottom either. Burt’s Bees makes a nice “baby” powder that is talc free and not just for babies! I use it daily instead of antiperspirant and love the gentle scent. Great post also! Thanks! Love the clear directions and great photos. I will be trying this out…


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  26. […] I tried this a week ago, with the nutmeg, cinnamon, instead of cocoa powder, and sweet potato starch in place of corn starch, not sure why i had it, but we certainly werent using it, just a pinch of the green clay, and a little bit of bentonite clay, and mixed it with a hempseed lotion i keep around for use as a base. My skin is incredibly sensitive, and not only did it not break me out, but the base, with the powder over, looked amazing and it smelled good too! For more details please visit this link were you will find instructions: greatoakcircle.com […]

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