DIY Bare Essentials Mineral Makeup

DIY Bare Essentials Mineral Makeup
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Let me tell you, I LOVE mineral makeup. Ever since I started seeing the Bare Escentuals infomercials as a teenager, I became slightly obsessed with them.

Having very sensitive, dry, acne prone skin, it had been nearly impossible for me to find a foundation that didn't make me break out terribly. 

Except mineral foundation. It looks natural, feels light, it doesn't irritate my skin, and it's okay if I fall asleep while wearing it most nights once in a blue moon. What's not to love?

Well, the price tag actually! For years I bought a new pot of Bare Minerals every couple of months, cringing as I shelled out $27 each time for a small pot of foundation. Does this glorified dirt really need to cost so much? I wondered. 

Then one morning the thought occurred to me to check the ingredients list. And once I did, I realized that I could definitely make this myself. And once I successfully made it myself, I knew I had to share it with you! Here's the rundown: 

Mineral Makeup Ingredients

Mineral foundation is essentially made up of five ingredients. Fortunately, these ingredients are also cheap and pretty easy to come by. I purchased mine online, and now have enough ingredients to easily put together several years worth of custom mineral foundation! 

Pro tip: Most of these ingredients can be found at local soap making supply stores as well, in case you don't want to wait for shipping.

Zinc Oxide

Zinc oxide provides UVA and UVB protection in your makeup, and also provides an element of coverage to the powder. The more coverage you need, the more zinc oxide you should plan on adding.

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is one of the main ingredients in sunscreen. It is a white powder that covers well and forms a direct barrier between your skin and the sun. One of the great things about making your own mineral makeup is that you can choose how much sun protection you want! Add more for a higher SPF, or use less for a more sheer foundation.

Iron Oxides

Iron oxides are the natural pigments that will color your foundation. They typically come in red, yellow, and brown. I would suggest that you purchase all three to help you mix up the right tone for your skin. You only need a very small amount to tint your foundation. For the most part I used less than 1/8 teaspoon of each color to make one full pot of mineral powder. 

Mica Powder

Mica powder tends to brighten your skin, which is one of the reasons it is often used in shimmery lipsticks. It is almost glittery, but not quite. Unless you have extremely oily skin, I would add at least some mica powder into your foundation to give you a dewy complexion. And if you decide to try your hand at shimmer eye shadows or lip colors, use even more!

Sericite (Pearl) Mica

You know how Bare Minerals comes in "Matte" and "Original", with Original being more dewy looking for those with dry skin? Well, sericite mica is the basis for the second option.  This powder makes your foundation a little slippery, so that it blends well over your skin. It also gives you a slight sheen so that your skin glows, as opposed to looking overly dry and matte. If you have oily skin, you will probably want to use less sericite mica, and if you have dry skin you may want to use more. 

How to Make DIY Faux "Bare Essentials" Mineral Makeup

Start with the basic recipe below, but plan on adjusting it a bit to create a well matched powder for your skin. Don't worry! It's really not hard. Just be sure that you mix and apply it in natural light to get the right color. 

(I have fair skin, and found this mix to work well with my tone. If you have darker skin, start by doubling the amount of all oxide powders in the recipe to reach a deeper hue.)


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DIY Fresh Mineral Makeup RecipeStart with mostly yellow oxide, and slowly add in brown and red to get the right shade!
- 10 tsp titanium dioxide powder
- 5 tsp zinc oxide powder
- 4 tsp pearl mica powder
- 1 tsp mica powder
- 1/2 tsp yellow iron oxide powder
- 1/16 tsp brown iron oxide
- 1/32 tsp red iron oxide powder



1. Mix the ingredients together in a mortar and pestle if you have one, grinding it down finely to break apart any tiny clumps. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, a glass bowl and the back of a spoon will work as well.

2. Have a mirror handy, and apply a little powder to the side of your cheek. Add very, very small amounts of iron oxide colors until you get a well matched foundation. 

3. Make sure to mix and grind the tiny granules well to prevent them from bursting on your face, leaving little streaks of yellow or red. (Can you tell I've had this happen?)

4. Store your powder. I simply reused the Bare Minerals jar I already had, using a spoon to push the new powder back down through the sifter into the pot. You could also use a small glass jar or plastic makeup jar.

DIY Fresh Mineral Makeup Recipe
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Quick Tips for Perfect Color

- If the color is too light, add more brown mica.

- If the color is too dark, add titanium dioxide.

- If the powder looks "flat" on your skin, add mica powder.

- If the tone is too pink, add yellow mica. (And vice versa!)


I call this stuff my "Faux Minerals", and I've never been able to tell the difference between it and the real thing. It's wonderful. Plus, the cost savings are enormous. Once you purchase the ingredients, you are set for a long, long time! This recipe works out to be about $1-2 a jar, which makes my frugal heart flutter. 

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