Natural Liquid Foundation Recipe

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How to make natural liquid foundation
Wellness Mama » Blog » Beauty » Natural Liquid Foundation Recipe

I’ve shared my homemade powdered makeup recipes before but I’ve been playing with a liquid foundation or creme recipe for months (ok, years).

Until now, it has just frustrated me and all of the trial recipes turned into tinted body butters or cremes because they didn’t offer enough coverage or offered too much. Some looked grainy, others streaky, others just fake.

Natural Liquid Foundation…

After dozens of tries, I finally found a recipe for a liquid foundation that offers coverage and looks amazing on skin but doesn’t look like it would be better suited for a clown.

It combines many of my favorite natural skin ingredients like shea butter and argan oil with natural minerals and clays. Once I discovered how to make a good base for this recipe, it was easy to create natural creme blush and concealer as well.

The Base Moisturizer

There are actually two options for the base of this recipe: the simple way or the DIY way. 

  1. For a simpler version, use a natural pre-made moisturizer for the base and add colors and pigments as needed.
  2. The DIY way takes a little more time and five ingredients but allows more customization since you’re making the base lotion yourself.

If you prefer the pre-made option, I recommend using one of these two natural lotions, which both are rated as safe by the Environmental Working Group (and they make your skin feel incredible!):

If you want to use the homemade version, you’ll need these ingredients for the base:

And these ingredients to add to the base for color and coverage:

Cost Comparison

Per ounce, this foundation is much less expensive than leading brands, and drastically cheaper than organic brands. I wasn’t able to nail down the exact price per ounce since so little of each ingredient was used.

If you already have all or most of the ingredients on hand from other projects, the DIY base version is going to be less expensive. If you don’t, using a natural lotion with similar ingredients is going to be less expensive.

All of the ingredients have other uses and even just a few ounces of each will make months and months of makeup. (I recommend making in small batches if using the homemade version since it won’t have a long shelf life and should be used within a few weeks).

Customizing to Your Skin Tone

If you’re using a pre-made mineral makeup in your skin tone, just add to the pre-made or homemade lotion until you get the desired color and coverage.

For the homemade version, I recommend making the base lotion (details below) and testing on your skin to make sure you like the coverage and texture. Once you create your custom base, start adding the color powders (clays, mica, cocoa, zinc, etc) little by little to get the color and coverage you want.

Some tips I discovered along the way:

  • If you’re using zinc oxide (which is used in many mineral makeups and my natural sunscreen), you’ll want to add it  first for the coverage aspect. I added about 5 times as much non-nano zinc oxide as other color ingredients
  • Then, add clays and sprinkle them on very lightly to prevent clumping. I found that a tiny bit of french green clay and fullers earth clay helped even out my skin tone
  • Then, add color slowly (you can’t undo this part!). I started by sprinkling tiny amounts of cocoa powder, bronze mica powder and gold mica powder  and mixing until I got a color that worked for my skin.
  • I tested this on the inside of my arm for color and consistency before putting on my face.
  • If you want, you can add a couple drops of a skin-safe essential oil like lavender or frankincense or rose for scent and added benefit.
  • The zinc and clays offer coverage and smoothing, the mica and cocoa add color and bronzing. Add both slowly until the desired color and coverage are reached. Let cool and re-test on the inner arm or neck to confirm it is the right color.
  • If you want a thicker creme foundation, add slightly more emulsifying wax or shea butter.
  • If you prefer a smoother/thinner coverage, add slightly less or up the aloe and witch hazel.

Natural Foundation Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons of argan oil or jajoba oil
  • 1 teaspoon of shea butter
  • 1/2 tsp emulsifying wax
  • 1 tablespoon aloe gel
  • 1 teaspoon witch hazel
  • OR 3 tablespoons of natural pre-made lotion(in place of first 5 ingredients)
  • 1-4 teaspoons non-nano zinc oxide
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1//2-1 tsp mica powder of choice
  • 1/2 tsp clay of choice (if using)
  • OR 2-3 teaspoons of All-natural mineral powder in color of choice

What to Do:

If making the simple version… just mix the organic lotion and mineral powder to get the desired color and consistency.
For the complete DIY:
Melt the shea butter, argan oil and emulsifying wax in a double boiler until completely melted.
Add the aloe and witch hazel and whisk until completely incorporated and smooth.
Turn heat off.
Slowly, start adding colors. Start with zinc and clays until desired coverage is reached. It will still be too pale at this point.
Add mica powders and cocoa powder a tiny pinch at a time until desired color is reached.
Dip the tip of a spoon into the mixture and let cool for a few seconds. Test the color and coverage on your forehead to make sure you’ve achieved the right tone for your skin.
Spoon the mixture into the desired container and let cool.

How to Store Homemade Foundation

This can be easily stored in a glass jar or old makeup container. My favorite way to store is in a silicon squeezable tube for easy application. This helps prevent contamination since you aren’t reaching into the makeup container and keeps it fresh longer.

I prefer to squeeze a small amount onto a makeup sponge and apply. A little goes a long way!

Best Pre-Made Option?

If you don’t want to make the base lotion yourself, at least consider using an organic lotion and natural mineral powder for a simple two-ingredient foundation.

The best fully pre-made liquid foundation I’ve found is Jane Iredale but the DIY option provides similar results and is much less expensive over time.

Ever made your own make-up? What did you use?

This natural liquid foundation airbrushing creme is amazing for skin and makes it look amazing with shea butter, aloe, witch hazel, argan oil and minerals.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


206 responses to “Natural Liquid Foundation Recipe”

  1. Stephanie Avatar

    Hi wellness mama!

    I tried this recipe using one of the recommended lotions. Then I added Bentonite Clay and cocoa powder. From reading it seemed that the mica and nano oxide was optional. (could be wrong though)

    The foundation has no coverage. It just seeps into my skin. 🙁
    Should I add emulsifying wax to make it not so porous? It’s just going straight into my skin, not on top. Was trying to go the simpler route but makeups one of the few things I use the bad stuff.

    I’d really like to make this work. Please help!!! Thank you!

      1. Hannah Gagnon Avatar
        Hannah Gagnon

        Hello! Trying homemade face products out for the first time. So the zinc oxide serves two purposes, sun protection and helps provides better coverage or just sun “coverage”?

        I also have a piggy back question, as I said homemade foundation is new for me. I am also interested in the tinted moisturizer recipe and was thinking I could start there. My first question: do you apply any other moisturizer when wearing your tinted moisturizer or just that? Next do you wash, remove or add to your tinted-moisturized-face (?) before bed? And lastly, I tend to have very dry skin, especially in the winter, which lotion base would you recommend the natural shae moisturizer or would your homemade version be more moisturizing?

        Really look forward to trying this out and your feedback would be much appreciated!

        1. Wellness Mama Avatar

          I do not apply additional moisturizer when using the tinted one but I don’t have very dry skin. The zinc oxide does provide some sun protection and make-up coverage as well. The lotion I linked to should still be moisturizing enough if you start with that recipe.

          1. Hannah Gagnon Avatar
            Hannah Gagnon

            Great thanks! Do you wash off the tinted moisturizer like you would makeup or leave it on (overnight).

  2. Mandy Avatar

    Hi Katie. I have an aloe Vera plant at my home. I was just wondering if you though I could use the aloe directly from my plant rather than the aloe that is in your link?

      1. Kathleen Avatar

        Thank you for answering this, it was one of my questions. We just made some and all went well till we added a bit more clay, then it separated. Can we fix it?

  3. Olivia Avatar

    Hi Katie,
    I love your blog! Thank you so much for all your insight! I was just wondering, I thought zinc oxide and mica were bad for you and eventually cause health hazards. Am I wrong?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      It is very important to use non-nano(particle) versions of them, especially the zinc. Nano particles are what leach into your blood and cause problems.

  4. Izzie Avatar

    Instead of witch hazel can I use rose water or apple cider vinegar? I use those for toner and don’t like witch hazel because of the alcohol.

  5. Ellie Avatar

    Instead of the vegetable based emulsifying wax can I use beeswax since I have it on hand? Thankyou!

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      Unfortunately, beeswax doesn’t work as well for getting the liquid and oil ingredients to incorporate. You can, but it requires a lot of mixing and can still separate.

  6. Kathleen Avatar

    I have searched the Internet for a diy concealer with no luck. Do you think this recipe would work if I add more emulsifying wax or zinc oxide? I mainly use it to conceal under eye circles and the occasional blemish. Thanks!

  7. sarah Avatar

    I have been looking for a natural diy foundation option, but oils and lotions clog my pores and cause me to break out badly, even the all natural and non comedigenic ones. I had disastrous results with the oil cleansing method. Do you have any suggestions for a base that does not contain lotion or oil?

      1. Brianna H. Avatar
        Brianna H.

        Is there something I could use in place of aloe, or can i just omit it? I am severely allergic to aloe so finding any natural cosmetics, lotions, sunscreens, soaps, or just anything put on the skin seems nearly impossible.

  8. Maureen Avatar

    I’m not quite ready to take the plunge in purchasing all of these ingredients, but I am primed to try the mineral powder + shea butter and jojoba.

    I’ve been trying to find out all I can about the Jane Iredale loose powder. I’ve established it does NOT have a shimmer, which I’m happy about. But I’m confused the company describes it as “a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 20 UVB/UVA”? Is that property entirely naturally occurring?

    Does anyone else find it fishy the price ranges from $24.99 to $40.90 on Amazon?

  9. Ursula Avatar

    Hello Wellness Mama
    Maybe it’s just me but I don’t see the amount of clay that you using in the base recipe? Could you please give the amount?


  10. Lynette Avatar

    I would love to try this however I am allergic to cocoa. So is there another way to get that color?
    I love checking out all your ideas.

  11. Tanya Avatar

    Thank you so much for all your hard work researching all these things to help all of us out!
    Anyway, I have Perioral Dermitiis right now, and so I have ditched many of my former beauty products to stay away from SLS and have been playing with making my own natural ones. So this was perfect timing to find this. I made this recipe with the first pre made lotion you suggested and then order the rest of the ingredients to finish it. So far I am very pleased with it, but I have one question. Do all the Mica powders have the glimmer (sparkles) in them? I don’t really care to have sparkles on my face, it’s not a big deal, but just wondering. Also, I had to add quite a bit more of the colors than suggested, I though maybe that’s because I used a pre made lotion and maybe it’s more white and diluted the color? THoughts?

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      All mica does have a little bit of sparkle, but it typically fades once it has been on the skin. You can omit and use cocoa alone if you prefer though. The amount you have to add does really vary and that can be normal to add more depending on your skin tone and the color of the lotion you start with. So glad you liked it! 🙂

  12. Danielle Avatar

    Oh yes! I recently made your DIY mineral foundation/bronzer, so I’m really excited to try this! I don’t think I have the color quite right for my mineral foundation, but I figure it takes practice.

  13. jamie Avatar

    I love this! If you use a premade lotion and add in the zinc, cocoa, clay etc., what would the shelf life be? Thanks!

      1. Tricia Avatar

        I have made this twice and both times it has grown mold. The second time I made it, I used Aloe that doesn’t require refrigeration, thinking it might be the cause.

  14. Carol S. Avatar

    Katie this recipe is amazing! I tried it and I am thrilled with the results. I am wearing it now and it feels fabulous! I added 4 tsps of the zinc oxide for a more opaque coverage. I also used your DIY face powder on top. It looks great!

    Shea Moisture Olive & Marula Head-to-Toe Lotion – 12 oz

    4 tsp zinc oxide powder (non nano and uncoated)
    1-1/2 tsp organic green kaolin clay
    1 + tsp Laura Mercier Mineral Powder Foundation
    1 tsp raw cocoa powder
    1/4 tsp yellow oxide
    1/4 tsp brown oxide
    1/4-1/2 tsp Bare Minerals Warmth

    It mixed beautifully but got a little dryer than I wanted. I simply added more about a tsp more of lotion and stirred briefly.

    What a beautiful healthy foundation.

    The lotion I bought from Amazon by following the link you gave. It is a beautiful lotion.

    Thank you again Katie! You are brilliant and I try a lot of your recipes and DIY’s

    Carol S.

  15. Amy Malone Avatar
    Amy Malone

    Pls make sure you let us know when you post a pic of no make up and make up. Your skin looks beautiful with no blemishes to cover, therefor I’m afraid it will not allow enough coverage for me. Awaiting pic to be for sure before I make! Thanks for sharing new to your blog…and am really enjoying and living it!!!

  16. Anna Avatar

    Thanks for this post! do you think coconut oil as the lotion will work? should it be mixed with something like shea butter or beeswax to help thicken it?

  17. Jolene field Avatar
    Jolene field

    Great idea !
    Would you mind if I shared this on my newsletters please mentioning you as the author ?
    Thankyou and I love what you’re doing ????????;-)))
    For Some reason it won’t allow me to do 5 stars? !!!

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