pin it

Monday, May 14, 2012

DIY Translucent Mineral Powder for Pennies!

I'm somewhat of a makeup snob.  I like the better quality brands; Not so much for the brand name or anything like that, but mostly because there is only one eyeliner I've found that doesn't end up migrating into a big racoon-y mess after an hour, and it happens to cost twelve dollars.  Something about the shape of my lower eyelids makes everything want to smear, otherwise. Twelve dollars is really not a whole lot for makeup, but for someone who is frugal like me, I consider it an investment.  If I'm going to wear eyeliner, it's going to be right.  I'm definitely not above using drugstore makeup, I just try to find a balance between quality and price.

Because of this, I was pretty upset when a friend posted something on Facebook about the ingredients in mineral powder.  I had purchased some translucent mineral powder for 7 dollars, thinking I  had gotten a great deal.  Most of you will probably agree, until you keep reading:

See those ingredients?!  That means that the translucent powder we spend all this money on is literally this:

with a little bit of this added:

Yup, cornstarch and diaper rash cream.  That's what we have spent our money on, and I, for one, am pissed.  So, I tried something.  I figured, "hey, that zinc oxide probably isn't too important here," and I tried putting cornstarch on my face with a makeup brush.  It worked and looked exactly the same.  I did a little experiment to show you how awesome translucent powder is:  I took off all my makeup (yes, all of it), and I  used just translucent powder (aka cornstarch) on one side of my face, and nothing on the other side.  As you can see, it covered my lighter freckles and it also reduced my dark circles.  I usually wear concealer, eyeshadow, eyeliner, bronzer or blush, and mascara along with this stuff, but I wanted to showcase this alone, to show the dramatic effect of cornstarch!  All those makeup commercials you see always show the model in a full face of makeup, so you don't really see the effects of just the product being advertised.  Therefore, I give you cornstarch:

Forgive me, I was quite tired when I took this photo.  I just washed off all my makeup, put cornstarch on half my face, and took some pics before I washed it off again, put on lotion (you should do that too, face lotion is a very important part of your daily regimen), then went to bed.  If you cover one half of the photo with your hand, you can further see the dramatic difference this simple little ingredient makes!

Now, those of you who are looking for a little bit of color from your powder will not be able to get that same effect from just cornstarch, because there are other ingredients that add color.  However, this translucent powder (cornstarch) will work for any skin tone, because it disappears into your skin.  I wanted to clarify that, since I am very pale, and the powder is white.  I didn't want you to think you had to be as pale as me for this to work, because it's darn near impossible to become as pale as me without a lifetime of  diligent sunblock and staying in the shade.

For those of you who do want a little color from your finishing powder, why not purchase some of your favorite tinted powder, then do as the drug dealers do:  mix half of the expensive stuff with cornstarch to make it last longer!  You will still get the color, and your product will last twice as long.

Let's break down the cost.  First, I came up with an average for some of the most popular translucent mineral powders.

Southern Magnolia Cosmetics Translucent Mineral Powder:  $14.95 for .3 ounces (about 8 grams)

Bare Minerals Translucent Mineral Veil:  $20.00 for .3 ounces

Maybelline Translucent Mineral Power Finishing Veil:  11.10 for .28 ounces (I'm rounding up to .3 ounces for easier calculations)

So, average cost of 1/3 of an ounce of store-bought translucent mineral powder (a.k.a. cornstarch) is $15.35.


16 ounces of corn starch is $1.39 at the grocery store.  For .3 ounces of corn starch, it costs less than 3 cents.

Keep in mind, a lot of makeup companies do add ingredients like aloe or shimmer, and cornstarch will not mimic those effects.  However, it will still work as a great basic finishing powder, and you won't beat the price!.

I'm simply going to save the jar my finishing powder came in, and I'll refill it with cornstarch when it runs out.
Share this blog post with your friends or on Facebook, save everyone some money!

If you really want to get into the DIY makeup scene, you can buy zinc oxide powder and other common mineral ingredients on websites such as or specialty online stores.  For me, cornstarch is enough.  I've gotta save my money to pay for my fancy eyeliner!


  1. Here are all-natural ingredients that I use in my green bean starch for color (green bean starch is an alternative starch) -

    - unsweetened cocoa powder
    - cinnamon
    - turmeric

    Happy experimenting! :)

    1. Maya, these are great options! Thanks for your input!