Homemade Face Powder Foundation – All Natural

If I had known how easy it is to make your own face powder, I’d have done it a long time ago! It’s also the cheapest and most natural thing you could put on your face – just cornstarch or arrowroot powder and spices. Yup, that’s it!

My Merry Messy Life: Homemade All Natural Face Powder Recipe - Use ingredients found in your kitchen!

If you’re already into making your own cosmetic and cleaning products like I am, this probably sounds like something fun you’d like to try. But, if you’re new to the whole non-toxic way of life, you might be thinking, “why in the heck would I put cornstarch on my face?” I’m choosing to because commercial cosmetics are known for being full of chemicals I’d rather not be putting on the largest organ of my body – my skin. Many of those chemicals are toxic, even carcinogenic. So, one time exposure may not be a big deal, but everyday for your entire adult life? A big deal.

I do love to buy natural cosmetics, but they are expensive. I’ve had my eye on Coastal Classics makeup for awhile, but have yet to buy it because one container of foundation costs $29. That’s not expensive compared to other big name brands, like MAC or Bare Minerals, but I have always had a hard time paying a lot for makeup. And guess what the number one ingredient in their face foundation is? Yup, cornstarch. So, let’s make our own!

The performance and coverage is a little bit different than the loose mineral powder I’ve been using, but not a whole lot different. I am happy with the results.

Cornstarch or Arrowroot Powder

Now, cornstarch and arrowroot powder are very similar in texture and consistency, so you can use either one. I tried both of them and found that the cornstarch was thicker and sticker and stuck to all the little hairs on my face. Arrowroot blended in better with my skin, so I like it more for this powder.

Tinting the Powder

To tint your powder, you can use anything from cinnamon to nutmeg to cocoa powder. Start with a little and keep adding more until it is a similar tone for your skin. I have very fair skin, like Snow White but with red hair and no evil stepmother, so my recipe is a good starting point for most people. Unless you’re as fair as me, you’ll need more tint. I only used cinnamon because my skin has a pink undertone and cinnamon has a nice reddish tint. If you’re more brown-toned, I’d use cocoa powder.

Want to Have Sunscreen In It?

I thought about adding non-nano zinc oxide to the powder to make it a sunscreen, but decided against it because there is a lot of concern of it being dangerous if inhaled. I would instead add some zinc oxide to your face lotion or oil (I do the oil cleansing method, so I’d add it to some oil). I buy my non-nano zinc oxide from Amazon.

Add Oils, Essential Oils and/or Glycerin

One thing I did find annoying about this powder is that it sticks to my eyelashes if I brush it on my eyelids. I was able to make it better by adding drops of my favorite essential oils to it and even some almond oil. UPDATE – I added some vegetable glycerine (where to buy) and now it’s not bothering my eyes any more! Adding even more oil that I have in the recipe can make a pressed powder if you prefer that to loose powder.

Here are some oils that are good for skin (all are my affiliate links to buy on Amazon from companies like Now Foods and Plant Therapy that I have personally used and trust) (source – love this book! Neal Yard’s Remedies – Essential Oils:

Oils Good for Oily Skin and Acne

  • Cedarwood
  • Chamomile
  • Lemon
  • Tea Tree
  • Lavender
  • Patchouli
  • Palmarosa
  • Rosemary

Oils Good For Aging Skin, Fine Lines and Wrinkles

  • Frankincense
  • Neroli
  • Lemon
  • Myrrh
  • Patchouli
  • Palmarosa (very hydrating)

Click here to buy high quality essential oils!

4.8 from 20 reviews
Homemade Face Powder Foundation - All Natural
Prep time
Total time
A simple recipe for making loose face powder foundation.
  • 2 tbsp of cornstarch or where to buy
  • Start with 1½ tsp cinnamon, nutmeg or cocoa powder, add more as necessary
  • 5 drops of an essential oil for your skin type or a carrier oil like jojoba or sweet almond, more if you want pressed powder (where to buy high quality essential oils)
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir until well combined.
  2. Add more tint (cinnamon, nutmeg or cocoa powder) until you reach your desired color.

For more on natural skin care and cosmetics, check out my posts on The Oil Cleansing Method, Homemade Organic Lotion, Baking Soda Shampoo and Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioner, Homemade Natural Perfume and more!

Reader Tip from Chelle – Use a Coffee Grinder

Chelle writes.

I use a coffee grinder that is exclusive to mineral makeup-ing. It really blends everything together nicely when you pulse it a bit. They’re pretty cheap (i actually bought a new one from amazon for like $10 {here is one that is $10}).

I use colored oxides and zinc with the arrowroot (as my main base powder), as my skin is very sensitive to cinnamon and cocoa powder wasn’t really looking right (I’m wicked pale too). I add in a few drops of chamomile essential oil and a teensy bit of jojoba to help with adhesion (staying on my skin).

I haven’t bought traditional make up in years! So love that people are getting the word out about diy makeup (in my opinion it also helps heal breakouts faster).


How to Purchase High Quality Essential Oils through My Merry Messy Life

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About Sara McFall

Sara is the owner and founder of My Merry Messy Life, which started in 2011 as a way to chronicle her journey to a natural, chemical-free lifestyle and to share her passions of mothering, real food, homeschooling and crochet. She is a mama to three precious and energetic little boys and wife to a university professor who loves to sing, dance ballet and ballroom, and live simply and naturally.


  1. Love your natural receipes and this one is a great idea too! Thank you for sharing!

    I checked the ingredients of my face powder: it has more than 30 ingredients… it is a little scary, because most of them I don’t know, so I don’t know what I put on my face…
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  2. Seriously Sara, it’s 3 a.m., I’m sitting on my bed, reading this with amazement and wondering if I should prepare this right away This is a fabulous post. I totally think you should bring out a book, compiling all these. Please 🙂

  3. Been waiting for a post like this! Do you make just enough for that day or do you make more? If more, how long does it last?
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    • Hi Brooke! The two tablespoons makes a lot – I can’t say for sure how much it makes just yet, but I’ve been using it daily for a week and I’ve hardly made a dent in it. So, I think it’ll last two months or so. Just keep it in an air tight container.

  4. This is a recipe I’d really like to try! How do you make it into a pressed powder? Does it harden or do I have to press it into a puck?

  5. Just wanted to say THANK YOU for paying all your knowledge forward! I’ve been searching for ways to DIY green cleaning, beauty, etc., and you make it sooo easy! Your site has become my go-to! Thanks again! Also, I am a Curly Girl, too! I bought the Curly Girl book and follow the same regimen as you and LOVE it!!! Finally, I get my hair (and I kinda though I ‘had it’ before), so this is a wonderful, eye-opening experience for me! I feel like I’m coming into my own (only took me ’til I’m almost 30- haha), and I have you to thank!

  6. Hi
    I am so impressed with your website. I have “pinned” every recipe so far. Can’t wait to try them. I was wondering (I have spent way over my budget on getting some of the ingredients you recommend) I have 3 jars of Coconut oil in my cupboard as I use it for baking, could I add that to this to make the pressed powder? I really really want to try this powder as soon as possible, with out having to wait for my next grocery budget! Thank you for your time.

  7. I have cornstarch and esstenial oils , Going to make some this week and try it out!

    • If we want to create it a more strong platform so that only a little stays to the sweep, use a few falls of important oil or rum to mix with the powdered and force down in a lightweight. This will create it difficult like a frequent lightweight.That is very exciting I really like studying and I am always looking for useful details like this.

  8. Hi! I really like your recipes. I’m learning a lot. Your site and posts are my inspiration for when I get to be a mom soon. I love reading them!!! I got your site bookmarked 🙂 Keep it up!

  9. I posted earlier. I had yet to try my powder as I made it last night before I went to bed. I was wondering what you used to blend the cornstarch and cinnamon, b/c I feel like the cinnamon is leaving big black specks on my face. Do you think nutmeg would work better? Also, I was wondering about the coverage factor. I know it’s going to be somewhat sheer, but is there a way to make it cover just a bit better, or do you have to keep layering it? I’m not as worried about the lack of coverage as I am about the black cinnamon flecks I have to brush off of my face after I put the powder on. What are your thoughts? Thanks!

    • Hi Sara! Is your cinnamon old? Mine is slightly redish in color, no where close to black and it’s very fine so it mixed very nicely with the arrowroot powder. And I looked closely today after reading your comment and saw no cinnamon flakes on my face. Another way to mix it (I just used a fork) could be to sift the two ingredients together. If you’re not happy with cinnamon, then, yes, I’d try nutmeg.

    • i’ve been reading a few homemade face powder recipes online, and on one blog there was a note that different brands of cinnamon have different appearances so it’s good to check out the color of it if you can before buying. i can’t wait to try this out and i’m going to make it into pressed powder. thanks for the recipe. 🙂
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    • i use a coffee grinder that is exclusive to mineral makeup-ing. it really blends everything together nicely when you pulse it a bit. theyre pretty cheap (i actually bought a new one from amazon for like $10)

      i use colored oxides and zinc with the arrowroot (as my main base powder), as my skin is very sensitive to cinnamon and cocoa powder wasnt really looking right (im wicked pale too). i add in a few drops of chamomile essential oil and a teensy bit of jojoba to help with adhesion (staying on my skin).

      havent bought traditional make up in years! so love that people are getting the word out about diy makeup. (in my opinion it also helps heal breakouts faster)

  10. I think this will be wonderful start for my Untoxic life, thank you so much for sharing, i can’t wait to try it out!
    I was wondering for how many hours it stays on face? And which one you would recommend arrowroot or cornstarch if I got dry skin?

    • Hi Tanita! Yes, this is a very easy and inexpensive way to start non-toxic living. I feel like it stays on for about half the day. You might need to reapply, especially if you deal with kids all day long like me (they rub on my face). Cornstarch and arrowroot are both great for dry skin – what would help you even more is using the Oil Cleansing Method and I have a whole post about that!

  11. Hi, Sara – How much glycerin did you add? Thanks 🙂

  12. I feel like my Pinterest account is best friends with your website. I’ve long awaited natural make up to pop up…so grateful for your hard work. Any mascara on the horizon…??

    • LOL – I love how you describe that! How clever. Glad to have you around, Kristen! I’ve wanted to make mascara for a long time, but have been using natural ones that I’m happy with for now. It’s easy to make mascara, actually, I need to just DO IT! 🙂

  13. also, can you recommend an oil for dry skin or combination skin? Can i use coconut oil instead of essential oil?
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    • Sure! Coconut oil would make a nice pressed powder at room temperature, but if it’s over 72 degrees, it will turn to mush and become unusable. Coconut oil is also comedogenic, so if you have acne-prone skin, it can clog your pores. I love love using coconut oil on the rest of my body, but it hasn’t worked so well on my face. I have dry skin and love to put jojoba oil in the powder as it is easily absorbed into the skin.

  14. I found your site last night just browsing around and started making recipes this morning. OMG! You have changed my life. I made the powder…. yes, I was one that was spending a fortune on Bare Minerals and the like, and I cannot believe how simple this was. I like the look better! It is a little dry around my eyes, so at 48, I will just not put it around my eyes. I had a major problem with oil, and I can’t believe the difference the cornstarch has made. I have also mixed up some hair shampoo and body wash that I will try tomorrow. I washed my hands with it and could not believe how soft they are!! I have placed an order on Amazon for ingredients to make the lotion and deodorant and will report on success there.

  15. Grainy cinnamon??
    Hello Sara! I love the simplicity of your recipe, and I have been trying different recipes for safer makeup. I was wondering what brand of cinnamon you used…? I also have pale skin on the pink side so the pigment is just right with only cinnamon and arrowroot, but my cinnamon is a little too grainy. It may just be cheap or old, but is there a brand you recommend for a finer grain?

  16. Hi Sara! To make it a pressed powder, how can I alter the recipe? Thank you!

    • Hi Cory! Just add more oil to it and press it down with a spoon. I haven’t done it yet, so I’m not exactly sure how much. I would slowly add it until it becomes the consistency you’d like.

      • Let me see if I can detail my issue here. It packs down nicely with a spoon. But, when I put a brush to it, it makes tiny clumps and won’t spread on my face. I go between adding powder and jojoba. Do you think it needs to cure for a bit prior to use?
        Love your recipes…have made (and we’re using) many of them!!

        • I got ya, Cory, that makes sense. Hmmm, maybe adding a tiny bit of water will help, and then stir very very well. I’ll make it again soon and see if I can come up with more ideas.

          • Sounds good. Your recipe smells just like the bad-ingredient-pressed powder I used to use!!
            BTW…how do I get these messages/replies besides just going to your blog, Sara? i signed up for your weekly merriment (and followed the email instructions to activate), but haven’t gotten anything. I don’t want to miss anything!

  17. wildcherry65 says:

    I have tried Bare Minerals and since my skin is like an oil slick, the powder makeup actually lifted up off my skin and mixed in with my oil. EW! And also I have baby fine very light hair ALL over my face. So I looked awful!! Powder makeup does not work for me. My face is so oily that when I don’t wear my Revlon foundation for oily skin my skin breaks out horribly. (And even with the oil absorbing liquid foundation I STILL get oily and have to blot many many times per day. ) I have given up wearing the liquid foundation most days and my skin is looking worse than a teenager’s. I do exfoliate and moisture, but that doesn’t stop my pores from clogging with all this oil! WHY they don’t clog as badly when I wear the liquid foundation, I do not understand. Got any liquid makeup recipes?????

    • you might find the problem would be fixed by using the Oil Cleansing Method – i used to have red, uneven, oily, spotty skin, and the OCM has completely rebalanced it – smooth, far less breakouts and blackheads, less oily and I don’t have to blot all day! then you might be able to use this powder makeup more successfully. I know it seems counter-intuitive to put oil on oily skin but believe me it’s worth a try. Best change I ever made and the results were apparent almost immediately. Good luck and beauty blessings 🙂

  18. I have tried to use rice flour instead of the cornstarch , however the loose powder is not in silky, what ingredients can add to make the powder feeling smooth and silky?

  19. Hi Sara!
    This is a great recipe! I am just wondering how do you use it without getting it everywhere? When I sweep my brush it picks up way more powder than I need – thoughts?
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  20. I just made some and am using it today! Smells yummy too! Just wish it covered my redness a bit more. Is there anything that I can add to take the red out?

    • Hmm, I notice in the stores that they add green dye to concealers to cover red. So, maybe add some green herb that you can make in powdered form? Like basil or oregano. It would be an experiment to figure out how much of it to add without making your face totally green. I also suggest the Oil Cleansing Method if you’re dealing with redness. My skin has never been better on it!

  21. i couldn’t find those oil in my country, can i replace it with baby oil or virgin coconut oil?

  22. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. I’m planning on turning it into a pressed powder with a homemade toner that I make. Great website!

  23. I just wanted to say thank you for your posts! I love this blog and how you communicate! One of the best I’ve seen in the DIY natural beauty category (and I’ve read a lot.) Can’t wait to try out this recipe!

  24. Victori says:

    Can you use flour instead of cornstarch or arrowroot powder?

  25. There are no health concerns with zinc oxide. You are confusing it with Titanium oxide, and adding a pinch of Kaolin clay into the Arrowroot powder makes it’s “flow” so much more amazing and silky! Try it.

  26. Hi Sara! Love ur site btw, I just wanted to kmow if you had any bb or cc cream recipes??

    • Hi Michelle! I’m sorry, I don’t know what “bb” or “cc” is, but I’d love to help! Can you enlighten me, please?

      • BB cream stands for blemish balm, blemish base, and in Western markets, beauty balm. It is a cosmetic item sold mainly in Asian markets, although the majority of larger beauty brands have introduced BB creams to Western markets.[2] In many markets, the name CC cream is used to describe a Cushion Compact and/or a Color Corrector. A CC cream has all the benefits of a BB cream but with the specific feature of improving discoloration in the skin.

        BB cream is promoted as an all-in-one facial cosmetic product to replace serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation and sunblock.[3] It can be worn alone as a tinted moisturizer, over serum and moisturizer as a regular foundation, and under powder, depending on the desired amount of coverage. – Wikipedia BB cream

        its like a tinted moisturizer with a bit of coverage. it can be made by mixing foundation with lotion and sunscreen.

  27. I just read at a different website that cornstarch helps to feed some kind of bacteria or fungus or something that could live in our hair from using it? arrowroot always a better choice. can’t remember a thing about it, but thought I’d throw this out in case you wanted to research it. nice stuff here, thank you so much!

  28. Could I use rice flour? Or is arrowroot a better choice? Also, how much glycerin do you add? I can’t wait to try this, and will add kaolin clay as well. Thanks for the great non-toxic formula.

  29. Hi Sara,
    What do you think about oatmeal powder? I don’t have cornstartch or arrowroot but I have oatmeal I can grind into powder. Also, do you know of a way to make it into a liquid foundation. Thank you so much for all your ideas in making healthier/natural choices. Also, will essential oils from the GNC store be a good place to buy them. I am new at all this.

    • Hi Ellie! I have never used oatmeal powder before, but it would need to be ground very, very finely like arrowroot or cornstarch powders are ground to work as a face powder. But it is certainly worth a try! I’m a big fan of using what you have first! I personally don’t buy any vitamins from GNC, but if they have reputable brands who make whole food vitamins, then go for it! You want natural vitamins made from whole foods.

  30. Amanda Boulet says:

    Hi there! Im just stumbling across your blog now and have to say that I love all of your recipes! I plan on trying as many as I can as soon as possible!
    I was just wondering if there was a way to turn the powder into a liquid foundation? Would I just add more carrier oil? or coconut oil mixed and whipped? Your thoughts are appreciated!!

  31. Hi,

    What do you think about using tumeric for the yellow color? It’s supposed to be good to use for a face mask but I haven’t been able to find much information on using it for powder. Also for the green tint, would it be ok to use matcha green tea powder? I know green tea is good for the skin as well.

    • Hi Kara! The Green Tea powder sounds great. The only thing about turmeric is it stains the skin – it will wash out after a few washes, but it’s like dye! I’d test it on a spot on your arm first or something before having it stain your face. 🙂

  32. Has anyone tried anything like this to make airbrush foundation? You can make airbrush foundation with any mineral powder, water, glycerin and some setting spray. Not sure this would be enough coverage though.

  33. Geraldine says:


    Thanks for all the wonderful recipe. I just made this on Friday night and tried it for 2 days now. I use arrowroot + cinnamon + rose oil in jojoba. It remove shiny oily face well but maybe a bit too well that it leaves my skin a little dry. Would adding more oil help so that it don’t dries my skin so much? 🙂 I would like it stay powder form….

    By the way, I wondered if 1.5tsp is a typo? 😉 I added one tap and the powder added 2 darker skin tone to me. I ended up “dilute” the color with 4tbsp more arrowroot powder to be right for me… And, judging from the profile pic, I think your skin is even more fairer than me.

    Cheers, Geraldine

    • Hi Geraldine! Hmm, I don’t think that’s a typo. Are you sure you used 1.5 tsp. and not tbsp.? I love that you add rose oil to your recipe!

      • Geraldine says:

        I just made another batch during weekend. Yes, this time, I put 1/2 teaspoon and it come out just right. It is really strange that the ratio can be so different

        BTW, I already need to make a new batch because all my friends and colleagues ask if they can get some from me to try. As I have already dipped my brush into the small container, so I am making a new batch to share with them. Thanks so much for the recipe. It is so cheap to make that I nearly “desparate” to supply sample for all my friends to try!!!

  34. What do you use as blush? I have a blush that came free with my foundation. It looks pink but when I put it on it looks orange. I have another pressed one but its so light you can’t see it. And I can’t wait to try this out! I use bareMinerals (I don’t wear make-up that often) because my skin is SUPER sensitive and I didn’t want to use any of the really bad chemical stuff. Oh and just a tid bit, they use cow and whale remains, in most lipstick even if it says natural, so I make my own and tint it with beet powder.


  36. Hi, I was wondering if you mixed in some coconut oil, if that would be good in place of the essential oils or vegetable glycerine, or something? I really want to try out your recipe.

    • Hi Grace! Well, coconut oil and essential oils are totally different types of oil. Coconut is fatty and oily, and not concentrated. Essential oils are actually not oily at all – they add fragrance and support the body in many different ways.

  37. I have cornstarch and essential oils , Going to make some this week and try it out! Thanks Sara

  38. Jana Dalton says:

    I just made this this morning and applied it to my skin already. I used Arrowroot (which I found right at my local Market Basket) and then cinnamon and lemon essential oil. If my skin could hug me right now, it would! I have dealt with combination skin my entire life and have struggled lately to find natural-ish products that are effective on my skin. Talc’s not good, then the alternative becomes mica – which is also not good and shiny as heck! Stumbled upon this blog and jumped right on board. My skin is instantly so soft and it looks amazing! Soft and matte, and with the benefit of three simple, natural ingredients. Amazing!!! Thank you so much for sharing this amazing mixture – I am sold and oh so grateful!!

  39. Riz Ocampo says:

    I have been looking for an alternative for my pressed powder since it is so expensive even though it is a drugstore product. Since me being a teenager, I’m not yet allowed to work and my parents wont allow me. I just don’t like asking money from my parents. So, I searched for a diy powder. I saw this! Very informative and I have everything I need here in our kitchen! Already made this now, I’m just drying it out because I made it into a pressed powder. Hope it works! 😃

  40. I have seen a comment on another blog that suggests adding green clay to counteract the reddish skin tones. I haven’t tried it yet but it makes sense to me.

    Thanks for this post, Sara. I also have pale skin and made a powder (from another blog) with cacao powder, cinnamon and arrowroot and it looks great at first but looks yellowish about an hour later. I think I’ll try leaving out the cacao powder and see if that rectifies the issue.

    I also haven’t heard of adding the glycerin before. Is it not sticky at all? Every recipe I find that calls for glycerin makes my skin feel sticky…even in very minute amounts. Just wondering 🙂

    Thanks again!!

    • Yes, I could see how glycerin would add stickiness to it. I’d do a little bit of oil instead. Good idea to use green clay to counteract the reddish skin tones! Sounds like you’ll be experimenting, like a mad scientist :). The fun part about natural living!

  41. I have fair skin and keep Indian (India) powders on hand. Instead of cinnamon or other things, I used aritha powder. I used neem powder, it’s green and good for skin, to overcome the redness in my skin.

    Hope this helps!

  42. What spices should i use for yellow undertones?

  43. a question… my skin is what would be called “olive” and it really is hard to get the correct commercial foundation and powder color. they usually are too pink or too yellow or too brown. would just blending the cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa help reach the right shade? or is there something else that could create that subtle color? thanks!

    • Hi Lut! I think that would be a great first try – I’m honestly not sure, but those colors are more olive in nature. I wonder if adding in a little bit of green might help? Like ground basil or sage?

  44. Thanks I’m allergic to talcum powder found in regular make-up.

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