Although it's fine to have a subtle glow and bit of glitter, sometimes a neutral matt color is preferrable. Making a matt foundation powder requires patience – the pigments need to be ground and worked together in a mortar.
Because I recently aquired a powder mixer (a little hand-held, battery-powered thing that looks like a shortened version of a coffee grinder), I figured I'd try whizzing everything together. It saved me a heck of a lot of time and worked like a dream.
|The mixer cup is holding the base powder mixture. The pigments await.|
Step 1: Mixing the Base Powder
A base powder is necessary for any foundation. It helps to disperse the color evenly, make it adhere to where it is applied – and stay there. Base powders can be made with a number of different ingredients (make-up ingredients suppliers will usually supply complete how-to's on making your own mixes). This one is a combination of 3 powders: magnesium stearate, cosmetics-grade cornstarch and oil-coated, cosmetics-grade talcum. The finished base powder is transferred to another container and set aside until the color is ready.
|This combination of non-skin-colored-looking colors eventually becomes my skin color.|
Step 2: Mixing Pigments
No matter how dark or how light, every single human skin color can be matched using only 3 pigment colors: ochre, brown and sienna red. These are mixed with titanium dioxide and/or silk white pigment (depending on how opaque you want the color). For caucasian skin, ochre is dominant in the mix with a touch of sienna and brown.
|It's hard to believe the yellowish-looking color in the cup is the source of what you see on the cotton pad.|
Step 3: That Can't Be Right!
After mixing for a couple of minutes, I stopped to check the color. It was much too yellow-looking. Before adding more pigment, I decided to try a bit of the mixture on my face. Lucky I did, because on my skin, it looked like a perfect color match. The cotton pad on the right shows what I wiped off after the initial test. An additional 6 minutes of mixing was required until the final color 'appeared'. The color mixture was then transferred to a separate container.
|It may look like a trick, but I did not need to adjust the pigments in this mixture. I just kept whizzing for an additional 6 minutes to get this result.|
Step 4: The Final Mix
To create the final product (a powder foundation), the base powder mixture and pigment mixtures are combined. The amount of coverage the powder will have can be adjusted by adding more or less base powder (more base powder – less opacity). During the mixing process, I stopped a few times to test check the color and coverage in natural daylight. (TIP: always test on your face and along the jawline – and always check the color in natural daylight).
When the color and coverage were satisfactory, I transferred the contents to a cool-looking powder container and saved some of the mixture for a cream foundation. (more on that later)
Want To Give This a Try?
The hand-held mixer was bought from American DYI Cosmetics. They have a new model now (that holds even less powder - great for eyeshadow) that I will be ordering soon. DYI Cosmetics also sells pigments, powders and containers. The pigments I used here are all from Danish Urtegaarden (they also have everything you need to do your own make-up).
Find more Make-Up How To's at the How To Page