Make Your Own DIY Bronzer for Natural Color

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DIY Bronzer Natural

At the beginning of nice weather my skin looks like it’s been inside all winter, because, well, it has!  It’s usually termed as “fish belly pale.” Eww!

To combat the lack of color in my face I like to use a bronzer, but a lot of them have chemicals that I don’t want to use. I’m not even sure what many of the ingredients are! So I set out to make my own.

DIY Bronzer: For Natural Color

This is easy, but requires some adjustments for each individual. The first time I made it, I was adjusting the color for a few hours before I got it right.

Suggested Ingredients

(Choose based on your skin tone – you may not need all of them.)

Base ingredients:

Brown/dark tones:

  • activated charcoal powder (find it here)
  • cocoa powder
  • instant coffee powder

Reddish tones:

Yellow tones:

  • turmeric powder

For an optional shimmer:

Recommended Supplies

  • ceramic or glass bowl
  • fine mesh strainer
  • stainless steel spoon
  • empty makeup containers
  • fluffy makeup brush


  • Gather ingredients and cover your work space. The fine powders you will be working with may get on things and will be much easier to clean if your work space is covered. Grind any ingredients in a spice grinder that have a larger particle size.
  • Start by using a tablespoon or so of arrowroot or rice powder as your base. Arrowroot is very fine and has no known allergens. Rice powder can have the same properties, but is often grainier. You can also use something like red rice as a base so it’s not so white.
  • Begin adding small amounts of turmeric and cocoa or coffee powder, plus a little beetroot to even out the yellow/brown. You want it to add bronze highlights to your skin, not color it really dark, unless that is your natural skin tone. (I have medium toned skin, so I used 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric, ½ teaspoon instant coffee powder, ½ teaspoon beetroot powder, and ⅛ teaspoon activated charcoal powder.) You can add a very small amount of mica for a subtle shimmer. Try a nude tone or maybe ivory.
  • Place all ingredients in a fine mesh strainer and mash it through. The powder you come up with is very dry and may fly around a bit until you get the hang of using it. Use a gentle hand at first.
  • After you get the initial batch mixed, test it on the inside of your wrist. This area usually matches your face pretty well. Then add a bit more beetroot if you need a more reddish tone, or turmeric if you need a more yellow tone. Add another ⅛ teaspoon cocoa powder or activated charcoal if you need it darker. Be sure to mix really well after each addition so that you don’t get streaks of a single color.
  • Once you get it mixed the way you want it, spoon it into a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid or an old makeup container. A ½ pint jar with a sealable lid will work very well.

Using Your DIY Bronzer

To use your DIY bronzer, simply dip the brush into the powder, swirl into the cap (this is to get some powder into the brush, not just on the surface), tap off any excess, and fluff onto your face. Start on the nose, then work out to the cheeks. Whisk across your forehead and a bit on your chin. You don’t want it all over you face. This doesn’t allow the highlights to show through.

To wash it off, use a dark washcloth, as the darker pigments may stain light linens.

Remember that this contains natural colors which may run if you get caught in the rain or sweat a lot. And if you are unsure of how you’ll like it, use just a bit at first.

The best part – other than the fact that you made it yourself with no artificial ingredients and it matches your skin tone, the cost is literally pennies! The last bronzer I bought was $26 and it left my skin all streaky looking. And I won’t even get started on the chemicals!

Have you ever made your own DIY bronzer? What did you think?


About Debra Maslowski

Debra is a master gardener, a certified herbalist, a natural living instructor, and more. She taught Matt and Betsy how to make soap so they decided to bring her on as a staff writer! Debra recently started an organic herb farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina. You can even purchase her handmade products on Amazon!

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  1. Fernie says

    I forgot to mention that I make my own self tanning sunscreen bars and if you want I will send my process to you.

    • Alejandra says

      Hello, please send me your recipe for the self tanning sunscreen, I’d appreciate it!!

  2. Fernie says

    This looks like fun to make and use. I have all the ingredients and will give it a try. My skin is fair so will use a light hand on the colors. Wish me luck.

    • Debra Maslowski says

      That’s the great part Fernie, most people do have most of the ingredients on hand. I did get too much turmeric the first time around. I didn’t notice it right away, until I used the restroom at work. The fluorescent lights made me look jaundiced! So when you do try it the first time, be sure to look at it in different types of lighting!