Learn how to make eyeliner to ensure your ingredients are natural. We examine reasons to make your own and offer two DIY eyeliner recipes.
I’m one of those people with pale skin, thanks to my Eastern European ancestors. My skin always looks light and with no makeup, I tend to look tired around the eyes. I’ve tried eyeliner, and while it does improve my looks, I have to wonder what’s in it. I decided I’d learn how to make my own eyeliner without all the chemicals and additives. Can I accomplish it? You bet!
First, let’s look at a really good reason to make your own.
Ingredients in Commercial Eyeliner
People have been using eyeliner to make the female face look more alluring for centuries. Egyptians were among the first to use kohl, antimony sulfide, on the eyes to make them stand out. In the middle ages, kohl was also used, but with lead applied to the face (among other very toxic ingredients) to make the face look paler. The kohl lining the eyes would then make them stand out more.
With the introduction of commercial eyeliner, many chemical ingredients such as thimerosal, preservatives, turpentine, lead, and aniline were part of the recipes. Some companies never disclosed the ingredients, since it wasn’t required then. More recently, the FDA now requires the cosmetic industry to include ingredient lists in their products. This is better than nothing, but we know making our own always gives us better control over the ingredients!
Let’s take a look at some of the simple ingredients in homemade eyeliner.
Basic DIY Eyeliner Ingredients
There are two types of eyeliner you can make: those with water only and those that are a water and oil emulsion. Both can be used safely providing you are careful. There are no preservatives in these eyeliners and so can develop mold and bacteria quickly. I use a small clean spatula to scoop out a very small amount of the liner onto a saucer and keep the rest refrigerated.
The basic ingredients in eyeliner are lanolin, castor oil, waxes, and color. The color can be activated charcoal and/or mineral pigments. When choosing mineral pigments, be sure to use only those that are approved for cosmetic use. There are a few colors available, but it’s best to stick with what’s natural, such as brown or black. You can find these pigments on many soap making websites.
Activated charcoal can be found at health food stores or can be purchased with vitamins in capsule form. To use, just twist the capsule apart.
Always use distilled water. Tap water or water from other sources may contain bacteria which can spoil the mix or possibly even damage your eyes.
How to Make Eyeliner: Recipe #1 (Easiest)
This is the easiest eyeliner to make. There are only 2-3 ingredients.
Add ½ teaspoon of activated charcoal to a small bowl and add several drops of distilled water. Mix this together to make a paste. It may have a few lumps, but they will work themselves out. You can put this in a small jar or tin. I keep mine refrigerated just in case and never keep it for more than a few weeks.
And I always remove a small amount from the whole as bacteria can develop if you use it straight from the container, much the same as mascara.
Remove a small amount with a clean utensil and place it on a glass saucer. Take a very narrow brush and dab it in the mixture. Apply to the upper and lower lid close to the lashes. For best results create your line using many small strokes instead of one long stroke. Be sure to clean your brush well each time you use it and let it dry completely.
Using a cotton ball with some coconut oil on it, sweep gently across the eyelid. Repeat several times if necessary and wipe off any excess coconut oil.
How to Make Eyeliner: Recipe #2
This recipe is a bit more involved.
- ½ teaspoon of grated beeswax or beeswax pastilles (find beeswax here)
- ½ teaspoon oil – coconut, grapeseed, or sweet almond all work well (find these oils here)
- ¼ teaspoon activated charcoal (find charcoal powder here or capsules here)
- ¼ teaspoon distilled water
Melt the oil and wax together, then add the charcoal. Once it is blended well, add the water and whisk with a small whisk or a fork. If it separates, add a small amount of lecithin, maybe a capsule full. This will keep in the refrigerator for about a month using the same steps as above. (See Recipe #1 for tips on applying and removing the eyeliner.)
- As with any eye make up, change your mix every month or so. It is inexpensive to make and keeping it longer will only encourage bacteria to grow.
- Keeping your homemade eyeliner refrigerated will help discourage the growth of bacteria.
- Clean your brushes well and allow them to air dry. I have several that I found at a dollar store that I keep in rotation.
- Don’t use eyeliner on the inner eyelid, just on the outside of the lashes, and avoid getting it in your eyes. It may not cause permanent damage, but it can be very irritating.
- Never use pigments not approved for cosmetic use. A little pigment goes a long way, so it’s not expensive to get the right thing.
Have you ever experimented with making your own eyeliner? Tell us about it!