Makeup for Clogged Pores: DIY Foundation with Sunscreen!

Adding a teaspoon of zinc oxide to my mineral base

People who are prone to clogged pores need to be especially careful about their foundation. This is a recipe for homemade liquid and powder mineral foundation with sunscreen, using ingredients that will not cause clogs. Since the liquid foundation uses hemp oil, it's actually GOOD for your clog-prone skin! 

I've been using this for several months now and it works GREAT.

How to Use

Use the liquid foundation in the morning when you are getting ready to start your day. 

According to my friend the aesthetician, sunscreen only lasts 3 hours. 

She suggests reapplying powder foundation/sunscreen to an already made-up face. It's very effective as a sunscreen, and it won't mess up your original foundation. 


How to Make

We're going to make approximately 3 ounces of foundation, which is about 1/3 cup (in its powdered form). You may end up with more as you add/blend your colors...

The powdered foundation is created in three steps.
  1. Create the white, powdered mineral base mixture. 
  2. Create the basic color blend. 
  3. Add the basic color blend to your mineral base and adjust the colors until it matches your skin tone.
Getting the right color is, naturally, the tricky part. It takes practice to get the blend of colors right for your own skin tone. Luckily, minerals are very inexpensive, you can always just keep adding until you get the right color. You might end up with a pail-full of powder, but that's okay! It won't go bad.

White, powdered mineral base mixture

The base of your foundation is going to be a white powder. You can use serecite mica, silica, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and/or several other minerals/powders. Kaolin clay can be added to control shine and larger-particle mica can be added for more sparkle. I always use zinc oxide because it adds a physical sunscreen to the blend. Most people use blends of these minerals, depending on how they want the product to perform. You can get these ingredients at

Particle Size: There has been some concern regarding particle size of these minerals. In general, the smaller the particles, the less light they will reflect, making your product more matte. Some people believe that microparticles are dangerous if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Here's an excellent summary on Swift Crafty Monkey (an awesome blog).

I use a pre-blended mineral base from I would recommend using this blend if you are a beginner. As you become more familiar with the ingredients, you can blend your own!

This mineral base contains mica, silica, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide. I add more zinc oxide to my blend to give it better SPF and so it will provide better coverage. (Zinc oxide gives any blend a more opaque result.) The proportion of zinc oxide to my final blend is approximately 10%, which gives it an SPF of around 10. Add more zinc oxide to your blend if you like, but keep it below 25%. 

Place 1/3 cup of your base mixture in a vessel. Set aside.

Basic Color Blend

Adding a pinch of red to the color blend
The color portion of your foundation will be a mix of brown, yellow, and red iron oxides. Blending these three colors will give you any shade you want. These are the only colors you will need.

The greatest portion (around 94%) will be yellow, with a much smaller amount of brown (5%) and a pinch of red (1%).  This is just what you're going to start with. You'll add more colors according to your own unique skin tone. 

This recipe at suggests the following proportions to start:

1 teaspoon of yellow 

1/16th teaspoon of brown
A pinch of red

Blend these together in a separate container from your base powder.

Note about the photos: I only had brown, red, and a beige pigment mixture on hand. I used the beige pigment mixture in place of yellow, and only had to add a tiny bit of brown and red to match my skin tone. 

Add the basic color blend to your mineral base and adjust the colors

Here are as many ways I can find to express the proportions of base to color:

  • 1/3 cup base powder to 1 teaspoon color blend.
  • 3 oz to 0.2 ounces
  • Ratio 18:1
  • 95% base, 5% color

Basically, add about 1 teaspoon of your color blend to 1/3 cup of your base powder. 

Blend it well. 

TEST TEST TEST!!! Test the color by applying a little of the powder to the underside of your wrist, which is similar in texture and color to your face.

VERY IMPORTANT! The powder should match the color, but be slightly lighter than your skin tone, as it tends to look darker when you add the oil later. 

Next, test the powder with a drop of oil. In the picture below, I've applied just the powder along the bottom of my wrist. I then applied a pinch of the powder mixed with a drop of hemp oil just above the first test (you can barely see it because it blends so well with my skin). You can see how different the result is. 

This will help you keep your blend light enough. If your powder matches your skin tone exactly, the liquid will be much too dark.

The powdered blend is on the bottom, the liquid blend is above it. You can see how different the colors look.

Add more of your basic color blend to the mineral base if you need to. 

You can adjust the colors by adding tiny bits (pinches) of yellow, brown, or red iron oxide until you are happy with it. If it gets too dark, add more white powder base. Keep testing, and make sure you blend very well after each addition. 

This is your powdered mineral foundation with sunscreen. 

Write down your final proportions. Keep this aside for next time.

To liquify your foundation

Pour about a tablespoon of your foundation powder blend into a different vessel (I use PET plastic cosmetic jars). Add hemp oil drop by drop until you have a good consistency. This is your liquid mineral foundation with sunscreen. 

Don't make too much at one time because hemp oil becomes rancid within a week or two unless refrigerated. If you keep your foundation in the fridge, it will last for several months. (Make sure to always keep your hemp oil in the fridge or freezer or it will go rancid and make you sad with its crazy smell, which is crazy enough anyway.)

Some of your ingredients

Note: The number after the dash is the comedogenicity rating, indicating its likelihood of clogging pores. These numbers go from 0 (no chance of clogging pores) to 5 (WILL clog pores). If the comedogenicity is scientifically unproven, I add the word "anecdotal" beside the number (meaning I've read stories about it, but seen no direct scientific studies proving it). For people like me with closed comedone acne, only things with 0 or 1 ratings are allowed on my face.

Titanium Dioxide (TiO2)- 0 (anecdotal)
Titanium reacts to light (photocatalytic reaction!). As you walk around your day with this stuff on your face, the light hits the Titanium, which causes it to produce hydroxyl radicals. The hydroxil radicals "kill" micro-organisms that could cause problems on your face.  There are lots of studies that prove this. Amazing stuff!

Titanium dioxide, also known as titania, is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium, chemical formula TiO2. Approved by the food testing laboratory of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Titanium Dioxide is considered a safe substance and harmless to human. It is commonly used in paint, printing ink, plastics, paper, synthetic fibers, rubber, condensers, painting colors and crayons, ceramics, electronic components along with food and cosmetics. Many studies have been published on the use of titanium dioxide as a photocatalyst  for the decomposition of organic compounds. After illuminated by light, titanium dioxide produces hydroxyl radicals, which react with the organic matters in the air to form non-toxic inorganic matters...Hydroxyl radicals are among the strongest oxidizing species, even much stronger than chlorine, ozone, and peroxide. They act as very powerful disinfecting agents by oxidizing the cells of microorganisms, causing rupture  and leakage of vital composition.

Zinc Oxide (ZnO) - 1

Zinc oxide crystal from Science in Public.

Zinc oxide makes the makeup more opaque. The higher the zinc oxide proportion in your blend, the better the coverage and the better the sunscreening effect.

Zinc Oxide, a white powder, is the oxide of zinc...Zinc Oxide is used in a wide range of cosmetics and personal care products including makeup, nail products, baby lotions, bath soaps and foot powders. Zinc Oxide is also used in Over-the-Counter (OTC) drug products such as skin protectants including ano-rectal skin protectant products, for example, diaper rash ointments, and sunscreen products.
The compound is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial and is very helpful in treating skin irritations. and burns. It adheres very well to the skin, forming a protective barrier. 

Dr Yinfa Ma recently did a study that revealed that zinc oxide could generate free radicals (which can kill cells and affect DNA) when exposed to light for long periods of time. This is a preliminary study. Further data is needed before any decisions are made. Something to think about. Here's a good summary: Science Daily article.

Sericite Mica - 0 (anecdotal)

Sericite Mica is a fine-grained Mica. This ingredient improves slip, adhesion, and texture of makeup. It provides a slight sheen, which changes depending on the proportion. There are some stories of it being irritating, but I can't find any reliable studies proving this.

Larger grained mica can also be used, but it creates a shinier or sparklier finish than the serecite mica.

Silica - 0 (anecdotal)
Silica is an anti-caking agent. It creates a matte finish, and absorbs oil and water. The amorphous form, rather than the crystalline form is used in cosmetics. This is determined safe by the FDA. Can dry skin out; said to be non-comedogenic.

Iron Oxides - 0
Iron oxide is basically rust, but don't let that scare you! This is used for color, and has been found to be an anti-oxidant. See this article in Science Direct. 
Hempseed Oil - 0
The wonders of hemp oil cannot be overstated. Please read this post for more information.

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