This Not That: DIY Eye Shadow

This Not That DIY eyeshadow

In an effort to be more natural in my beauty routine, I decided to see if I could make my own eye shadow. Concerned about the impact of mainstream beauty products on my skin and on the environment, I found a DIY eye shadow recipe, modified it with ingredients I had at home, and tested its effectiveness against the brand of eye shadow that I’ve used for years, Stila.

Using a base of arrowroot powder, you can experiment with several different shades, but I decided to make a brown eye shadow to compare against Twig, my favorite Stila shade. To make the shade of brown I wanted, I used cocoa powder.



  1. Mix together 3/8 tsp. arrowroot powder and 1 ½ tsp. cocoa powder.
  2. Add in ¾ tsp. coconut oil, mixing with the back of a spoon to ensure that all the ingredients are creamed together.
  3. Apply to eyelid using either your finger or a makeup brush.


  • Homemade eye shadow is incredibly inexpensive!
  • I checked the safety of each individual ingredient using the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database, and each ingredient rated 0. If you aren’t familiar with their rating system, 0-2 is low hazard, 3-6 is moderate hazard, and 7-10 is high hazard.
  • It’s fun to experiment with different colors. You can try items from the spice rack such as turmeric or nutmeg, or even experiment with more exotic ingredients such as spirulina, as long as they don’t irritate your skin.


  • Now I have to confess: the eye shadow didn’t wear well at all. When I first applied it, it looked and felt more like liquid makeup than a powder. After wearing the eye shadow for less than an hour, the color had caked up in the creases of my eyelids.
  • With DIY eye shadow, there’s no “one size fits all” recipe. You’ll likely have to spend time experimenting with different shades and ingredients to find the right recipe for your skin.
  • Many DIY eye shadow recipes call for shea butter, but not all of us have that ingredient lying around our houses. For that matter, not everyone has arrowroot powder or coconut oil lying around, either.

I applied my homemade eye shadow to one eye, and applied Stila to the other, then asked my husband if he could tell the difference. Not a makeup connoisseur in the least, he correctly identified the Stila eye shadow compared to the homemade eye shadow. That confirmed for me that the homemade eye shadow didn’t work. Disappointed, I decided to check the rating of Stila Eye Shadow on the Skin Deep website, and was surprised to find that it received a rating of 2!

See Also – Great Liquid Eyeliner Alternatives

My advice after this experiment is to check the rating of your favorite eye shadow in the Skin Deep database. You may find that it rates lower than expected, and if it doesn’t receive a high rating, I’ve found that several mainstream and alternative brands create eye shadows that receive low ratings. A few examples of companies whose eye shadows rated well are Stila, Urban Decay, and Alima Cosmetics.

Verdict: If you enjoy experimenting with DIY beauty recipes, play with this recipe (although I’d suggest trying shea butter in place of coconut oil). However, just because something is homemade doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better for your body. In this battle of eye shadows, Stila wins.

What eye shadow do you use?

All images via Thinstock 


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