Friday, August 7, 2009

Mineral make-up: A closer look at eye shadow bases

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know I love eye shadow! Keeping in mind the concepts from yesterday, let's take a closer look at eye shadow and the various ingredients we can add to get exactly what we want!
  • Whiteness or opacity: To make a colour lighter, to cover up imperfections.
  • Translucency: The base itself is almost invisible once applied.
  • Skin protection
  • Slip: The product feels nice going on and staying on.
  • Adhesion: The product remains on your skin.
  • Absorbency: Your colour will remain true throughout the day and not morph into something due to environmental stresses or skin oils.
  • Light scattering properties: To give your skin a dewy glow.
  • Colour.
What do we want in an eye shadow? Let's call this our eye shadow check list!
  • Slip: I want my eye shadow to glide nicely, not create drag.
  • Translucency: I don't really want the white of the base to show through
  • Adhesion: I want my eye shadow to stay on all day long!
  • Absorbency: I want my colour to remain true
  • Colour: Well, what's the point of an uncoloured eye shadow?
Let's take a look at my usual eye shadow base and see what each ingredient brings to the party!

4 tsp treated sericite mica
1 tsp titanium dioxide (I use oil soluble)
1 tsp dry-flo

Treated sericite mica: Slip, translucency, adhesion, and absorbency.
Serecite is a mineral similar to white mica with a fine grain size and silky shine. It may be treated with silicone (usually dimethicone) or magnesium myristate to increase its ability to repel water and adhere to the skin. It will keep your colour true throughout the day. It feels soft and smooth, and adds glide to your eyeshadow.

Titanium dioxide: Adhesion.
Oil dispersible is good for powdered and emulsified products, and it works here because it's a bit heavier and won't come off as easily.

Dry-flo (INCI: Corn starch, modified): Translucency, adhesion, slip.

Please note, I will be going into more detail about each of these products in the coming days if you're a curious girl like me!

So this eye shadow base should offer us all five qualities we are seeking in an eye shadow! (Okay, except for the colour, but you know how to add that with micas, iron oxides, and so on.)

I really like this base...but the titanium dioxide can whiten your product and it will make some colours - like the pop micas or colour shifting micas from TKB Trading - less vibrant. So let's take a look at the alternate eye shadow base for use with colour shifting or multi-coloured micas.

3 tbsp treated sericite mica
1 tsp micronospheres
1 small scoop calcium carbonate

Sericite mica: Slip, translucency, adhesion, and absorbency.

Micronospheres (INCI: Silica): Translucency, absorbency, slip, and adhesion.
These are tiny silicone and silica balls that act like ball bearings in the product when you apply it and on the skin. They add incredible slip and glide to the product to create a really smooth eye shadow base. They also keep your colour true all day long.

Calcium carbonate: Absorbency.
Calcium carbonate is a great absorber of oil, so adding a titch will absorb your skin's natural oils and keep your colour true.

You can see that both bases offer the same qualities, but they have different effects on the colour of the eye shadow. The basic base with titanium dioxide is going to make for more pastel colours because of the white background. The alternate base without titanium dioxide is going to make for a sparklier base.

To see some recipes using both bases, please click here - mineral make-up recipes!

There are myriad ways to create an eye shadow base! The beauty is finding something you really love using ingredients you can find locally. And ingredients your skin will love!

So let's take a closer look at some of the fillers...starting with zinc oxide.


K Blair said...

Not sure if this is a good place to ask, but I would love to see if you know of any recipes for eye primers? I can't find any actual recipes online. I've found a few primers that aren't terribly expensive, but I'd love to be able to make a primer myself and add other ingredients to it for staying power, adjust the amount of wax / dimethicone for my lid oiliness, etc. I think I have the necessary ingredients - a thick dimethicone from TKB and a pressing medium that is a blend of dimethicones that are thinner, kaolin clay, waxes, etc, but no idea where to start with proportions.

Anonymous said...

I noticed there is a difference between your two bases as far as general mix; the first base mix is smaller than the alternative base mix since the first ingredient is only in tsp and the alternative base first ingredient is in tbsp. Will you need to you that much more of it when using that alternative base?


Anonymous said...

*need to use, not need to you! LOL


Anonymous said...

Nice, thanks for the info.

K Blair, you can use a dab of coconut oil for primer. That's all you need. :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi K Blair. I have an anhydrous one on the blog - do a search for "primer" and you'll find it.

Hi Kat. The difference is that one contains more whiteners, so it will dull brighter colours more. As for volume, I used those amounts because that's what I used when I was formulating the ingredients. You can make the batches as large or as small as you want as long as you keep the ratios the same.

Hi Anonymous. It sounds like a great idea for someone with dry skin, but my oily skin wouldn't like coconut oil at all! I'm glad it's working for you!

Please use your name when you post. A simple "Bye, (name)" is enough. Otherwise, I need to delete it as per my new blog policy. I can't make exceptions!

Julia said...


When you say scoop what size scoop? And in the alternative recipe it says 3tbsp is that supposed to be 3 tsp.? Also are you mixing all three ingredients together or separate? . Love that I found this page .Thank you. I am a massage therapist and will be making my own oils and lotions and scrubs your blog is such a huge help especially with the breakdown of rancidity and oils. Thank!

Heather said...

Tried the Basic eye shadow recipe as written. Mixed all of the ingredients using a coffee grinder, then put a some in a small bag with some oxides and squished it to mix. It went on well, had a good feel, and looked good, but for me it didn't seem to last well. Within an hour or two, I could barely tell I had put on any. I need to make some of the primer and see if that helps.

Marina Michaels said...

Hi! I just found your site while trying to find out more information about the different kinds of micas. Thanks for such a great site filled with lots of information. I love it that you aren't an affiliate and so whatever you recommend is something you genuinely like.

By the way, have you discovered yet? Their prices are great and their quality is very high. I get most of my essential oils from them. The oils come in plain amber bottles with non-fancy labels. I like it.


Anonymous said...

Hi there,
Love your site! It's such a big help!
Sorry for the giant post--I just want to be very clear and detailed.

I'm making loose mineral eyeshadow and I'm having difficulty making it go on more OPAQUE. It does just fine when wet; however, I'd like to see if I can have it go on more opaque dry. I use micas. The current BASE recipe is:

8 pts sericite mica surface treated with carnauba wax
3 pts magnesium myristate
3 pts magnesium stearate
2 pts titanium dioxide
1 pt boron nitride
1 pt silica microspheres
small small amount (I'm sorry for not having a more specific amount, but I haven't fully decided yet--assuming each "part" is one large recipe scoop in the set of 3 from tkb, approximately 10 drops?) of fractionated coconut oil, to decrease dusting

I've been trying to make the shadows in 1:2, 1:3, and 1:4 base:mica ratios but they just don't go on very opaquely unless wet. Is this normal for loose eyeshadows (perhaps I'm too used to wearing pressed in my daily life?)

Would increasing the titanium dioxide help (I know it will lighten the colour a bit)?

Do you have any suggestions if I want to make a DARKER eyeshadow (so, in that case, I would not be able to increase the titanium dioxide?)

Thank you so much for any help, and sorry again for the giant post!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Sherri. You can make things more opaque by adding more zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. You can also use iron oxides instead of micas. (I encourage you to check out the MMU section of the blog to see more about the ingredients I have researched as there are a few different ways to make it more opaque!). As for making it darker, you would want to use more iron oxides as the base and use the micas to be the secondary colourant instead of the only ones. Or try using black iron oxide or mica!

Abby said...

I'm looking for a base that will allow me to formulate a chocolate brown shadow without whitening too much. I also want to make sure it will last through the day without fading. Would you recommend the alternate base recipe for that use, or are there any additional tweaks you would recommend? Thanks!