Post by contributor, Kathleen of Becoming Peculiar
Several years ago, I started transitioning away from using toxic, commercial products on my body and in my home, replacing them with simpler, safer, more natural — usually homemade — options.
I quit using shampoo in favour of a baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinse. I started using homemade cleaners around the house and soap nuts in my laundry. I started making my own deodorant and toothpaste.
Most of these changes were quite easy. They often used ingredients I already had in my home, like baking soda, vinegar, and corn starch. And the best thing of all? The alternatives were way cheaper than the conventional options!
One of the hardest changes, however, has been makeup.
Natural makeup products (like mineral makeup) tend to be much more expensive than their drugstore counterparts. And I still don’t know where I can purchase most of it except online (I don’t live close to any big cities). How can you commit to a shade you’ve never seen or used in person? Especially when it costs so much?
Besides, I use makeup so little. Was it really worth it to dish out all that money for something I use a few times a month? I’m still using the same L’Oreal powder blush I got in 2008.
So I’m still searching for a perfect solution for most of my makeup needs.
But a few months ago I discovered a simple, inexpensive, all-natural eyeliner solution: activated charcoal!
I initially purchased activated charcoal for its medicinal use. Activated charcoal is wonderful for minor tummy upsets – it absorbs toxins in your digestive system. Even hospitals use it in cases of food poisoning. We’ve tried it many times (we just mix a teaspoon into a small glass of orange juice and drink it down) with wonderful results – almost instant relief.
(Beth’s note: to learn how we use activated charcoal in our family for the stomach flu, check out this post: Stomach Flu Checklist: 7 Top Must-Have Natural Remedies)
Activated charcoal is also reported to whiten teeth and absorb odours. And it’s inexpensive! You can get it as a loose powder or in capsule form for a less than ten dollars. I highly recommend everyone keep this terrific natural remedy in their medicine cabinet regardless.
And it also just happens to make a lovely, translucent eyeliner for your makeup kit as well!
(I promise I tried the smile the exact same amount in both pictures. Doesn’t the eyeliner just warm up my whole face? After seeing these pictures I promised myself I would wear the eyeliner more often.)
I find that it stays put just as well as department store eyeliner. It’s a cinch to mix up a batch, and it’s easy to apply.
Want to give it a try?
Materials You’ll Need
- A tiny pot or container to store it. This might be an old eye shadow compact or – as in my case – a tiny Tupperware container. You just don’t want to be dipping directly into your main stash.
- A decent eyeliner brush. You don’t have to break the bank on this. I got mine for $8 at the grocery store. I prefer this angled style. And this brush is another thing that’s nice to own (if you wear makeup) regardless. Those dumb spongy things that come with department store eye shadows are so useless.
- A teaspoon or so of activated charcoal
- Optional: your favourite skin-friendly oil, such as jojoba, avocado, or sweet almond
This is almost too simply to merit instructions.
Just spoon a little bit of charcoal into your container of choice. Now you have the option of creating a paste with oil, or leaving it just as it is.
I prefer to mix it with oil: I find it easier and tidier to apply. If you go with this route, just drizzle a little bit of oil into you charcoal and stir it up. Add a few more drops as needed until it’s a thick paste. Ta-da! If you end up adding too much oil, just add a tiny bit more charcoal until you reach a consistency you like.
My sister, however, prefers to use the charcoal plain. She just moistens her eyeliner brush with water and picks up the dry charcoal powder with the damp bristles, applying it just like that. She says it doesn’t smear as easily this way.
You might want to experiment with both options.
A Note on Oils:
The first oil I tried was coconut, but I quickly found that it gets way too solid during a Canadian winter to be practical.
I next tried extra virgin olive oil, but the smell was awful. I couldn’t stand it.
I’ve now switched to jojoba, which is lovely. Sweet almond or avocado oil would probably be nice, too.
A Note on My Makeup Philosophy:
I like to think of myself as a makeup minimalist. I prefer to use as little as possible – for health, economic, environmental, and philosophical reasons. But I still like to use it from time to time.
In general, my goal is to minimize the appearance of blemishes (with a liquid mineral foundation) and enhance my eyes a little (with homemade eyeliner). That’s about it.
For special occasions, like a date night or a wedding, I might add some blush, eye shadow and mascara. I still use conventional products for these. I don’t even own a single lipstick. I figure lips have enough going on, what with talking, eating, drinking, breathing, and kissing – what pair of lips has time to just be painted?
So I guess what I’m saying is, I don’t have super-high or specific expectations for my eyeliner. I’m satisfied with this translucent powder – it does the job. It makes me feel just a little bit fancier and more feminine. That’s good enough for me!