Resource: Homemade BB Cream and Foundation

I’m investigating easy, affordable, non-toxic cosmetics, suitable for a spoonie financial and energy budget (See also Haircare post).

Simple Foundation / Bronzer

If you want some simple non-toxic foundation or bronzer, but don’t have the spoons of energy to try the full recipe, just mix cornflour with cocoa or nutmeg until it roughly matches the skin tone of your arm (or slightly darker to make a bronzer), add a few drops of oil and apply as a powder.

The recipe variation below may seem a little complicated but it combines non-toxic, foundation, moisturiser and some sun protection. It’s actually fairly easy to make apart from getting the colour right (presumably this is easy next time if you write down exactly what you use). I didn’t buy anything specifically for this, but if you have fewer essential oils etc there are potentially a number of substitutions you can make. For explanation of the ingredients see Footnotes at the end of the post.

This is my first go at adapting recipes from Don’t Waste the Crumbs and Wellness Mama. My verdict on my first attempt is at the end of the Footnotes.

Tinted SPF Moisturiser/BB Cream

Create matching foundation powder first (can use separately or over the tinted moisturiser base):


2 Tbsp cornflour (or arrowroot)
cocoa powder
ground nutmeg
ground cloves
ground ginger
ground sage
Optional cinnamon (TEST first)
10-20 drops nourishing oil^ (evening primrose, jojoba, sweet almond, hazelnut or vitamin E oil recommended)
Optional 5 drops lavender oil or tea tree oil (for acne)

See Footnotes for actual quantities in my batch. This took a lot of tweaking so make sure you can sit down to make it, and write down what you use as you go along to make it super easy to make the next batch.


  1. In a small glass bowl, measure out cornflour

  2. Add ¼ tsp of cocoa powder and ¼ tsp of nutmeg (See footnote tweaks). Mix well with a whisk.

  3. Add remaining ingredients, ⅛ tsp at at time, depending on your skin tone and whisking well after each addition.

  4. Test the colour by dipping your foundation brush into the bowl and brushing on your arm.

  5. Adjust the colour as needed. When close test on face.

  6. When you’ve found your perfect colour combination, add 10 drops of your chosen oil/s and whisk well. If you would like additional moisture, add the optional lavender or tea tree oil and whisk well.

  7. Scoop or sieve powder into your final container such as glass jar and store closed.

BTW to create a bronzer as well take out 1tbsp of this mixture and add more cocoa.

Will a slightly lighter batch with more sage and ginger create a concealer? My first attempt at concealer went wrong!


¼ – 2 tsp homemade powdered foundation (above)
5 drops – 2tsp nourishing oil^ (hazelnut, evening primrose, jojoba, sweet almond, or vitamin E oil recommended)
Optional 5-10 drops palmarosa/neroli/lavender essential oil
Optional 2-5 drops Carrot seed oil
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 teaspoon of zinc oxide (check proportion in Footnotes)


  1. In a glass jar add from 5 drops to 2tsp of nourishing oil (the proportion of liquid oils to solid coconut oil will effect how solid the cream is at room temperature. 5 drops makes it solid until it’s on your skin).

  2. * For extra SPF add a couple of drops of carrot seed oil

  3. * For acne prone and/or oily skin, add 10 drops of lavender essential oil.

  4. * For normal and/or dry skin, add 7 drops of palma rosa, 3 neroli.

  5. Make sure you take a break if you need it as you’ll need to stir while the coconut oil is melted.

  6. In a small glass bowl, melt coconut oil for about 20sec in the microwave or over a double boiler/bain-marie.

  7. Add zinc oxide powder for sunscreen being very careful not to breathe it in.

  8. Add ¼ – 2tsp of homemade powdered foundation, depending on how dark you want the tinted moisturizer to be. (You can re-melt the oils and add additional colour if needed.)

  9. Using a whisk or a spoon, mix well.

  10. Allow to cool down a bit and whip until the moisturiser is a smooth consistency and to ensure there are no clumps of colour and the zinc oxide is evenly distributed.

  11. If there are gritty bits allow them to settle to the bottom (don’t mix thoroughly while cooling).

  12. If you want a thinner outcome add additional nourishing oils 3 drops at a time, stirring well after each addition.

  13. Spoon into the storage container and store with a lid.

* Tip: You can place the moisturiser in the fridge to speed up the cooling process.
* Feel free to mix the levels of essential oils and nourishing oils to best suit your skin type.

*If you are unhappy with the outcome you can gently reheat and make adjustments.


Colour Source:

Cinnamon – provides glow (but can irritate skin, TEST first).
Cocoa – depth and darkness, medium brown.
Nutmeg – sun-kissed brown.
Sage – green (off-sets red undertones), can substitute with other green herbs or use a sieve for non-grounded sage
Ginger – yellow (off-sets blue undertones), I wanted more yellow but found ginger a bit irritating. Ideas for substitute?
Clove – dark reddish brown
Cornflour spreads it all out and lightens it.
Essential oil keeps it together and thickens it.

Natural Sources of Sun Protection:

Hazelnut Oil – SPF 15
“Almond Oil- SPF around 5
Coconut Oil- SPF 4-6
Zinc Oxide SPF 2-20 depending on how much used (long lasting)
Red Raspberry Seed Oil SPF 25-50
Carrot Seed Oil –  SPF 35-40
Shea Butter – SPF 4-6

The final version will have a varied sun protective ability depending on the amount of each ingredient used.”

Zinc Oxide, non-micronized concentration:

  • 5% = 2-5 SPF
  • 10% = 6-11 SPF
  • 15% = 12-20 SPF
  • 25% = >20 SPF

i.e. if mixture is 3 tbsp (45ml) then 1tsp zinc oxide (5ml) is roughly 10 SPF (but carrot seed oil and hazelnut oil should raise the SPF). I bought zinc oxide last year from EBay to make sunscreen with beeswax.

Essential Oils for the Face:

Many of these oils have reported therapeutic properties for spoonie problems (see this post) as well as being said to have these effects on your skin:

  • Fennel – oestrogen like, firmer skin, use on dull skin, cellulite and wrinkles
  • Clary sage – anti-aging, cleansing, also calming antidepressant etc
  • Lavender – acne, soothe sunburn, good all-rounder
  • Geranium – blotches, spots on back, saggy, flaky patches, anxiety, balancing
  • Carrot seed – SPF, liver spots, eczema, psoriasis, wrinkles, rejuvenating also toxins in muscles, exhaustion
  • Palmarosa – regenerating moisturiser, wrinkles, antiseptic for skin infections, fade acne scars, also smells nice and lifts mood
  • Hazelnut Base oil – SPF, oily skin, acne, sun filter, tightening skin, toner, regeneration
  • Coconut Base oil – SPF, similar to human fat so more compatible, moisturising for dry and damaged skin
  • Neroli – skin regeneration, sensitive skin, dry skin, also sleep and uplifting
  • Evening Primrose – eczema, psoriasis, acne, omega-6
  • Frankincense – skin revitalising, healing, also for immune system and meditation
  • Rosemary – oily skin, acne, stimulating, alertness
  • Lemon – oily skin (but caution if going in sun within 12 hours)
  • Tea tree – acne, cleansing

^”Nourishing oil” can also be drops of your existing facial oil.

My “anti-aging” face oil is:

  • 60ml (4tbsp) hazelnut oil
  • 10 drops evening primrose
  • 10 drops neroli
  • 10 lavender
  • 10 frankincense
  • 10 palmarosa
  • 10 carrot seed
  • 2 rosemary
  • 3 lemon (NB leave lemon out over summer)

NB This is unnecessarily complicated if you don’t already have this face oil made up. I’ve accumulated these oils over time but it’s still probably cheaper to buy them in one go than buying the equivalent commercial cream.

Actual ingredients used 1st attempt foundation:

  • 2 Tbsp cornflour
  • 1 3/8 tsp cocoa powder
  • 3 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    6 Pinches then 1/4tsp ground ginger
    11 Pinches ground sage
    1tsp cinnamon (TEST first)
    2 carrot seed oil
  • 5 drops evening primrose
  • 15 drop hazelnut oil

1st attempt BB cream actual ingredients:

  • 5 drops Hazelnut oil
  • 7 palmarosa
  • 3 carrot seed
  • 3 neroli
  • 2tsp foundation powder (too much?)
  • 2Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1tsp zinc oxide
  • Remelted on windowsill added 1tsp hazelnut oil to thin

Verdict: the BB cream smells like biscuits, feels really nourishing to my skin and it was an easy way to make sunscreen (with or without the colour powder). But it sets too hard in average UK room temperature so I melted it on the windowsill and added more hazelnut oil as this is liquid at room temperature. Also the powder seems to go a bit darker when added probably because the cornflour goes clear? On the skin I don’t notice much impact colour wise on it’s own but it helps to stick the foundation powder and that gives a more madeup  look. BTW you can make adjustments by heating the cream for a few seconds in the microwave to remelt or on a sunny windowsill (probably best to be cautious about getting it too hot).

In terms of the foundation powder, I found it difficult to get a yellow enough shade for my skin tone instead of too pale or pink. I had to sit down and take breaks as the colour matching was more involved than expected. Next time I’ll change the order and add in larger quantities (now I know roughly what to expect). This should be quicker (you might want to add in the order most similar to your skin tone). Also nutmeg goes well with my skin and smells gorgeous but also has some black specks which can look like dirt (I just brushed them off my face but this is why I suggest letting sediment settle when the BB cream is cooling).

Note to Self: Add in this order

  • 1 Tbsp cornflour
  • 1/4tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
    5 Pinches sieved sage
    1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 2 carrot seed oil
  • Check colour then more gradually add :
  • 1 Tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    6 Pinches ground ginger
    6 Pinches ground sage

3 thoughts on “Resource: Homemade BB Cream and Foundation

  1. Pingback: Ascribed and Chosen Identities in Chronic Illness | Tips for ME

  2. Pingback: Resource: Spoonie Pinup Beauty Tips | Tips for ME

  3. Pingback: Resource: Affordable LowTox Products | Tips for ME

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s