While some liquid makeup formulas can contain specialized, unrecognizable ingredients, other formulas consist of fairly basic ingredients. Below is the basic recipe that forms the base of nearly all foundations. The percentages will vary depending on the formula.

Water: 60-70%

Emulsifier: 2-5% (allows oil and water to blend)

Humectant: 2-5% (attracts moisture from the air, e.g. glycerin, honey, sorbital) 

Emollients: 7-10% (natural or chemical oils) 

Powder: 2-5% (creates a lighter feeling)

Colorant: 1-3% (typically iron oxides) 

Titanium Dioxide: 4-6% (adjusts tone and opacity) 

Preservative: As needed (keeps makeup free of yeasts, molds and bacteria)

We are in the works of creating our own liquid makeup that has simple ingredients, good coverage and a light feel. Read more in the Finished Makeup - COMING SOON tab.


Water (thins the formula)

Sesame Oil (emollient)

Jojoba Oil (emollient)

Avocado Oil (emollient)

Aloe Leaf Extract (active ingredient)

Glycerin (humectant)

Cetearyl Alcohol (emulsifier)

Shea Butter (emollient)

Lecithin (emulsifier)

Xanthan Gum (thickener)

Phenoxyethanol (preservative, anti-bacterial)

Postasium Sorbate (fights yeast and mold growth)

Kaolin (lighter feel)

Iron Oxide and Titanium Dioxide (colorants)

All the above ingredients may be sources naturally. If you want to learn more about formulas and what are in your products, have a look at the label and the ingredient list. Try to categorize under one of the above headings. If you don't know what it is, look it up on the internet. This is how I first started teaching myself how to formulate. If I found an ingredient I did not want to use, then I would find out what it was and substitute it with a more natural counterpart.

Written by Rebecca Midkiff of DIY Cosmetics.