Natural Eyeshadow

One thing to remember about making your own natural makeup is, don’t expect too much. Natural makeup is just that – it’s natural, and that goes for the kind of coverage and colours you can expect from it. There are no bright blues and shocking pinks, nor 24-hour waterproof coverage. So it’s best to keep your DIY makeup for everyday natural looks, and rather opt to buy a good brand of natural makeup products for more glamorous occasions.


Kaolin Clay:

You can substitute corn flour, arrowroot powder or bentonite clay instead of white kaolin clay. Bentonite clay has a better application to skin and stays put for longer, whereas the other substitutes are easily dusted or wiped off. A better option is to substitute any other natural clay, but just keep the colour of the clay in mind, because it will affect the colour of your eyeshadow. Bentonite clay is the closest to a white coloured clay.

Iron Oxide:

Mica is the next best alternative to oxide pigments. Please look for synthetic mica powders though, because most naturally mined mica is sourced unethically or illegally through child labour. This is why I prefer iron oxides despite the limited colour palette they provide.

Colour Adjustments:

You can adjust the strength of the colour by adding more or less iron oxide to the clay base. You can also mix more than one iron oxide together to achieve different shades (eg. you could combine yellow iron oxide with black iron oxide, or with zinc oxide).

Cost & Shelf Life

Cost Price: R2.09 per 10ml.
Lasted me about:
 1 year (using occasionally).
Estimated shelf life: 1 year (stored in an airtight container away from moisture).

*Costs accurate at the time of writing, and based on the best retail prices I’ve found.


  • Limited colours: The shades are limited to the iron oxides that are available – red, brown, black and yellow. You can mix these powders to achieve different colours, but you are still limited in the range of colours you can mix.
  • Wipes off more easily than mineral makeup and mica powder. Applying it to well-moisturised skin helps it stay put. Otherwise, you may want to look into buying a good organic or natural eyeshadow. I personally recommend buying from Inthusiasm, as their products are the most affordable and contain only a few simple and necessary ingredients (compared to other natural products with long lists of ingredients I know nothing about). 


Only takes a quick minute to make, and is really cheap!


  • Kaolin clay: Rich in minerals and detoxifies the skin by absorbing toxins beneath the skin. (buy here)
  • Iron oxide: is a natural pigment used to colour skin care products. Rust is iron oxide – so basically, iron oxides are different colours of rust ground up as a powder. Iron oxides are available in a few different colours – black, red, brown and yellow – which you can use to make different shades of eyeshadows. (buy here)

Not sure where to find these or other ingredients? My shopping guide may help you.

Recommended Retail Option

If DIY just isn’t your thing, or if you are looking for a variety of colours that iron oxides just can’t provide, then I recommend purchasing Inthusiasm’s Trio Compact Eye Enhancers or their individual eye shadows shades which I have personally used and approved. I have used their Green Trio Compact (pictured above), and their individual Chocolate, Gold, Hunter’s Green and Cream shades. 

How has this natural eyeshadow worked for you? Let me know in the comments below.

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