How to Make Homemade Eyeliner? 4 Easy Recipes

Caucasian woman putting on eyeliner

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Do you know what’s in that store-bought eyeliner you’re using? Chances are it's loaded with toxins and packaged in plastic. And no matter how much you love your favorite eyeliner, it’s just not worth the risk to your well-being or the environment. With homemade eyeliner, you can skip the harmful ingredients and opt for a clean, green alternative.

If you’re not exactly sure how to make cosmetics from scratch, check out the easy-to-follow recipes below to get started. With rich, all-natural ingredients, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been treating your eyelids to these bold liners sooner.

Why Make Your Own Homemade Eyeliner?

Still not convinced? Here are eight reasons to try homemade eyeliner:

Waste Reduction

Cosmetics are notorious for their disposable packaging, containers, and applicators. And where does all that plastic wind up? Sadly, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic make their way to the ocean each year.

While a few companies are leading the way on sustainable packaging and zero-waste, you can avoid any unwanted disposables by making your own eyeliner and storing it in a reusable container.

Clean Ingredients

Eyeliner in ancient Egypt often contained harmful amounts of lead. Centuries later, today’s most popular brands aren’t much better.

With homemade eyeliner, you’ll avoid the parabens, D&C Black No. 2, and formaldehyde releaser found in many products.

Customizable Colors

Instead of relying on color palettes provided by cosmetics manufacturers, you can customize your DIY eyeliner to fit your preferences.

Using charcoal as an ingredient will give you a classic black smokey eye look, while cocoa powder offers a more natural-looking appearance. If you’d like to mix it up, try beetroot powder for a reddish pink pop or arrowroot powder for a creamy white liner.

Cruelty Free Cosmetics

Despite some progress in recent years, the sad truth is that animal testing remains a reality for many big-name cosmetics brands. By choosing your own vegan and cruelty free ingredients, you can ensure that your DIY mascara doesn’t involve any inhumane treatment.

Skin-Friendly Oils

Coconut oil, almond oil, avocado oil, and grapeseed oil can all be used as a primary ingredient in your eyeliner. No matter which skin-friendly oil you choose, it will help your liner glide on smoothly and keep your skin hydrated.


The dreaded post-swim smudging can easily be avoided with the addition of beeswax to your homemade eyeliner. Beeswax naturally repels water, leaving you with beautifully applied eyeliner—even after you get caught in an unexpected rain shower.

Affordable Beauty

Even drugstore eyeliner can cost you $10 a pop. But with these DIY eyeliner recipes, you’ll be using small quantities of multipurpose ingredients that you likely already have at home. There’s no doubt that it’s more cost-effective to make your own.

Easy Application

Homemade eyeliner means you’re not limited to a dull pencil or cheap applicator. Creamy DIY eyeliners glide on smoothly, and you can easily use a small angled brush that you already own and love. Just be sure to regularly clean your makeup brushes to eliminate unwanted oils and bacteria.

How to Store Your Homemade Eyeliner

You can store your homemade eyeliner in any reusable small container, such as an old lip balm tin or individual eyeshadow pot—just make sure it has been thoroughly cleaned and sterilized.

The eyeliner should be stored in a dark, cool place. A refrigerator is ideal.

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Basic DIY Eyeliner Recipe

Facial mask and scrub by activated charcoal powder on wooden table

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Activated charcoal is the quintessential ingredient used in homemade black eyeliner. It can be combined with any skin-friendly carrier oil, such as coconut, almond, or jojoba, or with water.

In this basic recipe, activated charcoal is mixed with distilled water for a simple DIY eyeliner. Unlike regular tap water, distilled water undergoes a rigorous filtration process to remove contaminants and minerals.

What Is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a fine black powder made from charcoal—but not the same stuff used in grills and fire pits.

Activated carbon, as the powder is also known, is made by exposing carbon-rich materials (such as wood or coconut shells) to very high temperatures and activating agents to make it more porous.

It is sold in drugstores and health food stores in capsules or powder form.


  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 capsules) activated charcoal
  • 1 teaspoon distilled water


Place activated charcoal in a small bowl. Add a few drops of distilled water and mix until a paste is formed.

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Eyeliner With Beeswax and Coconut Oil

Lip Balm

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  • 1/16 teaspoon beeswax
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil (or skin-friendly oil of your choice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon distilled water
  • 2 activated charcoal capsules (or 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder for brown)
  • 2 drops vitamin E oil


  1. Add beeswax and oil to saucepan and heat on medium until melted.
  2. Remove from stove and pour into small container.
  3. Mix in activated charcoal or cocoa powder and vitamin E oil. 
  4. Slowly add water (a drop at a time) until you reach the desired consistency.

The eyeliner will be liquid and can be applied with an eyeliner brush. Use within a month to prevent spoiling.

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Eyeliner With Aloe Vera

Aloe vera and aloe gel face mask.
Everyday better to do everything you love / Getty Images


  • 2 teaspoons melted coconut oil
  • 4 teaspoons aloe vera gel
  • 1-2 capsules activated charcoal or 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder


Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

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Green Eyeliner

Spirulina tablets and powder in bowls

Pilipphoto / Getty Images

For a colorful option, reach for spirulina, a powder made from dried algae that creates a deep green hue.

Use the same basic recipe with different pigments to vary the color. Cosmetic-grade mica powder, available in a variety of colors, is a great ingredient.

For a reddish-toned eyeliner, add a bit of beetroot powder to your activated charcoal or cocoa-based eyeliner.


  • 1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder 
  • 1 teaspoon distilled water, aloe gel, or your favorite carrier oil


In a small container, add water, aloe gel, or oil—one drop at a time—to your spirulina powder. Mix well after each drop of liquid and add more if necessary to achieve desired consistency.

Treehugger Tips

  • Use coconut oil to easily remove makeup and homemade eyeliner.
  • Apply eyeliner to the outside of your eyelashes. Never use on the inner lid.
  • To avoid contaminating your eyeshadow, avoid dipping your applicator brush directly into it. Use the tip of a butter knife to take out a little bit of eyeshadow and place it on a clean surface. Use this small heap to apply your eyeshadow.
View Article Sources
  1. "Egyptian Eyeliner May Have Warded Off Disease." Sciencemag.Org.

  2. Drugs, Herbs and Supplements, and Herbs Supplements. "Activated Charcoal: Medlineplus Supplements." Medlineplus.Gov.