Homemade Charcoal & Coconut Oil Eyeliner

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I’ve been using activated charcoal as a natural teeth-whitener (inspired by Mommypotamus’ guest post at The Healthy Home Economist Blog) and it got me thinking about what else I could use the charcoal for. Thus, my homemade charcoal eyeliner was invented.

I love homemade beauty and body care products. I enjoy making them and I also enjoy the savings that entail. So I thought, why not try to make a natural eyeliner? I had never really worried much about the ingredients that were in the store bought liquid eyeliner I usually use but so I did some research. It’s amazing all the crap they squeeze into an eyeliner formula:

Water(Aqua), Styrene/Acrylates/Ammonium Methacrylate Copolymer, Butylene Glycol, Xathan Gum, Sodium Laureth-12 Sulfate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

May Contain: Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Manganese Violet (CI 77742), Ultramarines (CI 77007), Chromium Hydroxide Green (CI 77289), Yellow No. 5 Lake (CI 19140), Ferric Ferrocyanide (CI 77510), Blue No.1 Lake (CI 42090

At first glance I see three huge offenders: two types of Parabens and Sodium Laureth Sulfate.

In a study done by the Department of Opthamology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, researchers found that even in small amounts, eye drops containing Methylparabens are likely to damage eye tissue and/or cause ocular surface disease. Granted, you do not put eyeliner on your eyeball but I still feel that such a toxic substance is not a good idea to apply to the delicate skin surrounding your eye. Not to mention, if any gets in your eye is it likely to be quickly absorbed by surrounding mucous membranes.

Regarding the Sodium Laureth Sulfate, I am actually shocked to see it in eyeliner. Normally it is used in shampoos, soaps, toothpastes, and detergents as a surfactant. For cryin’ out loud, why would you need it in your eyeliner? According to the Environmental Working Group:

“[SLS is a] harsh skin irritant that may also result in the formation of potentially carcinogenic nitrates and dioxins. Animals exposed to SLS experience eye-damage, central nervous system depression, laboured breathing, diarrhoea, severe skin irritation and even death.”

In numerous studies SLS has also been linked to

  • Irritation of the skin and eyes
  • Organ toxicity
  • Developmental/reproductive toxicity
  • Neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, ecotoxicology, and biochemical or cellular changes
  • Possible mutations and cancer

Of course if an animal has a forcible large intake of toxic chemicals the results will be sudden disease. However, in humans, it’s the gradual intake that we must be worried about. Dr. Mercola pointed out, we do not have evidence or studies done to see the long term effects:

“But high levels of SLS intake, either orally or through the skin, are not ordinarily experienced in normal cosmetics use—it’s the gradual, cumulative effects of long-term, repeated exposures that are the real concern. And there is a serious lack of long-term studies on ALL of the chemicals in these products—so we don’t really know what the long-term effects are.”

After knowing this, and knowing how easy it is to make this two-ingredient eyeliner, I’ll be sticking with homemade hippie eyeliner, thank you very much! ;)

Here are the supplies you will need:

1 empty eyeshadow or gel eyeliner pot. (I just emptied an old cream eyeshadow and used the pot)

1 teaspoon of melted coconut oil

1 280 mg. capsule of activated charcoal (sold in the supplement aisle of your co-op or health food store or sometimes in the bulk section)

toothpick for stirring

angled eyeliner brush for application. (see above picture for what that looks like. you can also use a thin paintbrush)


Empty the capsule of activated charcoal into the pot.

Melt your coconut oil and pour into pot.

Mix it up evenly with your toothpick.

Note: You can adjust the measurements to how desired blackness. This is a very workable combination.

Before you use your eyeliner, run it under some hot water if the coconut oil has solidified. You can still use it in the solidified form but it will be more like a black eyeshadow.

Here is what mine looks like painted on:

Let me know how this works for you. Have fun!
This post is linked up at Thank Your Body Thursday! Check it out!
Also linked to GNOWFGLINS.com Simple Lives Thursday!
Also linked to Food Renegade’s Real Food Friday!
Check out FrugallySustainable.com where this post is linked to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways!



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25 Thoughts on “Homemade Charcoal & Coconut Oil Eyeliner

  1. I can attest, it looks great!

  2. Maddi on 000 at 11:03 pm said:

    Awesome Olivia!! ill have to try this one out for sure, thanks for posting!

  3. I’m intrigued! I pinned this and will be trying it soon! Thanks for the great post!

  4. Erin on 000 at 2:25 am said:

    Very timely…I’ve been looking for natural makeup recipes and this one sounds easy – and looks great, obviously!

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  6. Cheryl on 000 at 5:22 pm said:

    What about using cocoa powder for brown eyeliner? How long does it last?

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  8. Laurie on 000 at 5:24 pm said:

    Do you have any suggestions for making purple?

  9. ellie on 000 at 1:39 am said:

    This idea looks fantastic. Do you know how long it will last in the jar?

  10. Virginia on 000 at 3:18 pm said:

    I’m very eager to order my activated charcoal (along with other herbs and soap-making supplies) so I can try making this eyeliner but regarding Cheryl’s question about the cocoa powder, I’ll bet you can! And Laurie, there might be a way to accomplish something purplish: I’ve acquired various clays, herbs and spices for soapmaking, hoping to find natural colorants. For the first time this morning, I played around using those clays, herbs and spices as eyeshadow, with cocoa powder being one of them. I do have alkanet powder and hibiscus powder, but I haven’t tried them as eyeshadow yet – but they certainly do get darker when wet…the alkanet might give you a dark reddish purple. (The hibiscus is pink when dry.) Some of these came from http://www.MountainRoseHerbs.com. I did spot naturally colored Brazilian clays at www. Brambleberry.com, with purple clay being available. I wonder if that will work as a purple eyeliner for Laurie.

  11. Brandy on 000 at 11:07 pm said:

    I have to try this! I wear black eyeliner daily. However for the past year, during the day my eyes start burning like crazy. So bad I can’t keep them open. Ya, it’s happened while I was driving. I am thinking it’s the makeup I’m wearing. I will try this eyeliner recipe and see if it helps. Thanks!

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  18. Sonal on 000 at 2:43 pm said:


    I have a question. I have extremely oily eyelids, so do you think an oil based eyeliner would be a good option for me? I’m pretty sure it would wash off after an hour or so. What other suggestions can you give me? Can I just use water to mix the coal, and nothing else?

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