Marta Countess decided to give custom blended makeup a try after a makeup artist offered to create her cosmetics that wouldn't irritate her sensitive skin.
"When I heard that somebody was actually mixing and matching and using all natural ingredients in their home setting, I thought that was fabulous," she said.
Mixing up homemade cosmetics for consumers like Countess is taking off. In her spare bedroom Kim Snyder carefully concocts eye shadows and blush, then sells it online. And, she says her mineral makeup contains no preservatives, talc or chemicals, and is not tested on animals.
"My typical customers are young. I'm finding that they're in their 30's," Snyder added.
An online search found dozens of "do-it-yourself" internet entrepreneurs, with a range of products, pitches and prices. We ordered some homemade makeup from several different sellers. They arrived in plastic or glass containers, packaged in baggies or even newspaper.
"Buying homemade makeup is a proceed with caution or buyer beware scenario," warned cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson, founder and CEO of BeautyStat.com.
The same federal rules that apply to big companies also apply to people who produce makeup in their homes. But Robinson says consumers should exercise caution.
"In general the FDA is not inspecting these places unless there is a big or a large number of consumer complaints," he said.
Snyder says she takes extensive safety precautions in her home. She wears gloves, ties her hair back cleans her mixing table with alcohol, and stays away from her kitchen to avoid food cross contamination.
"If you are as sanitary as you can be it makes a difference. If you're just sitting on your kitchen table you slop it all together that's a problem," Snyder said.
If you're interested in trying homemade makeup experts say:
- Ask around for recommendations
- Ask sellers how they prepare their makeup and what precautions they take
- Request a sample
- Try a test patch on a small area of your arm
Robinson says that's a good way to detect problems.
"There are all sorts of issues that could happen with buying homemade products, including allergic reactions, possible irritations. They also may not be preserved adequately in order to prevent from bacteria growth and mold growth," he said.
Countess says she's had no problems with her homemade makeup and she also likes the reasonable prices.
"I really love that idea. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and its all making us all beautiful so, you know, great combo," she added.
On its website, The Food and Drug administration warns homemade cosmetic makers that they have a legal responsibility for the safety of their products, and the packaging and labeling must not be deceptive.
Your Guide to Reporting Problems to the FDA:
Below are links to search results of homemade and handmade makeup, some sellers have individual websites as well:
Handmade makeup on artifre.com- 555 items: