Forget Makeup, Food Could Be Your Next Favorite Cosmetic

Using food as makeup is a bit of a weird idea, but there's more to this YouTube fad than what's on your plate.

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Run out of foundation this morning? No worries. Head to the pantry and give peanut butter a try. Where do you think we got that idea? From a YouTube trend, of course. At some point in the recent past, YouTube makeup artists began creating full-face looks with items from their pantry. Some have more success with their ingredients than others, but the array of foods they use, and the looks they create, are incredibly impressive—even the bad ones. Especially the bad ones. Lily Lowe is a popular YouTube makeup artist who decided to try out the food-as-makeup challenge.

“I knew the [food-as-makeup] trend existed, and I find it so enjoyable and fascinating how every single thing around us is an instrument for art.” —YouTuber Lily Lowe

“It’s obvious that fruits and stuff with food colouring will leave a nice tint, so I thought, ‘Perfect,’” she tells HealthyWay. “What’s going to go wrong?” Lowe isn’t the only one taking on the challenge. It’s a full-fledged trend, and if you want to get in on the tasty action, just keep reading. Just keep in mind that this is just a one-off experiment, not a dedicated, daily makeup regimen. Oh, and before you run off to the store and stock up on foods to try this yourself, be aware of allergies you might have. If you’re unsure about how something will react on your skin, test out a small patch first before slathering it across your whole face. And obviously, don’t use foods you have a known allergy to. That wouldn’t be good.

First, exfoliate.

Before you get ready for the day, it’s always a good idea to clean and exfoliate your skin. Exfoliation helps get rid of dead, dull skin cells, leaving you looking as radiant as possible. There are lots of different products out there, but why not save money and use a secretly amazing exfoliant that’s probably already in your pantry? We’re talking, of course, about coffee grounds. Not only do you get to enjoy a cup of joe in the morning, but you can then use the grounds as part of your beauty routine. Coffee grounds are coarse but not harsh, and you can use them on your face or your whole body. In fact, coffee grounds have nearly the same pH as your skin, so they shouldn’t leave you feeling too oily or dry.

2. A Tasty Foundation

Once your skin is clean and smooth, it’s time to apply your base foundation. A handful of artists use peanut butter because it is similar to a cream-based foundation. Make sure you buy smooth peanut butter, and if you need to make it thinner for easier application, just add a little coconut oil—this was Lowe’s saving grace during her attempt. Once you have the product prepared, just smooth it onto your face and use a brush or beauty sponge to smooth it into your skin. Plain peanut butter tends to work best for lighter skin tones, but you can add cocoa powder to the mix to adjust the pigment. If you find the peanut butter too thick or not as manageable as you’d like, you can mix cornstarch and cocoa powder to make a food-based powder foundation.

3. Eyeshadow

With so many colorful options available for eyeshadow, you might think there’s no way the food options can compare. Not true! Depending on the look and style you’re going for, there are a ton of food items that can replace store-bought products. The first option is to use different fruits. Smash blackberries and blueberries and (carefully) apply the juice to eyelids for a dark, yet soft tone. For earthy tones, you can use plain cocoa powder or spirulina. Be careful not to be too heavy-handed with the powders, though. Use a small brush and start off with a tiny bit of product, then build from there.

4. Brows and Contour

If you need to fill your eyebrows in, there are a few food-based options. However, most of them only work for those with darker hair. Cocoa powder can work as a brow filler, or you could use almost any other chocolate product. You could warm up a chocolate icing, a chocolate candy bar, or peanut butter and use those similarly as a liquid or cream product. The same goes for using food for contouring. Chocolate products (in either powder or cream form) can be applied with a brush or sponge and used to contour your face. Some will blend better than others. And remember, if you’re having difficulty getting something to blend or set, try adding some coconut or jojoba oil. YouTube star Ms. Yeah takes this makeup trend to the next level in her video. Not only does she use a plethora of food products found in her office (including chocolate powder for brow filler), but she creates a brow brush from an actual chicken feather.

5. Baking

Now you can actually “bake” your face with real baking ingredients! In case you aren’t familiar with the term “baking” in regards to your makeup routine, it’s a way to set your foundation for a flawless look. Baking involves dusting your face with a translucent powder, allowing the heat from your face to set your foundation and concealer for 10 minutes or so. Then you dust the powder off. If you want to try baking your food-based full face, you can use actual baking flour. After you’ve applied your foundation, use a powder puff and press flour onto your cheeks and under your eyes. Wait 10 minutes and then dust the flour off.

6. Lips

Remember devouring tons of candy as a child and realizing if you ate enough Skittles or Jolly Ranchers your tongue would turn colors? Well, now you get to use those candies in place of boring ol’ lipstick. Skittles or Kool-Aid are good options for funky lip stain colors. To use Skittles, warm the candy in your hand, or melt them down in a microwave (but be sure to let them cool before touching). Once they are soft or slightly runny, you can use your finger or a small brush to apply the color to your lips. For Kool-Aid, dampen your finger, dip it in the powder (just a little at a time), and apply to your lips. You can also use crushed berries, barbecue sauce, or even hot sauce (though we aren’t sure why you’d want to do that) for more subtle tones. Check out Stephanie Lange’s video that shows her using barbecue sauce as lipstick and brow filler.

7. Blush and Bronzer

After all the work (and food) you’ve used to make yourself look great, you need to top everything off with a nice blush or bronzer/highlight. Why go through all that trouble to not look as stunning as possible? Again, you can reuse a lot of the food products from other sections here, too—it all depends on your skin tone. Cocoa powder can work as a bronzer or as contour. Crushed strawberries or raspberries work well as natural blush colors. If you want something with a little more sparkle, you can try out some edible glitter as highlighter or blush.

Now, it’s your turn.

If you’re curious about this makeup trend but don’t know where to start, there’s a good chance your favorite makeup artist has already made a video of them trying it out. Some have more success than others, but you can see how each food item reacts and works in different situations. Lowe, who you’ll remember from the beginning of this article, set out to do a natural, full-face look using nothing but food. “I knew the trend existed, and I find it so enjoyable and fascinating how every single thing around us is an instrument for art,” Lowe tells HealthyWay. “So that was my main reason for making up my face with food, combined with the fact that I just fancied a light-hearted fun challenge for my channel.” In the video, Lowe does a great job at implementing the products…but some of them just won’t cooperate. Lowe’s plan included: peanut butter for foundation, setting the foundation with flour, contour and eyeshadow with cocoa powder, edible glitter for highlighter, blueberries for eyeshadow and mascara, a mix of cocoa powder, flour, peanut butter, and coconut oil for her brows, and Skittles as a lip tint. Lowe was confident with her choices in the beginning. “I did have a lot of faith in the food at first! I’d done some research beforehand, [which taught me that foods] that have good color pay off,” she says. When Lowe began applying the foods to her face, she quickly encountered some difficulties. Thinning the products with coconut oil definitely helped, but each item came with its own difficulty in regards to blending and covering the skin evenly. “Getting my base done was definitely the hardest,” Lowe says. “Mixing everything with coconut oil seemed to be my savior, as it thinned the peanut butter ‘foundation’ to a nice consistency, but it definitely doesn’t feel the best on your skin, nor does it supply any coverage you may be surprised to hear.” These problems didn’t stop Lowe! She powered through and finished applying all the items, discovering some surprises along the way. Despite the peanut butter being tacky and the cocoa powder refusing to blend, Lowe created a beautiful, neutral-tone look, and says she is eager to try all of this again. If you’re worried about how your skin will react to being covered in food, just know that this wasn’t a problem for Lowe. “I think a lot of people expected my skin to suffer a lot after this, but I can truthfully say that my skin was completely fine afterwards,” she says. “If you think about it, there is probably a lot more harmful chemicals in the stuff we put on our skin everyday, and it was only sitting on my skin for a brief time before I cleansed it thoroughly.” Another makeup artist, seen above, took this challenge to a whole new level and only used food items to apply her makeup. No brushes—only food. Think you can master these techniques? Before you try either one of these, it’s important to try to waste as little food as possible. Buy products you would normally use, and only take out small portions at a time. This way, you’ll be looking good responsibly. Good luck!

HealthyWay Staff Writer
HealthyWay’s Staff Writers work to provide well-researched, thought-provoking content.