Marie Lodi
March 31, 2016 12:01 pm
Instagram / Miriam Marroquin

The internet is filled with homemade beauty hacks as Makeup MacGyvers are always finding ways to incorporate typical household items into their beauty routines. After all, who doesn’t appreciate a product with more than a single purpose — especially if the price is right. While something like coconut oil can be the answer to many of life’s skincare problems, other things, like cornstarch, might be best left out of your face makeup kit.

An Instagram beauty blogger named Miriam Marroquin recently posted a video showing a makeup hack involving cornstarch, a.k.a. the cooking ingredient you can use to thicken up soups and stews. In the clip, Miriam is seen applying undereye concealer, then applying cornstarch to her face using a beauty sponge. The cornstarch sets her makeup, resulting in a smooth, matte finish. In the caption, Miriam writes, “I did a little research and some of the well known setting powders use corn starch in their ingredients like the LAURA MERCIER setting powder!”

It’s no surprise this can be appealing. The Laura Mercier setting powder can run you $38 while it’s just a few dollars for a huge tub of cornstarch and the resulting look is flawless. Unfortunately, cornstarch is probably the last thing you want to put on your face. As Good Housekeeping reports, the cornstarch used in makeup isn’t the same kind you can pick up at the grocery store. Cornstarch used in cosmetic brands like Laura Mercier has been pre-treated, so it’s safe to use on the skin while regular cornstarch has no preservatives. That’s when things can get sketchy.

From Good Housekeeping:

“Cornstarch is a flour derived from corn and can seem to have great oil-absorbing capabilities,” Tiffany Crews, a licensed master aesthetician and clinical oncology aesthetician at the Virginia Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center, explains. “However, cornstarch is a food source with no preservatives, so when exposed to moisture it can breed fungal or bacterial substances. This can happen if someone starts to sweat while the cornstarch is present on her face, which can lead to breakouts and inflammation.”

So when it comes to finding a setting powder for your makeup, stick to actual cosmetic brands instead of reaching for the cornstarch shortcut. Your face will be grateful.