Talc is a natural mineral (silicate of magnesium) with a soft, soapy feel which makes it popular in cosmetics. It offers excellent adhesion, slip, and bloom and it is relatively inexpensive. However, some people prefer to formulate without it. Here are two common talc substitutes:
Rice Powder (for translucency and slip) Corn Starch (for translucency and slip)
There are two disadvantages to these ingredients. First because they are plant based, they are readily subject to bacterial growth. Talc, on the other hand is a mineral and therefore inert. If you formulate with Rice or Corn, be sure to include a preservative and keep your product clean and dry.
The second disadvantage is that these two ingredients have poor adhesion. If you formulate with these ingredients you should add something which will boost adhesion. We recommend Magnesium Stearate. Add anywhere from 2%- 5% Magnesium Stearate to your powder. Example:
8 grams Rice powder, 2 grams Magnesium Stearate
1 tablespoon Com Starch, 1 teaspoon Magnesium Stearate
There are also mineral-based talc substitutes. These include:
Sericite Mica (sheer but good slip, poor adhesion) Silk Mica (sheer but good slip, poor adhesion)
Sericite Mica which is surface treated with something (sheer, good slip and improved adhesion) Note: We particularly recommend our Sericite Mica Surface Treated with Carnauba Wax (CSMAX) because it has better adhesion than plain mica and it is 100% natural.
Kaolin Clay (matte, great adhesion) Calcium Carbonate (matte, great adhesion)
How you formulate with these ingredients is up to you. You can mix and match and come up with your own ideas. Here are some examples:
Example: Where the recipe called for 8 oz of Talc, instead use 4 oz of Sericite Mica, 3 oz of Kaolin Clay and 1 oz of Magnesium Stearate
Example: Where the recipe called for 8 oz of Talc, instead use 6 oz of Sericite Mica surface treated with Camauba Wax and 2 oz of Kaolin Clay