Thursday, June 28, 2007

Li's crafting thoughts 6-28-07

I haven't crafted all week (I have a cold) but here's what I've crafted since my last crafting thoughts post :)

Serums: I made the most perfect serum for my skin a couple weeks ago. It is light, absorbs fast, and the last several days my skin has looked great (and my skin is good to begin with)! I still need to work on crafting blends for other skin types but I am off to an awesome start in designing my skincare line! I just got a big box from Garden of Wisdom (thanks Markey!) and once I'm better I'm going to start working on crafting antioxidant serums, both in an oil and water base (I've only formulated it on paper thus far, still need to mix and concoct it :) ). I'm definitely adding some pomegranate CO2 to both blends, but ouch! everything I plan to use is extremely pricey stuff! ;P

Made a body lotion using both of my rose hydrosols (regular rose and rose alba). I added way too much sea buckthorn oil so the color is pretty orange though! This was my first lotion with alcohol in it (from the herbal extract I used) so I am proud of it! Note: if you use sea buckthorn oil, always dilute it well because it can stain the skin if you have very light skin.

Mineral makeup multipurpose powder:
Crafted a gorgeous light pink shade that looks great as eye shadow, a blush, and an all over body shimmer. As an eyeshadow it looks more pink, but as a blush or body shimmer it is mainly a touch of color with silvery sparkles. Just perfect!

Scrubs and masks
More experiments with agave in masks and scrubs. I need to post more agave recipes soon! :)

Aromatherapy spray:Made a simple spray for bugs. It smells great and the thing I love about natural cosmetics--they are multi-purpose! I've also been using it as a room freshener, sanitizer, and also body/perfume spray!

Hair oil treatment:Made a simple hair oil deep conditioning treatment scented with Ylang Ylang complete. I love YY #1 and #3 but I never believed it could sub for jasmine until I tried YY complete. It is the most sensual, but relaxing scent--and it made my hair look and smell great!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

It's all about the lips! (All Natural Cosmetics, Vegan/Vegetarian Information)

FAQ about lip products, lipstick history, inflamed lips, and crafting lip cosmetics

What ingredients can I use in a lip scrub?

I suggest making a brown sugar scrub. You can also try making a scrub with things like jojoba spheres and ground almonds.

What are some toxic ingredients that have been used throughout history in lipsticks?

Lead has recently been found in some brands of lipstick (despite claims that lead in lipsticks is a hoax). Women who wear lipstick on a regular basis ingest a lot of lipstick over time, I believe somewhere along the lines of 5 lbs of lipstick throughout their lives. It's learning about things like these that made me go all natural in the first place!

Eosin: a red dye that people have been poisoned by using lipstick

Phthalates: reproductive toxins

From a natural lipstick stand point: the ultramarines which are not FDA approved colors for lips. So MIY mineral makeup crafters please do not use the ultramarines in lip products!

My lips are dry and inflamed, what should I use? I use currently use Yves Rocher Calmille moisturizer and things like Blistex, Carmax, Chapstick, and Burts Bees.

I suggest lip products with chamomile, lavender, or helichrysum (all of these essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties) or other soothing herbals. Or an all natural cream made with these, since lip balms do not contain moisture/water.

Though Yves Rocher pure calmille moisturizer does have chamomile in it, it also has a lot of synthetics in it (in 2001 when I was using this before I switched to all natural, this was one of the products that I became sensitive to that gave me a rash).

I would also recommend not using Blistex, Carmax, Chapstick, etc which all contain vaseline/mineral oil which has no nutrients, does nothing to heal the skin, and over time actually dries out the skin.

Burt's Bees is a good choice but contains peppermint oil, which is soothing in small amounts but in large amounts can be irritating and somewhat drying to some people.

Are Monave's (a MMU company) lippies vegan or vegetarian? How is the pigmentation, are they drying? How do the minis compare to the full sizes?

If you tried their lipstick maybe a year or so ago (not sure of the date) their lipsticks had lanolin and beeswax (but no carmine). Currently their lipsticks are now vegan (no lanolin or beeswax or carmine). So if you read the ingredients you can tell if it is the old or new formula (if you get them directly from Monave, they are vegan, but if you buy from a Monave reseller, you should read the label to make sure you are being sold the new formula).

For pigmentation and dryness: for the old formula, I think it depended on the color, because I had some samples that were moist and creamy and very pigmented, but one color was a bit dry. The new vegan formula I think is a little less pigmented than the old one but they are very creamy and still deposit a good amount of color. I've only gotten minis of the new vegan lippies (I prefer minis over full size) so I don't know how they compare to the full size, but I assume they would be similar. Just when you order the minis be sure to ask for the vegan formula in the comments section since they may still have some of the minis in the old formula.

They also sell lip glaze (I love these, they are vegan too). They also sell lip gloss (in a wand and potted form. The potted form is pretty pigmented and very nice) and I think also lip tints, but while these glosses and tints are vegetarian, they are not vegan (contain beeswax but no carmine). So there are many different formulas that you can try. (Monave while not a completely vegan company has many vegan friendly formulas. All the formulas are vegetarian though).

What are some other vegan lippie brands?

Aubrey Organics makes a nice vegan lip balm and tints called natural lips that comes in three colors plus clear (highly recommend getting the kit since they are way cheaper than getting the colors individually. For the cost of 2 of them individually, you can get all four colors in the kit for about the same price). While not MMU, they are 100% natural, and the color is herb based. (Note: while most of AO products are vegan two or so of them are not vegan or vegetarian).

Sevi Cosmetics also makes a vegan lip gloss, and soon will have vegan lipstick available too (completely vegan company).

How do you make vegan liquid lip gloss?

I'm actually working on vegan glosses for my future line. They are similar to making a lip balm, but you have to use more carrier oil than in a balm so that the texture is soft/loose.

About pigmentation: when I made gloss I made one with a small amount of pigment and then one with double the pigment; the one with less pigment was very sheer and the one with a lot was almost too pigmented (for gloss but not for lipstick). To add opaqueness, you can try a mica/iron oxide blend (like how they do in some lipsticks) but you only need a tiny amount of iron oxide.

Tip: If you make a base, and it is thin enough, there is no need to remelt it to add your color if you are only using micas (make sure the base is room temperature though). But if you are using a mica and iron oxide blend, you'll need to heat it before you add the blend.

To scent: citrus (like sweet orange), herb/flower (like lavender), or spice (like cardamon) essential oils are nice to use.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I Love Capogiro! (Food, Gelato, Vegetarian/Vegan Information)

My sister Bexn (who has an awesome vegetarian food blog), Ed, and a couple of their friends have started a new blog about a gelato company in Philly called Capogiro Gelato Artisans. Bexn and Ed are obsessed with this gelato; when I was in Philly they ate at both locations many times, often going to both on the same night! They love the gelato so much that they even keep a stash in their freezer! Though I'm hypoglycemic, I admit it: I've sampled it a few times (only a very, very tiny bite, eating a lot of protein afterwards) and it is damn good, much better than ice cream. And the flavor selection is unusual but delicious! Too bad I can't eat it or I'd be obsessed too! So if you are in Philly (or are one of the few lucky states they ship pints to), are crazy for Capogiro too, or just want a really good dessert, go see their new blog! And did I mention that they have vegan flavors too?!!? :)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Vegan Avocado Agave Mask (All Natural Cosmetics)

I have just posted a new recipe for an avocado agave mask on the all natural beauty portal website. This mask is good for dry, dehydrated, combination dry, and many people with normal skin. It is all natural (of course) and also vegan, featuring one of my newest favorite skin care ingredients: agave nectar.

Previously I have posted my blog entry for miy all natural aromatherapy sprays on the all natural beauty portal's website. Camellia Rose/Jen has also posted many awesome recipes there as well. Many of the recipes on the site are easy to prepare and are 'kitchen cosmetics', made with easy to find ingredients, often already in your pantry, or that you can get at a super market. So go look at the recipes and try them! :)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Vegan Makeup Brushes: Where To Buy And Also Forever Female Review (All Natural Cosmetics, Vegetarian/Vegan Information)

A question on vegan brushes and also a review on a company named Forever Female.

Where do I buy vegan brushes?

I've blogged about synthetic brushes before a while back, but there are thankfully a lot more choices now! I have not tried most of these brushes yet (but I have tried other products from these companies), but just thought I'd post about them because they've gotten good reviews on some of the forums I visit.

Forever Female (see below for review) has a nice selection of synthetic brushes (including a kakubi and a brand new flat top) at great prices! The owner, Ann, also wholesales many of her brushes.

Everyday Minerals (a mineral makeup company) also has a synthetic foundation brush at a good price (be sure to shop carefully, they also sell non-vegan brushes). They have great customer service. On a related note, I really like their foundation.

Sevi Cosmetics (a vegan skin care and mineral makeup company) has synthetic brushes, including a kakubi, but their brushes are a tad pricey (not overly pricey, but just a bit expensive for grad students like me!) They also make wonderful face creams (Sevi understands and knows her herbs and plants!)

Monave (a mineral makeup and skin care company that sells many vegan products, but is not totally vegan but still one of my faves) is supposed to come out with synthetic brushes sometime in 2007. They make the best eye shadows and lippies!

And I hope Camellia Rose (Jen) doesn't mind me posting this, but she will be carrying vegan brushes in the future too :)

Forever Female Review:

I promised to write a review on Forever Female's vegan brushes--I have both the vegan kabuki and the 20 piece vegan brush kit (note: I think the vegan brush kit is no longer available, however I just found out from Camellia Rose/Jen that Forever Female is coming out with many other new vegan brushes soon! Thanks Jen! :) )

I love the vegan kabuki (called the ultimate kabuki; this brush is still available). I love it so much that I have two of them, since synthetic bristles can take a while to dry after you wash them (and I tend to wash my brushes after only a couple uses). I've been looking for a dense vegan brush for a while, but didn't want to pay $25 to $60 for one. Ann's vegan brush is not only inexpensive but very dense and so soft. Since it's made with synthetic bristles, it picks up the minerals well, and applies my MMU smoothly.

I love the vegan brush kit too. It does come with powder and blush brushes but these are more flat than dense, but still dense enough to apply a dusting of powder or blush. Though they don't look that dense, I was able to apply MMU foundation and blush without any trouble. The assortment for eye shadow application is almost mind boggling--there are so may different types of brushes, but all of them are soft, pick up the minerals well, and are easy to blend with. There are also foundation brushes and concealer brushes, and even a lip brush.

Overall, I am very happy with the brushes from Forever Female. They are not only high quality, but they are inexpensive and truly cruelty free as well! And they don't shed! Customer service is great, and she ships fast!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Li's crafting thoughts 6-06-07

I've been out of town for a couple weeks so didn't get to craft much (so I've been itching to seriously craft for many days!)

Things I've been crafting: infused oils, brown sugar scrub

Infused oil:
Bexn and Ed let me raid their garden :) I made tiny bottles of chocolate mint and also peppermint infused oil. Yummy! Can't wait until it's ready to strain, which reminds me I have a lot of other tinctures and herbal oils that are waiting to be strained! They must be super intense by now!

Brown sugar scrub:
made a simple scrub. Definitely shows when I visit/travel that natural cosmetics are truly kitchen cosmetics. Give me access to a kitchen and I can easily whip something up (that works wonders) with common ingredients :)

On my agenda for the new couple weeks: serums for each specific skin type, perfumes, hair tonic, and I really need to craft a body cream for myself. I'm also thinking of crafting some historical/ancient cosmetics/recipes that I've read about--a little bit of spirit, art, passion, and history combined: the way beauty should be :). My organic rose hydrosol and rose alba hydrosol from A Little Ol'Factory arrived sometime when I was gone so I can't wait to use and craft with them. They smell like heaven! I've come up with several ideas for new recipes (and potential products), and am now debating about starting my business earlier than I said. Lastly, I've been promising to post recipes on All Natural Beauty's site for a while now, which I hope to get to sometime in the next several days. I will also try to do the links to the rest of the archives sometime soon too. :)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Monave: New Sultry Collection Review (Mineral Makeup/All Natural Cosmetics)

Review and description of all of Monave's (a retail and wholesale MMU and skin care company) new colors. I was fortunate enough to receive samples of their 5 lip glosses and 13 powders from their new sultry collection. The colors will be available on their website soon. This review is cross-posted on Monave's forum.

Here is my review/description of the new sultry collection. For reference, I have light-medium skin, strong yellow/gold tones (I am Chinese American), and look good in nearly all colors (cool, neutral, and warm. I think it's pretty cool that I can wear pretty much any color!). My monave foundation color matches are Caroline or Hyeyeon.

Overall I love Monave's new collection. They are totally fierce!!! I honestly can't really say which ones I like the most, because they all are beautiful. I've been wearing some colors by themselves, and in the last few days have started pairing colors together. I've always liked Monave's shadows because they are richly pigmented yet they are very easy to blend. I've tried MMU shadows from other companies and they are just not as pigmented. The great thing about Monave's shadows are that if you prefer a more subtle look you can apply them lightly and/or blend the more darker/vivid colors with the lighter colors, or if you prefer a dramatic look you can wear the darker colors by themselves or apply a tad more for intense color! I think one of the best things about this collection is that all the colors look great paired with each other. These colors are perfect for a day look (when applied lightly, or when only the lighter colors are used) or absolutely stunning for night time use. These new eye shadows and glosses are hot! Monave is definitely my favorite MMU brand for eye shadows and lippies (next to my own of course! ;P )

Here are my descriptions of the lip gloss colors (vegetarian but not vegan, hopefully Deb (Monave's owner) offers them in the vegan formulas as well):

Ruby Slippers: like bright ruby red sequins: red with red sparkles. The red looks intense in the jar but is actually a very wearable shade of red (and much sheerer than it first appears). A light swipe of this would be perfect for the day, but layered, it makes a bold night color! :)

Divine: a light-medium frosty mauve pink. This is my favorite lip color of the bunch. Just gorgeous.

Allure: a light (very slightly brownish) pink. High sheen. Very pretty.

Hot cocoa: a medium matte brown. Really does look like hot cocoa! Good day color.

Quick sand: light tan, semi-matte/sheen. Though it is a kind of brown, on my lips it just makes them look like a bit of a sheen (my lips are very pink though, so on someone else the brown color would show up better). Lovely.


on the baggie it said this was a blush color but I used it on my eyes. It is a very nice pinkish bronze.

Eye shadows:

Vamp: a beautiful coppery plum. I wore this with kasha and my sister said it looked the best on me so far!

Oasis: pure medium sparkly copper. This would be awesome to wear in the summer or early fall.

Sahara: reddish copper, slightly darker than oasis. This color is beautiful paired with oasis.

Ivy: a multi-faceted green with green and gold sparkles. Beautiful.

intense burgundy red. Great as an eyeliner, and totally hot as a lippie! This looked amazing as an eyeliner with ivy on the lids.

a dark blackish, bluish, purple (think blackberries but sparkly). I love this color! This can be applied lightly and blended with other colors for subtleness, or used on it's own for intensity!

Jinx: medium dark purple with a plum highlight/sheen. Plum eye shadow is so underrated! It looks good on many different skin tones.

Blizzard: a light pinkish beige. Perfect for applying to the brow bone as a base color.

Envy: dark, blackish green. Kind of like a peacock feather (not the bright green in the center but the other parts of the feather that are blackish green).

this is a dark brownish-purple with lots of big reddish-bronze sparkles. Very multifaceted color. I love this shade!
I like wearing it over my entire lid, but it also makes an awesome eye liner.

deep, dark gold. Intense, mysterious! Perfect for those with yellow toned skin and probably also dark skin tones.

Rain: this is a deep, dark almost midnight blue. This makes my eyes really stand out. People with light skin may like using this as an eye liner, I have light-medium skin and I use it all over the lid. I think this color would look absolutely stunning on dark skin tones.