Earlier this week, I came across this New York Times piece on lead and other metals in lipstick. My teen is just starting to use cosmetics, and it is rather worrisome to see the products marketed to teens (and priced the cheapest) are those with the highest levels of metals and other contaminants—particularly for lipstick, gloss or balm that is applied right on the mouth, often multiple times a day.
There are many cosmetic companies making wonderful safe and natural cosmetics, but it got me thinking about making my own, more economic alternative.
I had heard of making lip coloring with beets, including making lip stains by simmering beets in oil. I was hoping for something less messy and more portable. My first attempt was to make a beet powder that I could mix with lip balm . I sliced a beet and put it in my food dehydrator overnight. I then pulsed it as fine as I could in an old coffee grinder—still not a fine powder. I went at it with my mortar and pestle and passed it through a fine sieve. The result was pretty, but definitely not the fine, powder blush-like, dust I was after. Sigh. Into the compost with that mess.
Back to the drawing board. I had made food coloring with fresh beets before—wouldn’t that work? I took my remaining fresh beet and chopped it finely in the food processor, wrapped it in a few layers of cheesecloth, and gave it a few good squeezes over a bowl to catch the juice.
After squeezing the beets through the cheesecloth, I had plenty of richly-colored beet extract (you may want to protect your surfaces and wear gloves as the beet juice will stain).
Armed with beet coloring, I set about making my lip balm in much the same way as I make hand salve. I used one part beeswax, 2 parts almond oil, and one part beet extract (in this case, about a teaspoon of grated beeswax, two teaspoons oil, and one teaspoon beet extract). I allowed the wax and oil to emulsify in a glass jar set in a pan of simmering water and then added the beet extract and a few drops of mint essential oil (for scent and nourishment). I stirred the mixture until the beet was fully incorporated and then poured it into a container to cool.
The result was a richly-colored balm (shown here on Mia’s cheeks before spreading so you can see the color). Perfect for lips or to add a little glow to your cheeks.
Beautiful subtle color, free of harsh contaminants, totally edible, in fact!
Mia’s top is MAV’s Crop No. 3. We loved the cotton/hemp blend and how the raw edges rolled after washing! Cute layered over a tank or with her high-waisted skirts.