I remember as a child, squandering
my weekly allowance on beauty products: fake nails, black
eyeliner, hair curlers, mud masks, and the like. The more
complicated and messy the product was, the more I liked it. The
greatest attraction of these products to my young mind was the
creative aspect of them. There was always some kind of powder,
that when mixed with some sort of liquid, created the magic of
beauty: smoother skin, shinier hair, whiter teeth.
Nowadays, with two sons, I try to provide the same opportunities
for them to experience the fun and pleasure of making real products
that they can use. They enjoy watching the transformation of basic
ingredients like olive oil, and beeswax, as they become a lip
balm. The purely creative aspect of an activity like this is in
and of itself valuable, but there are many, much deeper messages
that I am trying to instill. I believe that simple is better when
it comes to caring for our bodies. So, showing them that a basic
liquid soap, scented with a few drops of lavender is a
multi-purpose product for the skin, the hair, even the bathtub
itself, communicates that to them. Instilling in them that bath
and body products should come from nature is brought about by
simply making the logical connections: The coconut soap is made
from real coconut oil! They are always fascinated by this concept,
and I know they will carry it around with them throughout their
For young girls, and teenagers, the possibilities are endless. Creating products themselves provides a bonding experience between
child and parent that they will carry around in their hearts. Think back upon your own childhood: Most likely, some of your best
memories with your mom or dad are doing things like backing cakes,
drawing greeting cards, learning how to tie a fly. This is the
stuff childhood is made of. For parents who have never attempted
crafting body care or cosmetics products themselves, here are some
guidelines for getting started.
There are many “make-it-yourself” cosmetics kits, found at craft
and beauty stores, but I think the fun is in creating products from
natural ingredients that don’t have hazardous substances in the
formulas. Nail kits can be assembled ahead of time by Mom or Dad,
with carefully purchased, natural ingredients. The internet is a
wonderful source of information, recipes, and products. There are
several mature companies that sell “make-it-yourself kits” for
bath bombs, lotions, lip balms and many more items. To avoid
purchasing ingredients that may irritate sensitive skin, here is a
list of product to avoid when shopping for natural
Fragrance. This word signifies that the scent to be added to the
product is synthetic. Synthetic fragrances can often trigger
allergic reactions, especially in children. Look for gentle
essential oils and extracts such as lavender, and vanilla. Some
scents in nature can’t be extracted naturally, such as coconut,
and apple, so beware of these, they are generally synthetic.
Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulfate. This is a liquid soap that is
irritating. It is in the majority of shampoos and facial cleansers on
the market, but has also been attributed to causing urinary tract
infections in girls who take frequent bubble baths. Instead, look
for kits that contain natural liquid soap, such as coconut, or
olive oil soap. These will generally say, “no SLS” on the label.
Nail Polish: For nail kits, look for polish that says that it is
Toluene, and Formaldehyde free. These substances have been cited
as being toxic. Honey Bee has a natural nail polish that is
Artificial Colors: These are listed as FD&C dyes. These can stain
nails, lips, and clothing. Instead, look for mineral pigments, or
“earth-derived” pigments, listed as mica, or iron oxides. Be sure
if you are buying mica pigments off of the internet to ask the
vendor if the micas are coated with dyes, and which ones, so that
you can avoid them.
Okay! Now for the fun part!
What follows are two fun activities that you can enjoy with your
children, both boys and girls. I once gave a class in making
mineral makeup to a school, and by the end of each class, the
girls were lined up waiting for me to apply their creations on
their lips and eyes. The boys, on the other hand, were smearing
black, green, and red pigments all over themselves as war paint. The point is, this type of activity is not gender-specific!
Mineral Color Blend
What you will need:
¼ inch measuring spoons
small, clean Tupperware with firm lid
Micas: white diamond, Bordeaux
Small 10-gram cosmetic container for finished product.
3 scoops (1/4 tsp) white diamond mica
1 scoop Bordeaux mica
Place a paper towel on a clean surface where you will be working. Carefully scoop the two micas into the Tupperware. Snap the lid on
tightly, and shake, shake shake! Let the powder settle for about a
minute, and then open the top. The resulting powder should be a
soft, shimmery pink. Scoop the powder into the cosmetic
container, and close tightly.
How to apply:
For eyeshadow, use a Q-tip ( this is easier than using a brush for
the younger girls) and spread a few crumbs of the powder over the
For cheeks, use a cotton ball. Dip the cotton ball into the
powder, and then tap off the excess onto the inside of the top of
the cosmetic jar. Then brush lightly across the cheek bones for a
For nails, tap a bit of powder into a separate container.
Then dip a natural clear top coat, such as Honey Bee, into the
powder. Brush the loaded wand over the nail, and the powder
will start “melting” into the clear polish. Brush a few times to
spread the color evenly. It will dry very quickly.
War Paint Color Blend for Boys (
¼ tsp measuring spoons
coffee or herbal grinder, or mortar and pestle
10-gram cosmetic container for finished product.
Black Mica, and Yellow iron oxide
2 scoops black mica
1 scoop yellow iron oxide
Cover area where you’ll be working with a paper towel. Carefully
scoop the black mica and yellow iron oxide into the grinder. Turn
it on for about 60 seconds, then check the color. If the two
pigments are well-blended, then it’s done. If not, jiggle the
blender a bit to allow the unblended pigments to escape from under
the blade, then blend again until it’s a muddy green color.
For a mortar and pestle: Carefully scoop the pigments into the
mortar, and beginning steadily pounding at them. This will take a
while. Another trick is to put the pigments into a ziplock bag,
and roll them around (with the bag firmly locked!!) with a small
round wooden block or rolling pin.
Finally, scoop the blend into the cosmetic container and close
To use: These pigments are the same pigments used in paint. So
they will literally “melt” into almost any base. Water is a simple
medium. To “paint” the face, simple tap some of the powder into
the top of the cosmetic container. Then wet a a small paint or
cosmetic brush, preferable one made of taklon…(firm, synthetic
yellow or white brush head). Dip the wet brush into the top and
mix the water and powder together. You may have to add more water,
or more powder until it’s a nice creamy consistency. Then spread
on cheeks in interesting designs!
Natural Lip Balm
2-5 Small clean cosmetics pots, or chapstick tubes
Popsicle sticks or spatulas for stirring
Small measuring cup
3 TBLS organic cold-pressed Olive Oil (other oils such as apricot
kernel, avocado or almond oil can be used)
2 tsps Beeswax (unbleached)(A portion of the wax can be replaced
organic cocoa butter for a wonderful chocolatey aroma))
1 drop of Vitamin E
Natural flavoring such as organic orange essential oil, peppermint
Place the oil and beeswax into the measuring cup.
Place the measuring cup into a pan with
about 2 inches of water.
Heat the water to boiling, and allow all ingredients to melt, but
At this point, the melted mixture can be removed. Allow to cool
about a minute, then add 1 drop vitamin e, and 2 drops of
To add color, use mineral color blend, adding 1/2 tsp. for a sheer
color, and 1 tsp. or more for more color. The more pigment used,
the 'dryer' the base will become. Stir pigment blend into the
melted mixture until well-blended.
If the mixture has cooled too much, heat it again, and then pour
carefully into the jars, or tubes. Let cool thoroughly.
This activity is fun, but also use it as a way to help your
children learn skills, such as organization, follow-through, and
responsibility. Make sure that you are not the clean –up machine
at the end of the activity! Your children will reap the
rewards of this project for many years to come.
Deborah and her
son enjoying each other.
Make sure to visit
If you've always wanted to try your hand at making
your own cosmetics, or if you are a makeup artist or
handcrafter who wants to learn how to create your own
cosmetics line, we have everything you need.
Making cosmetics is fun and rewarding. Making cosmetic
products for yourself allows you to customize colors
to your liking, and to have more control over the
ingredients that you are applying to your skin.
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