Sunday, June 17, 2012


I've resisted the allure of DIY deodorant recipes for awhile because, while they may deodorize well, you're not going to get a very good antiperspirant without toxic ingredients and DAMMIT, I HATE SWEATING. Hate it hate it hate it.

So I clung desperately to my unscented Secret (which of course lists "fragrance" as an ingredient....what?) until these last few weeks, when it started finally getting oppressively hot around here and I realized that, frankly, it wasn't working that well anyway. I was still sweating and stinking and generally being all gross. So if I'm going to have to change my shirt halfway through the day anyway I might as well stop putting poison on myself and at least try not to smell bad.


I started with Anna's excellent recipe. I subbed in shea butter for some of the coconut oil, because...well, I like shea butter. I don't have a good reason. I was hoping it would give it a more sturdy texture since it melts at a higher temperature than the coconut oil does. I wanted to add some kaolin clay because I'd heard that it might actually help absorb the sweat (I HATE SWEATING) but I couldn't find any locally and I'm impatient, so I got some green clay (the kind you use for face masks.) It was that or red, and the green seemed less likely to stain everything.

Rather than rose & vetiver, I'd intended to use a vanilla essential oil (because I only like things and people who smell like dessert)...but it turns out that what passes for vanilla EO is actually a tiny bottle of jojoba oil with a squirt of vanilla extract in it... for $32. Ha. Fuck you. Right. I have a homemade version of EXACTLY THAT that I've been using as perfume, and last I checked, it DID NOT COST $32.

Conclusion: the essential oil market is a scam. Jerks.

So all together now:

- baking soda
- corn starch (I've heard arrowroot is good too, especially for sensitive skin, but I didn't want to buy more crap than I had to)
- green clay powder
- virgin coconut oil (Look in the food aisle. I found Dr. Bronners brand! WTF?)
- pure shea butter
- EO of your choice- in my case, jojoba oil with vanilla in it.
- container to put it in

Now because I'm terribly scientific, let me show you what I mean when I say "one scoop" of something:


That's one of those big honking tablespoon things. Not a real "tablespoon", just a big spoon.

OK! First, because mixing stuff up with butters/solid oils is a pain in the ass, I put one scoop each of shea butter and coconut oil in the microwave for just a few seconds, until I could mush it up into a liquidy paste. The coconut oil will melt faster, but that's ok, just mix it up well. (If you're only using coconut oil and it's a warm day, you can probably skip this part.)

Then add:
1 1/2 scoops baking soda
1 1/2 scoops corn startch
a bit less than a scoop of clay
a few drops of the EO


Stir that bitch! It'll be pretty runny because it's still warm. Put it in the fridge for a few minutes and see if it firms up into a more spreadable texture, sort of thick-yogurty. If you want it even thicker I guess you could add more powdery stuff. Test it on your arm to see if it spreads nicely (and make sure you haven't developed any sudden allergies.) Pour it into the jar, and hooray!


So far, I've been pretty happy with it. The vanilla wasn't strong enough to overpower the coconut and shea, so honestly it could've just been left out entirely- I smell like dessert at a Thai restaurant. I'll probably use all-shea next time because it's actually making me sort of hungry all the time (I know you can get filtered coconut oil that's less fragrant, but meh.) Definitely smells a lot better than my old deodorant though. Or than armpitstank.

I gave it the ultimate test the other day (white shirt, hot car...what, you thought I was going to go running or something?) and I still smelled like tasty sweet rice, and I didn't feel like I was any sweatier than I would've been with the regular stuff that was barely working anyway. The green clay didn't stain my shirt at all, which I was a little worried about. White clay still would've been better, but oh well. (I did have a lovely clay mask facial the other day to use up some of the extra, though.)
Anna's recipe had mentioned that it can sting when you put it on after shaving, but I haven't noticed that so I think it might be the essential oil's fault. All in all, I like it! Probably wouldn't rely on it for a summer job interview in a silk shirt, but otherwise...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Making Mineral Eye Shadow Your Bitch


So when the girls at NMDL put me off products with talc at just about the time Pinterest put me onto fancy eyeshadows, I started looking around for talc-free formulas. This is not particularly easy, or cheap. Then I found out about the wide world of homemade loose mineral eyeshadows that chicks hawk on etsy for like, $3-5 a pot. And then I got super excited, and then I spent $50 on eyeshadows. If you like your makeup named after Hunger Games characters, you're particularly in luck.

Turns out these little bastards, as pretty and affordable and nontoxic as they are, can be sort of a pain in the ass to use. I'm starting to get a handle on it, though, so I thought I'd share my experience.


The absolute most important thing to know about mineral shadows is this: Mineral shadow + water = paint. This totally changes the game when it comes to application and removal.

- Did you fuck up? Don't try to wipe it away with water. Oil, soap, and make-up remover will take this stuff off no problem, but water will make it stick harder. Oil is great at the end of the day (I use my jojoba mixture) but you're going to want some decent non-oily make-up remover for fixing mistakes. I'm using BWC and it works like a charm (I've heard it's less effective on conventional makeup, but it's fine for what I use.) My main makeup application strategy is to get it all over myself so I look like an uncoordinated clown and then clean up the edges when I'm done, so I was really suffering before I found the BWC stuff. (A lot of makeup removers and remover wipes have parabens which are no good, so, watch out for that.)

- The moisture on your hands will also make it stick a little, which is a major bummer if you're a devoted finger-smudger like me. Wrapping a little piece of tissue around my finger seems to work, or you can just smudge with brushes/sponges/q-tips, etc.

- If you manage to screw your shadow up while you're out and about, you either will have to smudge it around with some tissue, mess with some soap, or you can take the cheater way out like I do and just sort of cover it up with face powder. You could carry makeup remover with you but I'd be worried it would leak. Maybe someday I'll make some homemade wipes. I haven't had too much trouble with it smudging while I'm out, though.

- Now the upside of this water phenomenon: foiling! Mix the shadow with water or use a wet brush to apply it, and you'll get an amazing, opaque, intense color. It's fantastic for lining eyes (and I am traditionally a huge eyeliner-fucker-upper so you know it's easy.) Once it's dried on there, you can soften the edges with some dry powder or try to smudge it a bit to make it a little more subtle. It'll be pretty set on there, though.

(From the top: Star-Crossed from Shiro Cosmetics applied dry, Katniss from Bad Bitch Cosmetics applied dry, Star-Crossed applied wet, Katniss applied wet. BIG DIFFERENCE.)

- If you use the powder dry, it will be pretty subtle until you've built up a few layers. Just FYI. That's not always a bad thing, though.

- Loose powder is fiesty! Tap your brush on the container and then on your arm to get the extra off before you go near your eyelid. That's especially true if you have a wet brush- the dry excess will fall off when you're trying to paint and sprinkle your face. You'll probably sprinkle your face no matter what, so I recommend doing eyes before foundation and blush or anything like that.

- On primer: I don't use that shit. Whatever. Maybe I should? I only ever want the stuff to last a few hours while I go out and so far, it's been fine.

- Practice with the stuff before you actually have to go somewhere. That's probably common sense but that doesn't mean I do it, so maybe you don't either. But do.


Where to buy it
I bought my buttload of mineral shadows from:
BadBitchCosmetics (tons of super fun colors. Some have toxic ingredients, so pay attention. "Bowie" and "Black Swan" are gorgeous, and "Dime Piece" is a great liner color. Does awesome tiny sampler sizes.)
BLSoaps (lots of lovely neutrals.)
Shiro Cosmetics (Pretty colors, geeky themes, cult following. I am not in love with the sifter containers that they come in, but you can take the sift-y part out and just make it a regular container. I just wasn't getting enough out through the holes.)

Honestly, it seems like most of the homemade shadows are similar in terms of ingredients and efficacy- pay attention to the price vs. the size of the container vs. how awesome the colors are, because those are the things that vary.

How to make it
This is something I'd like to try someday- it seems easy enough, though you have to shell out for all the materials. Maybe I'll find someone who wants to go in on it with me. If I do get around to it, I'll report back.

I think that's it- if you guys have any useful tips I missed, let's hear 'em!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Clean-ish Cosmetics and Other Such Vanity

(Octopus, you don't even have lips.)

There are so many cleanish makeup companies out there now. They are usually sort of pricy, but I feel like I've built up an arsenal of not-too-ridiculous stuff. Try Whole Foods or another hippie-dippie grocery store- they tend to have decent stuff at the lower end of the crazy spectrum. But for posterity, here's what I've found and liked so far:
*disclaimer: none of these brands have bribed me to review their products. But I want them to know that I'm open to that sort of thing. Ahem.

We'll go in vague order of how I put stuff on.


I start here because it's messy and I know I'll have to clean stuff up afterwards. Eyeliner can go before or after this, depending on what I'm going for, but whatever. I've mostly switched to mineral shadows, which warrant their own post because they're a pain in the ass, but I also discovered this the other day and immediately fell in love. I wish they'd make more colors in this line- Tarte is hit or miss in terms of toxicity and a lot of their stuff still has talc (no good) but this does not. But it's a pressed powder (more convenient), it's neutral, it has more than one color in one place, it's reasonably smudgeable, and I love it. It's nice and subtle and everyday-ish.


For liquid, I have Dr Hauschka's. This shit DOES NOT COME OFF for anything. So don't fuck it up. When I use this, the remnants stay between my lash-roots for like three days afterwards (which actually looks pretty good, so I'm not complaining, but it's hard to get it off if you want it off.) That said, I've had a lot more success applying this and not making an ass of myself than any other liquid liner I've ever owned. If anything, though, I do a thin line with the Hauscha's and then do a mineral eyeshadow foil line on top of that, because it's easier to make that look not-ragged (we'll talk about that in the mineral shadow post.)

For pencils, I have brown from Honeybee Gardens and black from Gabriel. I usually like Gabriel, but the HG wins here and I'll probably buy their black at some point. It's softer and way easier to apply- the Gabriel pencil is a little too hard. I may try getting it wet or mushing the tip a bit more, we'll see. I'd like to try some of HG's other stuff, too, since I've been impressed with it so far and the prices are really reasonable. But I digress.

Now that I'm done getting eyeshadow all over my face, I can move on...

Gabriel again. This stuff's ok- it has a nice texture, and blends in well and has just a tinge of yellow to counteract the purpley eye bags. I think I'd really have to layer it on to get rid of them, though. It's more of a gentle eyebag reducer.

I don't even know WTF liquid foundation is for, really, but I feel like it usually looks bad on me and I don't mess with it. I just dust this stuff on with a big brush, and then maybe sponge it on anywhere that needs a little more.


Honeybee Gardens again. I'm really impressed with this stuff- it looks thick, but it works as well as any conventional mascara I've ever owned. It's not waterproof, but I haven't had trouble with smudging- probably because I don't make out under waterfalls or scream and cry at Bieber concerts. I had some Tarte mascara that came with their eyeshadow and compared with the HG, it was shitty and smelled bad, and I'm betting it's more expensive too.

Lip gunk:
Lipstick has taken me the longest to come around to. It always makes me feel so "done up" and it's taken awhile to just embrace that. It's ok to be done up, man! I have a few regulars that I mix and match-
Gabriel Lipstick in Pomegranate - this is my red. I'm a wimp so I usually tone it down by using it as a stain and piling one of the others on top.
Zuzu Lipstick in Golden Bronze - This is like... apricot with gold shimmer. I'm amazed that it works on me, but the lady at the store recommended it and was totally right. It's like my natural lipcolor, boosted slightly and shimmery.
Pacifica Lip Tint in Guava Berry- pretty standard tinted balm. Nice because it's moisturizing, but it smells weird.
Jen's Sanatio Skin Care Honey Mint Gloss in Apricot Blush - I kinda love this stuff actually. It smells good, it tastes good, it's mostly castor oil and honey. It's also kind of local to me- I'm not sure how easy it is to get elsewhere. I'm not sure it's particularly long wearing, but whatever.

(Also, lipstick is weirdly fun to photograph.)

Much like liquid foundation, I don't really know what lip liner does or why I want it, so I don't have any :-P It makes me think of drag queen lips, mostly. But then, I'm not trying to make my makeup last through a busy day of being fancy- more like three hours of going out- so my needs may differ from those of high powered fashion execs and drag superstars.

I... don't have any blush at the moment. It's not something I've ever used much, but I probably should get some. Maybe some bronzer too. I'm pretty pasty. Recommendations are welcome, both for those things and good brands in general! Bonus points if they don't cost like $50 for one measly eyeshadow palette.


romantica theme by Pink + Lola