"All art is quite useless" - Oscar Wilde

September 13, 2010

Making Your Own Cosmetics – Intro

This is going to be the starter post of a series of tutorials on making cosmetics. While it will also feature “classic” home made cosmetics, such as peelings made from stuff you have lying around in the kitchen, it will (mostly) be concerned with making your own make up. Before I bring on the tutorials, I thought it best to put together a post with general instructions, hygiene warnings and tips on where to shop for raw materials. If you are interested in cosmetics making, please read this post first to avoid some major fail, eye infections etc. Thanks.

I. General Instructions

Things you're gonna need:

- Mica – sparkly pigment that comes in a ton of colours. Basic eyeshadow ingredient.
- Matte Pigments – usually metal (mostly iron) oxides, ultramarines, carmine etc. Even if you're not going to make matte eyeshadows, lipglosses etc, these will provide a base to make the micas more vibrant.
- Base powders – these will give your colour cosmetics their texture, which is important. I suggest an equal mixture of titanium dioxide, magnesium myristrate or magnesium stearate, boron nitride (in sparkly shadows) and silica (some people get breakouts from silica, so you might want to test it on a patch of skin first. I normally avoid possible irritants like the plague but that stuff makes for the most silky smooth texture.)
- Oils (jojoba, castor, but foodgrade olive or coconut will do as well), butters (shea or cocoa), waxes (candellila, carnauba or beeswax), emollient (makes water mix with oil), cosmetic grade alcohol (preservative, use in small quantities)
- Alcohol to properly clean all your tools!
- Mortar and pistill, an even plastic surface to work on (should be easy to clean), measuring spoons (preferably in thee different sizes)
- Plastic jars to store the make up in

Generally speaking, all non-sparkly powdery ingredients always should be ground together using mortar and pistill or else you will never get a streak-free mixture. Micas, however, must not be ground! Grinding will destroy the sparkle and you'll end up with dull colours. Look here for an instruction on how to blend micas together (leave out the grinding, though!)

Never fear, you're not gonna need all of those at once. Purchasing those ingredients can be costly at first, but the amount of make up you can make from them will result in very low-cost products (of great quality! I'd never go back to drugstore eyeshadow again).
All tutorials to come will have a separate list of ingredients.

II. Hygiene

In order to avoid possible health hazards, please make sure to ALWAYS work with clean tools only. Wear rubber gloves, a breathing mask and protective glasses (if you can get them) as getting pigment dust into your eyes, nose and mouth is not cool. Clean your gloves prior to working, always use alcohol for cleaning. Clean your jars before filling them. Only swatch your eyeshadows on clean skin. Always clean your brushes after applying make up (this applies to all kinds of make up, no matter if selfmade or store bought! Bacteria will gather in the bristles to cause you eye infections and skin impurities and you want to avoid that. Use mild shampoo or cosmetic brush cleanser and rinse under water.)

Another important hygiene factor are preservatives. You can find a lengthy explanation of when and why they are needed as well as what products can be used here.

Before you introduce any new product into your formulas, make sure it is suitable for whatever you are going to do with it. Read about what it does and how it works FIRST. Don't ever randomly experiment with chemicals or powders if you plan on keeping your eyesight. Thanks.

Other than that, all recipes I'm going to post have been tested on myself. Their basis was taken from existing recipes, which I then altered until I was pleased. Please not that I am no chemist and that you can always react to a product that is fine for everyone else. I do not take any responsibility for things that are going to happen to you when trying out my recipes. I can assure you, though, that neither I, nor the people I gave my products to for testing, have had any bad reaction toward them. I try my best to keep myself informed and updated on the ingredients I use; I avoid irritants as much as possible; I try to keep my products vegan (although I myself am not, but I think that no animal should suffer because I want to paint my face).

III. Where to Shop

Pigments & Base Powders:

I have two addresses for shopping for powders – TKB and Coastal Scents. Coastal Scents also offers premade cosmetics, so make sure you browse the ingredients section. I have also tried other shops but these two were by far the best in terms of service and amount of powder you get for your money.

I suggest using TKB for when you first shop for mineral ingredients. They have a minimum order of 20$, which is a good base to begin with. Get sample sizes only! TKB's samples are so big (way bigger than the teaspoon size they state them to be) they're gonna last you forever. To this day, I have never used up one of their samples... and I make a lot of make up. TKB has a premade matte eyeshadow base of which I got a full ounce (still super cheap, though) and add silica and boron nitride when using it in my formulas. I find it recommendable for beginners as you don't have to worry about your base.
I furthermore recommend getting the mica sample kit (cheaper than buying them separately). Even if you think you're never gonna make blue eyeshadow and won't need the blue pigment anyway, I can promise you, you will. You may, indeed, never make blue eyeshadow, but you may want to mix your own colours, change their hues and whatnot. As time goes by, it will require all of the sample colours. Also get some black, brown and white mica (I got the pearly one). You can make a ton of shades with these colours already.
In terms of matte colours, get titanium dioxide (white; no need to get this if you've chosen the matte eyeshadow base as it's in there anyways), black oxide (really important), matte red of your choice, matte yellow of your choice, TKB's dark brown, matte blue of your choice (although I can't recommend ferric ferrocyanide (prussian blue), it's a pain to work with and SO not beginner friendly) and, if you wish to, chromium oxide green. A note on chromium oxide: to the US, this colour is suspicious of causing cancer and birth defects, to the EU it isn't and it is being used frequently here. Buy it at your own risk, it is the most vibrant green you will get. Nevertheless, I will in a later post instructions on how to mix green, orange and medium brown (so don't buy these).
TKB samples all cost 1,50$ so you can chose a lot. Try not to exceed the 20$ minimum order too much as to avoid customs, since the cheapest international shipping method is 14$. Nevertheless, the size of their samples will provide you with a good starting point without having to re-order too frequently.

For getting some additional pretties or re-ordering colours without having to spend at least 34$, I recommend Coastal Scents. Their samples are smaller than the TKB ones but still a fair amount and they only cost 1$. Also, shipping is calculated according to the amount you buy and generally cheaper than at TKB. Coastal Scents is great for getting additional colours, colour changing micas and stuff you just want to try out. Colours that have similar names to the TKB ones usually are exactly the same shades, so don't be fooled by the pictures. CS's photos tend not to be too accurate. They did include a free sample in my last order, which I found very nice :)

Oils, butters etc.

I get all other make up ingredients at Spinnrad. They have an online shop as well but many cities have one of those stores in one place or another (the one in Leipzig is at Strohsackpassage, Nikolaistraße). I find their prices quite fair and the real stores usually offer a bigger variety and a larger range of quantities of products (because you're not going to use up 1l of il).
No matter where you buy, make sure the stuff is suitable for making cosmetics. Using the wrong products can seriously damage your health, so be extra suspicious. Some of these ingredients also should be available at your local chemist's, so ask there if you have no Spinnrad nearby.


So much about general stuff. If there are any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Recipes will come soon, but I want to make sure everyone who's interested reads this stuff first so I'm not posting anything right away. Thanks for your understanding.


decembersong said...

whou, can't wait for more to come!
sounds really professional somehow, that always makes me shy away a little from trying it myself.
and I guess it was a good idea to make a hygiene and safety post before anything else XD

Glittermuffin said...

ah, no worries. it all requires some getting used to and experimenting at first. as with everything, you have to get used to the basics and it only gets better from there ;) we can make some stuff together on saturday and you'll see how easy it is.

yeah, hygiene first. i do not wish to be responsible for someone having a booboo on their eye from not cleaning their tools etc. ever since i had an eye infection from dirty brushes at the age of 16, i clean them after every use. also keeps your skin in better condition.

decembersong said...

that would be great!! :'D

uuuuuh evil °_°; maybe I should start doing that as well...

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