For The Lips: Perfectly Pretty and Practical.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

Happy DIY Friday!

Today’s original recipe can be found here, where a fellow blogger talks about coming up with a copy-cat recipe for Burt’s Bees lip balm and gives step-by-step directions. I’ve experimented twice with it now, and today’s post will be about the second attempt: using it as a base for a mica-powder-tinted lip balm.

WARNING: THIS PROJECT WAS SUPER MESSY.

How messy, you wonder? Let me show you some (slightly blurry) aftermath…

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This stuff hardens REALLY fast when you take it away from the heat of the double boiler, especially if you make it in small scaled-down batches like I did. Combine that with keeping multiple colors and containers separate, and you get, well, the picture above.

Below is the “before” picture of that counter…

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As you can see, the base ingredients from the recipe are being used:

  • Beeswax
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Lanolin
  • Essential Oils

Differences: I switched up the “flavors” of the essential oils to have a little variety; I skipped the E oil because I didn’t have any around; I added several different shades of mica powder (all of which had been labeled as “safe for lips”); I scaled down the recipe to make exactly the right amount for the number of containers I wanted.

As messy as this was, they turned out really pretty…

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The mica powder adds a TON of shimmer in the container, but once it’s on your lips it basically looks like regular tinted lip balm. The pink one on the left doubles as a “hint of lip gloss” look without the stickiness of actual lip gloss, because it’s light enough you can’t see the color — just the shimmer.

If I want more of a traditional lipstick look, I just add a couple extra layers and maybe some lip liner. Because I love the shiny and the 3-d lip look, I also add a light coat of loose mica powder (it can even be the matching color!) as a highlight.

The moisturizing factor is amazing; they last even longer than regular lip balm for keeping my lips feeling soft and smooth. Plus, they come out really solid, so I’ve never had a problem with them melting in the containers when it gets hot. Definitely a win in a tropical climate…

I don’t have any demo type pictures this post because I’ve yet to take a picture of my lips that I don’t feel is awkward and weird. Eyes, yes, but not lips. If you have any tips on how to do it, please leave them in a comment!

Tomorrow may or may not have a make-up look. I haven’t taken one, and I don’t know if I’ll get around to it.

I’ll be posting a post about posting soon, too; this month will have some alterations to the schedule, and I’m going to talk about why that is and what they’ll be.

Thanks for reading!

Love,

GeGi.

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Hawaiian Sunrise.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

Time for mica makeup!

I’m calling this look “Hawaiian Sunrise” because the color combo reminds me of a yummy tropical drink — the kind with fruit and a paper umbrella, perhaps…

First, I use a pointed blender brush to apply the semi-matte mica powder mixed with arrowroot powder as a primer around my eyes. To show the difference, I took a photo when only one eye was done (it’s the one I’m pointing to):

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It’s very subtle, but it evens out the skin tone a little and adds some brightness to the shadow areas (like under my eye). It also helps the mica powder spread more evenly and stick around when used as a primer.

When used as a finishing powder — which I highly recommend trying — it evens out different shimmer levels so the makeup has a more uniform, polished look. It also helps keep the mica from traveling to the creases of the lid quite as quickly.

Once my eyes were primed, here’s the powders and brushes I used:

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  • Copper mica 
  • Blue Claret Pearl mica
  • A domed blending brush
  • A domed smudge brush

All were bought from Coastal Scents.

And here’s the Hawaiian Sunrise eyeshadow look!

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So pretty!

As you can see, I used the pink on the medial edge of my lid which blends into the copper on the lateral edge. Nothing else was used to get this look.

Be sure to come back for my Monday Media review!

Love,

GeGi.

Three-In-One: Black Eyeliner Looks.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

It’s DIY Friday! This time, I’m going to show off my homemade black eyeliner.

Today’s post will be a little different from previous some DIY, because I’m not going to do a step-by-step how-to. This is partly because (amazingly) I can actually give you the link to the original recipe I modified, and partly because I ended up taking a lot of pictures showing off several the ways this eyeliner can be used, and thought that might be more interesting.

I was specifically looking to make an eyeliner that didn’t use activated charcoal for the color — very common in DIY recipes, I’ve found. I have nothing against using it, I just never have and didn’t have any around.

However, I did have black iron oxide. I found this original recipe if you’re interested in trying it yourself. I basically just modified it for what ingredients I happened to actually have at the time.

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Those ingredients happened to be sunflower oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, clay, and of course, black iron oxide.

Obviously, this means my eyeliner came out a little different than the original… But I still followed the same basic steps, melting and adding in the double-boiler.

Here’s what it looked like when I was done:

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Very solid, and very black.

I was a little worried about how well I could use it with my small detail brush (stolen from my oil painting brushes before it ever got used), since it was so very solid. But I was worried for nothing!

Running the brush over the eyeliner several times quickly turns the bristles black, and it easily transfers to my skin. It looks like nothing is getting used because it takes very little to be effective — basically it means this tiny jar will last approximately forever.

Now, onto the looks!

First up is my eye with nothing on, for comparison purposes.

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And then with a simple thin line, very basic.

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I LOVE how much control and precision the brush gives me, and the homemade eyeliner is very cooperative.

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You can see there is just a little smudging onto the crease above my eye.

I’ve yet to use ANY eyeliner that doesn’t do this if I put it on too thick (I put on quite a few layers to make sure it’d show up on the camera). With the homemade stuff, though, mistakes come off super easily and cleanly, while still lasting quite a while where I want it. I can’t say as much for every store-bought eyeliner!

My second look really demonstrates how much fun you can have with homemade eyeliner and a good detail brush:

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Fairy makeup! I can’t resist it…

As mentioned, this cleans up very nicely! The beeswax base means it slides off super cleanly, with just a little warmth and/or oil to help if it gives you trouble.

I got look number three when removing the fairy makeup…

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The classic, ever-popular, smudgy smokey eye.

So there you have it: three quick and easy looks using only homemade eyeliner!

Be sure to come back for tomorrow’s post when I show off a little more of the mica powder looks…

Love,

GeGi.

All The Shiny.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

Nail polish! Mica powder! ALL THE SHINY!

If you follow me on Twitter, then you might have seen a couple phone-photos I posted a while back showing off just how excited I was about combining mica powder with nail polish, and the shiny, shiny results. Now it’s time to tell you how I did it here on the blog, for my DIY Friday post.

Couple of warnings, should you wish to attempt this yourself: mica powder is tiny and easily “poofed”, so take precautions to make sure you don’t breath any; this project is SUPER MESSY.

It also has super fun results, so I definitely recommend trying it! Just make sure you try it somewhere where staining isn’t an issue…

First off, gather your ingredients:

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Nail polish, clear or colored.

Any powdered eyeshadow or mica powder.

A plastic bag.

Scissors.

A piece of paper you don’t care about.

Optional: gloves.

If you use clear polish, the color will be only from the powder. If you use colored polish, the powder will give it a new tint and add a LOT of sparkle-goodness. I’ve done both now, and LOVED both results.

For this batch, I used clear polish with a green loose powdered eyeshadow that I never use on my eyes (because the color always came out too dark and muddy when I wore it). I figured a shiny green nail polish would get worn a lot more, and contrast nicely with whatever red/copper/pink shade I used with my eye make-up on any given day.

Step One: Empty the powder into the bag.

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(If I’d thought of it at the time, I’d be wearing latex gloves at this point.)

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Try and dump it as much in one corner as you can. That will help later on.

Step Two: Cut a small hole in the powder-filled corner of the bag with the scissors.

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(By the way, that chipped purple nail polish was made by adding reddish mica powder to a dark purple polish. It’s GORGEOUS!…when it’s not a week old, anyway.)

Step Three: This part is gonna take practice. It’s also gonna get messy. Using the hole in the bag as the small end of a funnel, try and get the powder into the bottle.

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You will want to stick the end of the bag slightly INTO the neck of the bottle — this was just out for the photo.

Gentle tapping on the bag helps to get the powder down. You may need the tap the bottom of the bottle against the work-surface to settle the powder, as well, since it won’t mix into the polish yet. Or you could remove some the polish first to make more room — either way seems to work.

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Step Four: Once the powder is in the bottle, close it up and shake. Then shake it more. And keep shaking. Admire the pretty swirls of color and glitter. Shake some more. Etc. You want to make sure everything is THOROUGHLY blended.

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So pretty! Now keep shaking….

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There’s gonna be wasted powder, at least when you’re first getting used to this project. If that bothers you, find another project to use it on afterwards! DIY is fun, and there’s always more ideas to try. Just keep your work-space clean so you can safely gather and reuse the excess from each attempt.

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Mixed at last!

I tested it over the old nail polish (feeling lazy, and in a hurry).

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Shiny!

When I properly did my nails with it, I discovered that (surprise surprise) adding powder makes the polish dry quicker. Yet it’s also a little runnier while wet. Odd.

And after working three or four days straight at my housekeeping job — not being particularly careful of my nails, and not wearing gloves for most of the tasks — I was quite happy to discover that the powder also seems to help with longevity. Even with no top-coat or base, check out how little chipping there is!

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Alright, that’s all this post. Check back tomorrow for an all-homemade make-up look!

Love,

GeGi.

Mixing Micas!

Dear Cyber-Friends,

Last week I reviewed the new mica powders I just bought. This week, I’ll show how I used them to come up with a new eyeshadow! If you use mica powders at home, remember this Pro Tip: breathing those tiny particles are bad for lungs — so please take proper precautions, and have fun!

Since I don’t have a lot of extra money, instead of spending more on a make-up pallet for mixing colors, I re-purposed a plastic artist pallet I had around for painting and never used. I cleaned it thoroughly before using, of course.

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On the pallet, you can see I have nearly even proportions of four powders: Metallic Pearl Honey Tan (left), Cosmetic Iron Oxide Red (right), Blue Claret Pearl (bottom), and Semi-Matte plain mica (in the middle).

This is what they looked like after careful mixing with the metal spoon — I recommend a lot of “chopping” style mixing to help de-clump the powders without stirring them up into the air much.

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I wanted to see what it looked like with a little more of the matte red, and also added some Copper. I mixed the result with arrowroot powder (which you can find in most health food stores — I recommend checking the bulk section).

I’m using arrowroot as a filler for a number of reasons; I have it on hand, I know my skin doesn’t react to it, it’s fairly translucent on the skin so it won’t change the resulting color much, and it helps the mica powder go on smooth and stay longer. I made a primer with the Semi-Matte and arrowroot (half and half). For premixed shadows I use a little less; experiment and see how much you like!

I put the finished product in one of the ten oz jars with a sifter. Pro Tip #2: Make sure you ALWAYS label everything!

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When applied, it makes a nice half-matte orange-brown that works for a more subdued daytime look. Here it is with no other make-up on my face, applied with a dome smudge brush:

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Pretty, isn’t it!

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I’ve got a lot more make-up and skin-care DIY projects to share with you, so come back every Friday for the latest product photos. As a bonus, I’m going to try and add a new make-up look created entirely from my homemade products each week as well, so keep your eye out for that on Saturdays!

Also, I’m going to try and do a media review post (movies, tv, book, etc) every Monday, and a food (cooking, baking, whatever!) post every Wednesday. Check those out too, and enjoy!

Love,

GeGi.

Dinner Mélange.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

I didn’t take step-by-step photos this time, but this dinner is so easy and can be made with so many different combinations that you don’t really need them.

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Pictured above is a mixture of rice, sausage, onion, garlic, bok choy, and bell peppers. It was sauteed in oil in a cast iron skillet, and seasoned lightly with salt and tamari (like soy sauce, but better).

To make a quick and easy dinner melange, simply pick a base (rice, noodles, mashed potatoes, etc), saute several veggies, add a protein, throw in a little seasoning, mix it all together, and there you go! It’s simply, healthy, doesn’t take a lot of planning, and can be made and served with a minimum of washing up afterwards. Plus, it’s always filling and delicious.

It’s good to have a few back-up meal ideas like this; it can be tailored to whatever situation you find yourself in, stretched for more people, made with any groceries or left-overs, altered for any nutritional requirements, easy to reheat later… and it’s a complete meal in one serving!

I think pretty much every cuisine has something like this, and for good reason: fancy or complicated dinners are awesome, but only if you have to make them every once in a while. If you need to make your own food every day, you’re going to need some short-cuts. Plus, since there are basically infinite combinations for this meal, you won’t get bored of eating the same flavors over and over (or is that just me?).

Love,

GeGi.