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Boots No7 Fanomenal Lash Serum Review
8/3/2014

I tried using Boots No7 Fanomenal Lash Serum on a whim. My eyelashes seemed to have gotten thinner and more sparse. I don't know if that is an age-related issue, hormonal, or what. But I was getting a little desperate. This eyelash serum was decently priced and had decent reviews, so I thought I'd try it.

After a couple of weeks I felt like I started to see a difference. Eyelashes started looking a little longer. Now, it has been about a month, or more of using it. I am noticing that I use a lot less mascara. I have not changed my mascara, but I find that I only need 1 or 2 coats for daytime makeup. I used to need at least 3-5 coats. And yes, that would make for clumpy eyelashes that were a pain and had to be combed out pretty well after mascara applications.

So I have to say that this serum really worked for me. I will continue using the tube up, which has lasted pretty well. I only use it at night, as per the directions. It does sting if you get it in your eye. But that just takes practice using it. I'm pretty good now and can apply it pretty quickly to top and bottom lashes, without getting the product in my eyes.

It contains some peptides that are supposed to be good for growing hair. Since this has worked so well for me, I have decided to try to find a similar product for the hair on my head!

How to Make Liquid Foundation
3/27/2014

I have been searching for a good liquid foundation for myself. After having kids and turning 40, my skin has become dry but prone to breakouts. So it has been really hard to find skincare products and foundations that work for me. I used Neutrogena Skin Clearing foundation, which was a little too drying and the salicylic acid was too much for my dry areas. I used Maybelline Dream Airbrush foundation, and found it too oily looking on my skin. I tried MaryKay Timewise foundations and found them to be too drying or too shiny as well. I also tried Laura Mercier BB, which didn't have enough coverage. And Laura Mercier Silk Cream foundation, which was too thick and cakey-looking.

So I finally decided to formulate my own liquid foundation. I took the mineral powder foundation I made and mixed it with my favorite face moisturizer and added a little grapeseed oil to it to make it more emollient. The first time I tried it, it was not enough coverage, kind of like a BB cream. So I made it again, this time adding a little more mineral powder. This time I got great coverage. Not so much that it looked caked on, but enough so that it made my face look more even toned. It has the perfect balance of matte and moisture. I just dust a little of Mally's Skin Finisher (a silica powder) to my T-zone, and I'm good for the rest of the day. Mind you, it is just barely spring now, and by summer, this may not be enough oil control for me, so I'll have to re-evaluate in the summer. I usually just stick to mineral powder foundation during the summer, but my skin has been changing the past few years, so we'll see.


Here is the recipe for liquid powder foundation:

1-1/2 tsp Mineral Powder Foundation

1 Tbsp Facial Moisturizer (I use a claryifying serum, which is mostly aloe juice and jojoba oil with a few added anti-aging ingredients)

1/4 tsp Grapeseed Oil (without this, I found the mixture to be too chalky, but this smooths it out nicely)


Make sure to mix it well with a mini whisk so you don't get little globs of powder, it makes for an uneven coverage.

I place it in a 15mL airless pump bottle because it seems to come out very well that way. You can use a larger bottle once you get your recipe perfected and make bigger batches. I use a smalll spatula or butter knife to transfer the foundation to the bottle.

You may have a tweak the recipe, like add more or less of each ingredient, depending on how much coverage you want, and how moisturizing you want it. More powder if you want more coverage, and then you may also need a tiny bit more grapeseed oil, since more powder makes it more chalky.

This liquid foundation is perfect for me for everyday use. It has both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for sun protection, too. But I will still wear a hat if I am sitting out in the sun for a long time.

I was thinking for going out, I may want a little more luminous formula, with maybe a little more coverage. So for that, I would add a tad bit more mica to the mineral powder foundation before I mix it into the facial moisturizer. And maybe bump up the powder foundation to 1-3/4 Tbsp to get a little heavier coverage.

My next endeavor will be making a concealer for around the eyes, that hopefully doubles as an eyeshadow primer. For this, I will most likely mix my eye cream with some mineral powder foundation (with extra mica for luminosity). I'll let you know how it goes.

How to Make Mineral Powder Foundation II
3/27/2014

Since I seemed to have a reaction (acne) to the cocoa powder foundation, I decided to go back to using iron oxides as the colorants in mineral powder foundation. Here is the recipe for medium warm toned skin. If you are lighter or darker, add less or more of the oxides. If you are cooler, add less or no yellow oxide. If you are really cool, with pink or red tones, you can add a little red oxide.


Ingredients:

4 tsp Titanium dioxide (mineral makeup base)

1 tsp Zinc oxide (extra sun protection)

1-1/4 tsp Serecite mica (adds luminosity and lightens the texture)

1/4 tsp brown iron oxide (mineral colorant)

3/4 tsp yellow iron oxide (mineral colorant to add warm tone)

1/2 tsp silica powder (I use Mally Skin Finisher)

few drops of grapeseed oil


Directions:

1. Wear a disposable nose and mouth mask (the kind they make you put on at the doctor's office when you have a cough). Mixing all these powders can be irritating to your nose.

2. Grind it all up with a mortar and pestle until uniform. This takes a while, so be patient. Once you think you've got it, grind it a little longer. If you don't do a good job, mixing it, you will see streaks of color when you use the powder.

3. Test the color by dusting it onto your skin (match the color to your neck)

4. Add more ingredients to tweak the color or texture of the foundation.

     a. Add more titanium dioxide and/or zinc if you want to lighten the color

     b. Add more brown oxide to darken the color

     c. Add more yellow oxide to warm the tone

     d. Add some red iron oxide to cool the tone

     e. In some cases, you can add chromium oxide green if you have very olive skin tone. I have done that with nice results.

     f. Add more mica if you want more luminescence

    g. Add more silica for more shine control

    h. Add more grapeseed oil for more moisturization

5. Once satisfied with the color and texture, put the powder in a makeup sifter. I have used old powder foundation sifter jars.

6. If after using it for a day or so, you find something is not quite right, like it is too warm or dark, dump the powder back into the mortar and pestle and adjust by adding ingredients. For example, if it is too warm, you can try adding red oxide or a very small amount of chromium green or ultramarine blue. If it is too dark, add more titanium dioxide or zinc. Have fun with it. If you stick with it, you can create many times over the most beautiful foundation that matches your skin tone and skin type more than anything you can find at the store.



How to Make Mineral Powder Foundation with Cocoa Powder
3/27/2014

I got the serecite mica in that I ordered and bought some cocoa powder (Hershey's brand) and some Tumeric powder (from the seasonings section in the grocery store). I decided to try to make mineral powder foundation using the cocoa and tumeric as the colorants instead of iron oxides, that I had used previously. Just because I heard cocoa and tumeric are good for your skin and they are also a bit easier to come by than iron oxides.


Here is the recipe I used:

2 Tbsp Titanium dioxide (for the foundation base)

1/2 Tbsp Zinc oxide (for sunscreen)

1/2 Tbsp Serecite mica (for luminescence)

7 tsp Cocoa Powder (to add browness -- may need to adjust for your skin tone - mine is medium)

4-1/2 tsp Tumeric (to add yellowness -- may need to adjust for your skin tone - mine is warm)


Steps:

1. Grind it all together with a mortar and pestle until uniform. This takes a while, lots of patience and hand muscle.

2. Test it on your arm/face/neck, and add more cocoa or tumeric as needed. (for pinker/redder skin, I've heard of people adding beet powder). If your skin is not warm in tone, just don't add the tumeric.


Observations:

1. The outcome was similar to the powder foundation that I've made in the past with iron oxides for the colorants. The final color was a good match for my skin.

2. The feel of the powder foundation was a bit dry. I know some people add a bit of oil to their recipe. This may have needed 1/4 tsp or so of grapeseed oil.

3. The powder foundation was also a bit pasty. May need some silica powder to soften it up a bit. (I just don't like using so much because it is a little drying, and it is a bit pricey).

4. The foundation seemed to break me out (in zits). Not sure if it was the tumeric or cocoa. I think I will go back to using iron oxides until I figure this out.


If you are interested in using cocoa powder in your makeup routine, I would suggest you try this recipe. You may need to play around with the amounts of ingredients to use and maybe add some silica powder to it, especially if you tend to be oily. I've heard cocoa powder is great on the skin. I might try it again sometime, once I get my acne situation under control. But for now, I'm going back to brown and yellow oxides for the colorants.

How to Make Mineral Powder Foundation
6/9/2013

Mineral Powder vs. Liquid Foundation

Traditionally in the summers I wear mineral powder foundation. That's because my face usually gets oily or sweaty and shiny when the weather is warm. In the winters, I always use liquid foundation for the opposite reason.

Saving Money on Mineral Powder Foundation 

I used to use and love Mary Kay's mineral powder foundation. I still love it, but I was looking for a less expensive alternative. So I bought another pretty decent brand, but they didn't have many color choices. Basically light, medium, and dark. I bought the medium and it was a tad dark and did not look very natural on my skin. I was planning on buying the light one and then mixing it together, which I'm sure many people do. However I decided to doctor it with some ingredients I had at home.

Altering the Color of the Mineral Powder Foundation 

Because I have been dabbling a little in making soaps and lotions, I happened to have some titanium dioxide, zinc, and mineral oxide pigments on hand. So I started adding some zinc and titanium dioxide to the powder foundation to lighten it up a bit. The foundation was also too reddish, so I added green mineral pigment (chromium green oxide). Since it was my first time doing it, I knew it would be a challenge, and it was.

I had done some research and found that it works well to mix the powder foundation in a small blender (like Magic Bullet) or mortar and pestle. I opted for the mortar and pestle, since it seemed like it would be easier. Well, I learned a few things. One, I had to go out and buy a face mask because breathing all the powders while I was mixing and testing it was making me sneeze and my nose run like crazy. Two, I learned that you have to mix the mineral pigment very well. Apparently I hadn't mixed the green well and kept adding more, only to find big chunks of it hidden in the powder. And my mineral foundation mixture turned an ugly grayish color.

So to save it, I added some yellow and red oxides and lightened it up a bit more. Then I put it back in the sifter jar that I had originally bought it in (from Artistry). Once I started using it, I noticed it was still too dark and gray looking. I had to dump it all back into the mortar and mix more yellow and red oxides and titanium dioxide into it.

Adding Oil Control to the Mineral Powder Foundation 

After using it again, I noticed that it was not taking the shine off my T-zone. So I dumped it back out into the mortar. I added a little silica powder from my Mally's Skin Finisher jar. Silica is supposed to be good at soaking up oil. And that did the trick. No more annoying shine. 

Still Not Perfect 

But I still feel like my new creation is missing something. I'm thinking it might be missing some serecite mica to give it a little transparency and luminosity. The powder currently seems a little flat or dull and a bit cakey. It seems to accencuate the wrinkles on my forehead.

So I placed an order for some serecite mica. And I hope it will do the trick. I will keep you posted as to how I like it once I add that.

Ingredients to Make Mineral Powder Foundation 

I am confident that I will master this art of making powder foundation. As expensive as it is in the stores and hard to find a perfect match for my skin tone, it is worth it to me to do this. Plus, I have all the ingredients already. Why not?

Next time, once this batch is gone, I will make the mineral powder foundation from scratch. Most likely using the following ingredients:

Titanium Dioxide (a natural sunscreen and adds opacity to the makeup)

Zinc Oxide (another type of natural sunscreen and adds opacity to the makeup)

Sericite Mica (adds transparency and luminosity to the makeup so it won't be so cakey and dull looking)

Brown, Yellow, and Red Iron Oxides (mineral pigments, use in very small amounts because they are potent colors)

Chromium Oxide Green (mineral pigment that I need because I have a very olive skin tone)

Silica (for oil control; I use Mally Beauty Poreless Perfection Skin Finisher, which is mostly silica powder)

Jojoba or Grapeseed Oil (for moisturization, but not sure if I really even need this added oil in the summer)

Alternative Ingredients

Since I started doing this, I have also seen articles and Youtube videos where people use edible cooking powders to make face powder. I don't think they could achieve as much coverage as you can get with titanium dioxide, but hard to say since I haven't tried it. And it would definitely not have sunscreen.

I've heard of people using cornstarch or rice powder as the base, cocoa powder, tumeric, and cinnamon as colorants. Some have used kaolin or bentonite clay as the base, instead. Which would provide better coverage and sun protection than corn starch.

But I think once I run out of my mineral oxide pigments, I would definitely try cocoa powder, tumeric, and cinnamon. Not sure about cinnamon, but I know cocoa and tumeric are good for your skin. I might be willing to try bentonite or kaolin clay as the base, and a little corn starch for shine control.

Liquid Foundation for Next Project

I still love liquid foundation because if it is moisturizing enough, it can double as a moisturizer and makeup. That way I can skip a step. I usually just dust a light coat of Malley's Skin Finisher onto my T-zone after applying liquid foundation.

So my next challenge is to make liquid foundation. It is similar to making powder foundation, only there is the lotion involved. I am in the throes of trying to find a good facial moisturizer to suit my acne prone yet aging skin. Once I find that, I will mix all the same ingredients into it (titanium dioxide, zinc, mineral pigment oxides, mica, etc.) to achieve liquid foundation. I might even add salicylic acid to it. But I'll let you know how that turns out when I try it.

DIY Anti-acne & Anti-aging Cream
6/2/2013

Empty Cream JarHow to Make Your Own Anti-acne / Anti-wrinkle Cream 

I have recently been trying to find cheaper DIY alternatives to skin care. I have found that many of the products on the market are expensive and don't really seem to do much. Those anti-wrinkle treatments that I have used haven't seemed to decrease my wrinkles at all, many of the eye treatments haven't done much for my bags and dark circles, and anti-acne products seem to have so much other weird stuff in them that counteract the acne meds in them and end up causing breakouts anyway. I have found sunscreen products on the market to be expensive and make my face really shiny and sticky and often have strong perfumes, which I don't think are very good for my skin. A lot of those nice BB creams seem to make me break out and don't seem to match my complexion.

It has been an uphill climb trying to find alternatives. My skin has also gone through a dramatic change after child bearing and approaching 40. It has now returned to puberty skin, where it has been oily and acneic. I am sure it is hormonal because I haven't seen my skin so messed up since I was 12 or 13. So many of the new alternative skincare products I have been trying stopped working for me. And many of the old tricks I used to use, like jojoba and aloe vera stopped working for me too.

I found a nice supplier that sells a huge variety of premade skincare bases in bulk. Most of them are pretty awesome, but I am slowly finding that they just don't seem to have the "perfect" skin care products for my aging but acneic skin. And it gets a little expensive buying in bulk all the time. I used to use a facial lotion from them that I absolutely loved. It was the only thing that could smooth out the wrinkles in my forehead.  It was made of mostly natural oils and no synthetic perfumes, silicon derivatives, or dyes. But when my skin changed, it made me break out really bad, and I'm not sure why. My guess is that it was either the rosehip oil or the refined coconut oil in it.


Lately, I created my own anhydrous cream by mixing several different natural oils together. I had done lots of research and found these oils to help with both aging and acne. So far, after a few days of using them, wrinkles and acne seem better than they have in a long time. I'll post comments here with updates on how it continues to work for me.

 

Here are the ingredients I used:

1/4 cup Virgin Coconut oil (the virgin unrefined version is supposed to awesome at treating acne versus the refined coconut oil, which actually worsens acne for me. Also incredible for wrinkles.)
1/2 cup Shea Butter (supposed to be good for acne scarring)
1/8 cup Grapeseed oil (like a natural but gentle acne astringent)
1/8 cup Jojoba oil (to help lower the production of acne causing sebum)
about 1/2 ounce Tamanu Oil (supposed to be a great oil for acne and aging, from reviews from Makeup Alley)
few drops of Sea Buckthorn Berry Oil (for the vitamin A that helps with acne and wrinkles, like a natural Retin-A and Retinol)
about 10 capsules Evening Primrose Oil (supposed to help with hormonal acne)
1 drop Rosemary Oleoresin Extract (to prevent oils from going rancid)

 

Equipment needed:

large bowl (I use a large glass mixing bowl)
smaller bowl (a smaller version of the above bowl)
wire wisk
container or jar for finished cream
hot water
ice water
spoon to transfer cream into jar

 

Here are the steps to make it:

1. Put hot (or near boiling) water in a large bowl. Fill bowl about 1/3 full.

2. Put virgin coconut oil and shea butter in smaller bowl.

3. Place smaller bowl inside larger bowl (to create a gentle double broiler effect) BE SURE NOT TO GET WATER INTO THE OILS! It will mess up the cream.

4. Using a wire wisk, stir the solid oils around until they melt.

5. Remove the small bowl from the large bowl. Once melted, you don't need to keep the oils hot.

6. Add all the other oils and stir.

7. Pour out the hot water from the large bowl.

8. Put ice and cold water in the large bowl up to about 1/3 of the bowl.

9. Put the small bowl of oil mixture into the large bowl of ice water. AGAIN, BE CAREFUL NOT TO GET ANY WATER INTO THE OIL MIXTURE!

10. Stir constantly.

11. When you feel the oil mixture starting to get a little thick and cloudy or stick to the bottom of the bowl, remove the small bowl from the ice water (to prevent it from solidifying too fast).

12. Continue stirring at room temperature until the mixture gets completely solid but before it gets hard.

13. Once it really starts to solidify, which seems to happen all of a sudden, quickly scoop it into a container. (I use an old cream container, but you can use an old clean glass jar or rubbermaid/tupperware container.)

 

It is kind of a process to make it. It takes about an hour and needs constant attention and a little muscle for the stirring. But I got desperate since I was spending lots of money on store bought products that didn't seem to work. Plus I happened to have all these ingredients lying around from other experiments I've been trying over the past few months. If you don't have all these ingredients, I would start with at least mixing virgin coconut oil, shea butter mixture and grapeseed oil. But be sure to use Virgin coconut oil. I tried this before with refined coconut oil and broke out!

 

How to use:

I use this cream in a couple of different ways. I am still experimenting with the best way to use this cream. It is pretty thick and oily. I use it on my face at least two times a day.

 

Cleansing the Skin:

1. Pull hair back away from the face so that you don't get oil in your hair.

2. Take a small glob of the cream into the palm of one hand, so you don't keep dipping into it with dirty fingers (I learned this the hard way)

3. With fingers of the other hand, apply to face generously, in circular motions (I also do around my eyes to get the makeup off, but don't get it inside your eye.)

4. Remove with warm damp cloth or microfiber cloth

5. Your face will still be a bit oily afterwards, but moisturized

6. Follow with toner and any other acne treatments you like

 

Moisturizing

I usually do either cleansing or moisturizing with this cream, not both because it becomes too greasy for me.

1. Cleanse face with a cleanser other than this cream

2. Apply toner

3. While face is still a bit wet from toner, gently put a very small amount of this cream all over face (except eye area - I don't know why really, but it seems that coconut oil and shea butter are a little too rich for eye cream...). Use gentle upward circular motions to rub into skin. Rub off any excess oil with clean hands.

4. Apply any other acne treatments you like or your makeup

 

If you do try this cream, post a comment and let me know how it works for you. I will also add comments as I continue using it.

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