Monday, August 31, 2009

Using Ronaspheres in anhydrous products: Concealer sticks

Please note: I have no idea where to get Ronaspheres any more. I used to get them at Voyageur, now no one carries them. You can try using sericite mica or another type of filler when you are working with oil or oil-in-water products. 

Concealer sticks are intended to be used as a spot concealer, not an all over foundation. So you'll want something a shade lighter than your foundation with medium to heavy coverage.

Ronaspheres are perfect for this application as they are intended for emulsions or anhydrous products, and they will offer light to medium coverage. So how do we get the heavier coverage we need for this product? Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to the rescue!

A concealer stick is an anhydrous product made without water. This one is hardened to be used in a lipstick type container. We need to create a base that is going to feel great going onto our skin, then make the base opaque enough to show up on our skin.

CREATING A BASE
In creating a base, we'll have to choose some oils that our skin will like and won't be too shiny. We can choose dry oils like macadamia, hazelnut, and avocado oils, or light oils like fractionated coconut oil or shea oil. Esters work well in this application, and are a great choice for oily or acne prone skin. Choose oils your face likes. Castor oil is not a great choice because it is particularly shiny (but it is great for lipsticks - more about this shortly). And try to choose an oil with a long shelf life - you'll probably have this around a long time, so something like FCO or shea oil are great choices. We'll definitely want to include Vitamin E in here for both the properties it brings to the skin and to retard rancidity.

Ideally, we'll want to include IPM because it will reduce the shine and greasiness of the product. One problem - it can be quite comedogenic for those of us with acne issues, so if you have skin that is easily annoyed, you might want to leave it out.

Check out the posts on oils and exotic oils for a few ideas. If your skin can handle butters - you lucky girl! - then include those as well.

We'll also want to include some waxes to stiffen the stick. Waxes are going to create drag, no matter which one you choose, so we'll compensate for the drag with the oils we choose and by including Ronaspheres. I usually use beeswax - you can choose soy, candelilla, or carnauba wax and use less in the the base stick.

You can also include dimethicone or one of the silicone substitutes in this product. The dimethicone is going to offer skin protection from the elements, but you can use zinc oxide to offer medium to heavy coverage as well as skin protection, so choose to leave it out if you aren't a fan of silicones.

THE CONCEALER BASE
This is going to make a lot if you consider that each lip balm tube is going to hold about 11 grams, so feel free to reduce the amount of this recipe to 50% or even 25% of the total weight, if possible.

30% beeswax - reduce this to half if you are using one of the harder waxes
65% oils of choice
1% Vitamin E
4% Ronasphere LDP

Melt the wax and oils in a double boiler or microwave until it is well melted. Add the Vitamin E to the mixture and stir well. Add your Ronasphere LDP to the base and stir well to ensure no clumps remain.

ADDING YOUR COLOURS
Choose a colour blend that is one shade lighter than your normal colour blend for a concealer. You'll want to try it at 1 to 2 scoops of colour to every 100 grams of concealer. If you want heavy coverage, include 1/2 tsp titanium dioxide - oil soluble only - to the colour blend, then add and stir well.

My suggestion? Take out a portion of your mixture and try it with the correct proportions of colour and titanium dioxide. Let a bit dry on a piece of paper and try it on your skin. If you need more colour or more coverage, add more colour or more titanium dioxide. If you need less, then thin it out with some of the uncoloured mixture.

As for colour choices, you won't want anything shiny, so stay away from micas. I'd suggest finding the colour you want before undertaking a concealer - you aren't going to have the time while the base is melting to find the perfect colour. If you've been reading my blog, you'll know it's taken me ages to find something even remotely close to my skin colour (and I'm still not completely happy with it!)

This colour blend is pretty simple and is good for people with ivory skin, cool skin tones
1 part red (light) iron oxide
1 part brown iron oxide
1 part yellow iron oxide

If you are uncertain where to start with foundation colours, try this and see how you like it. You can increase any part by titches to try to match your skin colour.

For a basic beige, you can try using brown-umber iron oxide, then add a little oriental beige, paradise sand, or aborigine amber mica. I know this is going to make it a tad shiny, but it is a nice combination if you want a beige.

Join me tomorrow for more fun with mineral make up!

Check out the defunct Cosmetic Formulator for great colour blends. Print off or PDF these pages because you will want to try them all!

Hydrovance vs. urea

Jelena posted the following question: Do you know what is the difference between Hydrovance (INCI: Hydroxyethyl Urea) and Urea (INCI: Urea)? Which one is more moisturizing?

The short answer? I think the Hydrovance. Now for the long answer...

Urea is a good humectant, found in the stratum corneum of our skin. It is a colourless, odourless (or just about odourless), hygroscopic ingredient that is freely soluble in water. Urea can increase skin permeability of certain ingredients - not all the studies support this, but it is plausible - and it could increase resistance of the skin to surface treatments that might be irritating. It generally comes in crystal form, so you'll have to mix it with water before adding it to your creations. There are some formulating issues regarding pH, preservatives, and thickening, so you'll want to do some playing around to see if urea will mess with your favourite lotion recipe.

Hydrovance (from National Starch or Azko Nobel) is a good humectant as well. It comes in a liquid form, which makes it an easier ingredient to use in your formulations. You can use it at ambient temperatures, which means it's a good ingredient for creations you don't want to heat up like toners or sprays (although I always recommend heating and holding!). It, too, can mess with your pH, so you'll want to get a pH meter if you're going to be using it in a lot of different products.

The strength of a humectant is dependent upon the ratio of hydroxyl groups (the OH groups) and the carbon atoms. Hydrovance has been synthesized to contain a hydroxyl group (the left end of the chain), so it should be more hygroscopic than urea. It's hard to find information on the differences between the two that aren't generated by the company, but it appears Hydrovance will be more hygroscopic than urea.

Does this mean it is more moisturizing for our skin? Possibly. (Sorry for the vague answer, but there simply isn't enough information out there for me to feel comfortable making anything more than a general comment...) I think it comes down to skin feel and preference in formulating.

If I were to choose between urea and Hydrovance for my formulating needs, I'd go with Hydrovance every time. It seems to be easier when formulating - it's a liquid, it's less likely to mess with your pH, and it's not much more expensive than urea. (I really hate having to dissolve things!)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Using Ronaspheres in emulsions: Oil free foundation

Yes, I know this is technically a picture of a light coverage oil including foundation - one you've seen for a few days - but I like to illustrate my posts with pictures, when I can, and I forgot to take a picture of my oil free foundation!

I have oily, acne prone, red, aging skin and I generally avoid most oils as they will make me break out. So an oil free moisturizer is just the thing to help me get some coverage while hiding my imperfections!

If you are interested in knowing why I'm including what I'm including in this recipe, please visit the original post for an oil free facial moisturizer for more information.

CATIONIC, OIL FREE FOUNDATION (light coverage)

WATER PHASE
81% water (aloe vera, hydrosol of choice) - 3% removed to include Ronaspheres
3% honeyquat or condition-eze 7 or other cationic polymer of choice (like cationic guar gum)
2% hydrolyzed protein
1% allantoin
2% sodium lactate

OIL PHASE
3% BTMS
2% cetyl alcohol

COOL DOWN PHASE
3% Ronaspheres
3% titanium dioxide (oil soluble) - optional. Remove 3% from water amount if you are using this.
2% panthenol
0.5% - 1% powdered extract (optional)
0.5% -1% preservative

Weigh all the ingredients in your water phase in a heat proof container and put into a double boiler. Weigh all the ingredients in your water phase in a heat proof container and put into a double boiler. Heat both phases for 20 minutes at 70C. (You might want to use a small container for the oil phase as it is very small). When you have heated and held for 20 minutes, remove from the double boiler and pour the water phase into the oil phase and mix well with a hand mixer or stick blender.

Add 3% Ronaspheres and mix well as the mixture is cooling. If you wish to add titanium dioxide at 3%, do this at the same time and mix well. It will thicken the lotion.

When cooled to 45C, add your cool down phase and mix well. When the lotion has completely cooled, bottle and enjoy!

If you wish to add the powdered extract, remove up to 2% of your water phase after it been heated and held but before you add it to the oil phase, and mix with the powdered extract to dissolve.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Using Ronaspheres in emulsions: Liquid Foundations - medium to heavy coverage

We create heavier coverage foundations by including titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Both of these ingredients add whitening and opacity to a formula. You will want to use oil soluble titanium dioxide, although water soluble will work in an emulsified formula.

I'm going to suggest you try making a light foundation first as a test of what kind of coverage you really want. I think a lot of us go rushing towards something heavy thinking it will help with our perceived skin imperfections when a light coverage foundation is really what we want. (The picture to the left is a foundation made only with Ronaspheres - the recipe from yesterday. You can see it is quite opaque. I found this level of coverage was perfect for my red, acne prone, aging skin...even if I wasn't that happy with the actual colour!)

I'm going to suggest starting with 3% titanium dioxide in your foundation to see how you like it. Again, it's a better idea to use oil soluble titanium dioxide than water soluble.

LIQUID FOUNDATION WITH RONASPHERES LDP (This moisturizer recipe is from the post on facial moisturizers, April 7, 2009, so if you want to know why I'm including the ingredients I'm including, check it out!) You can use any facial moisturizer recipe you like and remove 3% of the oil phase to include the Ronaspheres and 3 to 7% of the water phase for the titanium dioxide).

WATER PHASE - you can use 80% water if you don't have the hydrosols and aloe vera
45% water (modified from 48% to include 3% titanium dioxide)
15% aloe vera
15% hydrosol of choice (lavender, rose, and orange are all good for various skin types)
2% humectant of choice (sodium lactate, glycerin, sodium PCA, honeyquat)

OIL PHASE
5% oils - (modified from 8% to include the Ronaspheres)
4% emulsifier - Polawax, e-wax or BTMS*
2% thickener - cetyl alcohol for the glide

COOL DOWN PHASE
3% Ronaspheres
3% titanium dioxide
0.5% to 1% preservative
2% hydrolyzed oat protein
2% panthenol
0.5% extract of choice - green tea, chamomile, honeysuckle extract
0.5% extract of choice - a second extract

Additional: 4% colour blend to create the foundation

*Using BTMS will offer a more matte feeling and looking foundation, and will offer extra skin conditioning.

Grind your foundation colour blend while you are heating and holding.

1. Weigh out your water phase in a heat proof container and put into a double boiler.

2. Weigh out your oil phase in a heat proof container and put into your double boiler.

3. When both containers have reached 70C, weigh out your water again, then add it to your oil container. (Leave out about 1 tbsp of heated water and mix it with your powdered extracts in a shot glass.)

4. Blend with a hand mixer or stick blender for at least 3 minutes. Repeat this process as often as you would like until the temperature reaches 45C. Add your Ronaspheres and mix well to ensure it blends properly and doesn't leave clumps. Add the titanium dioxide and mix well to ensure it blends properly.

5. Let cool to 45C. Add the preservative, hydrolyzed protein, panthenol, extract, and essential oils and mix well with the hand mixer or blender. Add your colour blend at 1% to start, and try the colour on your hand to see if you like it. You can go as high as 10% colour if you have darker skin. Again, mix very well. Let cool.

To include the extract, you'll want to dissolve it with a bit of hot water - 1/2 tsp should do just fine. Take some water out of the water phase before you put it all together.

6. Pour the mixture into a bottle - one with a treatment pump, preferably - and let sit until completely cooled.

What if you have acne prone skin? We don't want oils! Join me tomorrow for how to make an oil free liquid foundation!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Using Ronaspheres in emulsions: Liquid Foundations - light coverage

Ronaspheres are ideal for inclusion in emulsions and anhydrous products, so when creating a liquid foundation, these would be your first choice as a filler to offer oil absorbency (ironic, considering you're putting it in oil!) and light refraction in a light to medium coverage foundation. If you want a more medium to heavy coverage foundation, you'll want to include some oil soluble titanium dioxide! (More on this tomorrow!)

LIQUID FOUNDATION WITH RONASPHERES LDP
(This moisturizer recipe is from the post on facial moisturizers, April 7, 2009, so if you want to know why I'm including the ingredients I'm including, check it out!) You can use any facial moisturizer recipe you like and remove 3% of the oil phase to include the Ronaspheres.

WATER PHASE - you can use 80% water if you don't have the hydrosols and aloe vera
48%% water
15% aloe vera
15% hydrosol of choice (lavender, rose, and orange are all good for various skin types)
2% humectant of choice (sodium lactate, glycerin, sodium PCA, honeyquat)

OIL PHASE
5% oils - (modified from 8% to include the Ronaspheres)
4% emulsifier - Polawax, e-wax or BTMS*
2% thickener - cetyl alcohol for the glide

COOL DOWN PHASE
3% Ronaspheres
0.5% to 1% preservative
2% hydrolyzed oat protein
2% panthenol
0.5% extract of choice - green tea, chamomile, honeysuckle extract
0.5% extract of choice - a second extract
(The extracts are optional - if you choose to leave them out, then add 1% to your water phase).

Additional: 4% colour blend to create the foundation. I'd start at 1% for someone with light skin and increase it to up to 4% for darker skin.

*Using BTMS will offer a more matte feeling and looking foundation, and will offer extra skin conditioning. It is an excellent choice as an emulsifier in a liquid foundation.

Grind your foundation colour blend while you are heating and holding.

1. Weigh out your water phase in a heat proof container and put into a double boiler.

2. Weigh out your oil phase in a heat proof container and put into your double boiler.

3. When both containers have reached 70C, weigh out your water again, then add it to your oil container. (Leave out about 1 tbsp of heated water and mix it with your powdered extracts in a shot glass.)

4. Blend with a hand mixer or stick blender for at least 3 minutes. Repeat this process as often as you would like until the temperature reaches 45C. Add your Ronaspheres and mix well to ensure it blends properly and doesn't leave clumps.

5. Let cool to 45C. Add the preservative, hydrolyzed protein, panthenol, extract, and essential oils and mix well with the hand mixer or blender. Add your colour blend at 1% to start, and try the colour on your hand to see if you like it. You can go as high as 10% colour if you have darker skin. Again, mix very well. Let cool.

6. Pour the mixture into a bottle - one with a treatment pump, preferably - and let sit until completely cooled.

Join me for fun with a medium to heavy coverage liquid foundation tomorrow.

Chilliwack craft group - jewellery making

This is an example of our two tiered earrings with the two loops! As you can see I am using plastic shepherd hooks because I can't wear metal in my ears!

I hope you enjoyed the incredibly chaotic class yesterday! If you're interested in learning more about jewellery making, please join us Thursday, September 17 at 6:30 to learn how to make even more elaborate earrings and bracelets!


If you think you'd like to try more jewellery making on your own, here are some links to techniques, both on this blog and on other great sites! Each one of these links below does give a ton of tutorials on other sites with these techniques!

How to make a loop in a head pin - this is an essential technique in jewellery making!

Making basic earrings - this is the one with the head pin at the bottom and the loop at the top!

Making two loop earrings - like yesterday!

Making two loop bracelets - these are the little charms we made yesterday with the eye pins so you'll have a loop at each end of the charm. But instead of dangling them from earrings, we're making a bracelet! You'll learn more about this September 17th.


Chandelier earrings (This uses the making loops things a lot! Practice making loops because this is one of the key techniques in making jewellery!)

And don't forget you can use your shrinky dinks and polymer clay pieces to make some awesome charms for your bracelets and earrings!

Now that you've learned some basic techniques, here are some great tutorials from Fusion Beads you can try at home! And don't forget - if you find something you like, post the URL here or e-mail me and let me know what you'd like to try next time!

Christmas sparkle! - here's the first page with tons of links! We are most definitely making the snowflakes for our Christmas decoration group!
Candy Cane Lane earrings - I have to have these!
Christmas tree light earrings - and you know I'll have these in every colour this year!

Monster mash earrings - I love Hallowe'en stuff!

Earrings!
Flower blossom - a two loop earring! I saw these flowers in Wal-Mart yesterday!
Creme de violet - two loop earrings. You use crystals for extra shine. Again, saw these in Wal-mart yesterday.
Cupid - you'll need three loops for this!
Fruitti - I saw all the supplies for these two loop earrings at Wal-Mart. I love giant earrings!

Very cool bracelets
Gumball - love this!

And you know I had to include the atoms and molecules bracelet in here!


Complicated things which are just awesome!
Blooming bright - done with bezels and stuff! I so have to learn how to do this! And it doesn't seem expensive at all!

Have fun!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mineral make-up ingredients: A closer look at Ronaspheres LDP

Ronasphere LDP is a product similar to Micronaspheres in that it is a spherical, silica based product. Only in this case, the silica spheres are coated with titanium dioxide and iron oxide instead of silicone dioxide.

Silica coated in titanium dioxide and zinc oxide designed to be close to the "light refraction index of the skin", and completely invisible when applied. It is best used with emulsified products at 3 to 10%, so it's ideal if you want to make a liquid foundation, but can be used in powdered product at up to 20%. You can use Ronaspheres with all oil products as well, so it's an awesome ingredient if you want to make anhydrous lip sticks or eye creams.

The particle size of Ronaspheres is somewhere between 2 and 7 microns (the data sheets for this product are just awful and contradict each other!) It is offers light to medium coverage, but for medium to heavy coverage, you'll want to include some titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to the mixture.

Cost wise, it's the most expensive of the fillers at $8.00 per ounce.

Like Micronaspheres, you do not want to crush or grind Ronaspheres as this will destroy the rounded shape. When including these in a powder, add it last and just blend lightly in your bag.

SUMMARY OF RONASPHERES
Usage rate: up to 20% in a powdered product, 3% to 10% in an emulsified or anhydrous product.

Whiteness or opacity: To make a colour lighter, to cover up imperfections.
It covers imperfections, but not through colour whiteness...(see below for more information).

Translucency: The base itself is almost invisible once applied.
Translucency is one of the great features of Ronaspheres.

Skin protection
Because it has titanium dioxide in it, it's going to offer a bit of skin protection

Slip: The product feels nice going on and staying on.
Because it's made of silica, it feels very silky upon application and on your skin.

Adhesion: The product remains on your skin.
Good adhesion, thanks to the titanium dioxide.

Absorbency: Your colour will remain true throughout the day and not morph into something due to environmental stresses or skin oils.
Good absorbency and good colour retention.

Light scattering properties: To give your skin a dewy glow.
Excellent for offering a dewy glow without sparkle. See the information about the light scattering properties above.

Join me tomorrow to learn how to use Ronaspheres in a liquid foundation!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Creating a base from scratch - part 2

Welcome back to my experiments with foundation bases. I know what I don't want to do at this point - include bismuth oxychloride - so I decided to try something with a foundation base I know well. My finishing powder. I know it works well as a blush base, and I know it works well as a foundation base with a little colour, so why not try it as a foundation base with more colour?

I mixed 1 scoop of the ivory colour grind to 10 cc of the finishing powder - yes, it took that much! - and finally came up with a colour I liked. I think this might suit me. It's very light coverage - and I'm not looking for much - and it doesn't get in my pores. I think I might just have a winner!

But I'm never content to just let something be...so I thought I'd try yet another recipe, so it's on to formulation #3.
3 cc Micronaspheres
1 cc boron nitride
2 cc treated sericite
1/16 tsp zinc oxide
1/16 tsp magnesium stearate
1 scoop calcium carbonate
1/16 tsp Dry-flo

Which, I'm going to be honest, I put aside because it was time for lunch and I forgot to blend any colours with it. So I'll do that later this week when I have some time in the morning. I think this one is going to be a winner because it doesn't contain a ton of shiny ingredients and it does include ingredients that will make my skin happy like the calcium carbonate.

And it was on to recipe 4...
6 cc untreated sericite
4 scoops boron nitride
6 cc Micronaspheres
1 cc Dry-flo
2 scoops calcium carbonate
1/16 tsp titanium dioxide

You'll notice I'm using untreated sericite this time. It's low lustre, and I'm trying for less shiny, so it seemed like a good choice. I like the shine of the boron nitride, so I think I want to keep that. (And it's new, so I have to include it!)

I started with 3 cc untreated sericite, 2 scoops boron nitride, and 3 cc Micronaspheres, then added 1 scoop of colour. Bad idea! This was way too dark for my skin! So I doubled the base ingredients, but found it was a little too shiny. I added the titanium dioxide, then realized I hadn't added any calcium carbonate. Because the sericite is untreated, it's not going to offer the oil absorption of the treated sericite, so I need to add something to help with that (although the Micronaspheres will help, not with my oily skin)! So calcium carbonate it is. But that - combined with the titanium dioxide - is going to make this less glidy than I like, so I added some Dry-flo. It's a good choice to increase the glide but it won't interfere with the colour.

To 10 cc (2 tsp) of base I added 1 scoop of colour and that was more than enough! I don't think this one's going to be my first choice - it's a little pink. I think I'm going to replicate this recipe without the titanium dioxide - possibly with zinc oxide - because the titanium dioxide definitely changes the colour to a pinky as opposed to a skin colour. And the last think I need for my red toned skin is more pink!

What have I learned from this little experimentation?
  • Bismuth oxychloride is not my friend. I don't have tons of wrinkles, but it really doesn't like my giant pores!
  • Titanium dioxide is going to make my colours pinker, which is not something I want in a foundation.
  • Zinc oxide doesn't really change the colours and it offers skin protection, so I'm going to use that more often.
  • Boron nitride is a nice addition to my foundations, as is boron glow. It might be a little too shiny, so I'll have to test it a while longer, but I think it's a keeper.
  • Dry-flo is a must for me in my foundations. I really like the glidiness it offers, and it doesn't change the colour of the grind.
  • Micronaspheres are a must for me as well. I really like the glide and oil absorption.
  • Treated sericite is an ingredient I like for a bit of shine and for the oil absorption.
  • Untreated sericite is definitely an ingredient I'm going to use again. I like the lack of shine and I can make up for that in other areas.
  • Calcium carbonate at low levels are a must as well. Oil absorption is key for me.
  • The ivory colour blend might be a little too pink for my skin. I'm going to play around with adding a little brown or white to it and see what happens. And I know titanium dioxide is not a good way to add some white. Perhaps some matte white mica?
A lot of people will look at my experiments and think I've wasted my time. But I've learned what doesn't work for me, what my skin likes, and what ingredients I should buy next time I visit my supply shop.

What's next? I think I'm going to experiment with talc just so I can see what these other ingredients offer over it. I know some people avoid it, but I really like to know why I should avoid it rather than avoiding an ingredient because on someone else's say so.

Join me tomorrow to learn how to make a liquid foundation.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Creating a base from scratch - part 1

There are few things I love more than getting new ingredients and spending the day in the workshop. The electrical work is done, which means I can listen to the radio, turn on the light, and have my double boiler going, so it's just that little bit closer to being heaven for me!

I wanted to try some new foundation base ideas, then try to make a colour that might suit me, so I hauled out all my supplies and planned for a day of getting messy!

I always start by thinking of what I want in my product. In this case, it's a foundation so I'm going to want the various features I've mentioned probably a hundred times in a foundation - I want it to offer light to medium coverage, adhere to my skin, not change the colour throughout the day, not be too shiny or too matte, and look nice on me.

Note: A scoop is 0.15 cc and 1 cc is that little spoon you see in the right hand corner of the picture above. I bought them at Aquarius as I thought they would come in handy! They did!

Here's recipe 1. I chose to leave out the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as I wanted to see how whitening the other ingredients would be without it. It was certainly white enough!

1.25 cc (1/4 tsp) bismuth oxychloride
2.5 scoops boron nitride
0.5 cc dry-flo
1 scoop calcium carbonate
1 scoop magnesium stearate
1 scoop silk powder
1/2 scoop allantoin

I really liked the way this looked, but I think it might be too pearly for my skin. It looked nice on my hand, but it did sink into the wrinkles a little too much. I think it would be great for someone younger or as an eye shadow or blush base. Probably not the best foundation base for me...but I'm still going to try it.

To 3 cc of base I added 3/4 scoop of this basic foundation colour grind.
1 part red (light) iron oxide
1 part yellow iron oxide
1 part brown iron oxide

I think I might like it, but it really does get into the fine lines of my skin. I think it makes my pores look bigger, and I do have really large pores to begin with so that's not something I'm looking for in a foundation. What could be causing this? I'm thinking either the bismuth oxychloride or the boron nitride. So let's try a second version and change one of those ingredients.

Recipe 2 - This is a different colour grind. See below for information.

1.25 cc (1/4 tsp) bismuth oxychloride
2.5 scoops boron glow
0.5 cc dry-flo
1 scoop calcium carbonate
1 scoop magnesium stearate
1 scoop silk powder
1/2 scoop allantoin
0.5 cc titanium dioxide
2 cc micronaspheres
1 cc treated sericite mica

I added the first group of ingredients (up to the allantoin) and tried this colour blend as I was trying to replicate a finishing powder my mom likes.

1 scoop paradise sand mica
1 scoop creamsicle iron oxide
1 scoop aborigine amber
3 scoops Micronaspheres

I mixed these into the recipe above, and realized it was far too dark. So I added the titanium dioxide, micronaspheres, and treated sericite mica to lighten it a bit. It lightened it a little too much, so I added 1 scoop aborigine amber mica and 1 cc Micronaspheres, and it worked out really well. Because of all the mica and the treated mica and the boron glow, this turned out to be very shiny. Not a great foundation, but definitely a great blush or highlighter.

This would make an awesome bronzer for someone really pale. Or if you substituted the creamsicle iron oxide for brown-umber or brown-earth iron oxide for someone who wanted to be a little darker.

Experiments 1 and 2 resulted in too much shine for a foundation. I think it's the bismuth oxychloride...so let's leave it out of my next experiment!

Join me tomorrow for part 2 of experimenting fun!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Links to mineral make-up sites

If you're really interested in mineral make-up, here are a few sites to keep you busy for the foreseeable future!

In my opinion, the best site for colour blends for foundations has to be the (now defunct) Cosmetic Formulator, linked here through the wayback machine. If you like what you see, please PDF it so you don't lose it! Take a look through the formulary - there are so many interesting recipes, you'll find yourself lost for hours. If by some chance you don't have the supplies she recommends, you know how to substitute, right?

Here is the first page of the formulary for the Cosmetic Formulator that will take you to a variety of pages! I cannot stress enough how awesome this site is and I cannot plead with you enough to PDF or print the pages off! Do it now!

Here are a few other sites I have enjoyed...
  • The Conservatorie has a great colour blend as a starting point;
  • DIY Cosmetics (scroll down for the blend ideas) has some great ideas, although I'm not sure what tan might be;
  • Sweet Scents has a ton of recipes for various products - I haven't tried them out, but they seem interesting;
  • The Soap Queen (Anne-Marie of Brambleberry) regularly posts mineral make-up recipes for eye shadow and lip sticks. Awesome - love the pink champagne colour!
Please, if you find a site you like, actually capture the information some how - print it, PDF it, write it down - because you don't want to go back and find it gone!

Join me tomorrow for more fun with mineral make-up!

Mineral make-up: Blush colour becomes foundation colour

When I posted the translucent and opaque foundation bases, I wasn't happy with the colours I had either tried or created, so I didn't post any. Now I've had a chance to play around a bit, and I wanted to share! I've been using the opaque base, but you can use the translucent base for these shades.

From the translucent base blush post...

BARELY THERE - warm shade
4 scoops titanium dioxide
3 scoops yellow iron oxide
1 scoop red (light) iron oxide
1/2 scoop ultramarine blue
1/2 tsp Micronaspheres or talc

BARELY THERE - cool shade
4 scoops titanium dioxide
3 scoops yellow iron oxide
1 scoop red (light) iron oxide
1/2 scoop ultramarine blue
12 scoops magnesium violet
1/2 tsp Micronaspheres or talc

Mix together in a bag. (If you wanted to make a larger amount, you could do this in a coffee grinder or Magic Bullet, then mix the Micronaspheres in afterwards.) This will make 3/4 tsp blush colour blend (warm) or 1 tsp (cool).

I've been experimenting with the cool shade of Barely There and brown-earth iron oxide (from Voyageur) in the opaque foundation base. I mixed 1 scoop (0.15 cc or 1/32 tsp) Barely There with 1 scoop brown-earth iron oxide, blended it well then added the foundation base in various ratios. I chose to use the Barely There as a foundation base because it's quite similar to the foundation grinds I've seen, which include yellow, blue, red, and magnesium violet.

At 4.3% colour, I still felt it was a little too much for my pale skin. I have seen recommendations for 2% for pale skin - which would work out to 12 or 13 cc to 1 scoop Barely There, 1 scoop brown iron oxide.

Want to try other blends? Then check out my linkorama post (coming later today)!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mineral make-up: Fun with blush! An opaque base.

As you might remember from the opaque foundation base post, we can add titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to our blush base to increase the opacity, but this will increase the drag. So we need to compensate by having more sericite mica and more Micronaspheres (in the blush colour grind). I'm adding Dry-flo (optional), as well, to increase the slip and glide. I always like to include calcium carbonate in my base because I have oily skin: You can leave it out if you have dry skin or include the same amount of kaolin clay, which also offers great oil absorption.

MEDIUM TO FULL COVERAGE BLUSH BASE
4 tbsp treated sericite mica (myristate treated mica for dry skin)
1 tbsp titanium dioxide
1 tsp dry flo
1/2 tsp zinc oxide
2 scoops silk powder
1 scoop allantoin
3 scoops calcium carbonate or kaolin clay

For people with dry skin, leave out the calcium carbonate/kaolin clay as you won't want more oil absorbers!

Put all the ingredients in a bag and squish well until combined. Or put into a coffee grinder or Magic Bullet and whizz until well combined. I like to make a lot of this and keep it around in a container so I can play with colours at my whim!

You can use the Barely There colour blend from yesterday's post in this blush.


You can see the difference between the translucent base (from yesterday) and today's opaque base (using the cool shade of Barely There)! The opaque base is definitely a stronger colour that is going to offer more coverage than the lighter translucent base. The 25% opaque base is a stronger colour than the 40% translucent base!

Here are a few more colours you can play with in your blush bases! (Again, these are modified colours from the Cosmetic Formulator, which I've tweaked a little bit...) Start at 25% and move up to 40% to see what you like. As you can see from the 40% opaque base colour above a "Barely There" can become a Really Obviously There very quickly, so add it in small scoops to see what you like.

CLEARLY PINK
5 scoops titanium dioxide
1 scoop red (light) iron oxide
1.5 scoops ultramarine pink
5/8 tsp manganese violet (for cool tones only - leave out for warm tones)
1/2 tsp Micronaspheres or talc

Blend together in a bag or coffee grinder/Magic Bullet type thingie. If you're using a blender type thing, add your Micronaspheres after grinding.

BLUSHING PEACH
1/8 tsp titanium dioxide
3 scoops yellow iron oxide
1/2 scoop orange iron oxide (we used honeydew from Soapcraft.ca)
1/2 scoop red (light) iron oxide
1/10 scoop brown-umber iron oxide (a titch, use the end of your spoon)
1/8 tsp manganese violet (for cool tones only - leave out for warm tones)
1/2 tsp Micronaspheres or talc

Again, blend together in a bag or coffee grinder type thingie. Add the micronaspheres after grinding.

Join me tomorrow for adapting your blush colour grinds to become a foundation colour!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mineral make-up: Fun with blush - a translucent base

Blush bases are as variable as the people who wear them. You can make a very simple blush with serecite mica and colour or Micronaspheres and colour or you can make a very complicated one with almost every ingredient I've written about in the last few weeks!

What's the point of a blush? We want some colour that will highlight our cheeks without being too shiny. We want it to stay on all day and not morph its colour.

So we'll want to create a blush base that will...
  • adhere to your skin
  • not morph to a different colour
  • offer a nice amount of shine without being crazy sparkly
  • impart a nice colour
Let's take a look at how to create a very translucent base that will be more of a highlighter than a blush.

TRANSLUCENT BASE (by volume, not weight)
Yes, you've seen this before. It's the translucent finishing powder (Click to see why I'm using what I'm using!)
3 tbsp treated sericite mica
1 tsp micronospheres
3/16 tsp or 6 scoops calcium carbonate or kaolin clay (for oil control, optional)
3/16 tsp or 6 scoops powdered silk
1/16 tsp or 2 scoops allantoin

Finished amount: 52.5 ml (dry powder)

Or for someone with dry skin
3 tbsp myristate treated sericite mica
1 tbsp micronospheres
3/16 tsp or 6 scoops powdered silk
1/16 or 2 scoops allantoin

Okay, so this is the finishing powder I've posted before...why am I posting it as a blush? Because it makes an awesome highlighter mixed with 25% to 50% peach or pink mica. If you want something a little more bronzer-ish, then you might want to use something like paradise sand mica with some brown tones at 25% to 50% (aborigine amber or paradise sand are nice micas). You could even create a fairy dust kind of sparkle by adding 25% to 50% mica of your choice (silver is lovely!)

Note: The 25 to 50% is by volume!

It fulfills all the requirements of a blush in that it will stay on your skin, not morph, and offer some colour. One down side - it will offer a ton of shine because it's filled with micas and sericite mica.

If you're not a shiny girl, but you want a nice sweep of colour, then why not add some titanium dioxide (to whiten it) and micronaspheres (a bit of shine with low to medium coverage) to give you a light to medium coverage blush (as opposed to the light, almost opaque, coverage above)?

Disclaimer: I found the idea for this colour blend from the Cosmetic Formulator, a site which is no longer accessible, except through the wayback machine. Check it out here...

BARELY THERE - warm shade
4 scoops titanium dioxide
3 scoops yellow iron oxide
1 scoop red (light) iron oxide
1/2 scoop ultramarine blue
1/2 tsp Micronaspheres or talc

BARELY THERE - cool shade
4 scoops titanium dioxide
3 scoops yellow iron oxide
1 scoop red (light) iron oxide
1/2 scoop ultramarine blue
12 scoops manganese violet
1/2 tsp Micronaspheres or talc

Mix together in a bag. (If you wanted to make a larger amount, you could do this in a coffee grinder or Magic Bullet, then mix the Micronaspheres in afterwards.) This will make 3/4 tsp blush colour blend (warm) or 1 tsp (cool).

I suggest starting at 25% colour blend to 75% blush base for women with lighter skin to about 40% colour blend for women with darker skin (or who want a more dramatic cheek colour!)

To start at 25% (and this is very light!) you'd want to use 1/4 tsp of this colour blend and add it to 3/4 tsp of your blush base. If you like it, keep it. If not, increase by 1/4 tsp at a time until you reach the colour blend you want. Remember to keep notes!

This does have some shine in it. Although we've left out the micas for colouring, we have sericite mica in the base. If you want something a little less sparkly, join me tomorrow for an opaque base for blush!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mineral make-up: Warm or cool?

THE COLOUR WHEEL
I found it really helpful when starting off with MMU to learn about the colour wheel. (This is a great site to learn about colour theory!) We bought one from the scrapbooking store so we could consult it while blending. Colours across the wheel are complementary, so they make the other stand out. I do a lot of combining green with red or pink to get a greener green.

TKB Trading pop micas work on this principle, and you can get some awesome blends from these 7 micas. (And remember, I don't take advertising or sponsorship, so I'm recommending these because I like them!)

I find it hard to explain the colour wheel, so my suggestion is to try it. Combine a red mica with a green mica, a violet mica with a green or yellow mica, or an orange mica with a blue mica and see what you get! You'd be amazed at what comes together when you are mixing colours you'd never ever think of combining! (And yes, you will get some hideous colours you hate!)

MAKING A COLOUR WARMER OR COOLER
What does it mean when a colour is warm or cool? A warm colour is generally one with yellow tones; a cool colour is generally one with blue tones. There are hundreds of definitions of what makes a cool colour cool and a warm colour warm - I like to think of warm colours as being gold and cool colours being silver.

Voyageur carries two types of black - black-blue and black-brown. When I'm creating colours I might like to wear, I always use the black-blue as I'm a cool colour (pale skin with red, brown hair, green eyes). If you are a warm colour, choose the black-brown.

I recommend everyone have brown and black (either shade) iron oxide in their mineral make-up kit, and I recommend gold, silver, and white mica for every kit as well.

WARMING UP A COOL COLOUR, COOLING DOWN A WARM COLOUR
How can you warm up a cool colour - like purple - or cool down a warm colour - like brown?


I started with a 2:1 ratio of base to ultramarine purple. Then I thought I'd add some paradise sand - a brown mica with some pink highlights, which is definitely a warm colour. I mixed 2:1:2 base, ultramarine purple, and paradise sand mica to get the middle colour. Then I added some more paradise sand - just to see what would happen - then finally added 1 more part of ultramarine purple. The last swatch is the one I'd use as a warm purple colour. (Adding brown will get you a plum type purple!)



With the brown I've done a similar thing...I started with a 3:1 mix of base to brown-umber iron oxide. I added 1 part gold mica to the next batch - you can't see the flecks of gold, but it is really nice. For the third batch, I added 1 part arctic silver mica. Again, you can see the sparkles, but it is very nice and glittery! The fourth batch is the third batch with 1 part ultramarine pink in there to cool the colour down again.


A pink is generally a cool colour, but we can warm it up by the inclusion of golds or browns or oranges (although #3 didn't turn out as well as I had hoped - it was just orange). The last swatch is a 3:3:1 ratio of base, ultramarine pink, and red mica, which has a blue tone to it.

Join me tomorrow for the translucent blush base when we'll be warming up or cooling down blush colours!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mineral make-up: Colour blending

When I get a new colour - mica, ultramarine, iron oxide, and so on - I like to play with it to see how it will change with my base. I make up a little chart something that looks something like this.


So I know what it looks like without base, with base in different ratios, and finally - at the end - with some gold mica. (I don't do gold mica every time...I was thinking of a colour when I made this.) You'd be surprised how some colours change when you add a base. For instance, burgundy iron oxide goes purple - making a lovely violet base for another colour - and some purples can go pink. This is why I have my basic base and my alternate base - if I want the burgundy to go purple, I'll know which base to use!

The chart is helpful when I'm thinking of making a colour - let's say, pink champagne (a pink with gold flecks) - and I'm not sure which way to go. Do I start with a base of ultramarine pink and add some gold mica (as above, or pink mica with gold mica, or coral mica with a hint of pink or gold?

MAKING THE COLOUR LIGHTER OR DARKER
You can add titanium dioxide or white mica or more base to make a colour brighter.

You can add black iron oxide or black mica to make a colour darker - but don't use too much! As you can see from this picture, even 1/2 scoop black iron oxide can make 9 scoops of base and pink black! (Although I swear I can see some pink in there). Start with a tiny bit and work your way up! Too much black can make something muddy.

Having said this, do try black with various colours to see the effects. You can use black iron oxide for a matte effect; black mica for a shinier effect. Black and yellow together will make an olive green!

COLOUR BLENDING - THE LAYERS
I have no idea what this should be called, but I think of them as layers. Take for example a black eye shadow (to be used as a liner, unless you're an emo kid!), a colour I know I never thought of as being more than just black!

I think of my blends as having layers. There's the base layer - the colour you really want, like green or blue or pink. Then the middle layer - how you're going to change that colour by adding other iron oxides or micas. And the top layer - the highlights or sparkles in the colour. (Although, often the middle and top layers are the same thing when I add micas because they give colour and sparkle).

When making a black, my base layer is black. The middle layer - I like to add some blackstar blue to add a little blue to the mix. Then the top layer would be black satin mica, which gives it some sparkle and shine. I could use black iron oxide and base, but then I look like I've used Sharpie on my eyes (not a good look for me), so I add the layers to give it a little depth and sparkle.

For this colour - I call it Oscar - I wanted a green with black highlights. So the green is the base layer - the primary colour I want in this eye shadow. Then I add some blackstar green to change the colour to change the shade of the colour from green to black. The sparkle and shine comes from the green and blackstar green mica, so I didn't add anything else to it.

I realize the layer concept might seem silly - it sure seems silly as I'm typing this - but I find if I break the colour down into its core components of base colour, shade, sparkle, and so on, it makes it easier for me to create colours.

I could buy a ton of micas - in fact, I have - of every shade to make MMU, but it is simpler to combine your colours to make what you want. In the case of pink champagne above, you could create a ton of different eye shadows with ultramarine pink and gold mica, but you might be more limited if all you have is coral mica.

Join me tomorrow for fun with the colour wheel for blending colours!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mineral make-up: Making an eye shadow (tutorial)

I'm having one of those mornings where everything that can go wrong will go wrong, so instead of the post I intended for this morning - which was NOT saved after a ton of work (and yes, I did hit "save now" quite a few times) - I bring you this tutorial on making an eye shadow. I will return tomorrow with using pigments...

Making eye shadow or blush or foundation is a fairly simple process from a mechanical perspective. Make base, try colours, put into container, love. But coming up with the base and the colour is the time consuming part. I can spend hours in the workshop trying different bases or colours and not have a single thing done at the end of the day. But, I figure, at least I know what doesn't work! I make a point of writing down everything I do in my notebook, so I won't make that hideous thing again!

So let's make a lime green eye shadow!

STEP ONE: Assemble your supplies!

For this eye shadow I'm going to need...

Eye shadow base: I like to make big containers of it in my Magic Bullet (or coffee grinder) and keep it around so I don't have to haul all that out again!

Micas: I'm using apple green, strawberry, and lemon pop.

Spoons: I like to use 1 cc and 0.15 cc, but I also have a set of 1/32, 1/16, and 1/8 spoons I keep around.

Plastic bags: I use the 3 x 4 jewellery bags from Michael's or the jewellery store. I don't use the dollar store ones - they will explode on me and I hate being covered in colour!

Containers: I prepare my containers at the side of my workbench, tops open, sifters off, so I can pour it into the container when I'm reader.

Small funnel or scoop: To get the colours into the container. If you are going to make large batches and make 3 or 4 eye shadows, get some condiment containers from the dollar store (3 for $1.00) and squeeze it very slowly into the container. I find this is very effective.

STEP TWO: THE RECIPE!
SUB-LIME - this will fill one 20 ml eye shadow container
4 scoops basic eye shadow base (click here for basic base and alternate base)
6 scoops apple green pop mica
12 scoops lemon drop pop mica
2 scoop strawberry pop mica
1 scoop magnesium stearate (for extra adhesion or to press it into an eye shadow container - optional)

STEP THREE: ADD THE INGREDIENTS TO YOUR BAG
Spoon each of the ingredients into a plastic bag and seal it well. Squish squish squish until the colours are combined well - 30 seconds to a minute. Do not take the colours on the outside as an indication of the colour you are creating. As you can see from this bag, there's yellow and pink and green all over it, but the colour will end up being a really nice lime green.

STEP FOUR: TRY THE COLOUR

Take a Q-tip and put it down to the bottom and try it on your hand. If I like it, I'll squish a little longer - maybe another 30 seconds - and try it again. If I still like it, I get a little scoop and pour it into my container.


STEP FIVE: ADJUST THE COLOUR

If I don't like it, I try to figure out what I don't like. It is too green (never a possibility for me) or too yellow or too light or too dark.

If the colour's too bright - add more base or add some titanium dioxide.

If it's too light - add more colour.

If it's too bright - add a little black iron oxide or black mica. For this recipe, I wouldn't add more than 1/2 scoop (1/64 tsp) black iron oxide to try to darken it. You could go as high as 1 scoop (1/32) for the black satin mica.

STEP SIX: GET IT INTO THE CONTAINER

As I mentioned above, get a small scoop and scoop it out of the bag.
Or pour it from the bag to the container.
Or, if you're making a ton of eye shadows, pour the bag - using a funnel! - into a clean, newly purchased mustard or ketchup dispenser from the dollar store and let it drain from the dispenser into your container.

STEP SEVEN: REJOICE

Yep, you're done. And you have a lovely eye shadow that will be the envy of your friends and passersby (get it? Envy? It's green!)

This process is the same for blush, foundation, bronzer, and so on. You can make anything that doesn't contain micas in a coffee grinder or magic bullet if you want to make bigger batches, and you can make any bases in the Magic Bullet as well. (If you're using Micronospheres blend it all, then put it into a dispensing container and shake like silly to incorporate!)

You can use larger bags if you want, just make sure they seal well.

Join me tomorrow for fun with pigments (finally!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The soaping effect (insert dramatic chord here).

I've had two comments this week asking about the soaping effect and how to prevent it...so let's take a quick look at it!

The soaping effect is defined as "an undesired foaming phenomenon observed in skin creams formulated with soap based emulsifiers". You may have noticed this in your lotions - the white streaks when you rub the lotion on and a slight tacky feeling on your skin.

Why does this happen? It's saponification!

The fatty acids in the lotion, combined with an alkaline ingredient like triethanolamine or potassium hydroxide, create a soap, which acts as the emulsifier in your lotion. (A common combination is triethanolamine and stearic acid.) If you're using a stearate or oleate based emulsifier, you are bringing the water and oil together in your lotion by creating a soap, which is going to leave those white streaks when you apply it.

What can stop the dreading soaping effect?
  • Adding dimethicone at 2 to 3%.
  • Using a non-ionic emulsifier like Polawax or emulsifying wax NF.
  • Using a cationic emulsifier like BTMS.
If you don't want to use silicones, then your only option is to change emulsifiers and see if that helps.

Mineral make-up: Chemistry of pigments

I thought I'd take a look at the chemistry of the pigments we use in mineral make-up with more detail on how to use the various pigments tomorrow.

Inorganic pigments are formed from compounds of transition elements like iron, chromium, and so on. The colour is produced "as a result of the ease with which the outer "d" electrons can absorb visible light and be promoted to the next energy level" (in other words, the colour is determined by the outer electrons).

If you're interested in how colour works, check out this entry in Wikipedia (scroll down a bit).

They tend to be more opaque, more light fast, and more solvent resistant than the organic pigments, but they are more subdued than colours you'd find from ingredients like carmine (although micas definitely are shiny things!). They may be affected by alkali or acid - which explains why iron oxides or ultramarines do not play well with bath bombs - but tend to be less chemically reactive than the organic pigments.

The main inorganic pigments we use in mineral make-up are...
  • iron oxides
  • chromium oxide or hydroxides
  • ultramarines
  • manganese violet
  • titanium dioxide (I've already written about this one)
  • micas
IRON OXIDES
There are generally 3 iron oxide colours - red, black, and yellow - which are combined to produce the other colours. They offer good stability and opacity in a mineral make up applications, but are discoloured by very low pH. When they are found naturally, they are called ochres (so they have been used for thousands of years in art and cosmetics!) They are non-bleeding, and moisture resistant.

Yellow iron oxide: This is iron (II) oxide-hydroxide or FeOOH.

Red iron oxide: This is iron (II) oxide or ferric oxide - Fe2O3. The rust colour comes the fact that it is oxidized iron. It can be obtained by the heating of yellow iron oxide.

Black iron oxide: Sometimes called magnetite, iron (II, III) oxide or Fe3O4, it comes from the controlled oxidation of ferrous sulphate in alkaline conditions.


CHROMIUM OXIDE AND CHROMIUM HYDROXIDE
Chromium oxide (Cr2O3) and chromium hydroxide (Cr2O3 x H20) are both shaded green and provide good colour stability in mineral make-up products. The chromium oxide offers better tinting than the chromium hydroxide. Chromium oxide - formerly known as viridian - is more of a grass green (left); chromium hydroxide is more teal or aqua (right).


ULTRAMARINES
Ultramarines can be natural or synthetic. The naturally found ultramarine has been used for centuries in painting. It is usually a blue colour because it contains lazurite (found in lapis lazuli gems), and it is the most compound used in mineral make-up (from a chemical point of view). The blue colour comes from the S3- anion on the molecule.

The synthetic form - the one we use - is more vivid that natural ultramarine blue, and less permanent. It is moisture resistsasnt and has great light stability. It is very unstable in acid, and will release hydrogen sulphide in an acid-base reaction (this explains the smell of rotten eggs if you use them in bath bombs). You can find ultramarine blue, purple, and pink. They tend to be more of a pastel colour than the iron oxides, although they can be very vivid.

MANGANESE VIOLET
This is another complicated molecule with good light stability for mineral make-up products. It is unstable in water, so it is not suitable for bath bombs or other products you might want to colour and take into the shower or bath. It makes a great base for purple and burgundy shades (when mixed with titanium dioxide).

MICAS
Micas are defined as a hydrous silicate in a monoclinic crystalline form. But this really doesn't do them justice. Micas come to use as powders with various levels of shine and glitter. To me, they are the highlight of the mineral make-up, offering the colours we need to blend to get even lovelier colours. The size of the mica particle determines how shiny the mica will be; the larger the particle, the shinier!

Mica on its own isn't very exciting, so the mica is coated with iron oxide or other inorganic pigment, titanium dioxide or bismuth oxychloride to increase the shine or colour. If you find interference micas, they are created by layering various iron oxides and other pigments in relative thick layers so show off every colour.

Now you know the chemistry of colours! Join me tomorrow to learn a little about colour blending.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mineral-make up ingredients: Pigments and colouring - an introduction

As my back is giving me serious trouble today, the post "Creating a blush base with boron nitride and bismuth oxychloride" will not be seen today. Instead I bring you fun with colours!

I always think of mineral make-up as the melding of science and art in a beautiful product you can wear on your face. The bases represents the science; the colours represent the art.

Sometimes the colour choices can seem overwhelming at times. Do I choose an iron oxide, an ultramarine, a hydroxide, a mica, a dye? What are the differences between them?

The two main categories of colourants are dyes and pigments. Dyes are water soluble and tend to come in liquid form. Pigments are water insoluble and tend to come in powdered form.

In the category of dyes we find liquid colourants like Labcolours and powdered colourants like the FD&C water soluble colours. These are suitable for water based products and bath bombs. You can use these for mineral make-up, although I can't give you any advice on the liquid colours as I've never used them before. The powdered FD&C colours are quite vibrant and will give you some fantastic colours. If you're looking for a matte, powdered red, this is probably the only way to find it. (The other alternative for a matte, powdered red is carmine.)

In the category of pigments we find the bulk of our colours for mineral make-up, and these ingredients will be the focus of my next few posts. Pigments are not soluble in water and are suitable for soaps, anhydrous products, and cosmetics.

Colours can be organic or inorganic. This does not mean they are "organic" in the sense of being grown without pesticides or from nature or whatever other definition people use for this word. If a colour is listed as organic, it means it contains a carbon atom (click here for more information on organic chemistry). If a colour is listed as inorganic, it means it does not contain a hydrocarbon group (a carbon-hydrogen group).

There are two pigments that may be organic in nature - meaning, they do contain a hydrocarbon group.

Lakes: Water soluble colourants are adhered to a water insoluble ingredient (like a metal salt) so they will remain insoluble in water. These are mostly the FD&C colours made water insoluble in a powdered form. They are great for soap or oil based products. Lakes tend to be less stable than other pigments in light but are stable in heat and when faced with a lot of chemical processes (for instance, acid or alkaline environments).

Carmine: Carmine is a bright red colour made from the bodies of the cochineal beetle. The colour is produced by carminic acid the beetle uses as a defence mechanism. It can be water or oil soluble, depending upon the preparation. It can be listed as "natural red" at times, and is approved for mineral make-up and food preparations.

A lot of people shy away from using carmine because of its animal origin. If you are keeping kosher or are vegan, this is definitely an ingredient to avoid. And it can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Join me tomorrow for fun with inorganic pigments!