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What Are Handmade Cosmetics?

Lynelle Harmon
Lynelle Harmon

Handmade cosmetics are makeup products that are assembled outside of a manufacturer's laboratory setting, either for personal use or independent sales. The cosmetics are produced using commercially available base products and colorants. Benefits of these homemade products include control of ingredients and customizable colors.

Colorants that are commercially available for handmade cosmetics include mica, oxides and lake dyes. Mica is a type of silicate that is used in mineral handmade cosmetics. Pure mica is shimmering white, but it can be blended with other pigments to create a wide variety of shimmering shades.

Handmade cosmetics often include ground mica for color and shine.
Handmade cosmetics often include ground mica for color and shine.

Oxides help create matte colors for makeup. Chromium oxide is a matte green shade. Manganese oxide has a violet-purple shade. Iron oxide, depending on how it was chemically reacted, can range in color from brown to orange to a shade of red. The oxides can be combined with each other, or with other colorants, to form new shades.

Lake dyes combine insoluble dyes and soluble pigments. This results in bright colors that tend not to bleed. Lipsticks might contain lake dyes for that reason.

Loose eye shadows and blushes can be made by simply blending the powdered colorants together until they reach the desired shade. The powder can be stored in a sifter jar for future use. It also can be pressed to put into an eyeshadow pan for a palette or compact. This requires the addition of a silicone-based liquid mixing medium. It might be necessary for the powder to be run through a spice grinder to get a more finely milled product.

Lipsticks can be made using powdered or liquid colorants and a wax base. The base might include beeswax, candelilla, shea butter and nourishing oils such as jojoba oil. The waxes are melted in the microwave and combined with the other ingredients before it is poured into lipstick molds. Lip glosses are made using a similar recipe, with castor oil replacing the beeswax. Lipstick and lip gloss kits are available with melt-and-pour colored bases ready for mixing.

People who hope to sell handmade cosmetics to the public should check the laws and regulations that apply to the manufacturing and sales location. Some colorants, for example, might not be legal to use in products that are meant to be applied to a certain area of the face or body. Violation of the regulations might lead to legal issues and/or customer dissatisfaction.

The regulations will also help decide what terminology can be used in the marketing of products. In some countries, it is not legal to claim that a product has a certain sun protection factor (SPF) unless the appropriate government agency has tested the product and validated its SPF level. Considering the high cost of this testing, it often is safer for there to be no SPF claims on handmade cosmetics.

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    • Handmade cosmetics often include ground mica for color and shine.
      By: Tyler Boyes
      Handmade cosmetics often include ground mica for color and shine.