Sunday, 11 January 2009


In my latest exam tantrum I knocked over a glass of Jamaican 'sorrel' drink aka 'zobo' that took me a while to prepare. It spilled all over my table, notes, clothes etc. If you have ever handled the roselle petal, which is what 'sorrel' is, you will know that it stains a deep red colour and is quite difficult to wash off. ًI was angrily scrubbing away and thinking of whether to bother re-writing those notes for the exam. I looked up at the exam revision time whatsoever. I started mentally trying to delete events to slot in an hour for re-writing notes. Ironically, next
to it was one of my self-talk notes 'Every cloud has a silver lining'. What could possible be good about my dire situation?
Then it hit me! I've been thinking of a solution to this carmine issue because I need to have red colouring in my make-up. Voila! Why can't I use roselle instead? After all the extracting process is the same i.e. boiling dried leaves instead of dried insects and roselle is so available in the part of the world where I'm from!
Looks like I'm gonna be calling some manufacturers to offer my advice on the red colouring situation. Maybe every cloud does have a silver lining...

Wednesday, 7 January 2009


So many people have asked me what brand I use or recommend. I have always had a mixture of brands in my make-up. Over the years the kit has evolved and refined. When I started about 7 years ago I had all sort- Boots, M&S, Virgin, L'oreal, Maxfactor, Estee Lauder, Chanel, Dior, YSL etc. I used all those brands till 2005 or so when I started developing an awareness of toxic chemicals. I got rid of most of them and went for a MAC make-over. For me, MAC is good, but only in photographs. It has a false appearance about it when you are out and about i.e. everyone knows you are wearing a foundation! The same annoying problem with fashion fair and they both contain things you should be wary of.
Then I discovered a brand known as Artistry. Artistry is good but the colours are too mild. I love one thing about artistry and that is their sheer lipsticks. It's a glossy lipstick so your lips do not feel dry from wearing it. However as much as I love Artistry, it does contain some things I am not happy about.
E. Funkhouser is another brand I love. It has bold colours which do justice to coloured skin. However I do not like that it has so much glitter. I don't know what I have against glitter but it is not my thing. The other thing is the eye-shadows fade before you even go far. I have found this with almost all the make-up brands I have used.
I have never been one for cheap cosmetics after I invested in one which burned my forehead. Not that I love the expensive ones, but I'm always of the opinion, there's a reason A is cheaper than B!
A while ago I disposed of most of my cosmetics and replacing them is going to be a nightmare. These things should be replaced gradually (or each by each as my good friend will say). I have been looking seriously into Jane Iredale. It's a very pure mineral cosmetic line. I've always known about mineral cosmetics but they have never interested me because I have never been able to decide which brand to buy from. Even the mineral cosmetics have different levels of purity. Just because it is mineral does not make it good.

As for skin care, I have always been a cleanse-tone-moisturise-occasionally exfoliate person. Initially it was Clearasil and co but I think you are actually better off scraping your face against the wall than using those brands. Then I tried fashion fair which made me very unhappy after spending £37! Finally I discovered artistry and have always used artistry because it is so good and so well researched, until recently when they decided to add alcohol to their cleanser :( Besides the aim is to be organic here.
So Now I'm into Miessence which is a strictly organic brand but it's one of those networking brands and you have to look for a supplier, like Artistry and Amway. So I temporarily have no skin care brand and I'm feeling the effects (it's probably psychological). Gosh I can't wait to have my own brand. It should be fun...

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Why you should care...

Everyone keeps asking me and wondering: Why should I care about what is in my make-up?

There's this thing called bioaccumulation- which basically means that toxic chemicals accumulate in your body over time. We live in the day and age where girls start using make-up from an average age of 10 and carry on until forever. Most make-up manufacturers do not care about your health to be honest, they only care about the bank account. Their skin care and make-up products contain alcohol, paraben, polyethylene and some other highly toxic and carcinogenic (cancer-inducing) agents. Some of them actually contain chemicals that never get eliminated from the body and get passed on to the next generation when you have babies (trust me here I am curently a toxicology expert!). It's not a cheap cosmetic thing, most well-known high class brands use chemicals that are very toxic.

Your face is second to your heart in reflecting your beauty. If you eat non-organic vegetables and chicken-wings every night, you are already accumulating toxic chemicals in your body. The least you can do yourself is to avoid adding more. The incidence of cancer, especially skin cancer is on the rise. It may not happen to you now or even ever, but would you rather take the chances? I'm not saying that if you do all the good things you will not get cancer. Many things contribute to cancer. But you will significantly lower your risk...

All we ever aim for is a flawless skin. So if you use make-up to try and achieve that, and you end up irritating your skin, you will need more make-up next time to cover the irritation and this means even more irritants. Most of them do not even have SPF. I used to think if you have coloured skin it doesn't matter, this is very untrue. You need sun protection but not as much as those with non-coloured skin tones.

Be good to yourself. Contrary to beliefs, its not unaffordable to take good care of yourself. There are some high quality products out there that are good value for money, after all we can spend thousands on cars, houses, shoes etc. but the thing which will serve us well is good health and a flawless skin to go with it.

If you want to know how safe the product you currently use is, go to: and search for it. You'll be amazed to find that there are some very good as well as some very dangerous products out there.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Time to throw away that mascara...

This is the truth that most ladies don't want to hear. I know it cost you £17 and you have barely used it but hey...

You know when you go to buy your milk you get the one that has the furthest expiry date and you get just the right size so you don't have to pour any down the drain. Once it's opened, that use by date is useless because truthfully all you have is 3 days to down the whole carton.

Why am I telling you this? Make-up and skin care products expire, believe it or not. Don't you ever wonder why that product that cost you an arm and a leg, that is 100% natural and worked wonders on your face is now not doing any good and you are completely covered in spots? Yes sometimes it is your hormones or school/work or your stupid boyfriend, but most times it's not. It's the harmful product you put on your face.

Here is the recommendation for make-up use by dates:
Water-based foundation: 1 year
Oil-based: up to 18 months.
The two different types will be clearly visible on the label.

1 year.

Pressed form: up to 18 months
Loose variety: up to 1 year.

Pressed: one year.
Cream blushers: 18 months

Eye shadow
Powder and cream formulations: 18 months-2 years

Lipstick and Lip Gloss
2 years.
if you get a cold sore while using one, throw it out immediately

3-4 months.
Don't share mascaras with friends - the wand harbours a host of bacteria that are naturally present on our eyelashes but can cause infections to others.

Eye Liner/Lip Liner
Pencil form: 2 years
Liquid: 6 months

I know people who have had make-up products for up to 5 years and still use them! This is very bad for your skin.

The problem now is: how do you remember when to throw it away?
Most cosmetic products do not have sell by or use by dates. These are 2 different concepts because if you go to buy a mascara from a store that has had it in their cabinet for 6 months, you are already in trouble. So a sell by date is very important for retailers and they never tell you that.
Think of this as a good thing- you have an excuse to replace that eye shadow you are bored with! OK I get it, you are annoyed because you bought your expensive mascara and used 1/4 of it in 3 months and now you have to throw it away. This, I believe, is an error on the manufacturer's part. Mascara does not need to come in that much quantity only if you use it professionally or you wear make-up everyday, neither does any other cosmetic. Ideally they should come in different sizes and they should all have use-by dates on the product and on the packaging. I know a brand that puts use-by dates on the packaging only. Who keeps their cosmetic packaging?! But not to worry...HRP will solve all these silly problems.

So Ladies, let's go through that make up bag together. Empty the whole bag and wash out all that glitter and powder that has accumulated in it for 100 years and wash those brushes (tips only!) too in your hair shampoo. Now throw away all those pre-historic x-mas sale cosmetics and skin care products (yes the toner and the moisturiser too).
Until HRP comes to life, head to your favourite store or website and treat yourself like a queen...

Dried Scale Insects, Honey Bees, Shrubs and Palms...

Carmine (E140, crimson lake etc.) is a pigment of a bright red colour obtained from the carminic acid produced by some insects such as the cochineal and the Polish cochineal and is used in the manufacture of artificial flowers, paints, rouge, yoghurt, cosmetics, food additives, and crimson ink. Carmine may be prepared from cochineal by boiling dried insects in water to extract the carminic acid and then treating the clear solution with alum, cream of tartar, stannous chloride to precipitate the colouring and animal matters present. Sometimes egg white, fish glue or gelatine is added before precipitation. I am no vegan, but the thought of boiling insects and adding egg white just makes me ill, so carmine is not an option in my line and neither is gelatine actually...

Beeswax is a natural wax produced by young worker bees between 12 and 17 days old by glands on the abdomen. Honey bees use beeswax to build honeycomb cells in which their young are raised and honey and pollen are stored. To produce their wax, bees must consume about eight times as much honey by mass and fly ~270,000 miles to make 1kg! Beeswax is one of the best natural ingredients to use as a thickening agent, emulsifier, and humectant. It has emollient, softening and soothing properties and helps the skin retain moisture. Even after processing to cera alba (the form found in mascara, lip glosses etc.), it still retains some anti-bacterial properties and contains vitamin A. No bees are harmed in the process of obtaining wax as the wax cap is cut off in order to extract the honey anyway. I read recently that bee-keepers are actually having trouble getting rid of wax as the demand has reduced so technically I have no problems with beeswax and it is 100% natural and organic.

However, I prefer non-animal derived ingredients and If you are vegan or you love bees or the likes, I can see why you would not like beeswax, as the bees work so hard to make it and use it to make houses.

Carnauba wax is derived from the leaves of the Carnauba palm native to Brazil. During the dry and hot months, the leaves exude the wax to conserve moisture and protect the tree against dehydration. The leaves are removed individually by workers during the months of September to March. A maximum of 20 leaves is removed from each tree to ensure that the tree is not endangered. The leaves are cut, sun-dried, and then thrashed to remove the wax from the leaves.
Carnauba Wax is a wonderful ingredient to use in natural cosmetics. Due to its hypo-allergenic and emollient properties, it can be used in many cosmetic formulas where it is used to thicken lipsticks, eyeliners, mascaras, eye shadows, foundations etc. It is extremely durable, and dries to a glossy finish. It is a good alternative to beeswax, and is popular among individuals who choose not to use animal derived products. Carnauba Wax is harder than beeswax, and this must be taken into consideration when incorporating it into recipes. Even though Carnauba does not have as many good properties as beeswax, it is an effective alternative.

Candelilla wax is derived from the leaves of the small Candelilla shrub native to northern Mexico and the south-western United States. The wax is obtained by boiling the leaves and stems with diluted sulphuric acid and skimmed from the surface and further processed. After the wax has been refined it is harder and more brittle than beeswax and less hard than Carnauba. Candelilla wax has been used as a hardener for soft waxes and when Candelilla wax is warmed, the odor resembles that of beeswax. Few people have ever heard of Candelilla wax yet nearly everyone has had personal contact with it. If you have chewed gum, used cosmetics or worn shoes you have probably encountered Candelilla wax. It is used in the cosmetic industry for many purposes like lipsticks and creams when the product requires a good glide property and is a vegan alternative to beeswax.

So for all you vegans and insect lovers out there, there is hope. I will endeavour to avoid beeswax...

Saturday, 3 January 2009

How to...

I am strong believer in 'how to' books because I believe in finding out how successful people got things done and imitating. I have loads of them though they are not all titled 'how to':
  • 7 habits of highly effective people
  • How to win friends and influence people
  • Dealing with people you can't stand
  • The positive woman
  • feel the fear and do it anyway
  • Decisions of daring achievers
  • Personality Plus
  • Mars and Venus
  • Rich Dad Poor Dad -one my favourites, etc etc
Most of them are useful however there have been some pretty useless ones which I have discarded (When I have compiled the list I will tell you)!
My next planned investment in a 'how to' book is one titled 'Breaking Into and Succeeding as a Natural, Organic and Mineral Cosmetics Maker'. It apparently is going to tell me all I need to know about starting my own organic line and help me consider the things that are important. Unfortunately this e-book has no review whatsoever, which I find quite distressing as it costs $98. Ordinarily I would not have cared but given the UK economic recession, this book currently equates to ~£70. Am I willing to spend that amount of money on a book which could potentially be useless?
But then again, I don't want to make mistakes and this might be the £70 that will make HRP a success. The book is only 87 pages so it's not like its an encyclopaedia or something. I have reviewed the authors and none of them is a make-up artist but they are all apparently gurus in researching the field.
If I do spend the equivalent of 2 pairs of shoes on this book, I will be nice and give a review and some hints here and there but for now, to buy or not to buy?...
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