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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

DIY Lip Gloss

When I first did an Internet search for homemade lip gloss, I found a recipe involving Vaseline petroleum jelly and pixie stix. Of course, I also saw comments that read, "Shame on you! Do you know petroleum jelly is made from petroleum oil?!" We happen to have some in our house that my husband bought for dry skin, because he's too manly to use anything gentler. I say if you already have some at home and you don't have sensitive skin, go ahead and give it a try. Having said that, I'm reluctant to use it on Phoebe who has eczema and can only tolerate pure shea butter (from L'Occitane) or aloe vera (from Whole Foods). Aveeno lotion makes her cry so I'm not sure what Vaseline will do to her--and I don't want to find out. Martha Stewart has a lip gloss recipe involving melting beeswax in a double boiler. Groan.

Here's an easy recipe for a lip gloss base from Jeannie Mai. I chose this recipe because the ingredients were not only gentle but also they wouldn't go to waste if I had a lot left over: the aloe vera gel can be used for dry skin and the coconut oil can be used in baking.

1 tsp aloe vera gel* (available at Whole Foods but cheap at Trader Joe's--$2.99)
1/2 t coconut oil (Whole Foods)
1 vitamin E capsule
Optional (vanilla, cocoa powder, berry juice)
*Note: Aloe vera gel is not the same as pure aloe vera. I bought pure aloe from Whole Foods, thinking less ingredients is better. Turns out pure aloe is very runny and won't work in this recipe. No biggie. I keep the pure aloe on my refrigerator door--it's good for treating burns in the kitchen.

After you have the base, you can flavor and color any way you like. I've read different recipes using cosmetic-grade essential oils, such as peppermint, lavender, and rose. Some people use food-grade peppermint oil, vanilla, cocoa, drink crystals. I think if it's safe enough to eat, it's probably safe to put on your lips. Keep in mind that you should use up your gloss quickly, as food will probably go rancid at some point.

If you want to add color, you can put a bit of your leftover lipstick from the end of the tube.

Or if you're worried about germs, try a few drops of berry juice for color. I keep frozen berries in my freezer so I defrosted about eight raspberries, mashed them up with a spoon, and strained out the juice.

Once your lip gloss cools and hardens to the consistency of jello jigglers, it's ready to use.

Some tips:
*If you have trouble blending your ingredients, heat in the microwave for about 10 seconds and whisk.
*If you find your coconut oil has separated after it cools, add more aloe vera gel.

Coconut oil separated.
*If the color is too light for your taste, use more berries and reduce the juice to concentrate the color.
*Once you start adding a few drops of this, a 1/4 teaspoon of that, the consistency of your base will change. If it gets too runny, add more aloe vera gel.

Before you start, collect plenty of containers. We used containers from cosmetic-counter samples. I had some from Nordstrom and Sephora. I cleaned them out with warm soapy water and then put the glass ones on the top rack of the dishwasher and wiped the plastic ones with rubbing alcohol. I suppose you can use plastic contact lens containers. I've seen plastic containers in the travel section of beauty supply stores for less than a dollar. Or if you have the nerve, you can probably ask for some the next time you visit the cosmetic counter.

Potential containers?

Vegan No-Roll Pie Crust

Pie is a bit problematic at our house, because of Phoebe's dairy allergy. If someone brings us a pie, we eat guiltily while she has an inferior version made with a frozen store-bought pie crust full of hydrogenated oil. Either that or we abstain altogether and settle for apple cake or pumpkin bread. I know, quick breads don't hold a candle to pie.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I've been experimenting with no-roll pie crusts. The No Roll Pie Crust II from allrecipes.com seemed like a good option for a non-dairy crust but I was troubled by the amount of oil. At first, I went a little crazy and reduced the oil, added powder sugar, an egg, whole wheat flour. Too dry. Next, I decided to trust the rave reviews and follow the recipe, but sure enough I found it was too oily.

Oil slick!
Last night, I reduced the oil, swapped out some of the flour with whole wheat flour, and replaced the milk with water. It worked!

1 c flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/4 sugar
1/8 t salt
1/3 c vegetable oil
2 T water

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Whisk dry ingredients together in a pyrex pie plate. Pour oil into center of dry ingredients. Use fork to mix dry ingredients into oil. Add water and mix. Distribute the dough evenly around the sides and bottom of the pie plate to make it easier to press later.

Chill in freezer for 10 minutes.

Press the dough with your fingers into the pie plate.

Start with the sides of the crust. Then do the bottom.

After the first pass. Go back and even out any thick parts.

Neaten the top ridge by pressing down with your thumb.

Bake for 10 minutes.

I filled the pie crust with a chocolate pudding recipe adapted from Martha Stewart. I increased the corn starch, added an egg, and cut back half a cup of the milk so the mixture would be firmer. Good thing, because Phoebe couldn't wait for the pudding to set for the recommended two hours. We dug in at the one-hour mark.