By Holly J. Coley, The Upstate Edit
Photos: Courtesy of Holly J. Coley
Humans have faked rosy glows for centuries, beginning with the Egyptians who used ground ochre (a natural clay pigment) to redden their lips and cheeks. It’s a scientific fact that we’re more attracted to those who have flushed skin.
It’s a sign of health and vitality. During the dark ages, those of means went as far as applying leeches to their faces to draw blood to the surface! Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since then.
Cream blushes, for example, have increased in popularity. They don’t settle into fine lines the way powders do; they have a smoother finish, which creates a more natural and youthful look; and they’re water-based, so they’re more blendable and moisturizing than powders. Unfortunately, they’re also more prone to bacteria, which is why commercial brands use preservatives and thickening agents (such as PEG compounds) that can be carcinogenic. DIYing this beauty staple is a way to sideswipe these nasty ingredients, and it’s surprisingly easy.
To make a cream (or crème, because I’m fancy) blush, you’ll need a blend of shea butter, wax and a natural coloring agent. I recommend using mica powders because they’re extremely pigmented. You can also use red clays, alkanet root, or hibiscus, beet, and cacao powders. All of these items can be found at your natural-food store or ordered online. If you’re going to use a food-derived colorant, make sure it’s finely ground, or you’ll have speckles of the ingredient in your final product. I’ve learned this the hard way.
I like my crème blushes to have a dewy finish, similar to those created by Glossier. However, if you have oily skin or prefer something more matte, keep the shea butter at half a tablespoon, don’t skip the kaolin clay, and increase the wax by half a teaspoon. This recipe creates a universally flattering shade that I call “berry rose.” If you want something deeper, add more cacao. If you accidently add too much, mix in cornstarch or arrowroot, a half teaspoon at a time, to lighten. These ingredients are also natural thickeners.
Once your creation is complete, dab crème on the apples of your cheeks using your fingers in an upward motion. You’ll find the gentle pop of color instantly brightens your complexion. This recipe also doubles as a lip tint and is a fun activity to involve your little ones in. █
1 tsp. of candelilla wax
½–1 tbsp. of unrefined shea butter
1½ tsp. of pink rose mica
¼ tsp. of beet powder
¼ tsp. of cacao powder
*1 tsp. of kaolin clay (optional)
2. Remove from stove and blend in remaining ingredients.
3. When mixture becomes the consistency of cream or a gel, scoop into your container and refrigerate for 30–60 minutes before applying.