The Alchemy of Grooming: Go green with your makeup with DIY cosmetics

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Are you the crafty, 4-H blue ribbon-winning type? Have confidence that your cooking and cocktail-making skills can translate into whipping up an organic skin care tonic? Or do you simply crave beauty products that aren’t crazy expensive or carcinogenic?

Then you might want to check out the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of not-for-profit health and environmental groups launched in 2004 with the goal of protecting the health of consumers and workers by working to to eliminate dangerous chemicals from cosmetics and personal care products.

Last weekend the campaign partnered with the Santa Monica Museum of Art at Bergamot Station to conduct a hands-on workshop called ‘Cause for Creativity: The Alchemy of Grooming,’ where attendees learned to make “green” cosmetic and grooming products.

In addition to cooking up (quite literally as there were double–boilers, measuring cups and funnels in the mix) deliciously fragrant lavender skin tonic and lemongrass healing ointment, attendees also watched a video by Annie Leonard called “The Story of Cosmetics: The Ugly Truth of ‘Toxics In, Toxics Out.’” It’s a pretty potent overview about what can be in commercial makeup, shampoo and skin care products and it’s posted on the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website where those so inclined can find instructions on how to host a Safe Cosmetics Party of their own. Not a bad idea: I have to say, the whole afternoon was a lot more fun in the company of the friend who invited me rather than trying to stock my own personal organic apothecary solo.


Recipes to make your own lavender skin tonic, cucumber eye gel and a myriad of other beauty products including beet red lip gloss made with actual beet juice are in the Get Crafty section of the Campaign’s website. Here’s the recipe they post for an uplifting grapefruit sugar scrub - yum! Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups white table sugar
8 drops grapefruit essential oil
1/4 cup jojoba oil
1/4 cup liquid castile soap
Place sugar in a large bowl and stir to break up any clumps. Add the essential oil. Add the jojoba oil and castile soap next, a little at a time, stirring after each addition. Mix well and pour into clean container. To use, stand in the tub or shower and massage the sugar scrub onto your skin from head to toe. Rinse.

-- Alene Dawson