There was a period of my life when I would cover my body in gray paint and dress up as characters from a web comic.
That period is now, thankfully, over. At least for that particular web comic, that is. (Photo taken by Troy Antoine LaFae.)
The problem with this costume in particular is that it necessitated green lipstick, which was nearly impossible for me to find in the correct shade. I wound up using dollar-store eyeshadow instead, which my other gray friends rightfully balked at because of its heavy metal content.
Vowing never to do that again, I took to Tumblr one extremely boring afternoon and found a seemingly godsent post: A young woman, after reading about the lead levels found in regular lipsticks, decided to try out an tutorial on making your own lipstick, of any color, with Crayola crayons.
Being the cheap soul constantly filled with DIY fervor that I am, I immediately ran to CVS and came back home with a 64 pack of crayons, the cheapest lip balm the drug store had to offer, and a mission: to make as many wildly work-inappropriate lipstick shades as humanly possible.
The concept is simple enough. The lipstick that a person can commonly find in the cosmetics aisle is made up of wax, pigment, moisturizers and preservatives. Crayola crayons already have the wax and pigment, so melting and mixing them with oils of your choice yields very similar results.
There’s also the belief that, as Crayola crayons are made for drooling toddlers that eat anything within reach of their chubby little hands, crayon lipstick is both safe to use, and safer than its formal lipstick counterparts.
I’ll talk about that in more detail further along in the article, but for now: LET’S MAKE CRAYON LIPSTICK!
STEP 1: PROCURE YOUR INGREDIENTS
I like my lipsticks to be saturated and matte, so I tinkered with the original recipe slightly and came up with the ratios that work best for what I like:
- 1 whole crayon
- slightly less than one teaspoon of olive (or any other type of) oil
- a few drops of food-grade essential oils to make it smell like something, anything, other than a crayon.
You can also make a gloss by adding a whole crayon to a tablespoon of the oil of your choice, or a tinted chapstick with half a crayon, a half-teaspoon of oil and half-teaspoon of shea butter.
Being able to go from subtle to saturated is my favorite thing about the tinted lip balm.
Make sure that you’re using Crayola brand crayons, specifically. Crayola crayons arerigorously tested to ensure their quality and safety, and conform to federal regulations that their products be tested by third-party toxicologists to ensure that they won’t cause harm for its intended use. They also regularly test below the threshold for federal regulations for toxin content, which is why, for this project, they’re who you should go with. Their quality is well-tested and well-vetted, and has been for decades.
STEP 2: READY YOUR DOUBLE BOILER
You don’t want to just drop your crayons and oil into a pot that’s directly over the flame, because it will char and generally be a terrible mess to deal with. The solution to this is using a double boiler.
If you don’t have a double boiler, putting a stainless steel bowl over a pot of boiling water works just as well.
STEP 3: UNWRAP YOUR CRAYON
This took me like 20 minutes for some reason.
STEP 4: COMBINE THE INGREDIENTS
Mix them with a spoon to make sure that everything’s blended to perfect, jewel-toned perfection.
STEP 5: PREPARE YOUR LIP BALM TUBE AND POUR IN THE LIPSTICK
You can buy empty lip balm tubes online in bulk, but because I wanted to make the lipstick RIGHT THEN, I just bought really cheap lip balm and emptied the tube myself.
You will inevitably pour the lipstick all over the stove when attempting this. It’s ok, we’re only human.
After that, refrigerate the tube for 15 minutes, and voila! You now have your very own, custom-made lipstick!
While this is an extremely fun and somewhat (read: extremely) addictive project to partake in, there are pros, cons and cautions that come with this approach to cosmetics. Let’s start with the positive.
THE COLORS, DUKE! THE COLORS!
The nice thing about this method is the pure breadth of colors that you have to choose from, and at $7.99 for a pack of 96 crayons, it’s considerably cheaper than even one tube from other funky-colored lipstick manufactures.
Normal lipstick tends to leave my lips feeling like the Sahara, but I haven’t had this problem with homemade crayon lipstick. The olive oil really moisturizes my lips, and they actually feel softer after I remove it.
There are, however, a few cons as well:
One thing that I’ve found kind of hit-or-miss is the saturation of some of the colors. Let’s compare the Turquoise Blue to Purple Mountains’ Majesty, for instance:
Some of the colors turn out much more saturated and bold lipsticks than others, which can be a bit disappointing when you’re really looking forward to wearing lavender lipstick.
FINDING MATCHING LIPLINER IS DAMN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE
If you guys know where to find green or blue lip liner, please let a sista know.
THE LAST CON IS ALSO THE MOST IMPORTANT
Everyday wear, while it won’t harm you, probably isn’t a good idea.
I made some calls to the U.S Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Product Safety Commission to compare their standards for toxin content for both cosmetics (regulated by the FDA) and crayons (regulated by the CPSC), as well as doing research on both of their websites. The original video-maker’s concern about the presence of lead in lipstick wasn’t a bad one, but it’s also not particularly escapable; the FDA’s threshold for lead in lipstick is 20 parts per million, which means that there is likely to be lead in most lipsticks that you can buy.
That said, the Consumer Products Safety Commission thoroughly regulates all children’s products–of which Crayola crayons are included-–to ensure that they won’t harm the children that inevitably eat the products. They ran tests under the assumption that a child would eat about one large crayon (or, in our case, about three lipsticks) a month, and determined that putting the cap on lead content at 100 parts per million was safe enough that a child wouldn’t endanger themselves while eating crayons.
What I deduced is this: 100 parts per million of lead in an entire large crayon, while not great for you if you were to eat three lipsticks at once, will not lastingly harm you as an adult. Crayola crayons also have much lower lead levels in their product than the 100 parts per million threshold.
However, as it’s still higher than the FDA regulations for commercial lipstick, I still recommend that it not be worn on a daily basis. For costumes, or one or two nights a month of wild, blue lipped parties, though? Go wild!
Does this sound like something you’d try out? What kinds of weird lipstick colors would you wear?