Lip stains are perfect for giving your lips sheer, natural color. Carmine and alkanet root are popular natural pigments. Carmine is a red pigment derived from dried female cochineal insects. Alkanet root also is red and comes from a Mediterranean tree. I prefer using beets and beetroot powder because they’re easier to find and they’re a better buy. Beetroot powder is a lovely purple-red color that is perfect for lip glosses. It has a sweet taste and often is used in place of sugar in cooking. All of the recipes listed here may be colored with beet juice or beetroot powder; you can experiment with the amounts to achieve different shades. If you are lucky enough to have fresh beets, you easily can make your own juice by blending or mashing the root and stem and straining out any solids. MAKES 1 OUNCE
• 2 tablespoons almond oil
• 1 tablespoon grated beeswax
• 1/8 to 1 teaspoon beet juice or beetroot powder
1. Mix together oil and wax and heat gently to melt wax, either in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes or on the stove top using a double boiler or water bath.
2. Add the beet juice or powder and stir mixture well. Do not worry if the mixture seems to separate; it will stay together when cool. As the mixture cools, you may add more juice or powder until you have the shade of color you desire, from pink to red.
3. To use: Place in a clean container and apply to your lips with a clean finger or lip brush.
Note: You also may add the beet juice to the oil before melting the wax and then heat the mixture together — it won’t separate as much. The results are the same when cool.