However, in my natural state I am a bit pale. I like to cheat a bit and give myself that “Oh don’t you look healthy, have you just been on holiday glow” without it looking like I was wearing anything at all. For years I swore by Bonne Bell blushing gel. It came in a wee squeezy tube and looked bright red but went on your skin a nice rosy hue. Didn’t all American girls of the 80s go through a Bonne Bell faze? They had all these funky flavoured lip glosses called Lip Smackers that came 3 to a tube. Remember that, do you? Me too. And while I had buckets full of the lippy, the blushing gel was where my heart belonged. After a while (like after I was married) you couldn’t find any Bonne Bell for love nor money. I guess all the teenage girls from the 80s grew up and went on to proper make-up from Clinique or Estee Lauder, but not me. And I have always looked for a comparable substitute. There is Benetint--that costs the same as a down payment on a small house (ok, maybe not that much, but like £21). The ingredients are oh so simple—water, rosewater, glycerine, Quaternium-15 and CARMINE. For those of you who don’t know carmine aka. cochineal it’s made from crushed up bugs. And I sure as hell wouldn’t want that on my face (or anywhere else) even if I wasn’t a vegan. But look out! Carmine/cochineal is everywhere. Where you least expect it--like grapefruit juice. If your grapefruit juice is not a natural brownish pink but rather a bright, dare I say fluorescent colour, I call carmine. Check the label and see if I’m wrong.
So for years I have looked for one to buy that didn’t contain ingredients I avoid. You probably think I spend my life reading labels. Well I do. But there are good reasons for that. Food wise, I don’t want to ingest any animal products--animals do not need to suffer and die for my plate. But there are lots of scary ingredients out there and so label reading is one of my hobbies.
Anyway, I have longed for a gel blush that would replicate those heady teenage years. I have some non coal tar make up pigments made from mica and iron oxides from a cosmetic making company just waiting to be used. I had made a cream blush by mixing pigment with a bit of unfragranced non petroleum based lotion. It was ok. A bit thick and didn’t blend well, but it was better than nothing. What I really needed was some aloe vera gel. But would you believe that EVERY tube I ever picked up was full of crazy shit like 75 ingredients including propylene glycol and every kind of paraben preservative. Some even had SLS, for Frith’s sake. Why does your aloe vera need to be foamy?
Last week I found a tube of aloe vera gel from
and Barrett that contained 6 ingredients. Everything a-ok. The only small disappointment was that it contained sodium hydroxide which is lye. Lye features in real soap but KY Jelly also contains lye and you put that up your fanny, so it can’t be all that bad. Holland
So I have made a batch of red gel in a wee pot and have been test driving it for the last 7 days. It is JUST like my old Bonne Bell and all week long people have commented on how healthy I looked--how radiant--like I’d just finished having a brisk walk by the windswept seaside or been up to married things. So, yeah. I’d say complete success.