Beauty Experiment: I Tried Making Makeup With Beets

A powder blush, a stain, and a lip balm: I found out pretty quickly which DIY project turns out best.
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Caroline
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A powder blush, a stain, and a lip balm: I found out pretty quickly which DIY project turns out best.

If you’ve ever eaten a beet and you’re clumsy like me, your clothes and tablecloth have been reminding you ever since.

Red beets spill blood-like juice when first cut, though the juice will eventually dry to a slightly more purple hue. The staining power of beets is surpassed only by red wine.

Beets in my garden.

Beets in my garden.

Here in Maryland, it’s almost beet season. So, get out your pots and pans. We're going to get messy.

ATTEMPT 1: BEET ROOT AS BLUSH

Let’s start out slow. This first attempt involves beet root powder but no actual cooking. You can find it in the supplement section of a health food or vitamin store. At my local co-op, it’s available in bulk with the other spices.

To use beet root powder as blush, just brush the powder on your face as you normally would. Carefully tap the brush first to remove excess powder. This is especially important, as the powder has a larger grain than most commercial makeup. It should go on similarly to your regular blush. Cranberry and strawberry powder can both be substituted for a slight variation in color.

My go-to bug-eyed pose.

My go-to bug-eyed pose.

The verdict: Nope. I tried substituting the beet powder for my regular makeup several days in a row. The powder didn’t stick well, even when applied immediately after moisturizer. It felt grainy going on my face and fell off all over the bathroom sink. When you cook beets, at least you get something to eat out of the mess.

ATTEMPT 2: CHEEK & LIP STAIN

Here comes the cooking!

Beets look kinda hairy.

Beets look kinda hairy.

Take a beet (or two or three, depending on how many people you plan to feed). Peel and slice the beets into half-inch size chunks. Toss them in a pot, and add water until the tops of the beets are just covered.

Boil, then simmer for about fifteen minutes (more if you have time). Remove the beets and let the liquid continue to simmer until it has reduced to about half its original volume.

(If you want to eat the beets, toss them in a glass pan and add olive oil and a quarter cup of water. Cover the pan with foil. Cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until tender. Cool, and serve.)

Strain the liquid to remove any errant beet bits. Your kitchen now looks vaguely like a crime scene, but the messy part is over. Set the liquid aside for twenty minutes, or until cooled. This is a good time to remove the “evidence.”

WHAT HAVE I DONE?!

WHAT HAVE I DONE?!

When the juice is cooled, dip your fingers straight into the pot (or use a lip brush if you don’t want to look like you just placed your hand in beet water). Dab the liquid on your lips and swipe it across your cheeks--exactly where you would normally apply lipstick and/or blush.

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I colored in my tattoo so you can see the change in skin color somewhere other than my face.

Dramatic, right? The juice dries quickly and doesn’t feel sticky. It also washes off easily; the red tint stayed on my arm until I showered before bed but came off immediately with soap and water. I think it looks natural on my face and lips.

For the photos, I added a second coat for a slightly bolder look.

Before.

Before.

After.

After.

The verdict: Yes! Bonus points: If you’re clumsy like me, dab at your face with a washcloth to remove any stray red blotches from errant beet juice drops.

ATTEMPT 3: TINTED LIP BALM

The most complicated of the three, this should only be attempted by an expert in the kitchen.

Melt a couple of tablespoons of shea butter on the stove or in the microwave. When the shea butter is liquid, stir in beet juice until the mixture achieves the desired consistency. Pour into a dish and refrigerate until solid.

Next, you’ll want to put the lip balm into a container. I emptied a lipstick tube.

The verdict: Eh. Shea butter and beet juice don’t mix very well, although the juice will stain the rest of the mixture. The I’ve learned my lesson and will use beeswax next time. Beeswax has a higher melting point and might keep the whole mixture more solid.

I’ll definitely be using the lip and cheek stain again. I’ve heard you can add a splash of vodka to preserve the juice, but so far, I’ve just been keeping it in the fridge.

Will you try any of these? I’m going to attempt making tinted lip balm again as soon as the beeswax I’ve ordered arrives. Do you have any other suggestions? I’m game for putting more weird stuff on my face.