Mineral Makeup for Women of Color
By on January 21, 2009  |  Comments 23

Mineral Makeup for Women of Color

Being a woman of color from the Caribbean, finding the correct foundation has been similar to searching for the Holy Grail…. elusive. With the different cultures swirling through my blood, my skin tone has a variety of shades with undertones of red to gold with a warm chocolate overlay. Try finding a foundation to match that! Then I heard about mineral makeup for women who wanted a natural alternative to conventional makeup without all the nasty additives. Finally, I can find a foundation, but  again I was thwarted. The same mindset carried over, no shade that didn’t make me ashy….

We live in a multi cultural society with various ethnic mixtures that have given rise to a wide color range in skin tones. This has made finding the right foundations difficult especially for women of color. Monave Mineral Cosmetics was developed to address this need, with a total of 22 shades of foundation there is a color for everyone and if there isn’t, Monave can help you customize a color, just contact their onsite makeup artist at We cater to all ethnic backgrounds, Latin, East Indian, Asian, African American, Middle Eastern  and Caucasian. Monave has a unique way of developing foundation shades by actually using a live model to create a specific shade and giving the end result the person’s name. This allows for the ongoing creation of new colors as there is an increase in the number of clients needing customized foundations.

I found my Holy Grail at Monave……Alicia, you can too!


Read More

Monave Supports Women's Entrepreneurship
By on January 19, 2009  |  Comments 1

Monave Supports Women’s Entrepreneurship

This is Deb, the founder and President of Monave,

Years ago, when I started this company, I had a young son in my life, found it nearly impossible to afford childcare from my teacher’s salary, and had trouble even finding daycare that worked with my teaching schedule and my then-husband’s busy retail hours. As I began forming my little company from one kiosk and a lab in a warehouse next door, I struggled with 12-hour days, little time with my son, and little income to show for it. But little by little, through working smart, I began to create income for my family. And little by little I began to question the feasability of running a retail establishment while trying to be a mom for my growing child.

After much thought, I decided to open an internet store. Firstly, it enabled me to work from home, instead of trekking off to a kiosk in a mall, paying for parking, and managing downtown rush hour to pick my son up at the last possible minute from his daycare. Secondly, it provided the advantage or worldwide sales, which tempered the fluctuations in sales from a brick and mortar store.  As the internet business grew, I spent less and less time at the last outpost of my retail business; a cute little store in a historic district in Baltimore, and more and more time in my growing office and warehouse facility.

What I realized, as wholesale inquries into my product line began to mount, was that the women I was meeting over the phone and through email were speaking my story. Just like me, they were trying to provide financially for their children  through jobs that were family-unfriendly in many cases, while building a their dream business during the wee hours. I began to see us as a family of women; our stories wove together concepts of abundance, women’s rights, independence, motherhood, and choice. For some of us, economic independence allowed us to depart from abusive marriages. For others, economic independence meant having pride as an income-earner in the household. For others, building a business meant having the flexibility to work around a toddler’s sleep schedule. It meant not having to panic when our children were sick and we had to take a day off. It meant showing our sons and daughters that women are powerful and have their own beautiful and thoughtful style of running a business.

So I decided to create any and every opportunity for a woman to take the opportunity that my products provided, and support her in her endeavor to be part of the millions of Americans who own and operate successful businesses. I still tear up when I read some of the emails that I’ve received from women whose businesses have become so successful, their husbands have quit their jobs to help operate it, and who have been able to buy their dream home, or put their children through college on what they’ve earned through working with Monave. I turn no one away due to lack of financing or experience. Where there is a dream, there is a possibility.

So I encourage you, whether you are a man, an entrepreneur, or someone content not to own, listen to womens’ dreams. Encourage them. These are the seeds of our society. These are the seeds of tomorrow as we learn ways to earn without creating environmental and social havoc. Women have the intuitive style and nurturing capability to transform their own lives as well as the world around them.


Deborah Bilezikian

President, Monave Mineral Makeup

Read More

Monave is an Eco Company
By on January 19, 2009  |  Comments 5

Monave is an Eco Company

That’s a bold statement. What does it really mean?

For us, it means that we care deeply about the environment and what we see going on around us everyday; Pollution, rampant chemical production, a pharmaceutical industry operating seemingly without restrictions, and a cosmetic industry that is practically unregulated. It’s scary when you really stop and think about it, but for us at Monave it’s personal.

It’s reflected in the mirror and the mirrors of all of our customers when they wake up in the morning. It’s reflected in our hair, our skin, and our eyes. It’s heard in the breaths of our children, and seen in the color of the sky overhead. It’s in the bodies of the fish of the streams and waterways near our homes. So how does that translate to how we operate at Monave?

We purchase our products from responsible supply houses. This means that we are given the opportunity to choose pthalate-free plastic jars from our jar supplier. It means that we can choose paper for our printer that is made from recycled paper goods, not newly cut trees. It means that we choose not to send paper catalogs to every person that asks, but encourage them to use our internet store whenever possible, since it does not require ink and paper to see it.

It means that every cup, bottle and plastic container goes into a specially marked blue bin to be put out twice a month for recycling. It means that excess paper and cardboard get put out as well, diligently and faithfully. It’s a policy, not an option. It means that we turn the heat down at night to conserve energy, and that lights are left off in rooms that are not in use. Energy facilities, especially coal-fired ones, are responsible for much of the mercury that has now poisoned our waterways.

It means that our pigment suppliers do not do animal testing. It doesn’t mean that they never did, since it was common 60 years ago, but any supplier that currently either engages in, or contracts out to have animal testing done, does not get our business. It means that we opt for animal-friendly ingredients, and continually strive to improve our formulas to meet those standards. It means that we absolutely do not purchase ingredients that are manufactured with toxic chemicals, such as dyes, or ingredients that are harmful to our health, such as paraben preservatives. Our ingredients are either inert (minerals),  or beneficial (cold pressed, organic coconut oil) to the human body. That’s it.

Simple, clean, and caring. It’s our world and our legacy. If we don’t protect it now, there won’t be anything left. As it is, our air, water and food is polluted. We believe that each and every person is the starting point for change, so we’re doing our part to change the way that businesses operate, one face at a time.

Read More

RSSRecent Articles

How to find gluten-free makeup by understanding ingredient names

If you are like me, and have found out you’re a celiac, you have probably felt the beginnings of fear and suspicion from your diagnosis. You’ve gone through the rigor of finding out which food products to avoid, then, you realized that the products you’re putting on your skin might have gluten as well. And you’re worried. Because you don’t understand the ingredients on the labels of your cosmetics. So, you started another chain of research to determine which makeup is considered gluten free and safe for celiacs.

What makes this particularly difficult is the use of INCI and scientific names in the cosmetics industry. There is nothing inherently wrong with using INCI names, and is in fact, required in countries that have regulations surrounding cosmetic ingredients, such as in the EU, Japan, Australia, Canada, or New Zealand. However, unless you take the time to look up the INCI names, you won’t be able to identify the ingredients in question.

What is an INCI name? ” An INCI name is a systematic name coined by the International Nomenclature Committee to describe a cosmetic ingredient “. These names are typically based on a scientific profile of the ingredient, and often use Latin derivatives.

For example, the word ” wheat “, is listed as ” triticum vulgare “. So, wheat germ oil, which is a very common source for vitamin E in natural cosmetics, is listed as triticum vulgare bran extract. So, you wouldn’t know that’s wheat germ oil, or that it contain gluten, by reading a label.

Another common INCI name for an ingredient that contains gluten in makeup and skincare is, ” Avena Sativa “, which is for oats.

Another set of ingredients with hidden gluten, using scientific names is cyclodextrin, and dextrin. Cyclodextrin is derived from starches, wheat being a common source. It’s basically a form of sugar and is used for a variety of functions in cosmetics; masking odor, creating water soluble ingredients, and creating more stability in certain ingredients.

And a final one to be aware of is anything with the word ‘malt’ in the string of ingredients. Malt comes from barley, which you probably already know as an ingredient to avoid.

There are others, but I hope this list will provide you with a starting point for examining your labels. As always, we recommend reading the website of any company whose products you wish to buy or already have. If there is a clear statement about gluten, then you have a starting point for finding out which products are suitable for you as a celiac or gluten-intolerant customer. If not, you can safely assume that the company has not dedicated time and energy into researching this issue.

Deborah Bilezikian

Simple Custom Blending -- Part Two: How to Customize a Mineral Foundation

Simple Custom Blending — Part Two: How to Customize a Mineral Foundation

Custom Blending with Monave Loose Mineral Foundation

Custom Blending with Monave Loose Mineral Foundation

Customizing  mineral foundation to your client’s skin tone can feel overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. So, we have come up with some easy steps to follow when making a custom formulation. You will start by using pre-made bulk mineral makeup that can be easily hand blended together. It is important to note that when you utilize our full line of loose mineral foundation shades, you should find a match to your customer’s skin tone about 90% of the time without much custom blending necessary.

Step One is identifying your customer’s undertone so that you can begin accurately adjusting a shade to their complexion. Defining the undertone of your client will help you to determine the loose mineral foundation shade you will be using as your base. The standard undertones that are easy to go by are

  • Pink or Red
  • Yellow
  • Neutral
  • Olive

Step Two- Once you have determined the foundation that best matches your customer’s complexion, you can use another scoopssimilar loose mineral foundation shade or a Foundation Luster-Adjuster to tweak  the color until it is 100% accurate to your customer’s natural skin color. The luster-adjusters are a product that can be added to your foundations to make them more pink, yellow, blue/olive, or to lighten /darken them, without changing the texture or coverage of the finished product. To neutralize a foundation shade, try using our new product Toni/Beverly Adjuster for darker complexions or Ultra-matte #110 Tierra Light for light to medium complexions.

Step Three- You will want to start by blending a 3:1 ratio of your Foundation Base (3 parts) and adjusting color (1 part) in a separate container. Using a small scoop or a teaspoon, measure out 3 scoops of your foundation base and 1 scoop of your adjusting color. Hand blend this together until uniformed and apply the test batch to a section of your customer’s face. You can always add more of your adjusting shade to the mixture if needed. Continue to blend and adjust your shade until it is a solid match for your customer. Always be sure to keep track of your formula as you work!

Applying a Custom Blend of Charlene Foundation & Dark Adjuster

Applying a Custom Blend of Charlene Foundation & Dark Adjuster


Simple Custom Blending - Part One: Making a Summertime Foundation

Simple Custom Blending – Part One: Making a Summertime Foundation

Light, Medium, and Dark monave mineral makeup powdered foundation

Custom Blending Monave Mineral Loose foundations

Creating a custom mineral makeup line, or a custom foundation shade for your client can be easy to do when using pre-blended bulk cosmetics. Monave loose bulk mineral makeup shades are versatile and can easily be blended together by hand to create unique variations of color.

Foundation in particular is most often the product that customers are looking to adjust or customize to their skin tone. In the summer time,  many of us get a deeper, more tan tone to our skin, depending upon how much sun we are exposed to. Here are some general tips that you can follow on how to make a foundation shade darker for the warmer, sunnier seasons.

How to darken and adjust a Foundation shade for the Summer:

First, start with your customer’s “winter” foundation shade as the base of your creation. Following the color chart below, select the darker foundation shade you will use to adjust your base. If your customer gets significantly tan with the change of the seasons, you can start with a 50:50 ratio (equal parts) for blending the two shades together. Always be sure to keep track of the amounts and different colors that you blend together during this process! To create enough to fill about one full sized foundation jar, you can use a table spoon to measure you components. A foundation jar holds about 3 1/2 table spoons, so this measurement will leave you with a little extra that you can keep on hand as your control if needed. Using a spatula, mix the two foundations together in by hand. After blending equal parts of the 2 foundation shades, try the product on your customer’s skin to see if it is a match. If it is not quite right, continue to lighten or darken your formula accordingly until the foundation matches flawlessly. Note: this blending process is fairly quick and shouldn’t take too much time. Have Fun!

Loose Mineral Foundation Blending Chart for Summertime Foundations:

Blend your “Winter” shade on the left — with–  the appropriate Darker Adjusting Shade.How to Blend a Summertime Foundation

  • Ashlie — with — Amy
  • Paula — with — Teporah
  • Claire — with — Sandra
  • Amy — with — Tan Girl
  • Caroline — with — Teporah
  • Teporah — with — Canela
  • Tan Girl — with — Andrea
  • Canela — with — Andrea
  • Andrea — with — Brandy
  • Beverly — with — Sharon
  • Brandy — with — Brenda
  • Keaira — with — Brenda
  • Charlene — with — Joi
Monave organic lip glosses

Pigments for Hand Crafting Mineral Lipstick & Gloss – A Few Quick Tips on Getting Started

Monave organic lip glosses

Even if you are a beginner at hand crafting lip products, it isn’t too difficult to learn how to do when using pre-made aspects to create your final product.

To simplify your over all process, you will want to begin by choosing a pre-made uncolored lip base. This is the main body of your product, you just haven’t added the color to it yet!

The second step is choosing which bulk minerals and mica pigments you would like to use as a lip color. Our versatile mineral powders are easy to use for this because, unlike the raw mineral pigments, this product has already been pre-blended and as a result offers a much wider range of color to choose from.

Some types of pigments are not safe for use on the lips, though, so how do you know which colors in the Monave versatile powders line are OK to use in gloss and lipsticks?

By FDA regulation, colors containing blue pigments, such as ultramarine blue, are not allowed in lip products, so I would stay away from the blue and green versatile powders if you are selling your products in the US. The European regulations, however, do not have arbitrary rules against blue pigments in lip products, so if you plan on selling in Europe, you can distibute all of the cool-blue hews that your heart desires!

Colors that contain ferric ferrocyanide are also unsafe for use in lip products. The versatile mineral powders that contain this ingredient and should not be used in making lip products are as follows:

#21, 22, 23, 63, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 3

After deciding on the powders to use for your creations comes the fun part: putting your finished product together. Whether you are making a gloss or lipstick, preparing your final mixture to be packaged into tubes is  pretty much the same. Melt your uncolored lip base  and carefully stir in your pigment to add a gorgeous depth of color. For those who want to get small amounts of materials to begin learning how to hand craft your own mineral lip gloss, we offer helpful kits to get you started.

Please feel free to contact us if you still aren’t sure if the pigments you have chosen from our site are lip safe.


New Organic Soy-Free Cream & Lipstick Formulations

New Organic Soy-Free Cream & Lipstick Formulations

The soy debate has been making its way into our dialogs with our customers for the last few years. While it’s a controversial subject, with evidence pointing in a few different directions, we have finally decided to remove soy from our formulas. The main issue is that most soy is GMO. Hormone disruption aside, even organically grown soy is probably GMO because genetic is so prevalent in the U.S.

Organic, soy-free, cream mineral makeup foundation.

Organic, soy-free, cream mineral makeup foundation.

In addition to removing soy, we have improved upon our lipstick base by adding more moisture and a beautiful glossy sheen. Our prior lipstick formula was a little on the dry side, so we think you will love the richness and slip of the new formula which contains loads of nourishing organic oils.

Our intensive emollient/cream foundation base has the same rich, moisturizing feel with any hydrogenated soy. Heaps of organic avocado and a touch of organic shea butter work to keep your skin soft, and touchable. A state of the art green preservative ensures freshness.

For more information, and ingredients, please visit our Lipstick and Cream Pages.


Monave Makeup featured in Holiday Gift Guide!

Nuts and Stuff blog has featured Monave for a holiday giveaway and review of our seasonal shades. To read about Mary’s experience of our rich Fall and Winter shades, visit the Holiday Shopping Guide, and enter to win!DSC02456

Full Coverge Tutorial for Acne-Prone Skin

If you’ve ever thought that a loose powder mineral makeup foundation cannot cover up your blemishes, think again. Green blogger Amerie shows the great coverage you can get with the right mineral foundation.

At Monave, our specialty is full coverage makeup with healthy ingredients. We understand that the toxic world we live in creates imbalance in our bodies. This is often reflected by skin that we are ashamed to show to the world, yet we don’t want to cover it with more junk that will only make our acne worse.

Try your own personal shade of Monave’s vegan mineral foundation, and experience these amazing results for yourself without breaking your bank!

Natural Home Remedies for Whiter Teeth

Natural Home Remedies for Whiter Teeth

Recently, my dentist told me that I shouldn’t use commercial tooth whitening kits from the drugstore. I was worried because I am a coffee drinker, and a performer, and image matters. Nowadays, fans snap photos with their phones and post them on Facebook before you can blink an eye, and having yellow teeth in a photo with a fan can be somewhat embarrassing.

Healthy, white teeth

Healthy, white teeth

Shortly thereafter, I stumbled upon information about using turmeric as a natural tooth whitener. I also had been reading about coconut oil being used in what is called the “oil-pulling method”. This is when you literally ( I know, it sounds gross, and trust me, it tastes gross too) keep oil in your mouth for 20 minutes or so, as it pulls out bacteria from your gums.

Ever the doubter, I tried first the oil-pulling method because I had some tooth pain and no appointment in site to get work done at the dentist. I didn’t have any coconut oil, so I used olive oil. I held the oil in my mouth for as long as possible. The pain was totally gone afterward. I was pleasantly surprised, although it made sense, since I have been cleaning my skin with oils for years.  So, I tried it again a few weeks later, and it worked a second time. Thankfully, that tooth has since been worked on, but that was a lifesaver instead of popping Ibuprofen every day.

The turmeric is oddly effective as well. Turmeric has been used as an anti-inflammatory, healing element in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. As we all know, it stains everything it touches yellow. But not your teeth. I had trouble using it, however, because there was no ‘gumming’ agent or gel to help it adhere to my teeth.

So, my newest invention is a mixture of coconut oil, baking soda, and turmeric. I mix these elements together, then fill a tooth guard, and leave it sitting on my teeth for about 10 minutes. Then I brush. This promotes shiny, white teeth without the use of peroxide or chemicals.

So, if you’re not afraid to try new things, are not worried about taste, and want to use natural ingredients to stay healthy and beautiful, give it a shot! Let me know how it works for you by posting results on our Facebook page. (Monave Friends), or via email if you don’t use Facebook.

I hope this was helpful!


Helpful links:

What’s Wrong with Soy?

 While Monave is primarily a gluten -free, animal cruelty-free mineral makeup company that focuses on a palette to match all shades of women, we field questions from folks who are sensitive to other ingredients. One of the questions we have been fielding more and more often is if we carry soy-free makeup.

 Before we share links for our soy-free products, lets first go over some of the controversy surrounding soy. Many of our customers are either vegetarian, or low-meat eaters. But just like, as women, we were told that eating a lot of salmon and tuna was beneficial, when in fact, it can mercury poisoning, every suggestion we received needs to be taken with a grain of salt. In general, we can assume that these industries would rather we not know why we should avoid their products.

Soy falls into this unfortunate category of having been pushed as a “healthy superfood”, when in fact it is quite the opposite. I was very surprised, and felt a little behind the eight-ball while doing research for this article, so you are not alone if this information comes with a little shock.

 There are much longer articles than this one on this issue, so I have provided links as well as books that you can review at the bottom of the article if you would like to read the information more in detail.

 P>In a nutshell, the only form in which soy is healthy is if it is fermented. Some fermented products are miso, tempeh, and soy sauce. Fermentation rids the finished product of some of the toxins listed below.

  • Thanks to Monsanto, soy is GMO modified, and also sprayed heavily with pesticides. It depletes soil health, is responsible for much of the deforestation of the rain forest, and in general, is not helping our farmlands prosper.
  • High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc , all extremely important to women as we age.
  • Soy can actually decrease the body’s absorption of B12. This is especially an issue for vegans, who generally do not receive enough B12 in their diet.
  • Regular consumption of soy can decrease Vitamin D content in your body.
  • Soy phytoestrogens are powerful antithyroid agents that can cause thyroid problems, an especially agregious health issue for many women.
  • Soy estrogens, (isoflavones) which are basically hormones, can contribute to infertillity, and can increase the possibility of developiong breast cancer. In men it can lead to decreased testosterone.
  • Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which we know is not healthy, espcially for brain functioning.

These are just some of the highlights. If this news comes as somewhat of a surprise to you, please take the time to do some research, as your family’s health depends upon it. If you assume your soy consumption is little to none because you don’t often eat tofu, and do not drink soy milk, you may not know how many foods contain hidden soy, such as hamburgers, your pet’s food, breads etc.


Now, to the makeup!

We do not exclusively feature soy free products, but we have very few products that contain soy in any great quantity. An example is our vitamin E. We source it from two different places, soy, and rice, to avoid gluten. For a pound of product, there may only be ten drops of Vitamin E, so unless you are allergic to soy, this would not be of concern.

What follows is a list the of the products that contain soy and you can estimate the percentage by where the ingredient falls in the formula on our Ingredients Profile.


 Intensive Emollient

 Vegan Rose Daily (low)

 Shea Butter Lotion (low)

 Cocoa Butter Lotion (low)


 Potted Gloss (low)

 Liquid Gloss (low)

 Cream Foundations

 Vegan Moisture Mousse Foundation (low)

All of Monave blushes, loose mineral foundations, concealer foundations, bronzers, setting powders, illuminizers, eyeliners, versatile powders, ultra mattes, cream to powders, are and will remain soy-free. If you have other allergies, such as nut allergies, do not hesitate to contact us and we will help cross check our ingredients for you.





Alluring New Lip Colors for Fall!

Alluring New Lip Colors for Fall!

I am incredibly excited about our new Monave lip colors this fall, so naturally, I need to fill everyone in on the scoop! I would like to start off by saying, for all of you ladies out there who tend to shy away from fall lips because you are worried they may be too dark or perhaps you don’t always want to wear a deep plum/brown, do not be afraid to try these new shades! They are so easy to wear (even for the fair complected) and look great on everyone. The colors are on the warmer sultry side of the spectrum and delicately catch the light to reveal soft hues that leave you with a brightened, but natural look. They can be found in our “New Shades” retail and wholesale sections respectively.

Here is the brake down for yah!

blog #14 best pic

This gloss has become my personal favorite! It is one of those tones that you can wear everyday and never go wrong with. While it is on the warmer side in the gloss, it can be worn with cooler toned shadows (like purples and smokey greens). Hydrangea has a soft pinkish brown base with copper highlights. In the lipstick, this shade transforms into a nude and has a matte finish, perfect for women who want a natural looking lip for fall.

blog pic gold glaze

You may have noticed this color previously in the Liquid Gloss, or Lipstick for sale in our line, but in the Glaze it is completely revamped. Gold Brick Glaze is bright and reflective (just as any gold should be!), but not at all over bearing. It has a subtle shine of color that leaves your lips looking honey dipped and luscious.


blog pic copperCopper is a truly a magnificent color that can be worn by light-medium to dark skin tones. It has a deep butterscotch base with light coppery sparkles that play off of the warm tones in your hair and skin. It can be paired with #53 Cocoa Versatile Shadow on darker skin tones to create a warm Autumn look, or with #38 Aztec Clay Versatile Shadow for lighter skin tones. In the lipstick, this color becomes more sheer and is great for partnering with a lip glaze. This shade is sure to brighten up anyone’s day!

blog pic cinnamonThis sexy cinnamon shade could be all that you need to complete your collection. Unlike anything else we have available, this color combines rich hews of brown, red, copper and bronze. Similar to the Hydrangea, it has a subtle pearlescence that is a semi-matte in the gloss, and matte in the lipstick.


Pink Quartz #174 Lip Glaze

Pink Quartz #174 Lip Glaze

Last but not least for our new lip colors is Pink Quartz Lip Glaze. In the light, this pale pink reveals everything. A beautiful pop of red pearlescence shows this shade for what it really is. This soft sheer color can be worn by the fairest of skin tones as well as the darkest and is great for wearing with a plum shadow on the eyes.