Handmade Style, Part One: Handmade Beauty

As much as I am addicted to all things beauty-related, I now have a new addiction: Etsy. For those of you unfamiliar with Etsy, it's a website where people can sell their handmade items online. It operates a bit like eBay, but instead of customers trying to outbid each other for an item, they buy it outright for the retail price that the seller sets. Etsy has only been operating for three years but it has already garnered a worldwide following of crafters and customers alike. There are a wide variety of handmade goods on Etsy. Among other things, one can find ceramics, woodwork, knitted goods, clothing, jewelry, handbags, toys, ipod cozies, cell phone covers, and probably a million other things – including beauty items. Here is a rundown of some of my recent purchases.

Lollibomb: Lollibomb lives in New Jersey, where she creates her line of bath and body products. She also has a line of mineral makeup. I bought her Whipped Body Frosting ($9.50) in Birthday Cake. It comes in a generous 8-ounce tub, and the fragrance certainly lives up to its name. And Lollibomb's products are vegan. If her tempting fragrances and formulas don't grab you, her punk-rock-inspired packaging will.

Savor: Having tried Savor's soaps, I will never buy commercial soap again. Most commercial soaps take out the glycerin, a natural by-product of the saponification process, and replace it with chemicals. Savor's soap base is an all-natural vegetable soap. It creates a luxurious lather and doesn't dry out the skin. Her soap concotions are imaginative, like Smores ($4.50), or Raspberry Walnut Panna Cotta ($5.00). And her soaps are as beautiful to look at as they are to use – no standard bars of soap cut from a large loaf for Savor. My favorite soap is Sex Appeal (pictured here), an unusual but very successful combination of strawberry and roses.

Kisse Girl: Kisse Girl is one smart cookie. She realized that there was a place on Etsy for bath and body products for young girls. Her line is marketed to girls aged 8 and up. Since age, uh, over-thirty (and that's all I'm sayin') is included in that age bracket, I had no qualms about ordering the Skin Dessert ($5.50), a half-gel, half-cream body moisturizer. It reminds me of that line of children's bath and body products that Bath and Body Works used to make. Skin Dessert comes in three "flavors": banana, wild berry, and lemon berry, and contains glitter, so your kids – or you – will sparkle. Kisse Girl also makes shower gels, body splashes, and lip balms. Her products will make kids want to take a bath, and you know, it's never too early to cultivate girls' interest in bath and beauty items!

Anderson Soap Company: Dennis Anderson is one of Etsy's success stories. His soaps, solid perfumes, shower gels and lip balms have sold so well that he was able to quit his day job and now does Etsy full time. His whipped Soap in a Jar ($7.50) is a luscious concoction of soft soap that comes in a variety of yummy fragrances, including cotton candy, mango madness, lemon meringue, chocolate drizzle, and Plum Clafouti (!).

When I buy these handmade items, I know I am supporting independent crafters who often don't have the means to open their own shops or to sell their items to other shops. And what I get in return are truly unique items that I can't find anywhere else, often at very reasonable prices. If you'd like to take the handmade pledge to buy handmade items, particularly during the holiday season, go here. Support independent crafters! You'll be glad you did.

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