Oshun’s Beauty Secrets: Annatto Lipstick Recipe

In celebration of the 2011 festival of Oshun, I will be posting a few of the beauty “secrets” of the African diaspora.  Today’s installment is a recipe for annatto lipstick.

Annatto is a mild spice native to South America that is used often as a coloring for foods and as a clothing dye.  It is also used in traditional body paints and to heal the skin.  It has antimicrobial and healing properties that are nearly unmatched.  It has a mild saffron-like scent, but is not too hot.

Lipstick made from annatto will come out a sheer but perfect dark red-orange that looks excellent on just about anyone with a bit of red in their complexion.  Indeed, annatto is often referred to as “the lipstick plant” or “lipstick tree”.  Annatto lipstick is easy to make, but it will be messy if you’re not careful.

You will need a small saucepan, a glass jar, some cheesecloth or old cotton scrap of fabric, a funnel, a mixer or food processor, and whatever cosmetic pots you’d like to store it in.  This is a recipe for a big batch, but you can give the extra away to friends or save it to use as a body mask for summer or sports chafing.


  • 3 oz annatto seed powder, or smashed annatto seeds
  • 8 oz shea butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  1. Put everything into a saucepan, and melt on low heat just to the point that it is hot but you can still see quite a few chunks of shea butter.
  2. Whisk with a wire whisk for about 3 minutes.
  3. Cover the pot and allow it to cool to the touch.
  4. Pour the entire contents, even the sludge at the bottom, into a food processor with the plastic mixing blade.
  5. Process for about 3 minutes more.
  6. Arrange the cloth in the funnel and the funnel in/over the jar.
  7. Pour the contents in the food processor through the cheesecloth.  This may take some time and scraping.  Take your time.  Some people like to additionally pour it through a sieve first, then the cheesecloth with the funnel.
  8. Cover the jar and allow the oil to set for three days in a cool, dark place but not the refrigerator.  Under the sink is fine.
  9. On the third day, empty the jar into the food processor, this time with the whipping blade.
  10. Spoon the lipstick into whatever containers you like.

These make great gifts for anyone you know who likes natural makeup or who gets raw skin in the heat.  To use it as an ointment or body mask, just smear it on the desire area.  If you have allergies, do a patch test first though.  It is very red-orange though, and will stain your clothes.  So wear red if you have to wear clothes while it’s on.

As lipstick, it not only makes them a pretty color, but it conditions your lips.  If you have smoker lips, it helps to make them more pink again.

Because it turns things yellow or golden in small amounts, and it is so good for healing and making the skin beautiful again, it is one of the favorite plants of Oshun.  You can consecrate your annatto lipstick to make yourself more attractive while wearing it.  It is especially good if you are in sales.  People will hang on your every word.  Make some and try it out!

K. Sis. Nicole T.N. Lasher

Webmatron of Orisha.me.


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