All Natural, Vegan Lip Balms


As the maker at Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez, I pride myself on a number of key attributes at the heart of our range and believe that our products should always be:

  • all natural - that is, made from natural ingredients such as plant-based oils (I choose not to use synthetic ingredients and I never use petroleum based ingredients of course!)
  • vegan - no goat's milk, honey, beeswax or other animal ingredients, and not tested on animals (neither the ingredients or the final product)
  • ethical - this is a broad one but, as an example, I don't use palm oil (if Greenpeace isn't satisfied the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is working, then I prefer to avoid using palm oil)
  • hand-crafted - that is, I research and develop each one of our products from scratch and I don't use pre-made mixes. It makes my progress slow, but I know what goes into each product and in what proportions.  It is what makes our products unique
  • South Australian - that's right, made right here in sunny Adelaide
  • beautiful - using products with the above attributes can be one of those small pleasures of life. Knowing you have a product which is made from natural ingredients, which is good for your skin and on top of that is packaged beautifully is a small treat.

This leads me to announce, with great pleasure, the release of our range of all natural, vegan lip balms! Some time in the making, I can now show you what they look like, the flavours (natural and organic flavours!) and, as you can see, the wonderful packaging!

I have been working closely with Karena from Magic Jelly, a local artist illustrator and friend of 32 years (!), on the labels for the range of lip balms.  Karena's talent for creating beautiful, nostalgic and original designs has, since the beginning of Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez, been the guiding light for our brand. With this range of lip balms, Karena has done it again and created the exact feel I wanted and more - a swoonworthy mix of old world charm and smart modernity. And look at those colours!  Thank you, again, Karena!

So, the lip balms come in 8 flavours which I have carefully blended to give you a unique and appealing experience:

  • Raspberry Royale - black raspberry and violet
  • Caramelised Fig - fig and caramel
  • French Pear - pear and vanilla
  • Candied Violets - violet and vanilla
  • Persian Rose - rose and pomegranate
  • Raspberry Mousse - black raspberry and white chocolate
  • Jersey Caramel - caramel and cream
  • Rose Creme - rose and white chocolate

Each lip balm is made from a luscious blend of oils and butters including cocoa butter, apricot kernel oil, coconut oil, raspberry seed oil (which offers some sun protection) and jojoba. They are lightly sweetened with a natural, plant-based sweetener and flavoured with a hand-mixed blend of natural, organic flavours. You will be hard pressed to find a more natural lip balm on the market!

I will have the lip balms listed in the shop over the next week or so. Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez will also be at the Pure Veg Food and Wine Fair on Saturday, 12 September and the Playhouse Lane Market on Saturday, 19 September.  The lip balms are available for $8.50.

Smooth as Velvet

Velvet Cream soap

This all-natural, vegan soap, made without palm oil, is as mellow as a balloon of brandy.  With the chocolate/vanilla/almond-like scent of tolu balsam, and its creamy, rich lather, it's a luxury worthy of any lounge lizard, cove, vamp or sophisticate.  Velvet Cream is made with a blend of rich oils including olive oil, olive pomace, cocoa butter and mango butter.  Available now through the Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez store.


Heady and exotic

I love making perfume, it's something that brings me a lot of peace.  I experiment as much as I can with the natural essential oils that I have and every now and then I come across a blend which I think is successful.

Of course, it is all subjective, what is strange and compelling to me might be repellant to another, but I don't mind that.

When I put together the Nightshade blend, I knew instantly that this was one of the successful ones.  It smoothly combined a number of elements, elevated the scents I wanted to feature and produced an evocative perfume that I'm proud to have made.

Not for everyone, Nightshade is heady.  It's a late summer's night in Acapulco, a midnight tryst in a winter hothouse or it's the lingering memory of the first time you saw your love.  Nightshade is blended to highlight that most beautiful and exotic of scents, tuberose, with a supporting caste of cocoa and black pepper.  

Nightshade takes its place with One Fine Summer and Sleepy Lagoon in the current range of Shanghai Lil & The Scarlet Fez's all-natural, vegan eau de parfums.  


Velvet Cream - a new soap

I haven't made a new variety of soap for a while.   I've been busy just restocking some 'old' favourites after the Christmas rush.   So, yesterday, I whipped up a log of Velvet Cream.   This soap is made up of the usual olive oil and olive pomace - a great base for soap because it is super mild and gentle.   Added to this is a generous amount of cocoa butter and mango butter.   This will give the soap its creamy, luxurious feel.   Finally, I added a dash of castor oil.  I find that this gives the soap a silky feel on the skin.

For scent, I used vanillin and tolu balsam.  I don't know how this will take in the soap - this is the experimentation part.  I haven't used either before.  The vanillin tends to crystallize, which might be annoying, but has a delicious vanilla scent.   The tolu balsam is soft and mellow and has a rich vanilla/resin scent.   Overall, I think the scent is delicious, so I'm hoping it holds in the soap for the duration!   

Here it is then, in its mould.   I'll have more pics after 4 weeks when it is ready to use.

Enriched Bath Salts

New products for 2014!

I recently trialled a range of bath salts and I was very pleased with the results.  I sold them at That Dapper Market and people seemed to respond to them well. 

In making the salts, I considered what I wanted out of a bath product - something luxurious and indulgent - something which softens the water (sheesh, Adelaide water is hard!), leaves the skin gently moisturised and provides a wonderful scent (gentle and not over-powering).  

So, I used high quality, mineral-rich salts - Dead Sea mineral salt and pink Himalayan rock salt - mixed with skin-softening epsom salts and added a splash of shea oil.  I chose shea oil because it feels particularly nice on the skin.   The shea oil and the essential oils I added needed to be anchored (oil will eventually seep to the bottom so something needs to keep it suspended around the salt throughout the jar), so I used a blend of arrowroot and bicarbonate soda (again, great for softening water).

I made three, if I might say so myself - amazing - all-natural scents:

The Violet Hour - a complex yet sweet blend of violet leaf essential oil and vanillin;

West of the Moon - a super-rich floral blend of rose geranium and ylang ylang and;

Evening in Capri - a sophisticated dry citrus blend of kaffir lime and bergamot.

Each jar of bath salts is accompanied by a cute little wooden spoon (made from plantation wood) and is beautifully labelled ready for gifting or indulging!   The 200g jars of salt will be $16.00 and postage will be $7.00.   The salts will be ready in the Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez store about mid-January.

One Fine Summer - Remix

A tweaking of a favourite soap

Having sold out of the first batch of One Fine Summer, I quickly whipped up a new batch.  I have kept the same oil content as the first batch, as this is a wonderful, creamy soap and I wanted to keep it that way.  I have, however, switched the green to mica and added a splash of rose red (a mix of French pink clay and red oxide).  

One Fine Summer still has that glorious scent - so hard to describe but it's like a citrusy floral, green and sweet.  Here is a snap of the soap just poured into its mould.  The colours will be be more subdued in the cured soap, of course, but how promising!  Four long weeks to wait for this one, but let me know if you want to reserve a bar or two as this one gets snapped up quickly!

Gift Buying For Him

A selection 

It's coming up to that time of year again and the (sometimes) painful task of buying gifts is here!  I have noticed over the years that the people who are the least frazzled by gift buying seem to follow a few simple rules:

1. buy early;
2. buy thoughtful; and
3. buy small.

I think buying for men is particularly difficult for some people, but here at Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez, I have a few solutions for you:

Top Row
The Emperor's Chai  delicious cardamom
Mister X...               green and earthy vetiver
Lemon Meringue       lemony may chang

Middle Row
Smokey Joe             sophisticated smokey cade
Evening Star            aromatic star anise and basil
A Siberian Wood      a dry wood

Bottom Row
Spearmint Julep       fresh spearmint
St Clement's             zesty sweet orange and may chang
The Fez No. 1          the gin and tonic of soap, lemongrass, may chang, juniperberry and

Each soap is available from the Shanghai Lil and the Scarlet Fez shop for $7.50, plus postage.  Each soap is hand crafted from all natural ingredients, vegan and without palm oil.  Packaged and labelled in a range of beautiful boxes, these soaps make a thoughtful (relaxed gift-buying person's number 2 rule) and small (relaxed gift-buying person's number 3 rule) gift for men.   Buy now and I can help you with relaxed gift-buying person's number 1 rule too!

My further advice is, if you have to buy a gift for a fellow like curly-locks below, I'd suggest Smokey Joe.  He looks the type.

Photo from Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez collection.

When in Rome

Breezing along on a breeze

I have just released a new soap - When in Rome.  This wonderfully aromatic basil and spearmint scented soap will be fresh start to the day and put you in the mood for scooting around town with the wind in your hair!

Packed full of excellent quality oils including olive oil, olive pomace, shea oil, rice bran oil, meadowfoam seed oil and a dash of castor oil (for that silky skin feel!), When in Rome is a treat for the skin and the senses!

Sophisticated and youthful, When in Rome is all natural, hand crafted, vegan and contains no palm oil.  Now available in store!

Top photo: Detail from the cover of "The New Target Book for Girls".

Mister X...


I love the smell of vetiver.  It's a wonderfully complex, green and smokey scent and I have used it as the sole fragrance in the new soap Mister X... .  This soap is also filled with some very good skin conditioning oils, including olive oil, olive pomace, shea oil and macadamia nut oil.  I have also added some Mojave living clay, a mineral rich bentonite clay from the Mojave desert.

All natural, vegan and pure luxury!  And no palm oil!  Now available through the shop - the shop button is above.

Sneak Peak at New Soap

As Yet Unnamed 

I have a few naming options up my sleeves for this one, but feel in no hurry to settle on it now.  I have four weeks, because that is how long this new soap will be curing before being boxed up, labelled and sent into the Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez store!

But let me tell you about what is in New Soap - olive oil, olive pomace, macadamia nut oil, shea oil and a dash of castor oil.  But as if that isn't enough to make your skin soft and silky, I have added Mojave Living Clay!  Mojave Living Clay is a calcium bentonite/montmorillonite clay from, you guessed it, the Mojave Desert in southern California!  This clay is rich in minerals and is excellent for drawing out impurities in the skin.  In a soap, the clay offers a silky texture which will enhance your bathing experience!

Here it is, as a loaf, just before being hand cut into bars:

Madame X...

Coming Soon

I wanted to create a scent for a soap that suggested an adventurous spirit.  Something floral and exotic, yet edgy.  I trialed some combinations of essential oils and finally settled on this new scent.  A dangerously exciting blend of rose geranium, ylang ylang and black pepper creates the perfect scent for the mysterious and daring souls amongst us. 

Madame X... is lavishly packed with skin-conditioning oils including olive oil, olive pomace, cocoa butter, apricot kernel oil and musk melon oil.  It is coloured with the beautiful muted red of Australian red clay.  So, whether you will be riding your horse at full speed across the moors, jumping from one Parisian roof to another in your cat-suit or just making a dramatic entrance into the ballroom, you can rest assured that your skin will be in perfect form for your busy life.

Madame X... will be available in the Shanghai Lil and The Scarlet Fez store in four weeks.