I am the first person to admit that I was a terrible teenager. Not in the “sneaking out, smoking, drinking, and destroying private property” way, but in the “dismisses typical teenage behavior as being stupid & irrational, and therefore behaves mostly like an adult” way. I was a terrible teenager in that I had no idea how to really be a teenager, and from what I’d gleaned from popular culture, it mostly seemed like a waste of time and energy. So, now that I am no longer a teenager, when it comes time for me to relate to teenage girls (something that has never come naturally), one of the things I have found we can chat about is make-up. I like to make it, they like to wear it. That counts as common ground… right?

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Given the exorbitant cost of cosmetics these days, the idea of DIY cosmetics never fails to pique the interest of a 15 year old that spends most of her allowance and/or part-time job earnings of mascara and foundation (if only they knew adolescence might be as good as it gets in the skin category). They’ll ask me what I put in make-up and how I make it, and I’ll counter by asking them what characteristics they like their make-up to have. My idea is to draw a line between attributes and ingredients so it all makes sense. Anyhow, I thought I’d start up a two-part blog series. Part one (this part) is on the properties one likes in make up. Part two will focus on which ingredients provide these different properties. From here (properties), it will be easier to see why some ingredients are included in some recipes, and not in others.

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Natural Looking
This is so obvious my non-make-up wearing grandmother had to point it out to me. You do not want your make up to make you look like an, err, lady of the night. You don’t want to look like a child painted your face with something they found in the crafts cupboard. You want to look naturally radiant and beautiful.

Opacity (or coverage)
Opacity (or coverage) ends up being quite important as that’s what most people seem to want in their cosmetics. Whether it’s concealer, cover-up, or foundation, it should cover up and disguise any blemishes or inconsistencies in the skin.

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Colour & Colour Matching
I’ve yet to find a store-bought cover up that comes close to my skin tone, and I’m lucky enough to be Caucasian, meaning that if I have a blemish me choices are between a red dot or a weird off-shade beige dot. Colour (and colour matching) are super important in cosmetics. Whether it’s a foundation that perfectly matches your skin tone, or an eye shadow or eyeliner in that perfect shade of “whatever is trendy this year”, colour is a pretty big deal in the make-up world.

Slip
If you’ve ever used really crap eye shadow (like the type that you might get as part of a Halloween themed cosmetics kit from Value Village in October), you will understand the importance of slip. If a powder skids across your skin like sandpaper, you know it’s terrible. Trying to blend it is like an exercise in giving yourself a rash on your eyelid. Nice, creamy cosmetics, however, are pure luxury. They’re soft and lovely, and they glide right on and blend in like nobody’s business. Mmm, slip. It’s more important that you might know.

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Staying Power
Staying power, otherwise known as adhesion, is a pretty big deal—especially in the lipstick world, it would seem. The number of lipsticks claiming to stay on for upwards of 12 hours is astonishing. I have always assumed the tests done on these lipsticks are conducted on models that do not eat, as I have never met a lipstick that a salad/sandwich combo could not vanquish. Anyhow—staying power is pretty important with cosmetics.

Non-Pore Clogging
I once did a research project on cosmetics in the sixth grade, and my teacher pointed out the rather unfortunate catch 22 of make-up. That is, that make-up is meant to make your skin look perfect, but it can often clog your pores (meaning it is comodogenic) and cause zits, forcing you to wear more make-up, and so on, and so-forth. Obviously you don’t want wearing a cosmetic product once to force you into a perpetual relationship with it, so being non-comodogenic is pretty important.

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Good for the Skin
This is a nice bonus category, but if we’re going to be making our own cosmetics, why wouldn’t we ensure that they are good for our skin?

Well, that’s about all I can think of. What do you look for in your make-up? Watch for part two, where I’ll talk about which ingredients do what!

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