Let’s talk abut substitutions for Make it Up recipes

I get a lot of questions about substitutions in general, including queries about replacing some of the stranger ingredients used in Make it Up.

In recipes for things like lip balms and sugar scrubs, swaps are typically fairly easy. Using one light carrier oil for another likely won’t break the recipe. The scrub will still scrub, the lip balm will still hydrate your lips, and that lotion will still moisturize.

However, when it comes to cosmetics, there are WAY more variables. We are talking about:

  • Slip
  • Adhesion
  • Wear time
  • Colour
  • Consistency
  • Melting point
  • Texture
  • Opacity
  • And more!

As I was developing the recipes in Make it Up, I tested them thoroughly and obsessively, so when I say I’ve worn a lip paint through a whiskey tasting and it stayed on for hours, I’m saying that about the recipe as I made it. Once you start changing things, my promises of good results go out the window. I did not (and do not) have time to re-develop or check every recipe in the book with a different set of ingredients. This is why I am hesitant to tell you that “yes, you can use X instead of Y”—I have no idea how well (or if) it will work!

Some changes are more likely to be successful than others; using a different liquid oil in some powdered cosmetics, or in the lip gloss recipe likely won’t be disastrous. When it comes to powdered ingredients, though (things like boron nitride, magnesium myristate, and silica microspheres), well—I added those ingredients to those recipes because they make them better. I started without them, and added the because they improve the final product.

Generally speaking, no one ingredient is the “linchpin” of a recipe’s success, but you might be looking at the difference between 5 hours of wear with it, and 30 minutes without it, or something that feels skiddy and awful when applied vs smooth and creamy. I’d call those things recipe failure. You may not.

So, the general gist of the answer to “is there an alternative for X ingredient in X recipe in Make it Up?” is: maybe. I haven’t tested it, so you are on your own. Refer to the chart on page 57 to learn about what different powders do in cosmetics to get an idea of why they’re there—that should help guide your search for alternatives. Good luck!

Posted in: Makeup & Cosmetics