“I’m tired of paying loads of money for makeup with such low pigmentation and shoddy formulation. I’d rather mix my own cosmetics, but I can’t seem to find pure 100% cosmetic pigments.” Great idea! Unfortunately, like everything, it’s easier said than done.The FDA or Federal Drug Administration regulates much of the cosmetics industry and they’re fairly hard on “adulterated” mixtures or ones that don’t meet their pre-approved formulations. (Funny how they worry about face powder but not lipstick lead!) That, and the fact that it really isn’t all about the base color when it comes to the opacity of a cosmetic but more about the effects of the other ingredients AND color pigment in the formulation of the end product powder that makes this person, and millions of other, tired of underperformed powders.
Everything interacts with everything else in the world of science which is why cosmetic formulations are such well-guarded secrets; not unlike Coca Cola or Pepsi. The cost of a cosmetic powder that really performs, like Studio Direct or MAC for example, is due to the research and development behind it. Smart people are expensive and even using the brightest minds in the world, formulations are the results of the trial-and-error process. Now trial-and-error doesn’t mean throwing a dart at a dartboard hanging on a black wall in a dark room. It’s “predictive” which means simply that scientists combine what they’ve learned in college-level to PhD academics with their subsequent real-world experience and make “educated guesses” to begin a trial-and-error quest for the perfect formulation; this is in a scientific world where adding an amount of something that weighs half that of a human hair (.50mg or a few dust particles) can completely change the color of a product.
So, with the exception of getting back some of the “markup” cost (difference between a company’s cost to produce a cosmetic and the price you pay on the sticker) of your under-performing cosmetic by making it perform when it should have in the first place, there’s very little benefit to adding your own color and, in fact, you may change the color all-together. There’s a reason powders like Studio Direct and MAC are used extensively in the entertainment industry and that’s because the cost of failure is so great. The more complete the color is, the fewer times it needs to be re-applied to the performer and the fewer times you hear, “Hold for makeup” on the set. The fewer times you hear that on-set, the less the production cost is.