Teens - Makeup & Skincare

Teens - Makeup & Skincare

What they want, and what they need
by Deborah Bilezikian 

a l l  n a t u r a l  i n f o


     Recently, Monave had the special privilege of receiving an award from the Prestigious Natural Solutions “Beauty with a Conscience Award”.  It was a thrill to see so many small companies like mine finally getting the attention that they deserve. Natural Solutions has been very supportive of the grass-roots Natural Beauty Movement that has been picking up steam in the U.S for the last ten years.

     This is what Natural Solutions editors had to say about Teens and Cosmetics: “Today, conventional cosmetic companies market their products to teens, tweens, and girls as young as three years old.  But their products often contain the hormone disruptors that some scientists blame for early puberty.  In fact, half of all American girls show signs of breast development by the age of ten.  Early breast development and early puberty may lead to a higher risk for breast cancer, as well as depression, and even drinking and unprotected sex.  In the article, “Pretty in Pink?”, Natural Solutions recommends teens and parents learn more information about the ingredients in skincare and cosmetic products at http://www.teensforsafecosmetics.com to avoid potentially dangerous chemicals.”

     I saw the evidence of early puberty in girls when I worked at my kiosk in Baltimore in the early part of this decade.  There was a decided height and developmental difference in girls from the Midwest.  My personal theory is that its connected to the hormones used in dairy production.  That part of the country has a heavier emphasis on beef and milk, simply due to the fact that it’s a prevalent industry.  At any rate, seeing a tall, beautiful woman who looks like she’s nineteen, and then finding out she’s thirteen, is quite a shock.  It is no wonder our children are having trouble saying no to early sexuality.  Their hormones are raging at the age of twelve, the way ours were at the age of sixteen.  These hormones contribute to the severity of acne as well in teens as well as adults.  If you have access to naturally raised chicken and dairy, I strongly recommend taking your children (and yourself) off of any products that do not specifically say that they are free of hormones.  This helps with adult acne as well.

     I will not dwell on this topic anymore, but rather turn to the care and beautification of teen/tween skin.  As any parent of a teen knows, healthy skin is a big issue for both girls and boys alike.  The information in the first section can be utilized for both boys and girls.  For this part, I interviewed a very much sought-after aromatherapist; Theresa Canglioni, here in Baltimore.  Theresa owns and manages a thriving aromatherapy blending bar, gorgeous aromatherapy shop, and aromatherapy massage business.  I often take friends or staff members there to peruse the products, and to have custom perfumes made on the spot (for only $35.00!!).


A customer having a custom blended perfume made just for her
A customer having a custom blended perfume created just for her at SoBotanical

      I met Theresa over twenty years ago, when she was first learning about essential oils.  She began studying their healing properties due to a terrible, and persistent problem with acne.  Today, twenty odd years later, she is a beautiful woman with very smooth, supple skin, and not a wrinkle in sight.  She looks to be in her late twenties at most.  She had a lot of very interesting information and tips for us, after having worked with hundreds of teens and their moms. 


Theresa and Kim from SoBotanical
Theresa (on the left) & Kim from SoBotanical creating their custom blends

My Interview with Theresa:

From your experience, what do you see as the main problems affecting teenage skin these days?

      Stress levels and hormones are the two big factors affecting teens’ skin.  This results in increased hormone levels.  The main job of skincare that is targeted for their particular skin issues is to calm the skin down.  Acne and blackheads result in inflamed skin.  One of the problems that I see in how teens take care of their skin is that they overcompensate by scrubbing too much, and by stripping their skin of its natural oils.  This results in the skin producing even more sebum, so it becomes a never ending cycle.  Squeaky clean should not be the goal.  The goal is to use very gentle cleansers along with calming essential oils that will balance the skin so it will stop overproducing sebum as a defense.


What essential oils do you feel are the best for calming and balancing their skin?

Lavender is at the top of the list for balancing the hormones.  It is also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.

Chamomile is another one that is calming and anti-inflammatory.

Geranium is a great choice because it is anti-viral as well as anti-bacterial

     These oils will help the skin begin to self-regulate.  For either male of female, the body can actually heal itself, so the goal is to achieve balance in the skin, so that its own abilities to control and monitor sebum production will kick in again.


How can teens (with parental supervision) use essential oils in their routine?

     When their skin is inflamed from acne, they can use warm compresses to help draw out the pustules, as well as to calm down the redness.  When there is the presence of blackhead or whiteheads, kids pick, squeeze, and dry them out, and the skin become red and irritated.

     To prepare a hot compress, they should fill the sink or a basin with warm water, then drop in a few drops of lavender  essential oil.  The lavender should be pure, undiluted essential oil, not lavender in a base, so when purchasing essential oils, make sure to read the bottles carefully.  They should swish the oil around in the water, then dip a clean washcloth into the water, and hold it on the face for a few minutes.  They can repeat this a few times. This can be done in the evening a few times a week.  They tend to think more is better, but in this case, using more than 2-3 drops in the water can end up burning the skin, so a parent should supervise.  When using essential oils, the quantity and manner used matters as much as the oil itself.


What about cleansers? 

     Parents should look for cleanser that do not have any sulfates in them.  Sulfates create heat (which translates into irritation).  That’s why Lavender and Geranium are so beneficial to the skin, because they are cooling.  For example, Lavender can be used on a burn to help heal it faster, because it cools the skin.   Some examples of sulfates are sodium lauryl sulfate, and sodium laureth sulfate.

     Coconut-based cleansers, and handmade vegetable soaps are great alternatives.  Handmade soaps are full of the natural oils and glycerin from plants which keeps skin from becoming too dry.  Another effective cleanser, especially for teens with ace, is black soap.  They help the skin achieve PH balance.  Look for ingredients like  charcoal, plantain, or ash.  I have always heard really good feedback from my clients about either bar or liquid black soap.  These can be purchased online, or from stores selling products made in Africa.


Is there any common treatment for acne that you disagree with?  

     Yes.  Many people have read that Tea Tree is a beneficial essential oil for acne, so they rub it all over the face.  This essentially burns the skin, which is the opposite effect that we’re looking for.  It is okay to dab a tiny amount with a Q-tip right onto a blackhead or a whitehead.  It is also a beneficial ingredient in a cleanser, but it is much more aggressive that Lavender.  It is similar to Peppermint in that it can burn the skin.


SoBotanical Store Botanicals  SoBotanicals Essential Oils

Are there any other essential oils that you approve for use on teen skin?

     Lemon, Marjoram, Bergamot are all nice, but you have to be careful with Bergamot because it creates photosensitivity in the skin.


What about moisturizers?

     Most teens don’t need a cream, because their skin produces a lot of oil, and won’t tend to be dry unless their cleansing routine is too harsh.  Believe it or not, a light cold-pressed vegetable oil is the best choice.  Just a few drops spread gently onto the skin in the morning is enough to seal in moisture and keep skin well-lubricated and soft.

     Cold pressed Jojoba, Grapeseed, or Almond, will literally disappear into the skin and  won’t be greasy.  For really bad acne, they can use Rose hip seed oil.  It has cellular regeneration properties; heals scarring and inflammation, and will calm the skin.  Heavy amounts will irritate, so it should never be used at 100% strength, but in a vegetable oil blend, it is a very effective component for healing acne scarring.  Teens should avoid Sesame, Peanut or mineral oil.  Mineral oil immediately clogs the pores, contrary to popular belief.

     When I was in my late teens, I had terrible cystic acne, with raised purple welts.  That’s what drove me to start learning about essential oils, in order to heal my own skin.  I had tried commercial preparations, but they irritated my already inflamed skin even more.  Rose hip seed oil was one of the most healing oils that I found during this process.  It provides the nutrients that the skin/body is craving, and keeps the face nourished.  I resisted for a long time, thinking that a straight oil on my face would be too heavy.  But it cleared my acne, and helped get my skin out of its over-productive state. 


Is there any other general advice that you can offer parents and teens reading this article?

     Oftentimes, teenagers are low on zinc levels, because of how they’re eating.  They’re always on the go and don’t eat properly.  People with acne have lower zinc levels.  Parents can get a good vitamin supplement, a reputable brand from a good health food store, Whole Foods etc.  Zinc can help balance the skin.

     The stress that teens experience will make hormones flare up also.  To help combat this stress, teens can take baths with calming oils added, like Lavender, Geranium, Marjoram, and Clary Sage.  Adding 5-6 drops of each essential oil is enough.  Aromatherapy massage is also a wonderful stress reliever.  Oftentimes, we don’t experience professional massage until we are adults, but massage for teens can be a very beneficial therapy on a lot of levels.  It helps them identify what a relaxed state actually feels like, so that they can try to recreate that state whenever stress is starting to build up.  It increases their body awareness.  Yoga is another beneficial therapy to try for combating stress.


Theresa, if moms or teens have questions, or wish to purchase some of your products, where should they go?

     They can contact me any time at theresa@sobotanical.com. The website (www.sobotanical.com) has many products for sale that can be used for teens, and I’m happy to help anyone with suggestions or advice.


Teen Makeup

     In addition to using natural products to clean and moisturize, the makeup choices that teens make can have a huge impact on the health of the skin.  Many teens use makeup, and mineral makeup is still not easily accessible, so if they are shopping in malls and stores, they will invariably end up putting products on their faces that not only exacerbate their skin problems, but do little to heal and calm down their inflammation.  I encourage moms to purchase mineral makeup for their teen daughters if they already wear makeup.  If they do not, mineral foundation alone can be used as a sunscreen, and if it contains zinc oxide, as a calming agent for the inflammation caused by acne.

     'Back in the day', heavy eye makeup was the rage, and nothing was too much.  So what do teens of today want in their color palette and products?  When I had my first business at the kiosk in Baltimore, selling mostly mineral eye powders and glosses, I was besieged by teens and tweens on a daily basis.  They came in droves, and over the space of several years, I began to notice some patterns in their preferences for colors, and product styles.  

  • Teens seem to prefer a sheer, natural look.  If they are too made up and the makeup is obvious, that makes it seem like they are trying to hard, that they are trying to get attention the wrong way.  Lip products are usually sheer and glossy, without a lot of color, and shadows tend to blend into the skin.  The days of bright shadows are over moms!


  • Teens love makeup that is low maintenance for their daily routine, but love makeup that can be used in a more imaginative way during free time.  It’s like an art project, so when there’s nothing to do, teen girls like to experiment and have fun with their makeup.  So, they are very attracted by makeup that has something creative built into it.  Loose powders are especially popular because they can be blended into any base to create a variety of cosmetics, such as lip gloss, eyeliner, or nail polish.


  • Teens are very active and therefore, appreciate makeup that lasts.  The last thing they want to do at the end of the school day is take time to put on more makeup.  They have many other more important priorities, such as sports, friends, boyfriends and schoolwork.


  • Teens love shimmer and sparkle.  They like to be funky and creative with their personal expression and are fascinated by makeup that has special effects.  Childhood stories about fairies and magic dust often still have a subtle imprint on a girl’s mind.  Sparkly makeup brings back the magic and mystery of these stories.


  • Makeup is an important part of a teenage girl’s life.  Her face is an expression of herself, and it contributes to her self-esteem as well as her comfort.  With awkward growth spurts, crushes, new body parts and acne, it can be excruciating for a teenage girl to face the world each day.  Having reliable makeup that covers acne, can make a huge difference in a girl’s life.  We’d all like for our children to look past superficial things such as skin, hair, and clothes, but the fact is... that is a teenager’s world, and they are forced to deal with it on a daily basis.


     I used to love watching the oohs and aahs as girls would crowd around my kiosk.  It was amazing how the same three sets of (our Monave) mineral eye powders were chosen over and over by girls from all over the country.  

  • Younger girls like these three versatile powders: sky blue (#64), white diamond (#61), and pink shimmer (#3)


  • Girls ages 14-16 with blond or red hair and pink skin like these versatile powders: champagne (#81), gold salmon (#70), and wave (#22).


  • Girls ages 14-18 with medium to dark skin-tones prefer these versatile powders: gold (#31), neutral lips (#54), and turquoise (#65).


Some other favorites are lime (# 63), sand beige (41) and khaki (#42)

For lips, the lip glazes are very sheer and translucent. Honey lip glaze is very popular, as is Strawberry Lip Glaze.



     To help understand the mindset and tastes of a typical teenager, I interviewed Katherine Thompson, aged 16 who has been wearing Monave makeup for two years.  Prior to that, she had worn traditional makeup for special events, such as parties, her birthday and for fun on the weekends.  As she developed from a girl into a young woman and started experiencing acne, makeup became an integral part of her life.  She is a typical teenager, juggling schoolwork with babysitting her younger brothers, after-school clubs, friends, and boys.  She had the following to say:

 Before Makeup Application  After Mineral Makeup Application

My Interview with Katherine: 

In general, what do you think teens need from their makeup?

     Coverage, but nothing too heavy.  Something light, that covers your acne, and takes the attention away from your skin and brings out the other aspects of your face, such as your eyes, or your lips.  They need to have fun.  They need to trust their product, and feel that they can put on their makeup and feel confident about their skin.  For example, when I go out of the house, and I’m not wearing makeup I feel very vulnerable, and raw.  I feel unkept.  It boosts my confidence.  It should bring out your natural beauty.  Less is more of course, especially with mineral makeup.  With makeup in general, the less you use in the right places, is really important.


Do you love mineral makeup?

     Yes, absolutely.  I would rather use it than any other kind of makeup.  It’s really good for your skin, and helps to heal it.  It covers it, but instead of clogging your pores, it protects it from pollution.  I feel a lot more covered when I’m wearing mineral makeup, because I feel like it’s a safeguard.


What else do you love about it?

     It’s really easy to apply.  You don’t have to rub it into your face to get it to stay there all day.  You just lightly brush it on, and you don’t have to reapply it all day.  It gives you a healthy glow.  People don’t believe that I’m sick when I’m wearing mineral makeup.  You go out of the house, and you don’t feel well, but it gives you a pick up.  It’s really colorful, but natural.  I don’t like putting synthetic things on my skin, because I have really sensitive skin, so it helps a lot.


Do you think it’s hard to apply?

     No, I don’t think so.  But the first time, you should have a little bit of guidance, because it’s not like your regular generic makeup that you can just plaster all over your face.  You have to learn where to apply it first, and how.  I think the fact that it’s a loose powder makes it a lot easier to apply.  You don’t have to gouge your brush into a makeup palette to get it to apply.  It goes on very softly and the colors are vibrant.


How does mineral makeup look different than typical makeup?

     It doesn’t cover up your face.  The colors are a lot more natural.  They’re warmer.  When I think of normal makeup, I automatically think of chalky blue eye shadows.  Mineral powders can be applied as thin as you want.  They’re very fine.  They’re not heavy on your skin.


How does the way that it looks suit the teenage mindset?

     It’s sparkly, and teenagers love sparkly things, especially for eye shadows, and glitters.  The variety of colors that you can get out of mineral makeup is so much more than that of a generic brand.  The colors look so rich when you’re wearing them.  Like if I want to put on turquoise eye shadow, a mineral powder will really look like turquoise.  I think that a lot of teenagers in general express themselves with makeup.  Mineral makeup is so diverse, so they have so many more options to choose from.

     Also, I used my foundation as a base coat for my Halloween makeup, and it kept everything in place.  I came home that night, and it completely improved the performance of my other makeup.  My white face paint, and blush (I was a doll) was exactly the same five hours after I applied it.  So, if you combine it with other products, mineral foundation helps them work better, and last longer.


Could you describe your makeup routine?

     First I moisturize, then I put on the Cream Caroline Foundation with a sponge, and then I apply my Caroline powder foundation one more time for better coverage.  I put on a pencil eyeliner, and then I usually apply a neutral shadow to tone down the eyeliner so it won’t look too dark.  Then I put on a sparkly eye shadow with a shadow brush.  I pick a color that matches my clothes, like if I wear a yellow shirt, then I put on a deep gold, or copper shadow.  In the Summertime I’ll use a bronzer, but I don’t wear blush, because my cheeks are pink.  I always use a toner after I’m finished applying my makeup.  I spray it all over my face lightly, and then I go gently over my face with a sponge to even out any areas that aren’t blended all the way. 


Do you have any advice for teenagers or Moms of teenagers who might be reading this article?

     My advice is to stop using synthetic products on your face.  Be careful with your skin.  Mineral makeup really, really helps to improve your skin.  Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, because it never hurts to try things.


Some more Natural Makeup Looks:

Left to Right: Cleo, Canela, and Heather


Cleo after Mineral Makeup Application     Canela after Mineral Makeup Application     Heather after Mineral Makeup Application  



Please visit the Monave Site:




Deborah Bilezikian

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