Nurture passion. Follow the child. Teach to a child’s strengths.

But what if the child is obsessed with makeup? I followed this thought experiment through and had a lot of fun making a rough sketch of a curriculum based around beauty and fashion. In fact, I had to make myself stop at about twenty ideas.

Here they are:

Study what chemicals go into different kinds of makeup. Design an experiment to test if expensive makeup is worth it in terms of teenage male perception of beauty (Double blinds and controls will be important here). Study the physics of mirrors. Look at skin with and without makeup using a USB microscope. Read up on the biology of skin (when we have problems with something that we can’t fix, we need to understand the topic on a more fundamental level). This reading can also lead to good nutrition for skin.

Connecting make-up to science was easy. I had to Google a bit to find math connections, but here they are. Find ways to measure thickness of hair with a laser pointer(!). Is it hairs per square inch, or is it the thickness of the strand? Learn about the equations of cylinders and squircles, which are common cosmetic product container shapes. A bit of fun math would be to calculate price per ounce of different brands. Even more fun would be to weigh cosmetics on postal scales before and after use, then extrapolate to determine how long product will last, and then calculate price per month of different brands.

How much do people in your state or country spend on makeup?

What are the economics of home makeup businesses? What is the history of makeup trends, and how does it parallel the history of the world? What is the history of cosmetic brands? How do brands work? What are the principles of marketing that makeup brands use?

Connections to art: learn and practice drawing faces and fashion designs. Study stage makeup, and practice adding years or different personalities to your face. Learn about additive color theory in general and in skin tones specifically. And don’t forget actually applying makeup to your own face. Watch some vloggers and follow their tutorials.

A bit of reading on the psychology of beauty and confidence would be eye-opening.

Learn to touch up photos with Photoshop. But don’t go too far.