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Meet Zach Dishinger, the 16-Year-Old Creator of Formula Z Cosmetics

The young entrepreneur shares how he went from finger painting his face to launching his own line of matte liquid lipsticks.

Zach Dishinger became a chief executive officer before he even knew how to drive.

His love for makeup artistry started in preschool, when he’d get in trouble for finger painting his face. A few years ago, he started taking his mother’s lipsticks and bronzers and mixing them together in his parents’ kitchen to create new shades and textures. His desire to experiment and create led him to start his own cosmetics line and when he was 14 years old, he did just that — with some help from his parents, naturally.

Dishinger, who will begin his junior year of high school in September, is the founder of Formula Z Cosmetics, an “all-inclusive, unapologetic” beauty company, he said. He launched Formula Z in 2015 with seven matte liquid lipstick offerings — the Forever Lips — that are vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free and gluten-free. They retail at $18 each exclusively on Formula Z’s web site.

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“Formula Z Cosmetics is meant for everyone regardless of sexual orientation, race, age, gender,” Dishinger said. “It was important to me to make the line as accessible as I can and for everyone, but also have shade ranges that are to die for.”

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The line is manufactured in Dishinger’s home state of Florida. The shades range from a pinkish nude named “Jocelyn” to a grape-colored “Bowie” to a chocolate hue called “SoHo.” There is also a chestnut mauve named “Mission Z,” which Dishinger created in partnership with The Trevor Project, a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention to LGBTQ youth. Formula Z donates 50 percent of the net proceeds of Mission Z sales to The Trevor Project.

“Everyone’s like, ‘Have you been bullied?’ And it’s like, ‘Yeah,’” Dishinger said. “It used to be not the easiest when I was younger, but honestly, [The Trevor Project partnership] came from a place of me being passionate about [bullying] and helping other people because I have the greatest support system in the world — my parents and my friends — but not everyone has that. I feel obligated to help others. The Trevor Project is truly life-saving work. They have 24-hour hotlines and they have a chat room online. The resources that they offer are amazing.”

Running a business, growing a following and getting good grades in school keep Dishinger rather busy. He has help from his parents, though neither have a background in the beauty industry. (His mother is a realtor and his father works in the appliance industry.)

Dishinger has 11,000 followers on Instagram and 138 subscribers on YouTube, where he has posted a handful of makeup tutorials. A recent tutorial he filmed for Pride took him a total of four hours to complete — “there was a conference call in between.”

When asked how Formula Z sales have been, Dishinger said, “Sales have been awesome, especially for a growing company. We couldn’t have been happier, since we’re an indie brand. We are seeing a lot of pull from press and once they hear our message, a lot of stuff comes driven from there, too.” His representative declined to talk numbers.

On July 14, Dishinger will make his debut at Beautycon Los Angeles, where his brand has a booth. He is working on expanding beyond the lip category — “it’s really important to have products that work with each other,” he said — and typically tests products on his friends. He often brings lab samples to school and asks his classmates to try them out while eating to see how the lipsticks hold up. A few of his friends also modeled in his original Formula Z campaign.

As a member of Generation Z, Dishinger is the target audience of many retailers and brands, including his own. In two years, Generation Z will occupy 40 percent of all consumers and already, it influences “nearly $4 billion in discretionary spending,” according to a white paper from MNI Targeted Media Inc.

When asked for his thoughts on his generation, which often influences cultural shifts, Dishinger said, “I feel like I’m part of a cultural revolution that’s spearheaded by young people who are fighting for what’s right and it gets me fueled up. Generation Z, they want to support brands that support similar causes as they do. When they see people that are fighting for things, they totally want to support it. That’s what we’re seeing with Formula Z. We’re getting a lot of great responses and I’m excited to share my message with everyone.”

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