Makeup is made from a combination of various ingredients, including pigments, binders, emollients, and preservatives. Pigments provide color and are derived from minerals, synthetic chemicals, or natural sources like plants and animals. Binders help the makeup adhere to the skin and can be waxes, oils, or polymers. Emollients add moisture and smoothness to the product and can be oils, butters, or silicones. Preservatives prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in the makeup and are typically synthetic chemicals. Other ingredients like fragrances, fillers, and sunscreen agents may also be included. The specific composition of makeup products can vary depending on the brand and type of product.
Have you ever applied ash on your eyelids? How about beeswax on your fingernails? Have you ever assisted someone in applying white lead on their face? What about berry juice on their cheeks?
No? Alright, these practices are not common today. However, many centuries ago, people used these and various other ingredients as makeup.
The ancient Egyptians were the earliest known users of makeup. They utilized numerous plants and minerals as makeup. Some of the most frequently used ingredients were almonds, copper, lead, and ash. They also used oils to protect their skin from the Sun.
Later on, people in China and Japan used rice powder as makeup. They also used henna dyes in their hair, a practice that many people still follow today. Chinese individuals also painted their fingernails, with differently colored nails symbolizing their social class.
In ancient Greece, women used white lead paint on their faces. They were also the first to use crushed berries as cheek color. Some people in Greece even wore fake eyebrows made of oxen hair.
Makeup has evolved over the centuries. Nowadays, individuals who use makeup may not be aware of all the ingredients present in it. However, makeup companies are required to comply with rules regarding the ingredients they use. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve all makeup ingredients.
So, what exactly is modern makeup made of? Most products contain between 15 and 50 ingredients. Almost all of them include water, oil, and wax. The water dissolves other ingredients, aiding in their mixture. Oil and wax help makeup glide smoothly on the skin, and they are also frequently used to maintain skin softness.
Many other chemicals are used in makeup. Typically, an emulsifier is included, which is a chemical that facilitates the mixing of oil and water. Most makeup also includes preservatives to prolong its usability, similar to food. There are numerous chemicals that can fulfill either of these functions. Since individuals react differently to chemicals, it is important for many people to be cautious about the products they purchase.
Naturally, most types of makeup also contain a coloring agent. Have you ever seen pink, red, or purple lipstick? How about blue or green eyeshadow? Any makeup with color includes a coloring agent, which can be derived from minerals, plants, and even animals.
Today, many people are becoming more mindful of the ingredients in makeup. Some opt for “all-natural” makeup, which is made from non-artificial ingredients. Others are turning to vegan makeup, which excludes any substances derived from animals.
Alright, so makeup can be made from a variety of substances. How can you know what is in each bottle? Your best option is to read the label. If you come across any unfamiliar ingredient in the list, take the time to learn more about it.
Have you ever used makeup? Are there any ingredients that you specifically look for or avoid? Makeup ingredients can have different effects on everyone. It is always important to be careful about what you apply on your skin!
Give It a Try
Still curious? Explore one or more of the activities below with a friend or family member.
– Invite an adult friend or family member to accompany you to a makeup store. Take a look at the labels of the makeup products that catch your interest. Take note of the most frequently mentioned ingredients. Create a list of unfamiliar ingredients. Then, seek help from your friend or family member to gather more information about those ingredients.
– If you want to learn more about ancient makeup, read further and write a paragraph explaining ancient makeup to a friend. Provide a few examples and discuss the differences between ancient and modern makeup.
– Expand your knowledge about makeup by trying out this homemade lip balm recipe! What flavor of lip balm would you like to make? Cherry? Vanilla? Get assistance from a friend or family member.
Sources of Wonder:
– Visit https://cosmeticsinfo.org/Ancient-history-cosmetics (accessed on July 8, 2019) for more information on ancient makeup.
– Explore https://www.science.org.au/curious/people-medicine/chemistry-cosmetics (accessed on July 8, 2019) to delve into the chemistry of cosmetics.
– Check out https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/cruelty-free-make-up-beauty-trend/ (accessed on July 8, 2019) to learn about the cruelty-free makeup trend.