Chemistry Behind Different Types Of Makeup |

Chemistry behind different types of makeup

Chemistry behind Different Types of Makeup
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Chemistry behind Different Types of Makeup
Makeup is not only ubiquitous but also synonymous with femininity. Use of makeup to
enhance beauty; however, is as old as human civilization. In ancient Egypt, women held beauty
in high regard, and enhancement of the same was perceived to be a moral and divine obligation
(Lucas, 1930). Makeup is any substance applied mainly to the face, to alter the appearance or
enhance beauty. According to Forbes, the cosmetic industry is estimated to be worth
approximately $445 billion (Sorvino, 2003). The composition of makeup varies exceedingly;
from natural herbs, home products to complex industrial compounds. This essay will explore
various chemical compounds found in makeup, such as emulsifiers, preservatives, thickeners,
emollient, glimmers, colors and fragrance.
The function of emulsifiers is to bond water and oil and consequently create a
homogenous compound. Different types of emulsifiers exist; however, in cosmetics, they are
divided into two categories, ionic and nonionic. Ionic emulsifiers are either in negative or
positive ionic groups. On the other hand, nonionic emulsifiers (most of them have polar hydroxyl
(OH) and fatty acids), do not dissociate when charged (Castro, 2015). Preservatives integral
components of makeup; they prevent the development of microbes. Some of the most common
preservatives are formaldehyde, tocopherols, benzyl acids, and tetra-sodium compounds among
others; which are either natural and directly derivable from plants and animals or synthetic.
Thickeners are also incorporated during the manufacturing of makeup to create stability,
consistency and uniform flow. Thickeners are often in three categories: synthetic, natural, and
lipids. A huge percent of thickeners used in makeups are natural and synthetic polymers such as
cellulose, Poly-acrylic acid, Benton and gelatin among others (Jones & Selinger, 2017). Also,
naturally occurring mineral such as Magnesium Aluminum Silicate (AlMgO4Si+) are popular.
On the other hand, emollients are used to minimize water loss through the skin and to soften it.
Examples are coconut and olive oils, animal fats and lanolin. They are mostly derived directly
from the plants and animals.
Makeups come in different colors and appearances. Some of the chemicals used to create
different colors are Titanium Dioxide (TiO2), Iron dioxide and chromium oxides among others.
There are also other natural extracts such as the beetroot powder and cochineal insects. To make
the makeups glimmer, most manufacturers add Hydrated Phyllosilicate compounds (Mica).
Bismuth Oxychloride is also known for its silver-grey appearance when mixed with other
makeup compounds. Fragrances used in makeups come in different forms and smell. Some of the
typical scents are 4-methoxy benzoic acid, 1, 3-Dioxolane-4-methanol, 2, 2-dimethyl, Benzyl
alcohol, Rose extracts and Citron oil among thousand others (“INFRA,” 2016).
In conclusion, the chemistry behind the makeup is complex and diverse. Averagely, a
single cosmetic contains hundreds of compounds playing different roles. Fundamentally,
compounds in makeup act as emulsifiers, preservatives, thickeners, emollient, glimmers, colors
or fragrances. Lack of one or more compounds may have a significant impact on its
effectiveness. The chemical composition of any cosmetic product determines its duration, smell,
and appearance among other factors; therefore, manufacturers often strive to create unique
products through introducing new or novel ideas.
Castro, J. (2015). Cosmetic Chemistry. Chemistry Explained. Retrieved from
IFRA Volume of Use Survey 2016: Transparency List (2016). The International Fragrance
Association. Retrieved from
Jones, O., & Selinger, B. (2017). Chemistry of Cosmetics. Australian Academy of Science.
Retrieved from
Lucas, A. (1930). Cosmetics, Perfumes, and Incense in Ancient Egypt. The Journal of Egyptian
Archaeology, 16(1/2), 41-53.
Sorvino, C. (2003). Why the $445 Billion Beauty Industry Is a Gold Mine for Self-Made
Women. Forbes. Retrieved from

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