Being Brainy about Beauty


While I don’t really wear makeup, just some lip gloss and the occasional blush, I know many girls at my school who wear makeup (and sometimes too much!). Makeup is a huge industry, and  in the cosmetic field, the use of chemical resources is prominent in beauty products such as shampoos, eye shadows, and moisturizers.

In shampoos,  Glycol stearate is a thickener added to products like shampoos to give them a pearly appearance. Its sole purpose is to create a pleasant look.  Sodium lauryl sulfate is a surface-active substance which is also in shampoo, but it is also used in skin cleansers. It loosens dirt and oils, making it easier to wash them away. In mascaras, Lecithin, a lipid found naturally in plant and animal cells, is used as an emollient and moisturizing agent. It helps protect the outer layers of the epidermis against dryness and irritation. Titanium dioxide is used to lighten cosmetics such as eye shadow and foundation. Talc is also used in eye shadow and other powdery products for it is an absorbent natural compound.

Other substances added are:

  • agar: similar to algae; used in moisturizers.
  • alcohol SD-40: according to one website: “…a high-grade cosmetic alcohol that acts as an emollient and a vehicle for the other ingredients.”
  • cellulose: used as a thickener for creams and skin lotions
  • mica: a mineral found in toothpaste and other make-up products; creates a shiny, pearly look
  • parabens: used as a preservative in makeup and lotions
  • xanthan: a thickening agent used for texture

With so many different products these days, it’s hard to really know what’s in your products.  I found this very interesting because I did not know that many of the products that I use in my daily routine are based on chemistry. Without these substances the field of cosmetics would not be as advanced as it is today.  While most things in products are designed to help you, always be on the lookout for something trying to con you! For more information, and a longer list of chemicals and other substances in makeup, click the link below!


So ta ta for now and I hope to see your chemical reaction soon!


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