The Science and History Behind Makeup

The Science and History Behind Makeup

Improving our appearance has been part of our culture since the beginning of time.  The use of makeup has been around for several centuries.

Makeup’s History

Makeup has been used throughout the decades, and in various cultures, including Ancient Egypt, China, and Greece. Many of the same products that are used worldwide today were used in ancient civilizations, such as variations of foundation, eye shadow, creams, and perfumes.

Women in Ancient Greece used a white power on their faces, similar to today’s blush, instead, it lightened their skin tone. Charcoal was used for eye shadow in Greece, as well. And, in Africa and Australia, rocks, clay, and minerals were used to make makeup and paint often used in religious and traditional ceremonies.

However, in these ancient societies, not a whole lot was known about chemistry or chemical elements, and dangerous ones like lead. Today we’ve made many new developments in the world of cosmetics, and the world of science.

Water’s Role in Makeup

“Science” and “makeup” aren’t two words that are usually heard together, but in reality, there is a lot of chemistry, geology, and other kinds of science that are used to create eye shadow, concealer, and other kinds of cosmetics. With constant changes in fashion, makeup producers are always creating new products, often using trial-and-error and many different scientific properties and elements to make them.

There are many different kinds of compounds, chemicals, and molecules that make up our makeup, including one that is essential to our survival-water. One of the most important molecules in the whole world, the combination of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom is found in shampoos and other hair products, lotions, deodorant, and of course, all different kinds of makeup.

Water’s role goes beyond preventing these products from being solids, and it often acts as a solvent when products use emulsions, which is a substance that holds together two other substances that usually wouldn’t mix. Emulsifiers are often used in lotions, creams, and moisturizers to allow the product to become an actual mixture with an even texture and appearance. Water also comes into play when it comes to preservatives, which are often found in cosmetics, as some of them are water-soluble.

Minerals, Pigments, and Lipids in Makeup

Lipids, one of the four macromolecules that make up the basic building blocks of life, and although they are solid at room temperature, they can be used to thicken cosmetic products when they are turned into liquids. Thickeners can also be made from natural elements like minerals, including silica.

The minerals can absorb oil or water can help to make cosmetics thicker. Lipids are oils, and many kinds of oils are used in makeup, especially lipstick. Some of these include coconut oil, mineral oil, and even olive oil. Minerals are often also responsible for what gives makeup like blush, eye shadow, and lipsticks their color: pigment.

Pigments are often natural, coming from minerals like iron, rocks like mica, plants like beets, or even animals like small insects. Organic pigments come from molecules that are based on carbon, and inorganic pigments are derived from combinations between oxygen and metals. However, both organic and inorganic pigments are derived from natural sources.

Organic pigments can further be divided into subcategories of lake and toner. The lake pigments come in handy when business people try to create cosmetics that resist water, an attribute of makeup that is popular with many consumers because the pigment is made up of a dye and a chemical compound that doesn’t dissolve in water.

The Ridding of Wrinkles

Wrinkles have consistently been one of the most annoying things for people, young and old alike, to deal with, and many different creams, moisturizers, and products have been developed to attempt to rectify the issue, and there is also a lot of science behind the development.

Much of the science concerning wrinkle treatment revolves around vitamins and other nourishing elements, and cosmetic chemists have experimented for many years to find the right combination of certain things.

Neutrogena has created a formula containing retinol, a substance derived from Vitamin A that helps nourish the skin and reduce the number of wrinkles, Vitamin C, SPF, and hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a mouthful of a word, but it is actually produced by the body naturally and can hydrate the skin.

The right combination of chemical compounds and substances can result in a makeup product used by hundreds of people around the world. So next time you apply foundation, eye shadow, or lipstick, don’t forget about the chemistry and science that went into it!

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