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Most Common Chemicals in Women’s Makeup



The makeup industry in 2017 was reported to cost more than $440 billion. In addition, the average person owns approximately 40 different makeup products. From lipsticks to foundations, there’s a lot of liquids and colors that can go on a face. But what chemicals are in each each tube or pallet? By taking a look at some different price points, one can get a better understanding at the most common chemical ingredients for each type of makeup product.


Lipsticks are used to define the lips. Colors can be a natural shade, a bold hue, or any other color on the rainbow. Some of the most common lipstick brands include:

-Lancôme Paris L'Absolu Rouge

-Nars Lipstick

-Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lipstick

-Wet n’ Wild Silk Finish Lipstick

-Rimmel Lasting Finish Matte Lipstick by Kate

For these lipsticks, here are the most common chemicals and what they do:

-Titanium Dioxide (TiO2): Used to deflect UV rays, protect the skin, and has both odorless and absorbent properties.

-Mica (Si2O52−): Used to thicken formulas, make the product stick to the face better, and help make the product easier to spread.

-Pentaerythrityl adipate/caprate/caprylate/heptanoate (C36H72O13): Used as a skin conditioning agent.

-Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate (has SiO2, 52%; Na2O, 0.3%; CaO, 22.5%; MgO, 1.2%; Al2O3, 14.5%; Fe2O3, 0.2%; K2O, 0.2%, and B2O3, 8.6% ): Used as a bulking/thickening agent.

-Tocopheryl acetate (C31H52O3) : Contains acetic acid and tocopherol (vitamin E); used as a nourishing agent.


Eyeshadows are used to add color to the eyelids and eye area. Colors can be pastel, bold, or neutral, and palettes can be matte or shiny. Some of the most common eyeshadows include:

-L.A. Colors SWEET! 16 Color Eyeshadow

-e.l.f. Rose Gold Eyeshadow Palette

-Kat Von D Shade + Light Eye Contour Palette

-Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow

-Laura Mercier Matte Eye Color

Common chemicals in these eyeshadows are:

-Dimethicone ((C2H6OSi)n): Used to soften the skin and prevent itching/flaking.

-Ethylhexyl palmitate (C24H48O2): Used to adjust the consistency of makeup.

-Zinc Stearate (C36H70O4Zn): Used as a lubricant and a water repel.

-Potassium ferric hexacyanoferrate (C18Fe7N18): Used to include a blue pigment/coloration.

-Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (C33H62O6): Used to moisturize and increase intensity of pigments.


Blushes/rouges are used to add color to the cheeks. The word “rouge” in French means “red”, but modern blushes can come in a variety of warm-tone colors. Five of the most common blushes are:

-Clinique Soft-Pressed Powder Blusher

-Dior Vibrant Color Powder Blush

-NYX Powder Blush

-Lancôme Cushion Blush Subtil

-Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush

Chemicals found in such products include:

Potassium sorbate (C6H7KO2): Used as a preservative and prevents growth of microorganisms.

Iron Oxide (FeO; Fe2O3): Used to include colors such as red, orange, or yellow.

Bismuth oxychloride (BiOCl): Used in mineral makeups to provide an iridescent (shiny) effect.

Calcium silicate (Ca2O4Si): Used to make cosmetic colors more opaque.

Talc (Mg3Si4O10(OH)2): Used as an absorbent, anti-caking agent and improves feel of the product.


Mascaras are used to lengthen and define the eye lashes. Most but not all mascaras come in a dark brown or black shade. Some common mascaras include:

-Wet n Wild MegaVolume Mascara

-Maybelline Volum' Express® The Colossal Big Shot

-Urban Decay Perversion

-CoverGirl LashExact Mascara

-L'oreal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara

Chemicals that can be found in the above mascaras include:

-Acrylate copolymer (CH2=CHCOO−): Used to add dark color to cosmetics.

-Hydroxyethyl cellulose (variable, but usually [C6H7O2(OH)x (OC2H5)y [O(CH2CH2O)mH]z]n.): Used as a gelling and thickening agent.

-Triethanolamine (C6H15NO3): Used to create thicker liquid base for makeup.

-Phenoxyethanol (C8H10O2): Used as a preservative and a stabilizer.

-Panthenol (C9H19NO4): Form of form of vitamin B5; used as a moisturizer and lubricating compound.


Foundations are used to cover blemishes on the skin and even out a skin tone. As a result, foundations can come in a variety of shades from paler hues to dark hues. Some common foundations being sold right now include:

-Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Hydrating Foundation

-MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF

-Clinique Beyond Perfecting™ Foundation + Concealer

-NYX Total Control Drop Foundation

-NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation

Chemicals that can be found in the above foundations include:

-Disteardimonium hectorite (Na0.3(Mg,Li)3Si4O10(OH)2): Used as a thickening agent.

-Propylene carbonate (C4H6O3): Used to enhance texture.

-Tocopheryl acetate (C31H52O3): Used to condition the skin.

-Triethoxycaprylylsilane (C14 H32 O3 Si): Used as an binding agent and an emulsifier.

-Butylene glycol (‎C12H18O4): Used as a solvent and to thin creams out to make them easier to spread.

Independent Chemical is a proud chemical supplier in New York. Learn more about the diverse range of cosmetic chemicals that are offered here.


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