How Makeup is Made: Ingredients to be Aware Of

Most consumers constantly think about this intriguing question of their favorite makeup products. That is because, in addition to the fact that most people use them daily, their prices frequently fluctuate. 

Seeing a line of cosmetic products at different prices while performing the same function is quite common. 

Knowing how these makeup products are produced will help comprehend the reasons for such discrepancies.

It is crucial to be curious about how cosmetics are made before applying them to your skin. You’ll learn about the common ingredients used in most makeup in this article, including a list of brands that make their cosmetics ethically.

How is Makeup Made? 

Basic cosmetics are created by mixing several ingredients, such as wax and alcohol. Everything differs depending on how these items are mixed, including the additives and the technology used. 

Cosmetics products produced by some top companies are of greater quality than one produced by a company with inadequate funding. These ‘top companies’ have a significant advantage over other companies lacking the same expertise and modern technologies. 

These top companies make significant investments in research when creating their cosmetics products to develop new technologies that aid the production of incredibly effective cosmetic products. 

Their products are also designed to meet the changing consumer preferences and skin and hair requirements. The quality of these companies’ cosmetic items is assumed to be significantly higher than that of some companies that lack these advantages.

In light of this, let’s examine the processes used to create cosmetic items. The term “cosmetics” is wide and applies to many different products. Let’s look at how lipsticks and mascaras, concealers, and foundations are made to give some perspective. 



The basic constituents of lipstick are wax, alcohol, oil, and pigment, though there are many other constituents. It helps make the wax easier to form into its well-known tube shape when it is often a blend of a few distinct types. 

The color pigment and solvent solution are added after the wax and oil have been melted and combined. 

According to the manufacturer’s preferences and the type of lipstick produced, pigmentation additives can vary. A matte, deep-red lipstick will not have the same pigment as a glossy balm.

The formulation is often mixed for several hours by a machine once everything has been initially blended. It is poured into its well-known tube molding after being given time to solidify, then cooled to maintain its shape. 

The product is now ready to be authorized and dispatched to your nearby makeup store after brand labels and unique packaging have been attached.



The deep black color of most mascaras is obtained using coal or tar in various nations. However, this is not permitted in some nations, so the pigment used to color mascara is often carbon black. 

Iron oxides can be employed for brown, and a few other inorganic pigments are frequently utilized to obtain the more unusual hues, such as purple and blue.

The emulsion approach is the most cost-effective for businesses or companies, even though there are a few different ways to make mascara. It creates a cream foundation by blending water and unique thickeners.

The colors are added after the waxes have been melted in a separate container. After both solutions are prepared, they are quickly combined, which aids in dissolving the oils and waxes into very tiny particles. The process continues until the mixture is cooled. 

The mixture is then put into a machine that will pour into bottles after one last check for purity and clarity. 

Manufacturers must ensure no irritants are present in any container before mascara is distributed to stores because it is so close to the eyes.



While dry, mineral-based variations of this essential product exist, liquid foundation is probably the most well-known.

Oils, pigments, and possibly some fragrances are the first materials that manufacturers use. All ingredients must be thoroughly blended during mixing.

The correct industrial mixing equipment is important in this equation “blending well” part. All components must be thoroughly mixed, which cannot be done with a blender or any other device or instrument found in a home, to produce a smooth, uniform texture, color, and other qualities. 

Some items available today can only be produced utilizing sophisticated submicron processing, and this process reduces constituents to vanishingly small particles. In this aspect, Quadro Liquids is exceptional. 

Depending on the finished product, cosmetics producers use complex mixing equipment that can handle difficult tasks, including the following:

  • Thickening and suspending hydration agents
  • Creation of stable emulsions
  • The dissolution of solids
  • Melting of powders
  • The mixing of liquids with various viscosities
  • Combination of stabilizers, rheology modifiers, and thickeners. 

Furthermore, it would be best if you carried out these procedures in totally hygienic, regulated, and repeatable circumstances. The regulatory agency is concerned because people’s health and safety are at risk.



Concealer is used to cover skin imperfections and leave the skin looking flawless. The cosmetic product combines a UV absorber and cosmetic ingredients to give the skin a flawless look.

Concealer hides skin issues and is a cosmetic product that corrects spots, freckles, moles, acne scars, and bears under the eyes that give off an unflattering appearance. Concealers come in stick, cream, and liquid forms.

For more covering power than regular foundations, concealer contains more pigment, adhesion, and emollient.

Talc, macadamia oil, and crushed mica are a few of the most popular concealer ingredients. Shea butter and titanium dioxide are also components of many concealers. 

Not all concealer chemicals are safe; for instance, breathing in talc or titanium dioxide might irritate the lungs. Shea butter, mica, and macadamia oil are often risk-free unless the wearer has sensitive skin or has a history of allergies. 

These fundamental components are typically combined with many other minerals, compounds, and vitamins to produce the finished product.

Common Makeup Ingredients 

With the help of cosmetics, we can clean, scent, protect, and alter how our bodies look and smell. The use of some major ingredients makes this possible. 

Listed below are some of the common makeup ingredients. 


Solvents remove extra sebum, create a matte texture, and dissolve other substances. An example of this is water. 


The most widely used component in skincare and cosmetics is water. The skin needs water to operate properly and is an essential body part. In many product ingredient listings, water is listed first.

It is frequently the element that is most concentrated. The water used in skincare products is clean and devoid of microbes, pollutants, and poisons. It can be distilled or purified, as well as deionized or demineralized.

Water is a versatile and essential solvent for cosmetics and personal care products. 

Cleansing and conditioning agents, among other helpful substances, are easily dissolved in water or delivered to the skin. Additionally, it aids in evenly distributing and dispersing products.

Water renews essential moisture through its magic, which is a great advantage, given that water makes up most of the cells in our skin.

Almost all makeup contains water, whether for the lips, the face, or the eyes. If you look closely, you can find it in eye shadows, lipsticks, blushes, bronzers, foundations, and blushes.


Abrasives remove impurities from the skin, polish it, and make it shine more. 


Compounds consisting of silicon and oxygen are known as silica. This multipurpose ingredient is utilized to build a makeup product that lasts long and doesn’t cake.

This component is an absorbent because it can absorb moisture and sweat while reducing light reflection, which is necessary for complete applications.

Silica produces a polished, crisp finish and gives products a creamier and richer texture.

Silica is primarily utilized in eye products like blush, mascara, and other cosmetics because it gives a pleasant texture and non-cakey appearance.


Humectants do two things: they hold onto moisture and stop it from evaporating, e.g. Hyaluronic Acid. 

Hyaluronic Acid

A sugar molecule called hyaluronic acid, naturally present on the skin’s surface, is an important ingredient of many makeups and skincare products because of its potent moisturizing properties. 

It keeps water in the skin, which promotes good epidermal suppleness. It’s a great base because it’s a natural moisturizer with good water-binding properties.

Hyaluronic acid enhances skin hydration and stops water loss. It reduces the visibility of wrinkles and can still transfer active chemicals to the skin, such as vitamin C.

The use of virtually no additional lubricants or emollients in a product formulation is made possible by this special ingredient. 

This substance makes already tough skin look smoother and more natural. Additionally, it considerably enhances skin texture.

This potent ingredient is frequently used in anti-ageing products that offer intense hydration. Additionally, it is appropriate for blushes and foundations with cream or serum bases.


In cosmetics, personal care products, and other products, glycerin (also known as glycerol) is a well-known and often-used humectant. Glycerin is a sugar alcohol produced artificially or extracted from natural sources, and it can be yellow or colorless.

This substance functions as a solvent to skin care products and can be easily dissolved in alcohol and water, making it compatible with other substances.

This substance’s healing, soothing, and moisturizing qualities are widely known. Glycerin shields against irritability and intensely hydrates parched, flaky skin. 

It extracts water from the skin to properly breathe and take in the skin’s natural oils.

This ingredient is known for its cooling and revitalizing effects on the skin, and it is both extremely safe and powerful. The skin is perfectly moisturized, smooth, and soft after the treatment.

Glycerin promotes the simple application of liquid eye colors and helps hold together pressed colors for eye shadows. In Blushes, bronzers, and foundations, it softens the skin.


An opacifier lessens the transparency and clarity of cosmetics, and titanium Dioxide is an example. 

Titanium Dioxide

Minerals are used to create titanium dioxide, which contributes to SPF without using chemicals. This odorless, absorbent component lingers on the skin, dispersing UV radiation to shield it from harmful UVA/UVB rays.

This all-natural mineral is mostly utilized as a physical sunscreen and offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection (wide range). You can use synthetic sunscreens to raise the Sun Protection Factor (SPF).

It lessens the chance of allergies or irritants brought on by the overuse of chemical sunscreens.

Cosmetics can have a clear, abundant appearance by using titanium dioxide, and it can also be used as an opacifying ingredient to give cosmetics a rich, clear feel. As a basis for pigments, it can offer faultless coverage.

This component is frequently present in moisturizers, blushes, bronzers, and foundations. Additionally, it’s a component of lipstick and eyeshadow formulas.

It reduces the chance of allergies or irritants brought on by the overuse of chemical sunscreens.

Cosmetics can look clear and opulent when titanium dioxide is used. It can also be used as an opacifying agent to give cosmetics a luxurious, transparent feel, and it can offer excellent coverage and serve as a foundation for pigments.

This component is frequently present in foundations, blushes, bronzers, and moisturizers. Additionally, it is a component of lipstick and eyeshadow formulas.


In cosmetics, different types of alcohol are used. 

SD Alcohol (specially Denatured) evaporates swiftly, leaving the active components on the skin’s surface.

Fatty alcohols derived from fatty acids can be used as emollients, thickeners, and transporting agents for other substances.

Common cosmetics products contain cetyl and stearyl alcohol. 

Alcohol draws and binds water, retaining moisture in the skin. To form a barrier of protection, it can also repel water. Additionally, it distributes additional active chemicals to the skin, which aids in lowering their level and offers many advantages.

Alcohol gives skin a smoother, creamier texture, facilitating better absorption.

Additionally, it can tighten pores and remove oil, giving your skin a smooth appearance.

While heavier emollients are used for their occlusive and lubricating properties, lighter alcohols are known for their antiseptic, astringent, fat, and lipid solvent features.

Alcohol has many advantages despite the misconception that it can dry up the skin.

Due to its antibacterial qualities, alcohol is a common ingredient in cosmetics products. Denat alcohol is also used in bronzers, blushes, and foundations.

Toxic Makeup Ingredients to Watch Out For 

Cosmetics contain many substances you should avoid coming in contact with. The European Union forbids more than 1,300 chemicals in cosmetics due to concerns about their safety.

Only 11 of these substances are prohibited in the United States.

Fluorine, commonly known as PFA and associated with common malignancies, immune system impairment, and other problems, was discovered in several typical cosmetics and excessive quantities, according to a study in 2021.

Researchers discovered that 82% of the waterproof mascaras they tested included many dangerous components. 63% of foundations and 62% of liquid lipsticks also contained high fluoride levels.

Most dangerous ingredients are not disclosed on the items. If that has you worried, you might be interested in learning what else is hiding in your makeup.

Many of these substances need to be stated or listed differently on the packaging.


A product’s shelf life is increased using parabens.

These are the most common types of paraben; 

  • Methylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Hepthylparaben

They can also be seen as E218, E214, E216, and E209.

Parabens behave similarly to estrogen in the human body, and the harm parabens cause is only speculatively linked to them. 

There is evidence to support the idea that they may lead to hormonal imbalances and aid in the growth of breast cancer.

To validate this, however, more study is required.

Even though parabens are typically used in very small amounts, I advise switching to paraben-free products because natural preservatives are still beneficial.


Over five thousand different types of polyfluoroalkyl (PFA) compounds exist. Because of their capacity to withstand grease, dirt, and oil, they are frequently used in cosmetics products.

PFAs, according to Dallimore, have been connected to several health problems because of their protracted breakdown times, including:

  • Different cancers
  • Infertility 
  • Lowered birth weight
  • Negative effect on the immune system 


This natural ingredient is found in crude oil and the tolu tree.

It is frequently used as a stabilizer and antioxidant in moisturizers, and cream beauty products, including foundation, concealer, and nail paint.

Although Dallimore claims its toxicity is low, toluene is a skin irritant.

As toluene can affect immunological function, create respiratory problems, and develop cancers like lymphoma in greater quantities, she warns that regular or prolonged exposure to it may harm one’s health.

Silicones and Siloxanes

Silicones and siloxanes are used to give products a soft feel, whether a silky texture in a conditioner or a dewy sheen in a moisturizer.

Although they aren’t absorbed through the skin very efficiently, they have been connected to endocrine disturbance, according to Dallimore.


Some makeup products contain toxic ingredients far more than meets the eye.

Knowing what is contained in your makeup products can be challenging, but a little knowledge can help you ascertain that your makeup products are safe to use.

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