AsapSCIENCE Explains the Chemistry of Makeup

Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown of AsapSCIENCE explain the history of makeup, the chemistry behind the ingredients of makeup and what keeps these chemicals from being deadly in makeup form.

Historically ancient Egyptians would grind up a mineral substance containing primarily lead(ii) sulfide by to rim around their eyesm creating the sultry Cleopatra look. Little did they know that lead is a potent neurotoxin which can lead to learning and behavioural difficulties in children and decreased fertility in both men and women. Later in 1891, creams, lotions and blush containing compounds of the radioactive element radium were also sold to women in Europe promising a youthful glow, until the harmful effects of exposure to radioactivity was discovered that is. But makeup has come a long way and now there are only trace amounts of lead found in our products. Lead is found in nature and is therefore an unintentional contaminant from the manufacturing process.

Gregory Brown went into further detail when he gave himself a makeover, explaining the chemistry behind each type of makeup before he applied it.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.