The Chemical Makeup Of Makeup – What’s Really In Cosmetic Products?
The types of ingredients used in cosmetic products is vast to say the least. Some of them are derived from nature, while others are manufactured. Choosing what cosmetic ingredients to include in your products can be a minefield. Furthermore, you’ll want to work with cosmetic ingredients suppliers who can supply you with high-quality cosmetic ingredients. Here we explore the different types of cosmetic ingredients, how they are used, and where you can purchase them.
What Do Most Cosmetics Contain?
Cosmetic products can contain a huge variety of ingredients that are added to give the product its desired look, texture, smell, and efficiency. Nearly all cosmetic products will contain:
- Water – the most common cosmetic ingredient, water is used as the base of many products. It also acts as the main solvent to dissolve other ingredients in the product.
- Emulsifiers – these are used to stabilize formulas and prevent the ingredients from separating. Common emulsifiers are Laureth-4, polysorbates, and potassium cetyl sulfate.
- Preservatives – these have antimicrobial properties and give cosmetic products a longer shelf life. Examples of these are aldehydes, glycol ethers, isothiazolinones, organic acids, and parabens.
- Thickeners – used to enhance the consistency, volume, and viscosity of cosmetic products. The most common thickeners used in the cosmetic industry are xanthan gum, gelatin, cetyl alcohol, and silica.
- Emollients – these have a softening effect on the skin as they create a protective film on the skin that traps moisture inside, therefore reducing water loss. Oils, waxes, and silicones all fulfill this function.
- Pigments – these give color to products and are often made using powder-based chemicals such as iron oxide, mica flakes, manganese, and beet powder. ¹
What Are Active Ingredients In Cosmetics?
Broadly speaking, when we talk about active cosmetic ingredients, we’re referring to cosmetic ingredients in cosmetic products that have a specific purpose, or address a specific concern, like dry skin, fine lines, or acne.
Examples Of Active Ingredients Typically Found In Makeup
Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs):
These are used in cosmetics because they gently exfoliate the skin. Their effectiveness depends on what type of AHA is used and its concentration, its pH level, and what other cosmetic ingredients are also present in a product. Examples of AHAs are lactic and glycolic acid. ²
This is a vitamin-A derivative known to increase cell turnover, so it’s a common cosmetic ingredient used to help tackle acne and fine lines. Retinol can dry and irritate the skin, especially if one hasn’t used it before, so it’s best to introduce it gradually into a routine. It can also increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, increasing the risk of sunburn if precautions aren’t taken. ³
Probiotics, Prebiotics and Postbiotics
An increasingly common cosmetic ingredient, biotics address issues with the skin’s microbiome (the community of microorganisms found living together on the skin). Prebiotics are described as non-digestible food sources for the bacteria building our microbiome. Therefore they feed the ‘good’ bacteria already living on the skin. Probiotics are living microorganisms that are added to cosmetics to stop harmful bacteria from multiplying on the skin. Postbiotics are what remains of bacteria after its membrane has been broken down and the inner parts collected. These act as antioxidants and humectants that are beneficial to the skin. ⁴
What Are Natural Ingredients In Cosmetics?
Natural cosmetic ingredients are those found in nature that have beneficial properties when used in cosmetics. They can be either animal or plant-based.
Examples Of Natural Ingredients Found In Cosmetics
This natural cosmetic ingredient is the extract from a succulent plant that has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties, so it’s often used in cosmetic products to reduce blemishes and brighten skin. It can be purchased as freeze- or spray-dried powders or liquid concentrates. ⁵
Derived from the nut of the jojoba plant, this oil is a versatile cosmetic ingredient, helping to keep skin hydrated. It also has antimicrobial and antifungal properties and has a high concentration of natural vitamin-E. ⁶
This natural cosmetic ingredient is derived from olives and has multiple functions in cosmetic products. It helps soothe and regulate acne-prone or oily skin, and increase the strength and shine of hair. Squalane is also a good alternative to synthetic emollients like dimethicone. ⁷
What Is Lipstick Actually Made Of?
Most lipsticks are made from three basic ingredients: wax, oil, and pigment. Waxes help give shape and also give lipstick its spreadable texture for easier application. The wax used could be beeswax, carnauba wax, ozokerite, ceresin, or microcrystalline wax, which is derived from petroleum. ⁸
Petrolatum, lanolin, cocoa butter, jojoba, castor, and mineral oils are used to add moisture and soften the wax. The amount of oil used will change the intensity of the lipstick’s formula – more oil will create a more sheer look, while less oil will produce in a richer pigment. Pigment provides the color of the lipstick. ⁹
Film formers are added to ensure the lipstick can be applied evenly and give the product its staying power. Film formers can be synthetic, like Covacryl® which is made from water-soluble polymer. They can also be natural sugar-based like Natpure®, made using Senegal gum. ¹⁰
Where Can You Purchase Cosmetic Ingredients?
We know that finding the best cosmetic ingredients for your products is a top priority for you and your customers. However, sourcing these raw materials can be time-consuming and stressful, especially if you have a business to run. Van Horn, Metz & Co is your trusted partner to source the specialty high quality raw materials you need. After all, we’ve been doing it since the 1950s, and we’re one of the leading distributors in North America.
Our highly trained technical sales managers have direct experience in labs and manufacturing, along with engineering and science degrees. They will work with you to source the high-quality materials you need for your products. In addition, we work with leading cosmetic ingredients suppliers like Sensient and Worlee who supply the highest quality cosmetic ingredients.
Find out how we can help you by visiting our website: https://www.vanhornmetz.com