MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Americans, in general, spend almost $40 billion a year trying to look good. The cosmetic market represents about 15 percent of the beauty industry and includes anything from lipstick to nail polish.
But what’s in this stuff and how is it made?
“This is your basic lipstick formula — waxes and oils and pigments,” Karoline Wells, a formulation chemist, said.
After working in microbiology labs, Wells started mixing and pouring her own line of lipstick at the Elixery in Northeast Minneapolis.
“These waxes are rationed out very specifically, so if the wax ratio is wrong, it can crystalize or it can sweat,” Wells said.
Colors and compounds are developed from scratch in the lab.
“My goal was to stay on really well and to have it feel good,” Wells said.
She started making lipstick, wanting an ethical product free of animal testing. Because of her science background, she can spot the “ugly” easily in the beauty industry.
Wells says all make up needs is to stick and be easy to put on. That’s where fillers come in.
“Mica is a kind of shimmery mineral, so that’s the ingredient here,” Wells said.
Wells says she’s not a huge fan of fillers made of corn starch because, in her opinion, it can grow bacteria. She thinks rice starch is a better alternative.
She also said those of you who have reactions to makeup might want to avoid bismuth oxychloride, which is sometimes found in mineral makeups.
Something Wells checks for in a blush is carmine, an insect derived pigment. She said you might want to stay away from Solvent brands, which dry out your lips.
“I definitely avoid a chemical called isododecane because it can de-fat your skin,” Wells said.
Anything shiny on your lip will amplify the sun’s rays and most glosses don’t contain sunscreen, whereas lipstick does contain titanium dioxide, a pigment which does block the sun. Studies show that may be why women are less likely than men to get lip cancer.