Do you need to know what is makeup made of? Makeup is made of different ingredients that can be natural or synthetic. The makeup products applied to the skin, hair, or nails are typically a mixture of several ingredients.

This can include fragrances, pigments, dyes, fillers, preservatives, and moisturizers. The ingredients will depend on the product applied to the skin.

Most makeup products contain a combination of many different ingredients, some which may be harmful to your health. Let’s look at some of the most common ingredients used in cosmetics and their health effects.

What Is A Cosmetic?

A cosmetic is defined in Australia by the Industrial Chemical (Notification and Assessment) Act (1989) as “a substance or preparation intended to be placed in contact with any external body part” (including the mouth and teeth).

Cosmetics are used to clean, perfume, protect, and modify the appearance or odor of our bodies. On the other hand, therapeutics are products that claim to modify a bodily process, prevent, diagnose, and cure any disease, ailment, or defect.

This distinction is vital because shampoos, deodorants, and antiperspirants fall under cosmetics.

What Is A Cosmetic

What Is Makeup Made Of?


Solvents dissolve other substances, make a matte texture and remove excess sebum.


Water is the most common ingredient in skincare and makeup. Water is an essential component of the skin and is vital for its proper functioning. You will see water listed first in many products’ ingredient lists.

This is because it is often the most concentrated ingredient. Water used in skincare products is free from toxins, pollutants, and microorganisms. It can be deionized or demineralized, distilled, or purified.

Water is a versatile and necessary solvent for cosmetics and personal care products. Water dissolves or delivers many beneficial ingredients to the skin, such as cleansing agents and conditioning agents. It also helps to disperse and distribute products evenly.

It works its magic to replenish vital moisture. This is a huge benefit considering that water is the most significant component of our skin cells.

Water is used in nearly every type of makeup, from eyes to lips to face. It can be used in foundations, blushes, and bronzers, as well as eye shadows and lipsticks if you look closely.

What Is Makeup Made Out Of


Abrasives remove materials from the skin, polish skin, and enhance shine.


Silica is a compound made of silicon and oxygen. This multi-functional ingredient is used to create a long-lasting, non-caking makeup product.

Because it can absorb moisture and sweat and prevent light reflection, this ingredient is called an absorbent. This is a requirement in comprehensive applications.

FDA approved it for use as an anti-ticking agent. It creates a smooth, clean finish. It gives products a richer texture and a creamy texture.

Because it produces a pleasing texture and non-cakey appearance, silica is mainly used in eye products such as blush, mascara, and other cosmetics.


Humectants retain and hold moisture while also preventing moisture loss.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid, a sugar molecule naturally found on the skin’s surface, is a strong hydrating compound and a key ingredient in many cosmetic and skincare products. It holds water in the skin, allowing excellent epidermis suppleness.

It is an excellent base because it is a natural moisturizer with excellent water-binding abilities.

Hyaluronic acid improves skin moisture and prevents water loss. This helps to reduce wrinkle appearance. It can still deliver active ingredients such as vitamin C to the skin.

This specialized ingredient makes it possible to use almost no other lubricants or emollients in a product formulation. This ingredient gives skin a smoother, more natural appearance to already rough skin. It also significantly improves skin texture.

This powerful ingredient is often used in anti-aging preparations that provide deep hydration. It can also be used in cream- and serum-based foundations and blushes.


Glycerin (also known as Glycerol) is a well-known and widely-used humectant in cosmetics, personal care products, and other areas. Glycerin is a yellow or colorless tacky sugar alcohol, which can be extracted from natural sources or manufactured.

Because it is easily dissolved in alcohol and water, it acts as a solvent and is used in skincare to ensure compatibility with other ingredients.

This ingredient is well-known for its healing, soothing, and hydrating properties. It protects against irritation and deeply moisturizes dry, flaky skin. It draws out water from the skin to breathe fully and absorb its natural oils.

This component is known to have a cooling and refreshing effect on the skin. It is safe and highly effective. The skin is left soft, smooth, and hydrated to the perfect level.

Glycerin helps hold together pressed colors for eye shadows and encourages the easy application of liquid eye colors. It also softens the skin in foundations, bronzers, and blushes.


An opacifier reduces the transparency and translucency of cosmetics.

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium Dioxide, a non-chemical SPF contributor, is made from minerals. This absorbent, odorless ingredient stays on the skin, scattering UV light to protect it from damaging UVA/UVB rays.

This all-natural mineral is used first and foremost as a physical sunscreen. It protects against UVA (broad spectrum) and UVB (wide range). You can combine it with synthetic sunscreens to increase the Sun Protection Factor (SPF).

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This reduces the possibility of allergies or irritations caused by excessive use of chemical sunscreens.

Titanium Dioxide can also give cosmetics a transparent, luxurious look. It can also be an opacifying ingredient to give cosmetics a rich, transparent feel. It can provide flawless coverage and act as a base for pigments.

This ingredient is commonly found in foundations, blushes, bronzers, and moisturizers. It’s also used in eyeshadow formulations and lipsticks.

Iron Oxide

Iron Oxides, which are naturally occurring mineral deposits, are used in makeup. They are safe for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

Iron Oxides are commonly available in various colors, including red, orange, and black. They are impervious to moisture and smudge-resistant. They also have great staying power and hold. They produce rich, vibrant pigments that give you a genuinely vibrant finish.

Iron oxides can be found in many organic and natural makeup products. This organic compound adds color to foundations, powders, mascaras, eyeliner, and eyeshadows, as well as lipsticks.


Mica is used in cosmetics as a coloring agent and texturizer. Mica is a named group for several silicates, ground minerals that share similar physical properties but have different chemical arrangements.

You will see various colors in it, including black, pale green, brown, and even black.

This mineral is safe and natural. The shimmery appearance of this mineral gives it a natural glow and adds a subtle glow to any color. Mineral makeup is natural-looking, easy to use, and luminous. It is easy to apply and glides on the skin.

It can be mixed with ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to cover blemishes and other imperfections.

Mica’s versatility and consistency make it versatile. Mica can also be used in powdered form or pressed powder form. It can even be mixed with other agents to make a gel, oil cream, liquid, or gel.


Emollients soften and smoothen the skin. Emollients can be oils with an oily texture that acts as a barrier to moisture loss.


Dimethicone, a slippery silicone made from sand, is one example. It is also known as a silicon-based silicone polymer. This means that it is a large molecule composed of many smaller units bonded together. There are many grades of silicone.

Cosmetic-grade silicones have a smooth, spreadable texture that is elegant and silky. Dimethicone, which is FDA-approved and non-comedogenic, is a highly desirable ingredient. It can deliver active ingredients to the product and instantly smooth out imperfections.

This ingredient is used in personal care products as an anti-foaming, skin protector, and skin conditioner. It gives products a luxurious feel, slip, and lubricity. You can use it to reduce the skin-irritating effects of creams by immediately applying them.

When used in more significant quantities, it soothes and protects from moisture loss. It also improves product flowability and spreadability and makes an excellent waterproofing material for sunscreen creams.

It helps to reduce the greasiness that is often present in high-SPF formulas while still allowing the skin to breathe.

Dimethicone can be found in almost all cosmetics and skincare products. It is most commonly found in foundation, eyeshadow, eyeliner, and facial powder.

Cera Alba (Beeswax)

The clear liquid is beeswax, a nutritionally rich animal wax that bees secrete. There are two types of beeswax: bleached and yellow. The significant elements of beeswax are esters (which make up 70%), free wax acids, and hydrocarbons.

Beeswax has many skin benefits, including being completely safe and non-toxic. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-allergenic properties. Beeswax can be used as a thickener and an emollient.

However, it also has emulsifying qualities, making it an excellent ingredient for cosmetic formulations.

Beeswax is most well-known for its healing properties. It is most effective when it is added to oil or water emulsions. This gives it a smooth texture and consistency. Beeswax is an excellent emollient and supports moisturizers. It protects skin from the sun and has water repellent properties.

Beeswax can be mixed with other ingredients to support their functions and provide permanence on skin and lips. This ultra-nourishing ingredient seals in moisture and protects skin against environmental factors. It has antiseptic, healing, and softening properties.


Different types of alcohol are used in cosmetics.

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

Fatty alcohols, which are made of fatty acids, can be used as emollients or thickeners and carrying agents for other ingredients.

Cetyl Alcohol and Stearyl Alcohol are also common in everyday makeup products.

Alcohol attracts and binds water to retain moisture in the skin. It can also repel water to create a protective barrier. It also delivers other active ingredients to the skin, which helps drive them further down and provides a bounty in benefits.

Alcohol improves skin absorption by creating a smoother texture and creamier consistency.

It can also dissolve oil and tighten pores, leaving your skin looking young and smooth.

Lightweight alcohols are well-known for their antiseptic, stringent, fat, and lipid solvent qualities, while heavier emollients are used for their occlusive, lubricating, and lubricating capabilities.

Although some people believe alcohol can dry the skin, it isn’t harmful and has many benefits.

Alcohol is used in many cosmetic products due to its antiseptic properties. There are many alcohols, including Alcohol Denat. In foundations, blushes, and bronzers.

Are Cosmetics Dangerous?

Are Cosmetics Dangerous

A little controversy can generate media buzz. Over the past decade, there have been numerous reports about toxic chemicals in cosmetics (lead mercury, parabens) and the dangers these substances pose to the public.

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Are consumers to be concerned? These claims are supported by credible, published scientific research. Or have they been misinterpreted or exaggerated? Let’s have a look overview below!


Parabens are chemicals commonly used in cosmetic, food, and therapeutic products. Para-hydroxybenzoic (PHBA) is the source of their synthesis. This acid can be found naturally in many fruits, vegetables, and other plants.

Parabens come in several forms: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben. Parabens are the most commonly used preservative in personal-care products. They are cost-effective and extremely effective at keeping your products free from mold and bacteria.

Parabens were discovered in cosmetics after Dr. Philippa Darbre of the University of Reading, England, conducted a study and found that 18 of 20 breast cancer tissue samples contained parabens.

Parabens can weakly mimic estrogen’s actions, leading to tumor growth. Parabens were found in breast tumors and reported by the media to prove that parabens cause breast cancer. This was false.

Parabens are a common ingredient in breast cancer, but the study did not find any evidence to prove that they caused it or contributed to its growth.

Because breast tumors are characterized by a high blood supply, any chemical found in the bloodstream will probably also be found in the tumor.

Dr. Darbre later stated to the media that she had not claimed that breast cancer was caused by the presence of parabens in her 2004 study.

Numerous studies have been conducted worldwide to determine the safety of parabens. These studies have repeatedly shown that parabens can be safely metabolized, broken down, and harmlessly excreted from the body.

Parabens in cosmetics are safe, according to both Australian and international science communities.

Some companies have introduced Paraben-free products in response to consumer demand. Consumers can buy these products if they are concerned.


Aluminum in antiperspirants and deodorants can also be linked to cancer concerns. Numerous news outlets reported in the 2000s that antiperspirants containing aluminum were linked to breast cancer.

Similar reports linked the use of antiperspirants containing aluminum to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Despite multiple studies, these supposed connections have not been proven scientifically.

To reduce sweating, aluminum works to block sweat ducts. This prevents us from releasing toxins and causing them to build up in our lymph glands. Breast cancer tumors don’t originate in the lymph nodes.

They start in the breast and then travel to the lymph glands later. Another study showed no difference in the levels of aluminum between cancerous tissue and surrounding tissues.

There is currently no direct link between breast cancer and the use of aluminum-containing underarm products.

Likewise, studies have shown no relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and deodorant/antiperspirant use. Humans are constantly exposed to aluminum via food, water, and packaging.

Both Alzheimer’s Society (US) and Alzheimer’s Australia claim no link between environmental aluminum absorption and Alzheimer’s disease.

These findings have led some manufacturers to produce aluminum-free products for those still concerned.


Triclosan was initially developed to combat bacteria in hospitals. It is primarily used as a scrub. Its usefulness has led to it being added to many consumer products, including toothpaste, deodorant, and cosmetics.

Triclosan can also be used as a pesticide. However, it can sometimes break down into potentially harmful chemicals like dioxins.

After findings by the National Academy of Sciences (US), which noted an increase in levels of Triclosan in the environment, and its increasing use in everyday products, Triclosan made headlines in 2000.

Researchers at the University of California discovered that prolonged triclosan exposure could cause liver fibrosis in mice and cancer in lab animals. Studies have also shown that triclosan may disrupt hormones, impair muscle contraction and decrease bacterial resistance.

While the dangers of using triclosan in cosmetics warrant further research, Australian experts emphasize its importance when used in moderation and correctly.

Dr. Laurie Walsh, Professor of Dental Science at the University of Queensland, stated that the chemical could be used to treat a variety of conditions, including gingivitis and inflammation, as well as bleeding gums.

NICNAS Australia conducted a risk assessment and found no reason to be concerned. However, it recommended that maximum concentrations of triclosan (0.3%) in cosmetic products and personal care products be controlled.

Cosmetic products with more than 0.3% of triclosan must be clearly labeled. This is not the most effective marketing strategy for producers.

The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will release an updated report about Triclosan in 2016. However, consumers can look for triclosan-free products in the interim.


Formaldehyde, an organic compound, has many uses. It is most commonly used for embalming. However, you can also use it to make building materials, textiles, household cleaning products, personal care products, and plastics.

It is also found in many foods, such as the humble egg.

Formaldehyde can be used in a slightly modified form and is listed under the name formalin. It is used as a preservative to protect products against contamination.

The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified formaldehyde as a Group 1 Carcinogen. This means that it is known to cause cancer in humans.

Formaldehyde can cause skin irritations, sensory irritations, and breathing problems in people if inhaled, ingested, or in direct contact with the skin. It is still used in everyday products, so why?

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The product’s concentration is most important, just like other chemicals. NICNAS has set safe limits for cosmetics containing formaldehyde after having evaluated it.

For example, toothpaste can only contain 0.1 percent formaldehyde while nail polishes can have as much as 5 percent. Other cosmetic products, such as shampoos or straightening solutions, can hold up to 0.2%. These low levels are considered safe for formaldehyde use.

NICNAS noted that even low concentrations of the chemicals could irritate people with sensitive skin.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) surveyed the formaldehyde levels of cosmetic products in 2010. Two products with unacceptable concentrations were recalled.


Phthalates (pronounced “THAL-ates”) are another class of chemicals found in cosmetics that have been flagged as hazardous by environmental groups.

These chemicals are used to soften and stretch plastic products, but they can also be found cosmetically in nail polish, hair spray (to make them less stiff or brittle), and perfumes.

Phthalates are made from oil. There are over 20 types of phthalates in everyday use. Because of their different chemical structures, toxic profiles, and uses, safety should not be grouped but viewed individually.

Studies have shown that varying phthalates can create endocrine disruptors in high and repeated concentrations. This means that they can cause hormonal imbalances in the body, leading to developmental issues in men.

Some studies also suggested a connection between phthalates, type 2 diabetes.

The European Union and the United States imposed bans against certain phthalates used in cosmetics. A small risk was identified in Australia by bis(2-ethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP).

NICNAS has banned products containing DEHP at levels above the prescribed levels. This generally applies to toys for children.

Do You Want To Lead With Your Lipstick?

Consumers should be concerned about news reports highlighting the persistent and recurring high levels of lead in lipsticks. The University of California Berkley conducted a 2013 study that examined 32 lipsticks for their metal content.

Researchers tested all 32 products for aluminum, manganese, and titanium traces. Three-quarters of them also contain lead, affecting the nervous system and causing learning disabilities in children.

Many lipsticks and glosses contained nickel, cobalt, cadmium, and chromium, all known carcinogens.

These ingredients are why manufacturers would add them to their products. They don’t. They are known as ‘impurities’ in products, which are found in other ingredients like oils, waxes, or mineral pigments.

These substances are persistent and can be found in all environments, including water. It is nearly impossible to get rid of them.

But don’t give up on your lipstick. These naturally occurring elements are not necessarily a problem. The important thing is concentration. Is it toxic enough or low enough to be safe? Sunlight is also known to cause skin cancer.

However, you can still get outside and sunbathe. It all boils down to how much you are consuming.

The study found that all metals except chromium were within acceptable daily allowances. This was determined through a comparison of accepted water and air contamination levels.

You will consume more lead from drinking water than from lipstick. The study concluded that more research is needed to determine the metal content in cosmetic products, especially chromium.

Sun creams

Sun creams aren’t considered cosmetics, but they are used for therapeutic purposes. We will include them here because their widespread use, especially in Australia, is evident.

Sunscreens are essential in protecting the skin from harmful UVA and UVB radiation. Sunscreens effectively prevent certain types of skin cancers, including basal cell carcinomas and melanomas.

There has been a concern in recent years about the use of sunscreens containing nanoparticles (NP). This concerns zinc oxide (ZnO), titanium dioxide (TiO2), and other nanoparticles that penetrate the skin to reach cells.

Based on several papers published up to May 2013 and reviews by international authorities, the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) position is that nanoparticles are safe.

Several in vitro, in vivo, and animal skin studies have demonstrated that the NPS doesn’t penetrate the skin’s underlying layers. The penetration limit is the stratum corneum. This suggests that systemic absorption of NPs is unlikely.

In 2014, a further study found that macrophages absorbed zinc oxide nanoparticles in human immune cells.

Current evidence shows that neither ZnO nor TiO2 nanoparticles will cause any harm when they are used in sunscreens. Avoiding suncreams (sunburn and skin cancers) is riskier than nanoparticles.


The current scientific consensus on the safety of many of these chemicals is safe to use. However, each consumer has the right to decide whether to purchase or use products containing certain ingredients.

It is essential that consumers only purchase trusted brands from established sellers. Cheap imports and copies purchased online may not have undergone the necessary testing and assessment and may not be what they claim.

Restorbio hopes you found this article to be helpful, and let us know if you have any questions by commenting below.

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