How is Makeup Made?

St. Louis Park–based Andy George is the creator and host of How to Make Everything, a documentary TV series in its first season on KSTC45. With each episode, George digs into the ingredients behind everyday things—in one case, growing, collecting, and killing all the elements of a simple chicken sandwich. Here he shares an example of the show’s approach by detailing the past and present of making common cosmetics.  “Most forms of cosmetics can be traced as far back as the ancient Egyptians,” George says. “Throughout history, a variety of different techniques have been used, often with toxic chemicals that had serious health risks.”

Starting in the 19th century, most lipstick was made using crushed cochineal bugs from Mexico for formulas of cochineal, oil, and beeswax.

A white lead paste was originally widely used by Romans and Greeks, despite being toxic and causing disfigurement and death. Another form of cream also used combined animal fat, starch, and tin oxide.

Nail Polish
Nail polish originally came from China circa 3000 BC. Nail polish from the Ming dynasty consisted of beeswax, egg whites, gelatin, vegetable dyes, and gum arabic.

Kohl (eyeliner)
One of the earliest forms of eyeliner, well known for its use by ancient Egyptians (but also still widely used in some form around the world). Made from galena, malachite, charcoal or soot, crocodile stool, honey, and water.

A variety of red plants like mulberries and strawberries have been used as blush. Most blush today is made from safflower, rosewater, and rose oil

makeup courtesy of picsfive – fotolia, beeswax courtesy of natali1991 – fotolia, starch courtesy of alexandr – fotolia, gum arabic courtesy of elena moiseeva/shutterstock, charcoal courtesy of watkung – fotolia, safflower courtesy of vidady – fotolia