What Is Eyeshadow Made Of?

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Eye shadow is usually made from base fillers, binders, preservatives and pigment. Eye shadow can be a powder or a cream. The difference depends on the waxes and oils used in the base.

Eye shadow variants have been dated back to 10,000 B.C. in Egypt. Men used makeup as well in ancient Egypt, and the eyebrows and eye lids were lined heavily with kohl, which helped reduce the glare of the sun.

Eye shadow in ancient Greece was called "fucus." The colors were shades of blue and green, and the pigment came from gemstones.

The base filler of modern eye shadow is usually made from talc or mica. Some eye shadows are made from kaolin clay. Binders are added to the mixture to help the powder adhere to the eyelid. Zinc or magnesium derivatives are the binders used in eye shadow. Silica, nylon, dimethicone, boron nitride or bismuth oxychloride are added to give pigment to the mixture. They also help provide "slip" to the eye shadow, which makes the shadow glide more easily over the lid. Beeswax, castor oil, shea butter, jojoba oil and silicone used to liquefy the makeup. Liquid eye shadow lasts longer than powder eye shadows because the ingredients bond better with the skin.