What Is Lipstick Made Of?

lipstick-made Credit: wencor teo/CC-BY 2.0

Lipstick is usually made from paraffin, carnauba wax, vitamin E, aloe vera, cow brains, mineral oil, olive oil, castor oil, lanolin, petrolatum, fragrances, sunscreen, pig fat, plant ingredients, beetles and synthetic materials. Shimmering lipstick may also include pearl particles, silica or mica.

Ingredients involved in manufacturing lipstick fall into four categories: pigments, emollients, waxes, and oils and fats. Wax adds stability to the lipstick, allowing it to mold properly. Carnauba wax is the primary molding ingredient, but ozokerite, beeswax and candelilla are other types of waxes that may be used to create lipstick. Fats and oils maintain the texture and softness of the lipstick and prevent the stick from melting. Fats from cow brains may be applied to the product because they are inexpensive ingredients. Castor oil or pig fat gives lipstick its glossy shine.

Emollients are responsible for adding moisture to the lips, and pigments create the color of lipsticks.

Beetles contribute to a shade called cochineal extract or carmine. Cochineal extract derives from cochineal beetles, which are steamed, powdered and made into a crimson-based dye. Pink lipstick is made by mixing titanium oxide with red coloring. Silicone oil, an ingredient that maintains the color on the user's lips, may be used for long-lasting lipsticks.