The Chemistry of Red Lipstick


The Chemistry of Red Lipstick, is about what the components of lipstick are and what they do to create the substance. I chose the topic, Red Lipstick, because it is consistently used by many women today. Also, I am very fond of lipstick myself. I use the product every now-and-then, to give a outfit a POP of color. Lipstick is very popular within our culture and becomes even more unique everyday!

Composition of ...

    • Common ingredients:
      • Wax: The wax that is used: beeswax, candelilla wax, and carnauba wax. Obviously, beeswax is from bees. Candelilla wax comes from the candelilla shrub. Carnauba is a type of plant wax coming from the leaves of brazilian wax palm trees, it is the most expensive between them. The more the carnauba the more expensive the lipstick. Wax enables the easy shaping of the stick.
      • Oil: Some oils that lipstick contain are: castor oil, vegetable, lanolin, mineral, and cocoa butter. Oil and wax make up about 60% of total weight of the lipstick.
      • Pigments and Dyes: These are used to impart the desired color or shade to the lipstick. commonly used is bromic acid, they are either obtained from plants or are mix of various chemicals.
      • Fragrance: This is found in lipstick in small amounts and is used to impact a pleasant scent, it suppresses the smell of the other ingredients.
      • Alcohol: This is used as solvent, for wax and oils.
      • Preservatives and antioxidants: They are added to keep the lipstick fresh and to prevent it from becoming stale.
      • Pearl Essence: This is made from the shimmery scales of a fish. It creates the shimmering or pearly finish, in certain lipsticks.

The Ingredients in the Wet N’ Wild 910D Red Lipstick

    1. Ozokerite- a waxy mineral mixture of hydrocarbons, colorless or white when pure, binder, emulsion stabilizer, viscosity controller
    2. Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate- a lipid-based ingredient used for a skin conditioning agent, surfactant, skin conditioning
    3. Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride- fraction of coconut/palm oil fatty acids, fragrance and skin conditioner
    4. Propylheptyl Caprylate- soothes and softens skin
    5. Mineral Oil- a refined petroleum, commonly used as a laxative, fragrance ingre., skin protector and conditioner
    6. Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate- an aluminum salt of chemically modified starch, viscosity controlling
    7. Bis Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate 2- a lipid based synthetic skin conditioning agent, skin conditioner
    8. VP/Eicosene Copolymer- synthetic polymer of a hydrocarbon eicosene and vinylpyrrolidone, binder, film former, viscosity controller
    9. Myristyl Lactate- an ester of myristyl alcohol and lactic acid
    10. Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer- a copolymer, viscosity controller
    11. Myristyl Myristate- an ester of myristyl alcohol and myristic acid, skin conditioner
    12. Polysilicone 6- a copolymer, film former
    13. Sorbitan Sesquioleate- a synthetic surfactant and emulsifier based on sorbitol and modified oleic acid, surfactant
    14. Myristyl Laurate- surfactant (a surface active substance), skin conditioner
    15. Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer- a polymer terminated by hydrogenation (to combine or treat with or expose to hydrogen), viscosity increasing agent
    16. Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer- a polymer terminated by hydrogenation, viscosity increasing agent
    17. Propylparaben- a preservative used in food, pharmaceutical, and personal care products. (Parabens mimic estrogen and act as potential hormone system disruptors.), fragrance ingredient
    18. Cholesteryl Hydroxystearate- an ester, viscosity controller and skin conditioner
    19. BHT-(Butylated Hydroxytoluene) a toluene-based ingredient used as a preservative, in food & personal care products, antioxidant fragrance ingredient
    20. Silica, Amorphous- most common constituent of fine sand, abrasive, absorbent
    21. Tocopheryl Acetate- a chemical compound consisting of acetic acid and tocopherol or vitamin E, a skin conditioning agent
    22. Retinyl Palmitate- an ingredient made up of palmitic acid and retinol (Vitamin A), skin conditioner
    23. Squalene- a natural occurring lipid derived from plants and animals, a skin conditioner
    24. Allantoin- natural occurring nitrogenous skin conditioning agent
    25. Sodium Hyaluronate- the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in connective tissues, a skin conditioner
    26. Ubiquinone- antioxidant, skin conditioning agent
    27. Iron Oxides- inorganic chemicals used as colorants, colorant
    28. Titanium Dioxide- inorganic compound, colorant, ultraviolet light absorber, sunscreen agent
    29. Blue 1 Lake- industrial production of a colorant
    30. Red 6- synthetic dye produced by petroleum or coal tar, colorant
    31. Red 28 Lake- a industrial colorant
    32. Yellow 5 Lake- industrial colorant
  1. Yellow 6 lake- industrial colorant

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

The Components of Red Lipstick

    1. Wax:
      1. *Ozokerite: The archaic name used is Earth Wax or Fossil Wax. It is a waxy mineral mixture of hydrocarbons, derived from petroleum or mineral sources, that is colorless or white when pure. It acts as a binder, emulsion stabilizer, and a viscosity controller. Ozokerite is not man-made it is naturally occurring from Petroleum.
    2. Oil:
      1. Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride: Another name for it is fractionated coconut oil. The molecular formula is C21H40O5. It is a fraction of coconut/palm oil fatty acids and is used as a fragrance and skin conditioning agent.
      2. Mineral Oil: The name is already in it’s common state. There also is no molecular formula for mineral oil. It is a refined from petroleum and commonly used as a laxative. For the lipstick it’s jobs are: a fragrance ingredient, a skin protector, and a skin conditioning agent.
    3. Pigments and dyes:
      1. *Iron Oxides: A common name for an iron oxide is rust. Its molecular form is Fe3O4. They are inorganic chemicals used as colorants. They also act as a colorant in the lipstick. Iron oxides are man-made. They made by either thermal decomposition of iron salts or iron compounds, the precipitation of iron salts with oxidation, or reduction of organic compounds by iron.
      2. Titanium Dioxide: It is already in the most common name. It’s molecular formula is TiO2. Titanium Dioxide is an inorganic compound, in lipstick it is a colorant, a ultraviolet light absorber, and a sunscreen agent.
    4. Preservatives and antioxidants:
      1. Propylparaben: It’s common name is a paraben. The molecular formula is C10H12O3. Propylparaben is a preservative used in food, pharmaceutical, and personal care products. (Parabens mimic estrogen and act as potential hormone system disruptors). In lipstick, it is a fragrance ingredient.
      2. Butylated Hydroxytoluene: The common name is BHT, for short. The molecular formula is C15H24O. It is a toluene-based ingredient used as a preservative, in food & personal care products. BHT is an antioxidant and a fragrance ingredient.

*--The two main components.

Chemistry's Role

The product, lipstick, is man-made. So, chemistry’s role in the building of red lipstick is that it helps combine all the ingredients to become a whole.

Background Research

Lipstick was the first cosmetic ever used. Ancient egyptians used henna or crushed insects like carmine or cochineal beetles and ante to obtain shades of red lipstick. Solid lipstick was first invented by an arab cosmetologist, Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi. It became popular after Queen Elizabeth started using it. She had made a fashion statement by her blood red lips.



About the Author

Angelica Hagstrom is a 16 year old junior at Billings Senior High. She is a 3 year varsity cheerleader and gets very good grades. Angelica enjoys making Shelby Swanson cry. She has two husky dogs and 5 siblings! She is a spunky tan little thing, and her attitude and personality make her stand out in a crowd, but in the good way. She’s got style beyond everyone’s imagination, and she can rock anything she puts on.