To believe that cosmetics were a modern invention is to believe a myth. For not less than 10, 000 years, people, men,  and women, have tried to accentuate their appearance. Here are some quick prominent facts regarding the usage of cosmetics.

Did you know that Ancient Egypt used kohl, which is a substance containing powdered galena for darkening their eyelids? 

Just in 3000 BC, people in China are believed to colour their fingernails based on their class. In traditional African societies, clays were molded into pastes for cosmetic use. These are some of the ingredients that were used in the ancient period to beautify our appearance. In comparison to that period, there is a drastic change in the cosmetics ingredients used now.

We generally use cosmetics to protect, change, cleanse our outer appearance, which is certainly different from therapeutics which are used to diagnose, alleviate or cure any ailments, disease, etc. For instance, shampoos and deodorants belong to the category of cosmetics whereas anti-dandruff shampoos and such belong to the category of therapeutics.

What are the cosmetics ingredients?

With the concept and origin of cosmetics being explained, check ingredients in cosmetics which are mentioned below.


If you are using any cosmetic product which comes in a bottle, chances are that one of the major ingredients will be water. Water is considered to form the basis of every type of cosmetic product, ranging from lotions, make-up, creams, deodorants, shampoos, and conditioners.

It generally acts as a solvent to dissolve all the other ingredients and help in maintaining the consistency of the product. Be that as it may, the water used in the product is not the regular tap water.

It is extremely filtered water, without any form of microbes, toxins, and other pollutants. Therefore, if you check the ingredients list in the cosmetic product, you will see that it is referred to as distilled water or aqua.

2. Preservatives

Preservatives are generally added to cosmetics products to not only increase the shelf life of the product but also to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi. They are generally water-soluble because more often than not, microbes live in water. A preservative that is used in cosmetics can be categorized between natural and synthetic.

3. Emulsifiers

Many cosmetics products contain oil and water together. But science tells us that oil and water can never be mixed completely. They will always stay separated. However, cosmetic products use emulsifiers which prevent the separation of oil from water.

Small droplets of oil are added to water which is then mixed with the help of emulsifiers that help in changing the surface tension between water and oil. Consequently, a perfectly homogenous cosmetic product is formed which has an even texture. Some of the emulsifiers used in cosmetic products include polysorbates, potassium cetyl sulfate, and Laureth-4.

4. Coloring pigments

A majority of cosmetics help in altering the color of your body parts, mostly the lids of your eyes, lips, face, and your neck. You will get a variety of colors available for hanging the color and beautifying your face and its parts.

There are a variety of cosmetics ingredients including getting the colors. The mineral ingredients mostly include iron oxide, mica flakes, coal tar, manganese and chromium. In addition to this, the natural colours of the make-up that you use are generally used from plants such as beet powder, etc.

Apart from plants, parts of animals are also used for cosmetic products. For instance, parts of cochineal insects are used to make red lipsticks, which is often mentioned as carmine, cochineal extract, or natural red in the list of ingredients.

These coloring pigments which are mostly used in the makeup are categorized between organic that are carbon-based molecules and inorganic that generally contain metal oxides. Be that as it may, organic or inorganic ingredients are not to be confused with non-synthetic or synthetic ingredients respectively.

Lakes and toners are considered to be the two most common organic pigments wherein the former is created by mixing a dye colour with alumina hydrate, which is an insoluble substance. The latter is originally and entirely organic, that is, it is not mixed with any other substance.

When it comes to inorganic ingredients such as metal oxide pigments, these are generally duller than organic pigments. However, they help in providing colour which stays for a longer period, implying that they are more resistant to heat and light.

5. Thickeners

Thickeners are considered one of the most important cosmetics ingredients as they help in providing and maintaining the consistency of the product. There are, by far, four important thickeners, namely, lipid thickeners, naturally derived thickeners, mineral thickeners, and synthetic thickeners.

When it comes to lipid thickeners, they are generally solid at temperature. They can be liquefied and then added to the mixture. For example, cetyl alcohol, carnauba wax, and stearic acid generally belong to the group of lipid thickeners.

The second group of thickeners is naturally derived thickeners, which are derived from the elements of nature. These thickeners are generally used to increase the viscosity of the product. Guar gum, xanthan gum, gelatin, and hydroxyethyl cellulose are some of the examples of naturally derived thickeners.

The third group of thickeners is mineral thickeners which are also natural in a way. They help in absorbing water and oils to extend the viscosity of the product. Some of the mineral thickeners are silica, bentonite, magnesium aluminium silicate, etc.

The last group of thickeners is synthetic thickeners which are often used in creams and lotions. Carbomer, an acrylic acid polymer, is one of the most popular synthetic thickeners. Cetyl palmitate, and ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate are some of the common synthetic thickeners.

These are some of the most common and important cosmetics ingredients used which escalate the effects of the cosmetic products.