CONCEPTS

What are cosmetics?

We explain what cosmetics and makeup are, their history, types and how they are made. Also, what are natural cosmetics.

  1. What are cosmetics?

Cosmetics (also called makeup) are a series of products linked to personal hygiene or to the embellishment, traditionally, of the female face.

Its use dates back to ancient times, as an ornament to distinguish successful warriors or hunters, or married women from single women. They were also used to distinguish members of the royal class or the aristocracy, or those citizens dedicated to the priesthood or initiated into some religious cult.

In fact, the first evidence of the use of cosmetics dates back to Ancient Egypt , approximately 4,000 years before Christ. However, the term “cosmetic” was invented in the 17th century, when the first company in the market for toiletries, such as lavender soaps or moisturizers, was created for the consumption of the nobility.

Cosmetics, currently, are linked to aesthetic, hygienic and erotic standards that are usually applied to the body of both men and women, in a different way, to highlight certain desirable attributes and hide those that are not.

Today we consider cosmetics deodorants, shampoos, shower gels, skin creams, and various forms of makeup: paints, shades, tints, lipsticks, perfumes, etc. We also use this name for the substances used in the theater, cinema and television, with which effects and conditions are simulated within the story (scene makeup).

  1. How are cosmetics made?

Broadly speaking, cosmetics are made up of three ingredients:

  • An active substance , one or more chemical substances destined to produce some superficial effect on the body.
  • A vehicle or excipient , which is the solvent in which the chemical mixture of the active ingredient is generally contained and which is used for its application in the body.
  • Additives and correctors , that is, substances added to regulate, control or accelerate the effect of the active ingredient, or to provide longevity to the mixture.

Thus, the development of cosmetics involves choosing, composing or mixing each of these ingredients in the appropriate proportions.

Generally, the chosen vehicles are derived from innocuous natural or synthetic substances, such as beeswax, vegetable oils or silk, to which vitamins , antioxidants or ultraviolet protectors are added , in order to reduce their harmful effects on the skin.

The chemical composition of the active ingredient depends on the desired effect . For paints and blushers, for example, which are usually applied in powder, charcoal, titanium dioxide, iron oxide and other similar minerals are used to give a certain color to the face.

On the other hand, perfumes usually use some vegetable oil imbued with the essence of fruits, flowers or other sources of pleasant aroma. The same occurs in creams, generally made up of combinations of vegetable oils and extracts, the purpose of which is to keep the skin lubricated and delay its aging.

Finally, the additives and catalysts are of a chemical type, generally added to the mixture in specialized laboratories in the pharmaceutical industry. This ensures that the cosmetic survives in good condition to its distribution, marketing and use.

  1. Types of cosmetics

makeup cosmetics
Baby and children’s cosmetics are less aggressive.

There are many ways to classify cosmetics, but probably the most comprehensive one refers to the classification that distinguishes them according to their use. In this way, we would have:

  • Baby cosmetics , such as moisturizers and anti-diaper rashes, colognes, neutral soaps and mild cleaning products.
  • Cosmetics for the face , such as lipsticks, blushes, powders, mascara, concealers, etc.
  • Skin cosmetics such as moisturizers, scrubs, sunscreens, soaps, after-shave lotions, epilating creams, etc.
  • Perfumery cosmetics , such as deodorants, antiperspirants, perfumes, colognes, etc.
  • Nail cosmetics , such as nail polish, nail polish, etc.
  • Oral hygiene cosmetics , such as toothpastes, mouthwashes, etc.
  1. Natural cosmetics

Natural cosmetics or ecological cosmetics are those that have been made from natural products as little chemically treated as possible. This, in theory, makes them healthier products for the body, less endowed with risky substances, but at the same time of shorter duration and higher cost.

In some cases, these products aim to pollute the ecosystem less , reducing the amount of chemicals that are dumped with the garbage. Many times they are free from animal abuse, that is, they were produced without using live animals to test their possible negative effects on human health.

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