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What’s the Science Behind Your Red Lipstick?

Find out what gives that wonderful color that lasts for hours.

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Red lipstick

Aside from being tested inside laboratories and being promoted by fashion models, what do we really know about lipsticks? Nothing really much is shown on the media on how lipsticks achieve that deep red hue, you might’ve heard some news here and there about insect husks but that’s about it. Today, we’re going to take a look at what’s inside a single lipstick to see what it’s really made of.

It’s all about the deep red, girl!


We’ve gathered information on the contents of an average lipstick and here’s what we’ve found.

  • Castor Oil – 65%
  • Beeswax – 15%
  • Other Waxes – 10%
  • Lanolin – 5%
  • Dyes, fragrance, and pigments – 5%

And that’s the ingredients of an apple pie, oh, I mean, lipsticks.

Wax on, Wax off

Source: Giphy

Waxes are a main component of lipsticks as it provide the ability of the lipstick to not melt away easily. The common natural waxes found in it are often beeswax, candelila wax, and carnauba wax. Wax is also responsible for the softening and glistening effect of lipsticks.

50 Shades of RED

Source: Giphy

While there are other lipstick colors out there, we can’t really tackle every one. So again, let’s stick with red.

Carmine Red. Source: ACS

Carmine red is derived from insect scales (yes, you read that right) and is a pigment mostly used for red lipsticks.

Eosin. Source: Wikimedia

Eosin, or D&C Red No. 22 is a dye that reacts with the skin’s protein’s amino acid which in turn produces that deep red color. For other shades of red, Titanium Dioxide is often added to make it a little lighter (up to a pink color).

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What else is in there?

Source: Giphy

Fragrance is often added to mask the smell of other ingredients in the lipstick but what’s really intriguing in some lipsticks is the content of Capsaicin.

Capsaicin. Source: MedicinesComplete

If you think that sounds a bit like capsicum, you got it right. Capsaicin is a compound found in chili peppers that adds a skin irritant effect that puffs up your lips when present in small amounts. No more need to pucker up those lips as the chili will do it for you.

A final touch

Source: Giphy

Red lipsticks are everywhere around the world and a little knowledge about them wouldn’t hurt. So here’s the science behind those colorful red sticks—matte or moisturizing—and we hope you’ve learned something new today.

Red lipstick in Dubai, Red lipstick in Manila, Red lipstick in Australia, Red lipstick in UAE, Red lipstick in China, Red lipstick in Singapore, Red lipstick in India

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Emili Accmah

Speaks Russian, Arabic, French and English. Wannabe engineer at GineersNow TV. Based in sunny Dubai and cold Moscow. Follow me on Linkedin


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