What Is Makeup Made Of?

I know you love makeup just as much as I do. Whether you’re a makeup artist, a beauty enthusiast, or just a casual wearer, it’s no secret that makeup plays an important role in our lives.

But have you ever stopped to wonder what makeup is actually made of?

What Is Makeup Made Of

In this article, I’m going to take you on a journey to explore the fascinating world of makeup ingredients. 

From the ancient times when our ancestors used natural materials to enhance their beauty, to the modern-day formulations packed with high-tech synthetic compounds, we’ll cover it all.

I’ll then share with you some of my insider knowledge on the common ingredients you’ll find in makeup, the pros and cons of natural versus synthetic ingredients, and the regulations that govern the industry.

So, get ready to learn all about what’s really inside your favorite makeup products!

The History Of Makeup

The history of makeup is a long and fascinating one, spanning thousands of years and countless cultures.

From the ancient Egyptians who used kohl to outline their eyes, to the geishas of Japan who painted their faces with white lead powder, makeup has been used in different forms and styles throughout history.

Ancient Times

Makeup can be traced back to ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans who used natural materials like crushed minerals and plant extracts to create pigments for their cosmetics but also for religious and cultural purposes.

Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, makeup fell out of favor due to the influence of the Church, which viewed it as sinful and associated it with prostitutes.

Only women of the lower classes continued to use makeup during this time.

Renaissance And Victorian Era

In the Renaissance and Victorian eras, makeup made a comeback as it became fashionable to have a pale complexion.

Women used lead-based white powders, while bright colors were used for the eyes and cheeks.

20th Century

The 20th century saw the rise of modern cosmetics, with new formulations and technologies being developed to create more effective and safe products.

The 1920s saw the emergence of the “flapper” look, with bold red lips and dark, smoky eyes. In the 1960s, natural and minimalist looks became popular, while the 1980s saw the rise of bold, colorful makeup.

21st Century

Today, makeup styles continue to evolve, with trends ranging from bold and dramatic to natural and understated.

However, one thing remains constant: makeup continues to be a powerful tool for self-expression and enhancing one’s natural beauty.

The Common Ingredients Of Makeup

So, what is makeup made of?

Whether you’re a seasoned makeup pro or just starting out, it’s important to know what you’re putting on your skin, so let’s see what the common ingredients of makeup are!


Pigments are responsible for the color of your makeup products. They can be natural or synthetic and are used in everything from eyeshadows to lipsticks.


Emollients are ingredients that help to soften and soothe the skin. They’re often used in moisturizers, foundations, and lip products to give a smooth and silky feel.


Preservatives are added to makeup products to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold, and they are essential for ensuring the safety of your makeup products and are often listed as “parabens” or “phenoxyethanol” on ingredient lists.


Surfactants are used in cleansers, shampoos, and other makeup products to help them spread evenly and remove dirt and oil from the skin.

What Is Makeup Made Of


Thickeners are used to give makeup products a desirable texture and consistency and are often found in creams, lotions, and gels.

UV Filters

UV filters are used to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. They’re commonly found in sunscreens but can also be added to makeup products like foundations and powders. 

While these are just a few of the ingredients included in each makeup product, each of these ingredients plays an important role in the formulation of makeup and contributes to the overall performance and efficacy of the product.

But what about the difference between those that are natural and synthetic? Let’s talk about that next!

Natural Vs Synthetic Ingredients

When it comes to makeup ingredients, there are two categories: natural and synthetic. Let’s take a closer look at each one and the pros and cons of using them.

Natural Ingredients

Natural ingredients are derived from plants, minerals, or other natural sources. They’re often favored by those who are looking for products that are gentler on the skin and free of potentially harmful chemicals. 

Some common natural ingredients include:

  • Beeswax
  • Shea butter
  • Jojoba oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Aloe vera
  • Green tea extract


  • Often gentler on the skin
  • May provide additional skincare benefits
  • May be better for the environment


  • Can be more expensive
  • May have a shorter shelf life
  • May not perform as well as synthetic alternatives

Synthetic Ingredients

Synthetic ingredients are created in a lab using chemical processes. They’re often favored for their ability to deliver consistent results and their long shelf life. 

Some common synthetic ingredients include:

  • Dimethicone
  • Parabens
  • Polyethylene glycol (PEG)
  • Propylene glycol
  • Titanium dioxide


  • Can be more affordable
  • Often have a longer shelf life
  • May provide better performance


  • May be harsher on the skin
  • May contain potentially harmful chemicals
  • May not be as environmentally friendly

The Bottom Line

There you have it; a closer look at what makeup is made of! Understanding the ingredients in your favorite products can help you make informed choices about what you put on your skin.

While some ingredients may be more appealing than others, it’s important to remember that everyone’s skin is different and what works for one person may not work for another.

So, take the time to experiment and find the products that work best for you.

And always remember to prioritize the health and well-being of your skin by cleansing and moisturizing regularly, and be sure to remove your makeup before bed to avoid clogged pores and breakouts.

Stay gorgeous!

If you enjoyed this post, you might like our article about ‘13 Best Cute Makeup Looks To Try Out For Yourself‘.

Mimi May