Cosmetics products are a vast category of beauty and health products which are used either to enhance or alter the appearance of a person, or to treat the skin. The word ‘cosmetics’ is derived from Greek words meaning ‘applied makeup’. Cosmetics have come a long way from its original roots, with the ancient Egyptians applying henna to themselves in order to apply cosmetic changes. Cosmetics products are usually prepared and used with the guidance of a qualified cosmetic professional. Cosmetics manufacturers do not include in their ranges any harmful chemicals, as they do not pose a risk to the consumer’s health. They use only those ingredients that have been tested for both safety and quality; these companies employ well-researched and strict standards to ensure that the cosmetics they produce and supply are free from any risk of harm.
In the early part of the 19th century, attitudes towards cosmetics were largely negative, with society putting a major emphasis on cleanliness, hygienic habits and moral behavior. These attitudes towards cosmetics products changed with the Industrial Revolution and new industrial processes for producing textiles, oils and creams. Changing consumer attitudes towards cosmetics products also led to an increase in the number of products which could be categorized as cosmetics, as well as to the demand for these products. It has now become common place to see girls and women shopping for makeup, nail polish, lip gloss and other such beauty items, in crowded shopping malls and in department stores.
Cosmetics products may contain in them many natural ingredients, but the main ingredients tend to be: Zinc Oxide, Ultraviolet Light Binder (also known as UVC Binder), fragrances, colorants, preservatives (such as parabens), alcohols and mineral oils. Some preservatives (such as benzyl peroxide) can cause allergic reactions and are therefore only used on a small amount. Some alcohols or mineral oil may contribute to the drying out of the skin and they should therefore only be used in very low concentrations.
The changing attitudes towards cosmetics mean that they have developed a whole new set of beliefs and ideas about what is good and bad for the skin. This new set of ideas about the effects of cosmetics on health, for the appearance of the skin and for the overall appearance of the face has resulted in some interesting changes in the formulation of some common cosmetics products. For example, the main ingredient in lipsticks and lipstick liquid, which was once thought to be safe, is Zinc Oxide. This chemical compound has been shown to have negative impacts on the health of the skin and it is for this reason that some cosmetics manufacturers have stopped using Zinc Oxide in their lipstick liquid.
The typical cosmetics product for eyebrows is usually eyeliner, which comes in either pencil form or liquid. Pencil liners do not last very long, unlike the pencils that are typically used for eyebrows, so they must be replaced on a regular basis. Liquid eyeliners are generally considered to be best for setting the eyelids and for providing definition to them. In fact many cosmetics manufacturers are phasing out the use of pencil liners altogether.
Another common item in the makeup bag is the mascara, which usually comes as either a liquid or cream that is applied with a small sponge on the eyelid area and then drawn back into the eye. Mascara is also designed to thicken the lashes, which may be enhanced by the addition of glitter or eyeliner. It is also typical for mascara to be removed from its container, tweezed out and then used. The typical cosmetics container for cosmetics products is usually plastic, with the lid having a hole at the top and a wide mouth at the bottom. Cosmetics are usually applied with a single, thin, straight stroke for a more precise application and with a smaller circular brush for blending. The cosmetics container is then sealed in an air-tight bag to keep it fresh until the time of use.