Cosmetics refer to anything used or done superficially to enhance or alter the appearance of the face and texture of the body. These are often extracted from natural resources or they can be created with chemical compounds, hence synthetic or artificial.
The word cosmetics is derived from the Greek κοσμητικὴ τέχνη (kosmetikē tekhnē), meaning “technique of dress and ornament”.
History of Cosmetics
The history of cosmetics can be traced out to 12,000 years ago. Their use was prevalent in almost every society on the face of the Earth. In 10,000 BCE cosmetics used to be an integral part of Egyptian hygiene and health. Moreover, they used perfumes on their religious rituals. Then it evaluated the use of colors on the eyes around 6000 years ago in the same Egyptian society.
It went to China in the form of fingernail stains. They used them to express their social class. In the medieval era, the perfumes were imported to Europe from the Middle East. Elizabethan England gave trend to the dyed red hairs. The formal manufacturing of cosmetics started in the 15th century in Europe. Only aristocrats had the privilege to use them. But with the time and enormous development of the industry, cosmetics are now available to anyone, living anywhere or belonging to any class or profession.
Types of Cosmetics:
Cosmetics are supposed to be applied externally. There are few categories based on the area of application of the cosmetics
1. Facial Cosmetics
Lipstick is a wide category in itself. There are lipsticks, lip glosses, lip balms, liquid lipsticks, lip plumper, lip stain, lip conditioner, lip premier, lip boosters and lip butter. These are intended to add color and texture to the lips with different finishes like the matte, satin, glossy, and luster.
b. Eye Makeup
Eye makeup includes eyeliner, mascara, eye-shadows, eyebrows, eye-lashes, and colored contact lenses. Eyeliner is intended to enhance and elongate the eye size and depth. Mascara darkens, lengthen, thicken, and beautified the lashes. Artificial lashes are also used to cover the original thin lashes. Eye-shadows are pigmented powder or cream, used above the eyelid, to give colors to the eyes.
c. Premier and Concealers
It is used to set face before makeup application and creates a layer between skin and makeup to prevent harms of the makeup to the skin like acne and clogging up pores. They are also used for even tone. While concealer hides the imperfections in the skin.
d. Rouge/ Blush
A blusher is cheek coloring to give them colors and make the cheekbones more prominent and defined. These come in the form of powder, cream, or liquid. The blushes are normally used according to the skin tone.
e. Highlight and Bronzer
Highlight, as the name suggests, is used to draw attention to the high points of the face, like cheekbones, below the eyebrows, upper lip, nose, and collar bone, etc. On the other hand, bronze contours the face and gives a tan-look for sharper features.
2. Body Cosmetics
Deodorant is a fumed substance applied to the body to prevent or hide body odor resulting from bacterial breakdown of perspiration in the armpits, groin, and feet. A subclass of deodorant called antiperspirant prevents sweating.
Body lotions are low viscosity cosmetics that are meant to smooth, moisturize, soften, or fume the skin.
This cosmetic form basically originated in the ancient France. This gives the body an agreeable scent. There are thousands of fragrances available in the market, and perhaps this can be the most expensive product in the cosmetics industry.
3. Hands\Nails Cosmetics
a. Nail Polish
It is used to color fingernails and toenails. In addition to the huge variety of colorful nail polishes, there are transparent versions also that are used to coat nails before applying nail polish or after application to protect it. Again like many other cosmetics, nail polish also gives matte, glossy or powder finish.
4. Hair Cosmetics
a. Hair Colours
One of the most ancient cosmetics is hair colors. Initially, henna was used to color the hair, but now there are multiple shades of hair colors are available to make the applicant, more fashionable, and trendy. These are also used to mask grey or white hair.
b. Gel and Hair Sprays
Hair gel and sprays are normally used in hair styling. This is a solid jelly-like soft material that sets the hair where you want them to. Hair spray is a cosmetic to spray over the styled hair to protect against humidity and wind.
Various organic and inorganic compounds are used to make cosmetics. Typical natural compounds comprise the extracted oils and fats and various petrochemically derived agents. The processed minerals such as iron oxides, talc, and zinc oxide are common inorganic compounds used in cosmetics manufacturing. The organic products are considered safe and they are in the mainstream nowadays.
There is two-layer packaging if cosmetics: the primary and secondary packaging. Primary packaging is called cosmetics containers. It is directly connected to the products. Secondary packaging refers to the outer wrapping of the container. The necessary information about the safety and usage of the product must appear on the primary packaging and the rest can be printed on the outer layer. There is an International Organization for Standardization that regulates the packaging standards of cosmetics too.
The Whales of the Cosmetics Industry
The industry is dominated by only a few manufacturers. Most of them originated in the 20th century. The world’s largest cosmetic giants are L’Oréal, Proctor and Gamble, Unilever, Shiseido, and Estée Lauder. The major countries in the industry are the United States of America ranking first, Japan ranking Second and Germany stands third in the row.
Patch Testing is a way to test perfumes against any allergic reaction. The other testing measure usually taken is animal testing, but it is now considered cruel and is avoided. Many cosmetic manufacturers label their products to be vegan and cruelty-free.