The ingredients of lipstick need to create something that provides a glossy, smooth colour, which doesn’t wipe off immediately and is considerate to a rather delicate part of the body. The major constituents of lipstick are just wax and oil, but your favourite lippy could also contain materials derived from sheep, insects, fish and hot chillis!


The break down:

Wax - 30 per cent

Often a mixture of beeswax, carnauba and lanolin (from sheep wool). Together these form the main structure of the lipstick.

Oil - 65 per cent

Typically castor oil, this provides glossiness and dissolves the dyes.

Dyes - 5 per cent

This varies depending on the colour, but a scarlet shade might contain carmine red, which is derived from scale insects.


Guanine: derived from fish scales, this gives the lipstick pearlescent sheen.

Capsaicin: the chemical that give chillis their heat is added to some lipsticks to make the lips swell slightly, giving them a plumped-up look.


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