The Primary Ingredients in Makeup

By Reese Armstrong

The Food and Drug Administration regulates cosmetic and makeup, considered one of the safest categories of products. The FDA determines the ingredients that are safe to be used in all makeup products. All powdered forms of makeup, such as face powder and eye shadow, contain similar ingredients that stick to the skin. Liquid foundation and mascara contain very different ingredients than those in powdered makeup.

Various minerals give eye shadow its color.


Every makeup brand has its own formulation for mascara, but in general all mascaras contain pigments, oils, waxes and water. Carbon black is the pigment material in black mascara while iron oxide is the pigment material in brown mascara. Mascara also contains oils--some of the most common are lanolin, eucalyptus oil, mineral oil and caster oil--and waxes--including carnauba wax, beeswax and paraffin.

Liquid Foundation

The first ingredient in all liquid foundations is water. Glycerin, various forms of glycols, and paraben waxes are also ingredients that make up liquid foundation. SPFs provide protection from the sun. Mica is present in some liquid foundations to give a light reflecting quality. In matte foundations, talc is present to absorb oil.

Eye Shadow

The ingredients in eye shadow bases include: talc, mica, zinc and silica. These ingredients allow the eyeshadow to stick to the lid of the eye. The ingredients that give color to eye shadows are: titanium dioxide (makes colors whiter and brighter), iron oxide (provides a red-rust color), ultramarines (create blue and pink hues), manganese (purples) and chromium (greens).