Looking your best may be as much a science as it is an art—especially in the makeup business.
Take a look at the cosmetics and beauty products on display when you shop: hair gel, lipstick, nail polish, shimmer, lip gloss, mascara, eye shadow, face powder, hair spray, eye liner, glitter, face cream, body lotion, and more. Every one of these items is a chemical concoction.
“Formulating cosmetics is a cross between—it sounds nasty—real chemistry and cooking,” says Steve Hasher. He works at Estee Lauder. That’s a major makeup company in New York.
The men and women who create cosmetics have to know science, especially chemistry, Hasher says. But a product’s success also depends a lot on how it looks and feels.
“When you’re cooking, you throw in a little bit of garlic, and the food comes out different,” Hasher says. “When you’re developing a product, you play with chemicals and balance ratios to get it to feel right. Basically, it’s trial and error.”
All that tinkering adds up. Makeup sales are big business.
Chemists and engineers such as Hasher are constantly working to create new products and improve old ones. Every tube of lipstick, face powder, and anti-wrinkle lotion contains a finely tuned mix of ingredients. It’s the product of intensive research with advanced technologies.