What Ingredients Are in Makeup: Know What Goes on Your Face

Published Categorized as Makeup Tips

Do you love to binge-watch makeup tutorials and product reviews? How about window-shopping for all sorts of makeup, perusing stores for products in attractive packaging? Does your makeup wish list just keep on growing? As much as we adore makeup, though, do we know what ingredients are in makeup?

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Many of us are quite guilty of indulging in makeup. Who can blame us, right? Being a makeup enthusiast is both fun and challenging. There are many things to worry about, from an uneven cat-eye to unsightly cakey foundation.

One of the things that we’re paying more attention to is makeup ingredients. As people are getting more concerned about their skin and the products they’re using, it’s important to learn about the ingredients we apply to our skin. 

What exactly are we applying to our face?

If you don’t know the answer yourself, let us help you out by putting it in front of you. 

Table of Contents

What Ingredients Are in Makeup?

If you own several different makeup products, you must’ve given the ingredients on the back a look. But did you really pay attention?

We tend to give little to no heed to those ingredients on the back; after all, as long as they serve their purpose and don’t affect us in a major way, all is good.

However, it’s quite important that you know about the ingredients you apply to your skin. A countless number of makeup products are present in the market, and all have a different combination of ingredients. Some low-cost makeup products with wrong ingredients can even damage your skin in the long run.

We’ve collected a few common ingredients found in almost all makeup products. 

What Ingredients Are in Makeup: Knowing What Goes on Your Face - Ellis James Designs

Common Makeup Ingredients


Almost half of the makeup products are in liquid form, so they are mostly made of water. But, not just any water. The water used is purified, so it stays on the face for longer.

These products include everything from foundations to sprays and other stuff with a liquid texture. If you check a product for water now, you might find the terms purified or distilled simply because these products are free of toxins and microbes.


An emollient can be compared to the key ingredient when it comes to lipsticks. It’s actually what makes a lipstick amazing. The emollient slows down the evaporation of water from the skin while keeping it soft.

You might be wondering what falls under emollients. Well, they are of two types.

Natural and chemical emollients are the two basic types which are mainly used in makeup products like lipsticks. Beeswax, almond oil, glycerin, di-glycol laurate, and coconut oil are some of the widely-used emollients belonging to the two types.


Makeup bloggers are always out to rant about the pigmentation of makeup products. Well, makeup is all about that.

Colors and pigments are what give the products life. They also help our skin light up, giving it a pop of color.

From kohled eyes to nude lipsticks, rosy cheeks to sunset eye shadows, pigments play an important role. There are many sources – such as mineral, natural, and organic – used to obtain those appealing colors that you see in makeup products. 


Fragrances have a small community of their own. If you’re a fragrance freak like us, this section is for you.

Odors are one of the most important factors which make or break a buyer’s decision. It holds true for makeup.

No one would be willing to pass a product in their shopping bag if it smells unpleasant. Therefore, makeup products are infused with natural as well as synthetic fragrances for the sake of customer satisfaction. 

With that said, brands take some measures to keep the secret ingredients behind the fragrances in the makeup. To create one particular fragrance, tons of chemicals are tried, infused, and mixed together to make that perfect smell of your makeup product.

Even if you are intolerant towards fragrances, there are many fragrant chemicals present in unscented products. You can find out such information on the back of your makeup product and decide whether or not you’re fine with it.

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Which Product Contains What?

Now let’s categorize the ingredients according to makeup products to ease the process more:


Foundations are the highlight (not literal, of course!) of a makeup routine. If you have a bad base, it can affect your entire look.

Foundations contain moisturizing agents such as glycerides, oils, colorants, and fillers to give the perfect finish.

Of course, there are many kinds of foundation out there, whether it’s cream, stick, liquid or powder foundation.

If you’re using a powder type foundation, it might contain different ingredients such as silica, talc, and starch. 


Nude brown or bold red lipstick? Both look good, depending on what you’re going for.

Regardless, the ingredients in lipstick are wax, oils, and pigments to give them the glossy feel and the vibrant shades. Few ingredients and their quantity in lipstick differ according to their finishes.

Long-wear lipsticks are stacked up with volatile solvents while the matte lipsticks have a higher amount of oils than the sheer ones.

Eye Shadow

The makeup industry has been noticing a steep rise in diversity when it comes to eye shadows and eye product palettes. From smoky eyes to sunset halo eyes, eye shadow looks are definitely escalating quickly.

The one thing that remains unchanged is the ingredient list.

Eye shadows are made from talc, mica, and binders. They allow the eye shadow to be packed up on your skin to stay put.

In addition, eye shadows also contain iron oxides and dimethazone; substances which might cause a stir.


Our favorite. Who doesn’t love flushed rosy cheeks?

For us, blush is a staple in makeup as it brings the whole look together.

The ingredients which make a good blush are talc and stearic used as fillers.

Along with these, blush also contains concealing agents, such as mica and zinc oxide. 


Fluttery, long, and thick lashes stand out in all looks, be it no-makeup makeup or full glam.

Mascara tubes are full of iron oxide, wax, and phenoxyethanol to give you perfect fringy huge lashes.

Waterproof mascaras contain an additional silicone ingredient to make it stay firm on your pool party.  It also makes them that much harder to take off!

(Head on over to our post for tips to properly remove mascara.)

What Ingredients Are in Makeup: Knowing What Goes on Your Face - Ellis James Designs

What do you think?

Now, you’ve got a better idea of what ingredients are in makeup that we so wholeheartedly adore.

Some of these might be debatably unhealthy for you (such as parabens), but more and more companies and brands are working to make sure released products are safe, healthy, and toxic-free.

Check out related posts on our blog:

What ingredients in makeup do you like or don’t like?

By Ellis James

We design luxuriously glamorous bags, organizers and life essentials for you. At Ellis James Designs, it’s all about YOU. Your bag, Your way. Our exclusive designs are timeless, indulgent and most importantly inspired by you. What will be your first Ellis James Design?


  1. Thanks very much for stopping by! These days we’re becoming more and more conscious of what we put in and on our bodies, and it’s definitely good to try and be wiser about what we use!

  2. This was such an interesting read! I find myself constantly wondering about ingredients used in food but never thought much of what goes into beauty products. Great read!

    Eena ☼ cabin twenty-four

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