The Truth Behind the Makeup

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April 16, 2023

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(HACKENSACK, N.J.) — Lucciana Heredia Senmache, a first-generation college graduate with immigrant parents from Peru, is a rising star in the beauty industry. Her expertise in cosmetic chemistry has led to the creation of popular makeup products, including a contour pen available at major retailers. Her dedication to quality and transparency is evident in her work, and as the industry shifts towards inclusivity and sustainability, her contributions are more important than ever. 

Lucciana Heredia Senmache finding the perfect shade. [Credit: Melanie Lewis]

Throughout history, makeup has served various purposes, from enhancing natural beauty to expressing individuality and boosting confidence. Ancient Egyptians invented cosmetics 6,000 years ago to prove wealth and appeal to the gods. Women and children wore black eyeliner, bright lipstick, setting powder, and green eyeshadow. However, the path to modern makeup has been fraught with danger.

In ancient Rome and 17th-century Europe, women used toxic substances like white lead powder, copper, mercury, vermillion, cinnabar, and others to achieve the desired look, leading to serious health issues. During the 17th and 18th centuries, makeup was associated with prostitution and vulgar behavior, and women had to make their own products.

Today, some of the world’s biggest and oldest makeup brands contain harmful chemicals, such as coal tar dyes, DEA-related ingredients, parabens, petrolatum, parfum (fragrance), and triclosan. As the beauty industry continues to evolve towards inclusivity and sustainability, it’s crucial to prioritize the health and safety of consumers and strive for excellence in every aspect of the cosmetics industry.

 It has taken time for the industry to move towards inclusivity and environmentally friendly practices. Today, they are seeing progress in creating inclusive and sustainable makeup, and this evolution is exciting.

However, there are still challenges to be addressed in the industry. Ryesha Jackson, a senior copywriter and content creator in the beauty and technology industries, stressed the importance of accurate and comprehensive product reviews. 

“Product reviews are knowing who the product is made for, everything needs to be color corrected inclusive, be honest, and offer as much information as possible,”  Jackson said. 

Consumers must know that just because the packaging looks attractive doesn’t mean the makeup suits all skin tones. Therefore, it’s essential to have accurate and comprehensive information about the product before making a purchase.

In addition, there is no standard definition or regulation for what constitutes a natural product, according to cosmetic chemist Heredia Senmache. Consumers should read the ingredients carefully before buying, particularly as new formulations and trends emerge, giving consumers more choices.

As the beauty industry continues to evolve, new makeup brands are changing the industry and giving people more confidence. Makeup is no longer just a superficial beauty enhancer but has become a tool of self-expression and cultural significance that helps people feel more confident and beautiful. Rachel Weingarten, a culture journalist, brand and communications strategist, and beauty historian, noted that architectural eyeliner and pigmented eyeshadow can add fun and vibrancy to one look, allowing for greater self-expression.

“You can use drug store makeup, but better ingredients in high-end makeup do make a difference, products speak for themselves,”  Weingarten explained.  

Milani Contour Sticks. [Credit: Melanie Lewis]

 When asked about the highest-quality makeup products for 2023, Heredia Senmache, Jackson, and Weingarten agreed on a few. Milani offers non-toxic makeup with high-quality pigments at affordable prices, making it an excellent choice for consumers who value quality and safety. MAC products, such as Sephora’s mascaras and eyeliners, also received high praise for their quality and being lead-free, making them a safe and reliable choice.

The cosmetics industry must prioritize health, inclusivity, and innovation to make products that make people feel beautiful inside and out. As consumers demand more natural and organic products, educating them about the product ingredients becomes increasingly essential. While there is still work to be done, the industry is making progress toward more sustainable and inclusive practices, and it’s vital to keep pushing forward and striving for excellence in every aspect of the cosmetics industry.

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