The beauty industry is valued at a staggering $532 billion and it’s not slowing down. The desire to look good and present oneself in an attractive manner is a highly ancient and natural human desire. It’s not just humans, even animals groom themselves to be more attractive to their peers. I’m sure if peacocks had an enormous prefrontal cortex as we do, they’d also be putting on foundation and lipstick to get the edge in the mating game. At Phoenix Chemical, we are first and foremost cosmetic manufacturers. However, given that the beauty industry is constantly evolving due to trends and consumer demands, as well as fashion, we’d like to think we’re also keen observers of history and human nature.

Cosmetic Use in History

Maria of Coventry

Going over how makeup was used throughout history would be an incredible undertaking, far beyond the scope of this humble article.

Throughout history, ancient civilizations used cosmetics in a wide variety of ways that are fairly consistent across time and place. For religious rituals, as a beauty enhancement, to ward off evil spirits, and even for health purposes. After all, in the absence of any means of scientific inquiry, what is the difference between a medicinal balm and cosmetic insignias painted on the body by a shaman who was purportedly in touch with God? Ask any snake oil salesman the power of placebo and they will gladly tell you.

The ancient Egyptians used numerous body oils and scented ointments in everyday life. This fantastic article has some great insights on the historical uses of cosmetics in ancient Egyptian culture. If I had to pull out the most interesting tidbit, it’s that while these beauty products were used to moisturize the skin and make people not smell like ruffians, they were most notably used in the famous mummification process of Egypt. At this point in time, I think it’s safe to say they had no use for something like Green Chemistry. It’d be hard to sell Egyptians on the merits of safe and sustainable chemicals if they’re primarily using cosmetics on the dead. Then again, they mummified the dead to achieve immortality in the after-life, and who wants to go to the afterlife with a rash?

As I said, the historical examples are so numerous and thoroughly tied into cultures that it could occupy many books of academic merit. However, there is one particular example that is a glaring example of why we as cosmetic raw material manufacturers take our business very seriously.

In the 1800s, zinc-oxide was the defacto facial powder to come into ubiquity. The previously used mixture? Lead and copper. Now, I don’t know if you know anything about heavy metals, but they’re not typically something you want floating around in your body. One notable mixture of facial makeup was something called Venetian ceruse—a 16th-century cosmetic that was used to whiten the skin. It was highly in demand and marketed as luxurious and upscale. It was composed of white lead and unsurprisingly led to lead poisoning in which muscle paralysis, facial tremors, and eventually death were common. Ah well, that’s not so bad, is it? In the Renaissance period (1300-1600) sometimes they used arsenic instead of lead.

The Responsibility of Cosmetic Raw Material Manufacturers

Just a brief foray into history can show you that ignorance of what we put into our bodies is deadly. Thankfully, in our modern times, we have put this question at the forefront of our minds and in the case of Phoenix Chemical, the forefront of our business ethics.

Green Chemistry is just one example of how we value sustainability and safety in our products by taking a plant-based approach. Overall, our products are proven to be safe as they make up the foundations of many, many different products that are commercially sold and distributed. We use a state of the art facility and handle all materials with proper safety and compliance protocols to ensure that our clients get the purest goods that are created through educated and time-tested means.

We go through these lengths to ensure that the brands that we support are getting a product that is safe, effective, and can serve as the reliable and stable foundation upon which superficial additives can be imparted upon the product. A cosmetic product can be simplified into two categories for the layperson.

  1. The foundation is comprised of important chemicals that must be mixed to play well with one another and create the desired effect. For example, our product Giovarez 1800 (Polyvinyl Stearyl Ether) is a film-forming waxy polymer. It is useful for color development as well as provides the gloss in lipstick and volumizes mascara. Both of those qualities are integral to what makes lipstick. No one wants lipstick that looks dry and cracked and without sheen, that would be none other than a glorified crayon.
  2. When a stable and consistent product is created, it then can be iterated upon to add the more superficial and idiosyncratic elements to the product. For example, you can task cosmetic manufacturers to create lipstick for your brand, but it’s ultimately up to you to specify what sort of direction the product should take thereafter. How much sheen do you want? What thickness should the product have? What assortment of colors? These details are highly brand focused and is where all brands diverge. Making cosmetics is a science, and science strives to be exacting and precise. Once you work with a high-quality lab that can create products out of raw materials using unique chemical technology, all that’s left is for cosmetic businesses to decide on what sorts of aesthetics they want out of the product.

Of course, in reality, this process is not separate but is just an example of how labs and businesses must work together if they want to create a product that is a great fit for said business. Not all businesses have the same demographics, price points, and brand identity.

Create a Product That Stands Out

Do you want to create a cosmetic product that stands out? Work with a lab that knows the science inside and out and is also savvy to the trends of the beauty industry! If only there was a company like that…oh wait, that’s us! Phoenix Chemical has been developing proprietary chemical technologies for use in beauty products since 1982.

Contact us here to transform your product vision into reality!