What Are the Most Common Ingredients in Lip Gloss?

Karize Uy

Some of the most common ingredients in lip gloss are wax, petroleum jelly, and oil. Another main ingredient is polybutene, which creates that shiny quality lip gloss often has. Color additives and fragrances are also commonly included. Many cosmetic companies also use some nourishing ingredients in lip gloss, such as natural plant extracts and vitamins A, C, and E. Natural and chemical preservatives are also commonly added to make the product last longer and prevent bacteria from breeding.

Petroleum jelly, which is often included in lip gloss.
Petroleum jelly, which is often included in lip gloss.

Typically, the combination of wax, petroleum jelly, and oil accounts for more than 50% of the ingredients. The wax used in the product is often naturally derived, such as beeswax, carnuba wax, and candelilla wax, while the oil can either come from plant or mineral sources. The petroleum jelly, on the other hand, is actually the refined and processed form of crude oil. The ratio of each of these ingredients generally dictates the form and solidity of the lip gloss. For example, the cream-type of lip gloss contained in small pots generally contains less petroleum jelly and wax, in comparison to the tube or stick variety.

Lip gloss can help with chapped lips.
Lip gloss can help with chapped lips.

As previously mentioned, the ingredient that makes lip gloss “glossy” is polybutene, another type of oil labeled as an “oligomer." It is often colorless and transparent, thus it is able to reflect and refract light very well. In this way, one’s lips appear shiny when light is shone down on them. Among the ingredients in lip gloss, polybutene is the one that also acts as an adhesive, helping the lip gloss stay in place after being applied.

Some women and young teenage girls prefer not to wear vibrantly-colored lipsticks, but still want to improve their appearance. Color additives, therefore, are often added as ingredients in lip gloss to give one’s lips a hint of color, along with some luster. Shades of pink and rose are among the most popular colors. Fragrance and flavors are also added to make the product more appealing and “fun,” especially to pre-teens and teenagers. Varied lip gloss can taste and smell of different kinds of fruits, vanilla, and even chocolate.

Other ingredients in lip gloss are some vitamins, doubling the product as a lip balm that nourishes the lips. Vitamin E, for example, helps moisturize and protect the lips, while vitamin C can prevent the lips from being chapped and discolored. Vitamin A, on the other hand, encourages cell regeneration and reduces lip wrinkles. Some lip gloss also contain titanium dioxide to provide protection from the sun, as the skin on the lips is very thin and sensitive.

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