Makeup, Tattoos and Hair
Hair dye, shampoo, lipstick, eye shadow, perfume, tattoo ink… These are all products that help us maintain “the body beautiful.” And, they’re products made possible through the power of chemistry. Learn more about the science of how they’re made and used.
- How Perfume Works
What’s your perfume preference? Aldehydic? Lactonic? Phenolic? Learn about the chemistry of scenting your skin.
- Science and Art of Perfumery
See how chemistry helped the perfume industry move out of the garden and into the lab.
- Fragrance Chemist
Develop combinations that have never existed or been smelled before—it’s the work of a fragrance chemist.
- Scintillating Scents
Choose your favorite scent: rose or lavender. Then, get started with this science-fair-style experiment to make your own perfume.
- Royal Society of Chemistry Creates Perfume
This scent has a top-secret formula. You won’t find this perfume in stores—it was made for just one person.
- Compounds in Red Lipstick
How can you get an even redder red on your lips? Just apply and wait for the reaction. Find out how.
- Cosmetic Chemistry Behind Lipstick
Looking to glam it up? Choose from crushed insects, toxic paste, and fish scales. Compare ancient ingredients to today’s.
- What's That Stuff—Lipstick
What does it take to get color in a tube and then to your lips? See what goes into the manufacture of this popular cosmetic.
- Lipsticks: How They Have Changed and Where They Are Going
Science doesn’t just go into lipstick itself, it’s even part of the molding process. See what’s next for lipstick.
- Experimenting with Makeup: What Puts the ‘Ick’ in Lipstick?
Do you agree with a student’s description of lipstick as “a tube of fatty goop”? Hear about their experiences at a science museum.
- Lipstick Dyes and Thin Layer Chromatography
Do your lips need a little TLC? Thin layer chromatography, that is. Lipstick heads to the lab.
- Chemistry of Moisturisers
Fight dry skin with chemistry. Learn what compounds go into your moisturizer and what each one does.
- What's That Stuff—Henna
Here’s some science that gets into your skin. See where henna comes from, how its dye gets activated, and how long it lasts.
- How to Become a Cosmetic Chemist
Interested in what path to take to make a career out of make-up? Find tips here from someone who’s been there, done that.
- Chemistry Tattoos
Spelling and grammar mistakes immortalized in tattoos. It happens in chemistry too—read about one that went wrong.
- The Chemistry of Tattoo Ink
Know anything about the composition of the ink you’re putting into your body? See what this chemist found out.
- Temporary Tattoos That Control Your Phone
These tattoos don’t just make a decorative statement—they help connect with your tech.
- How Are Tattoos Removed?
Got a tattoo you’re just not happy with anymore? Learn about some laser options for removal, each one designed for specific colors and compounds.
- Tattoo Ink Chemistry
What’s in tattoo ink? You can’t really know for sure. Get info on some of the likely compounds.
- Think Before You Ink—Are Tattoos Safe?
Learn about some of the risks involved, along with tattoo tips.
- Thinking of Inking?
What happens when you get a tattoo? Where should it go? What should it be? This guide gives you the scoop.
- A Lifetime ACS Fan: Undergrad Gets Inked
This student is dedicated to chemistry and wants those who see him (and his ACS tattoo) to know it.
- Tattoos and Permanent Makeup—Marketplace and Chemistry
Get tattoo info straight from the mouth of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in this science webinar.
- What Chemicals Are in Your Tattoo?
Do we know enough? And if not, what can we do to find out?
- The Chemistry of Hair Care
Can science help you avoid bad hair days? Understand how chemistry is used to develop better hair care products.
- Hair Dye: A History
Did you know the compounds used to dye hair brown are colorless at first? This history is packed with unexpected twists and turns.
- Better Hair Through Chemistry
Turn your hair into a hygrometer and use your tresses to measure changes in humidity.
- Shampoo: What’s That Stuff?
Your choices in the shampoo aisle can be overwhelming. What goes into each bottle, and which one should you pick?
- Hair Coloring: What’s That Stuff?
Permanent hair coloring takes some serious science. Learn about the steps it takes to get that color to stay.
- Good Hair Days: A Case of Good Chemistry
Take a close look at your hair. No, closer. Really, closer. Read about what makes up its structure and how to protect it.
- Experiments with Hydrogels—Hair Gel
You wouldn’t sprinkle salt on your hair, but if you did, could your hair gel stand up to it? Test the idea in this experiment.
- Why Does the Pool Turn Blonde Hair Green?
It’s not easy being green. Or sometimes a blonde, if you like to swim. What’s in the pool that can give this unwanted hue?
- Making Waves: The Chemistry of Hair Perms
Wanted curly hair 100 years ago? No problem. You just needed heated brass rods and cow urine. Curly hair now? There’s a better solution.
- Hair Straighteners
Forget curly. What if you want it straight? This method works great, but is it safe for you?
- Straighten Your Hair Without Frying It? Engineers Are on the Case
Too little heat and it doesn’t work. Too much heat and it burns your hair. Science helps you walk the fine line.