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Have you ever wondered what’s in your makeup?

The sound of a buzzing alarm clock makes your eyes fly open as you realize it’s morning. After the snooze button has been exhausted and you can no longer put it off, you jump in the shower, get dressed, fix your hair and apply the finishing touch: makeup.

Since the time of the Egyptians, women (and historically, men, too) have been highly interested in covering up flaws and enhancing natural beauty, with anything from mercury and lead to crushed flower


Today, with modern technology and conveniences, it has become even easier to find and apply makeup on a regular basis. But have you ever wondered what’s in it, especially considering the intricate processes involved in the manufacturing of cosmetics?

Senior Rebekah Rinehart says she became interested in makeup like many other young girls because of problematic skin. To relieve that, it is best to first Discover More about your skin and them apply products to revive the original skin.

“I tried everything you could possibly imagine,” she said. “My skin was so bad and I wanted something that would help it and cover it, but not clog my pores and make it worse.”

Rinehart, who works for Bare Escentuals in the Empire Mall in Sioux Falls, says women have been fascinated with makeup because it’s like artistry.

“It’s a way for them to make up what they have to enjoy being something fascinating, and to catch people’s eyes and to do something different,” Rinehart said.

First-year Sarah Nelson, who also works at Bare Escentuals, says makeup helps give women self-assurance when they step outside their door.

“You realize as you get older that you don’t need as much,” she said. “You try to wear a lot when you’re young, but then you realize makeup is not really the important thing, it’s just that you need confidence.”

But the problem with the widespread use of the average drugstore makeup is the ingredients that make up the magical cover-up. In order to produce the effect needed, many foundations, eye shadows and blushes come complete with fillers, binders, fragrances, preservers and dyes — all of which can be harmful to your skin.

Sophie Uliano, author of “Do it Gorgeously,” says to imagine that when people apply products to their skin — whether it’s moisturizer, makeup or facial soap — they are actually applying it to their internal organs.

“We need to get over the notion that our facial skin is something separate from the rest of our body and that it requires ridiculously expensive and scientific-sounding potions to keep it youthful and glowing,” she writes.

According to the Environmental Working Group, an environmental research and advocacy organization, most cosmetics are not effectively regulated. For example, the FDA does not regulate makeup, nor can it ban or recall harmful products.

The EWG judges and rates various makeup brands based upon their safety qualifications on their website, ewg.org, and cautions consumers against chemicals like parabens, which are used as preservatives, and the use of elements like

aluminum, barium and other harmful by-products and


In her book, which offers home remedies for many cosmetics and beauty products, cautions about the “natural” label many flock to in an effort to regulate what they are applying to their skin because the definition depends on who is talking.

“Natural” can often include many synthetic creations or compounds of naturally-occurring ingredients that do not react well with each other.

“The problem with synthetic is that it’s a compound made artificially by using chemical ingredients — that is, it’s made in a lab as opposed to being found in the great outdoors,” she writes. “I believe it’s healthier for the  most part to nourish yourself food and skin-wise, with what is actually found in nature.”

Even though some of the ingredients in average drugstore makeup can be problematic, Nelson says people aren’t aware of it, or choose to ignore it because they don’t see the damage right away.

“You have to see it develop over time, so they’re not going to see it right away, they’re not going to think that anything is wrong with it,” she said.

People are looking for easy, fast and cheap when it comes to makeup, Rinehart says.

“If it’s going to cover, and it’s cheap, then they’re going to get it,” she said. “They don’t think about it because their skin is beautiful, their skin still has that youthful glow, but that makeup is taking it away a lot faster than their natural body would.”

No matter the problems or issues surrounding makeup, Rinehart and Nelson say women will continue to buy and use it, both to cover up flaws and to add confidence.

“Honestly, a lot of girls are insecure and they think that they have to (wear makeup),” Rinehart said. “You hear all the time, ‘I can’t step outside without anything on my face,’ and I think makeup, unfortunately, gives them that confidence, but it’s only skin deep.”