X-ray diffraction (XRD) is a non-destructive method that can
be used for the analysis of powders or solids in order to
obtain the chemical composition of an unknown. This method
is useful as in forensic science it is important that the
evidence is not destroyed. Information on the purity and
particle size of the sample can also be obtained using XRD (3).
Cosmetics can be made of natural or chemical substances
and made of a powder and a binder phase. The powder
phase comprise talk, mica chalk, kaolin, zinc oxide and
titanium oxide. In order to get the different colours,
especially for the eye shadows, pigments are added (1).
The binder phase is constituted of polymeric materials,
magnesium and zinc stearate to give a better adherence.
Sunflower, coconut or mineral oils as well as certain waxes
can be found in the binder phase as well as vitamins, herbals
and certain preservatives.
Figure 2: XRD of
five cosmetic
Figure 1: Amount of ingredients in typical cosmetics
Geoffrey Boycott
University of Kent
The aims of this research is to find techniques that allow the
differentiation of different types as well as manufacturers of
powder cosmetics, such as makeup, blushes and eye
shadows. Differences as well as similarities between the
products should be established.
This is important in the fields of forensic science as the
concentrations of the different components in the cosmetics
can be determined and compared to the health and safety
regulations. It can be checked if the manufacturers stick to
the recommended amounts given by scientists. They are
widely used in the cosmetic industry and their mechanism
of action as well as the consequences for the human organs
and skin hasn’t been fully explored (2).
Figure 3: Different
brands and types
of makeup
It is expected from this research that comparing the
different types as well as the brands of cosmetics will allow
to establish the similarities and differences between them.
Eye shadows, blushes and foundation powder will be
compared to each other, in order to conclude whether can
they be distinguished.
In previous studies it has been ascertained that the
incorporation of nanoparticles in cosmetics as well as the
mechanism of action have to be further explored. The
toxicity of nanoparticles present in make-up and eye
shadows should be explored and analysed. It is assumed
that nanoparticles are hazardous to the consumers and
therefore it is expected that certain cosmetics could
a danger.
Figure 4: XRD
Of four different
Types of makeup
From the same
Atomic Absorption spectroscopy (AAS) is an analytical
technique that can be used to determine the concentration
of metal elements in the cosmetic samples. The cosmetic
powder is sprayed into a flame of a Bunsen burner. The
resulting flame has the colour that is specific of the metal
ions contained in the sample. Copper for example gives a
green colour, whereas sodium gives a yellow colour (4).
X-ray fluorescence (XRF) as XRD is non-destructive and can
be used to determine the elemental composition of the
cosmetics. XRF gives quantitative and qualitative
information about the sample. It is an element characteristic
method, depending on the atomic number of the element.
XRF of minerals in cosmetics allows a quantitative analysis
as well as the differentiations of makeup brands (5).
1. Toedt, J., Koza D. and Van Cleef-Toedt, K. Chemical Composition of Everyday
Products (2005) Greenwood Press.
2. Buzea, C., Pacheco, I. I. and Robbie, K., (2007) Nanomateriales and
nanoparticles: sources and toxicity, Biointerphases, Vol.2 pp. 17-71.
3. Yoshida, T., Yoshioka, Y. and Tsutsumi, Y., (2012) The Safety Assessment of
Nanomaterials for Development of Nano-cosmetics, Yakugaku Zasshi-Journal
of the pharmaceutical society of japan, Vol.132 pp.1231-1236.
4. Pareek, N., Dhaliwal, A.S. and Malik, C. P. (2012) Biogenic Synthesis of Silver
Nanoparticles, Using Bougainvillea spectabilis Willd. Bract Extract, National
academy science letters-india Vol.36 pp. 383-388.
5. Kulikov, E. Latham, K. and Adams, M. J. (2012) Classification and
discrimination of some cosmetic face powders using XRF spectrometry with
chemometric data analysis, X-ray spectrometry Vol.41 pp.410-415.

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