Surprising ingredients found in face powder

Face powder is a staple in even the most basic of makeup toolkits, but do you really know what ingredients you're putting on your skin? In order to get that distinctive color, texture, and "last-ability," manufacturers add a surprising assortment of ingredients including plants, minerals, and even insects.

That's right — there might be insects in your powder.

True Natural explains that the ingredient carmine is often created by boiling the shells of female insects called Coccus Cacti. When not boiled, this pigment can also be extracted with methods involving eggs, fish, and glue or gelatin. Fortunately, the finished product resembles none of these things, and what you'll notice is the distinctive pink result that has a lengthy history in the makeup industry. Beyond that, the Environmental Working Group notes little risk in this alternative substance.

But it's not the ingredients put into your powder on purpose — it's the ones that shouldn't be there at all that should cause concern.

Contaminants to avoid in your face powder

If two minerals could be friends, asbestos and talc would be best buddies. Talc is a powder known for reducing shine. Occurring together naturally, Asbestos.com warns that asbestos can easily be included with talc that is not responsibly sourced for powdered makeup. You might be most familiar with talc in older baby powders, many of which have since been replaced with cornstarch due to this risk (via Health).

Microplastics are another unwelcome guest in many different makeups including face powders. Beat the Microbead explains that plastic in the form of polyethylene is found in many different cosmetics in a myriad of different forms including microbeads. Polyethylene can help work as a fixative, or alternatively as an exfoliant in microbeads. While the risk from these plastics isn't as direct as that from a toxin like asbestos, microbeads and microplastics may pose a significant risk to wildlife ecosystems and multiple different stages of the food chain. The extent of this risk is still being studied.

Check the ingredients listed in a face powder before buying, as well as making sure to purchase from recognized and ethical brands. Be aware of knock-off products that may not contain quality ingredients. Don't get surprised by your face powder ingredients.