Cosmetics (colloquially known as makeup or make-up) are care substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body. They are generally mixtures of chemical compounds, some being derived from natural sources, many being synthetic.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which regulates cosmetics, defines cosmetics as “intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance without affecting the body’s structure or functions.” This broad definition includes, as well, any material intended for use as a component of a cosmetic product. The FDA specifically excludes soap from this category.
During the 20th century, the popularity of cosmetics increased rapidly.Cosmetics are increasingly used by girls at a young age, especially in the United States. Due to the fast-decreasing age of make-up users, many companies, from high-street brands like Rimmel to higher-end products like Estee Lauder, have catered to this expanding market by introducing more flavored lipsticks and glosses, cosmetics packaged in glittery, sparkly packaging and marketing and advertising using young models. The social consequences of younger and younger beautification has had much attention in the media over the last few years.
Criticism of cosmetics has come from a variety of sources including some feminists, religious groups, animal rights activists, authors and public interest groups. Growing awareness and preference for cosmetics exists for cosmetics lacking toxic ingredients, especially those derived from petroleum, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and parabens.