With the exception of the industrial production of synthetic glitter in 1934, the major developments in makeup have all taken place over the past twenty years. A move from natural to synthetic can be seen not just in glitter, but also in pigments. Veronique Roulier, head of L’Oreal Luxe labs, says all of their pigments are synthetic. Why? Because you can control the quality and the purity more easily. Natural pigments are so unpredictable: They can change color or go off. That being said, iron oxides are still used; they are just synthetic versions these days so in some ways we are looping right back to the makeup of ancient Egypt!
Good Old Glitter
From as early as the Paleolithic era, mica (a mineral whose name probably derives from the Latin word micare, meaning to flash) was used in cave paintings to make them sparkle. Like many great discoveries, the method for producing tiny particles of modern man-made glitter was a mistake. The inventor might seem an unlikely one: Henry Ruschmann was a machinist and cattle rancher from New Jersey, who happened across a method for cutting colored plastic to create tiny sparkling fragments in 1934. Henry didn’t know what he’d created but he could tell that it was something special. So to protect his discovery, he founded Meadowbrook Inventions, a family-owned business, which still exists today on the grounds of the original cattle farm Amazingly, it remains the biggest manufacturer of glitter in the world (appropriately, the company slogan is Our glitter covers the world).
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