Cosmetics can be defined as products or substances used to either alter or enhance the appearance of the face or fragrance and texture of the body. They are usually mixtures of a number of chemical compounds; some being derived from natural sources while others having synthetic sources. Cosmetics that are applied to the face to enhance its appearance are called make-up. Some of the commonly used make-up items include eye shadow, lipstick, foundation, and mascara. Other types of commonly used cosmetics may include skin cleansers, shampoos, body lotions, hair styling products, conditioners, perfumes, hair sprays, and colognes.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US has defined cosmetics as products which are intended to be applied to the human body for beautifying, cleansing, promoting attractiveness, or changing the appearance without affecting the body’s structure or functions. The FDA, however, specially excludes soap from this category of products.

  • Primer
    Primers are specifically used to reduce the appearance of pores on the skin and prolong the time for which the make-up stays on one’s face. It also enables the smoother application of other make-up items.
  • Lipstick and other lip products
    Lipsticks are usually used to add texture and color to the lips. They come in a wide range of colors, shades, as well as finishes such as glossy, matte, luster and satin. Lip glosses are usually used to add shine and a hint of color to the lips. They may even be flavored or scented. Lip balms are often used to moisturize and protect the lips.
  • Concealer
    Concealers are often used for extra coverage such as hiding acne/ blemishes, and under-eye circles. A concealer usually acts as a base for the rest of the make-up to sit on.
  • Foundation
    It is usually used to smoothen up the face by covering acne, blemishes, spots or uneven skin tone. Foundations come in powder, liquid or cream form. They provide matte, sheer, dewy or full coverage.
  • Face powder
    Face powder sets the under- eye concealer and foundation, acting as a finishing layer over these while also concealing small blemishes or other such flaws. Tinted face powders alone can be used as a light foundation so as to avoid the face appearing caked-up.
  • Highlighter
    Highlighters are usually used to add glow and draw attention to the high points of the face such as the nose and cheekbones and brow bone. It is often shimmery and comes in powder, cream or liquid form.
  • Bronzer
    Bronzers are usually used to provide depth to certain areas of the face. It adds a slight golden or bronze color to the face and can be used to highlight the cheekbones and nose when used in combination with the highlighter. It comes in semi-matte, matte and shimmery finishes.
  • Nail polish
    Nail polishes are used to color the fingernails and toenails. They come in various colors and can be transparent too. The latter is usually used as a protective coat.  They come in shiny as well as matte finishes.