The Nature of Science and Discovery

Nature of science refers to the basic principles and ideas that provide a logical description of science as a way of seeking knowledge. Scientific discovery is the process or product that is achieved through concise scientific inquiry about things, events and causes, properties, in addition to theories, hypothesis, and their characteristics. Most of these intrinsic ideas get lost in daily aspect of scientific classrooms leading to a situation where students learning inaccurate aspects of the way science is conducted. Although science is generally supported by wealth of data obtained from repeated trials, the results are never considered final because scientific knowledge may be malleable or stable in different conditions. The idea of having fundamental uncertainty is essential for continued development of scientific studies leading to great scientific discoveries. 

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Make-ups or cosmetics are products that are used to enhance fragrance and appearance of the body. Most cosmetics are designed for hair and skin. Make-ups are made of chemical compounds which are either derived from natural sources like coconut and aloe vera or made from synthetic compounds.  The skin is the largest part of a human’s body, and therefore, it requires different care in different areas depending on the sensitivity and output expected. The most common types applied for the skin are lipsticks, eye shadows, mascaras, skin cleaners, rough skin lotions while perfume, cologne, shampoo are the common hair products. Make-ups are basically applied because of their color as they make the skin prominent. Without color, there would be no cosmetics. People need it in these products in order to express their personality, share feelings, or even reveal their current mood.

Cosmetics are the modern inventions of science in enhancing human appearance. For a long time, humans have used various substances to alter the appearance and emphasize their features. For example, women in ancient Egypt applied kohl to darken their eye lids. Kohl is a substance that contains powdered galena or lead sulfide. Others bathed in milk to soften and whiten their skin. In the course of time, technology changed and the art of staining fingers with colors relating to social class developed. Furthermore, Greek women applied poisonous lead carbonate to achieve a pale complexion. Clay and stones were ground into paste in traditional societies of African and Australia to create body paint for ceremonies and initiation rituals. 

In the modern society, cosmetic industry is a huge business. According to Waller, the household expenditure averages at least approximate $600 of annual budget for toiletries and cosmetics. Lipstick is one of the most popular cosmetic products that is produced using color, wax, oil, and emollients that smoothen, protect, and color the lips. Modern lipsticks are made from different ingredients depending on the final use of the product. Various oils and fats are used in making lipsticks such as mineral oil, olive oil, lanolin, cocoa butter, and petrolatum.  

Aim of the study

In this study, I will investigate the presence of harmful elements in lipsticks. 


There is no presence of harmful elements in organic and non-organic lipsticks.

The harmful elements are present in organic and non-organic lipsticks.

Methods and materials 

In this study, I will correct samples of organic and non-organic lipsticks for a lab experiment. I will do a sample test to establish which compounds have the highest amount of toxic substances that can affect human skin. The paste is first dissolved in water in order to make a solution. Testing of heavy metals such as lead in the lipstick is achieved by adding a metal sulfide (such as hydrogen sulfide) into the solution which is expected to produce colors with a sulfide ion. In this test, the presence of a heavy metal is identified by comparing the color developed in the test with a standard solution.  The optimum condition for testing is PH solution of between 3 and 4 and a total volume of 50ml, freshly diluted hydrogen sulfide and standard control containing 0.02 mg of heavy metal ion.  This condition may not be modified under room temperature and pressure (rtp). 

The materials required to perform this test include the following

  • Five samples of lipsticks available in the market labeled A, B, C, D and E
  • Equipped laboratory (with water, heating equipment, and test tubes)
  • A sulfide ion (may be ammonium sulfide, hydrogen sulfide or sodium sulfide because they are highly reactive)
  • Standard solutions for heavy metals to provide a basis for comparison (these metal ions in solutions include mercury (Hg), Chromium (Cr), Thallium (Ti), Cadmium (Cd), Lead (Pb) and Arsenic (As))


Dissolve 5.0 g of lipstick in a 450 ml of water in a 500ml beaker. Using the pH meter to stir, adjust the pH value by slowly adding glacial acetic acid or a base ammonium hydroxide if needed. Pour the solution to several test tubes in order to check for the availability of different heavy metals in the solution. Repeat the procedure with other brands of lipstick. Label the solutions as required. 

Independent variables

Toxic compounds in organic and synthetic lipsticks.

Dependent variables

Skin infection

Data interpretation

It means that sample A and E were the most likely lipstick brand to cause adverse health effects on the body. These two samples can cause heavy metal poisoning due to accumulation of lead, mercury, Chromium, and Thallium which are toxic to the soft tissues of the body. Each metal poisoning has different signs and symptoms depending on the level of accumulation and health state of an individual. If any of these metals accumulate in the lips and then become ingested, a situation of heavy metal poisoning may occur. 

Buildup of Cadmium that results in poisoning may be characterized by headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. In addition, the victim may experience progressive loss of emphysema, pulmonary edema, and dyspnea. Chromium and mercury may lead to respiratory tract and lung cancers as well as kidney diseases. The effect of lead poisoning depends on age and the degree of exposure. Children may encounter severe symptoms as compared to adults while more exposed victim may have serious health problems. 

Organic and non-organic cosmetics

Most consumers of cosmetic products never bother to know the ingredients or content used to make color in the lipsticks or eye shadow palettes.  While the color of some product is derived from natural substances, artificial color is made from coal tar. Coal tar is usually a mixture of chemical products derived from petroleum.  If these mixtures are not properly purified, the product can contain some traces of heavy metals like lead which is harmful to human health. The mixture can threaten not only the overall health of a person but also cause hyper-sensitivity, clogging of pores, and irritation leading to breakouts. 

Lead is one of the few bad ingredients of organic lipsticks that may be ignored during mass consumption. This kind of impurity is considered as beauty junky. Lead is a neurotoxic metal that can increase the risk of infertility when consumed because it damages the reproductive system. Like most heavy metals, the buildup of lead in the body implies that a person is more exposed to the risk of adverse health effects. Therefore, when reading the label of most popular toothpicks, customers will not find lead among the listed ingredients. However, it can make its way to the product by contaminating the pigments used in production. Lead can easily be found in contaminated nail polish, foundation, and lipsticks. 

Another problem is the presence of nanoparticles that are fragmented to small sizes below 100nm. They are common in products like sunscreens, lipsticks, mineral make-ups, and moisturizers. These particles cannot be seen when applied on the skin and this makes them ideal for most of the makeups. They help in making the application easier providing a smooth, glow-like finish that consumer likes.  In addition, nanoparticles allow easier penetration of specific active ingredients to the inner layers of the skin. However, along with the active ingredients, some unwanted compounds may penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream causing cardiovascular complications. 

Organic makeups may also contain particles of mica and iron oxide. Most cosmetic products are formulated with completely safe alternative of iron oxide in order to produce the artificial brownish color that glitters after one applies bronzer. In order to make the skin glow with light, mica compounds are used as a part of the ingredients for the lipstick makeups. Mica is a mineral that has the qualities of reflecting light and adding delicate shimmers to the skin. This improves the texture of the makeup and makes it more radiant. Although the particles may be considered safe, wrong proportions of the mixture may be harmful to the skin.

To extend the shelf-life of a cosmetic product, natural preservatives are often used to preserve the cream for at least 24 months. If product fails to lose its properties within two years, it means even the bacteria don’t like it and it may be poisonous for a human. It is important to note that preservatives like vitamin E, essential oils, and fruit extracts can keep microorganisms away for only half a year. After, the lipstick may turn to be a health hazard. 

Lastly, organic makeups are formulated with petroleum byproducts. Traces of heavy metals are minimal in this mixture. Therefore, the liver, the brain, and the reproductive organs are safe. However, mineral oil can be replaced by natural oils or vegetable glycerin that produces the same effect of making the skin look and feel smooth and hydrated. Vegetable oil mimics the sebum produced by the skin and is more effective in preserving the water in the skin cells and preserving the skin in moist condition. 

Organic lipsticks

While most organic cosmetics are marginally related to endeavors in beauty, the expansion of organic standards in beauty has had a profound implication on the regulation of the entire industry. Despite the presence of Food and Drugs Administration, beauty products remain highly unregulated. Huge amount of dangerous chemicals and synthetic additives can be used in processing. Furthermore, The National Organic Program has been reluctant in establishing whether the organic personal care products hold the same standards as organic food. In the meantime, body care manufacturer have grabbed the label ‘organic’ as a Public Relation and marketing scheme to herald the negligence of users with the same synthetic chemicals. Unknowing customers are forced to a premium price for products labeled ‘organic’ under the misconception that they have ingredients that are materially different from non-organic products. The unverified claim that organic products have more health benefits than synthetic products will continue to drive the phenomenal growth in sales of goods. 

According to Southerton, cosmetic manufacturers are required to develop set standards for organic processing. However, most of them complain that some of the products cannot be made in a manner that complies with the existing organic standards because of the nature of the ingredients. Ultimately, the search for genuine organic personal care products may require the cosmetic industry to define its boundaries. If organic substance is anything indicative of lifestyle, organic personal care may be the most important element, but if the concept refers to strict agricultural standards, commercialization of personal care products may not be possible. For now, the synthetic personal care manufacturers may continue making fraudulent ‘organic’ labels misleading the consumers in order to benefit from sales. 

Therefore, we can conclude that lipsticks sample A and E are highly unsafe for human health because of the amount of heavy metals present in them. However, B and D also contain lead elements which pose significant health problems although there are very small quantities of them. Sample C appears to be the only safe lipstick considering the impact on human health.

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