A seminar at Boston’s Museum of Science combines a passion of many young girls with an industry in which many of them are missing: makeup and science. Cosmetic Chemistry is designed to pique their interest in the subject by teaching the science of beauty products, according to the New York Times.
Donned in rubber goggles and aprons, 5th through 7th graders reinforce the scientific process of purpose, method, results, and conclusion by dissecting lipstick. The experiment, led by instructor and course designer Dr. Chi-Ting Huang, is not only useful in demythologizing and confirming ingredients (lipsticks contain crushed beetles, not pig fat; perfume is made from synthetic whale vomit because the real thing is expensive), but has practical applications as well. A lipstick-melting experiment revealed which brands would not wear well.
Students also had the opportunity to make their own products (no beetles were harmed in this trial). Said one 11-year- old, “Now that I know how makeup is made, I might not wear makeup. But I’ll wear mine, of course, because I know what’s in it.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.