Are Fish Scales in Lipstick Real?

Eliza | 06 - 11 - 2021

Fishes are a good source of omega-3 and 6- fatty acids. Fishes play an important role in maintaining your skin and hair. Not only internally but also externally. Yes, some lipstick contains fish scales, and the ingredient is called “pearlescence.” The silvery substance found in the fish scales and is responsible for creating a shimmering effect in most cosmetic products including lipsticks and nail polish. 

Is Lipstick Made Out of Fish Scales? 

Purified fish scales with natural pearlescent pigments are added to boost shine in lipstick. Guanine in fish scales is responsible for pearlescence. Guanine is an iridescent material found in the outer layer of skin in pelagic fishes like mackerel, sardine, herring. Guanine has the ability to produce a similar optical effect to that of real pearls. But why are there fish scales in lipstick? During ancient times women loved to wear pearl jewelry but the middle class couldn’t afford it. So they came up with innovation and used fish scales to imitate pearls. Even today, some fake pearls are made with fish skin. Due to its radiance and iridescent aspect, it was adopted as one of the main ingredients in lipstick. However, pearlescence is not as effective as natural pearls. Nailpolish is the first cosmetics that used pearlescence.

Main Ingredient in Lipstick

Lipstick has seen various developments over the years and it’s one of the most important aspects in make-up. Lipsticks elevate your overall look and in many countries, it is considered even as a social status. Most lipsticks are made with basic three ingredients: wax, pigment, and oil. Fish skin is one of the main ingredients in some lipstick. Apart from fish scales, there are also other animal by-products in lipstick such as cochineal insects. The emollient in lipstick is extracted from the oil glands of sheep. During Ancient times crushed insects were one of the main ingredients in lipstick.  It is even said Queen Cleopatra used cochineal insects to color her eyes.  

Name the Substance That Is Responsible For Pearlescence
  • A. Guanine
  • B. Adenine
  • C. Thymine
  • D. None of the above

As said earlier, fish scales are converted to Guanine and it has got approval from The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe color addictive and has qualified all the tests. Many might feel weird to use lipstick after knowing the source but you don’t have to worry much because it undergoes several processes to make it hygienic.  

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