Originally quoted from The Beauty Isle Insider by
The Creators of The Beauty Brains
~Image from: MakeUp4All~
The color red has long been associated with St. Valentine's Day. It's the color of the blood that runs through our hearts, so it's not surprising that it's always been linked to love and passion.
We see the color of passion reflected all over fashion and cosmetics. Everyone has (or should have!) a sexy red lipstick or nail polish for special romantic occasions. These products and many others exist thanks to the miracle of modern chemistry which has give us colorants such as FD&C red #40 and D&C red #33.
Of course, we weren't always lucky enough to have such a rainbow of reds to choose from. Originally, red dye came from a more natural, yet more disgusting source: crushed insect bodies - the cochineal insect to be precise.
These bugs grow in certain varieties of cacti. They're hand-picked and immersed in hot water to kill them and to dissolve the waxy coating of their shells. The dead bugs are dried in the sun and then ground into a fine powder that can be used as dye for fabrics, foods and cosmetics.
Today, modern chemistry can synthetically create a wide variety of red dyes, so we don't have to rely on picking bugs off cacti to make our pucker look pretty. And that's just one more reason to be thankful to cosmetics chemists!