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Home > Cosmetics Constituents > Uses of cosmetics > Uses of Corn in Cosmetic
Uses of Corn in Cosmetic

CorncobCorncobs, when finely ground, are relatively dust free and very absorbent. This absorbency makes corncobs useful carriers for pesticides, fertilizers, vitamins, hand soaps, cosmetics and animal litters. Carcinogens and other dangerous chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products include: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), propylene glycol, diethanolamine (DEA), cocamide DEA, lauramide DEA, fluoride, alcohol, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), aluminum, butane, dioxin, fluorocarbons, formaldehyde, glycerin, kaolin, lanolin, mineral oil, petrolatum, propane, talc, and hundreds more.

More than 38,000 cosmetic injuries requiring medical attention are reported annually in the US. Ingredients in shampoos, toothpastes, skin creams, and other personal care products, fabric softeners, make-up, hair care products, colognes, perfumes and other scented products can be dangerous to your health.

"A cosmetic manufacturer may use any ingredient or raw material and market the final products without government approval." - FDA

Part of the problem is the legislation for cosmetics and fragrances, which regards ingredients as "trade secrets" that do not need to be disclosed on the product label. The industry is expected to be self-regulating and to place a warning on its product labels if any of the ingredients are unsafe.

In 1989, the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health recognized 884 poisonous substances (many synthetically derived from petrochemicals) from a list of 2,983 chemicals used in the fragrance industry capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, allergic respiratory reactions, skin and eye irritations. When was the last time you saw this mentioned on a bottle of perfume or shampoo?

Cornstarch. Starch obtained from corn and sometimes used as an absorbent in cosmetics instead of talc. However, when cornstarch becomes moist, it can promote fungal and bacterial growth (Source:

Colours, Liquid FD&C colours are approved for use in food, drugs and cosmetics. D&C colours are approved for use in drugs and cosmetics. The colours we carry are liquid for ease of use in toiletries and soap. For best results when trying to colour dry products like bath salts or bath seltzer mixes, mix with a little water (and/or glycerin if desired) and spray on the salts while mixing well. When used in most toiletries, including lotions, bath products and bath salts the colours are true, but in some products the effects may vary. Some FD&C colours are pH sensitive and will yield different results in cp soap, m&p and bath salts. The green does not do well in alkaline products like soap, however we have a green more suitable for use in higher pH formulations. The Teal Green is D&C Green 5 and works well in soap. Can be combined with the yellow to make other shades of green. All the other colours are FD&C. All the colours can be blended and used in varying amounts to yield different shades and effects. To make brown mix 2 parts orange, 1 part yellow and 1 part black. 1 kg of the liquid colours measures roughly 950 ml. Liquid colours have a shelf life of 12 to 18 months when stored properly at 68F - 77F. Recommended use rate: start evaluation at 0.1% and adjust accordingly. All the water soluble colours are in a base of water and propylene glycol, the other ingredients are listed under each color (INCI abbreviated names for FD&C colours):

Black Colour - Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 5.
Dark Blue Colour - Blue 1.
Sky Blue Colour - Blue 1.
Green Colour - Yellow 5, Blue 1.
Orange Colour - Yellow 6.
Peach Colour - Yellow 5, Yellow 6.
Pink Colour - Red 3.
Purple Colour - Red 40, Blue 1.
Red Colour - Red 40.
Teal Green Colour - Green 5
Yellow Colour - Yellow 5.
Further information about the FD&C and D&C organic certified cosmetic dyes used to make our colours:
Blue 1 - Do not use above pH 8
Red 3 - Do not use below pH 6
Red 40 - Light and pH stable
Yellow 5 - Light and pH stable
Yellow 6 - Light and pH stable
Green 5 - Light and pH stable

Please note that "do not use" doesnt mean they cant be used in the mentioned pH ranges, but rather refers to the fact that the colours will morph. For example, Blue 1 when used in the 9.5 - 10 pH of cp soap will not stay blue, but will turn a rich royal purple (dark blue colour). Photos of our test results using each color in both cp and m&p soaps can be viewed here.

We also stock one oil soluble colour, red. Ingredients for Oil Soluble Red Colour are vegetable oil, red 40. This is the only FD&C colour we will be able to offer in an oil soluble base for tinting oil-based products. It can be incorporated into solid oil/butter products like lip balms, lip butters, lotion bars, solid perfumes etc. As there can be some settling of solids in liquid oil products like bath oils and massage oils, it would be best if the coloured product is left for several hours or overnight to allow any undissolved particles to settle to the bottom. This red colour can tint oil-based products a range of shades from subtle to more intense. The colour will not impart a tint to the skin, however it may be possible to use it in this way in a lip balm or gloss by using the red colour oil as the entire liquid oil portion of the formula.

Cornmeal - Zea mays A popular vegetable exfoliant for natural cosmetics. Used in scrubs, hand cleaners and gardeners scrubs and soaps. An abrasive and bulking agent. Gorgeous bright yellow colour. Product of the USA. Cornstarch - Zea mays Used as an abrasive, adsorbent and to increase the viscosity in aqueous products. Can be used in emulsions to improve the feel or decrease greasiness. Widely used food starch product. Food Grade. Product of Mexico.

A Versatile, Natural, Biodegradable, Renewable Resource!
Corn makes a difference in the products we use, but many of us dont realize just how corn affects our daily lives. Corn components can be found in thousands of products - food, drugs, cosmetics and cleansers, just to name a few.

Beyond its food and consumer product uses, corn is replacing petroleum in many industrial applications, from plastic containers to clean-burning ethanol. Because corn products are a biodegradable and renewable natural resource, they are better for the environment than their petroleum counterparts.

Starch.There are many food, drug, cosmetic, and industrial uses for cornstarch. The starch can also be converted into dextrose and corn syrup, both of which have multiple consumer and industrial uses.

Uses of Starch - Industrial, Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics

Drugs and Cosmetics
Antibiotics - Aspirin - Body Lotion
Drug Coatings -  Lipstick - Facial Makeup
Facial Masks and Cleansers - Pharmaceuticals - Soaps and Cleansers

Corn Usage
Although used primarily to feed livestock, corn is a versatile grain with a wealth of uses. It is also processed into a multitude of food and industrial products, including starches, sweeteners, corn oil, beverage and industrial alcohol, and fuel ethanol. Thousands of foods and other everyday items - from toothpaste and cosmetics to adhesives and shoe polish - contain corn components.

Corn products are rapidly replacing petroleum in many industrial applications. Polylactide (PLA), a biodegradable polymer made from corn, is being used successfully in the manufacturing of a wide variety of everyday items such as clothing, packaging, carpeting, recreational equipment and food utensils. Because these products are biodegradable and made from a renewable resource, they offer tremendous environmental benefits.

Other Products That Contain Corn Food products are not the only products that contain corn. Sometimes corn oil is used in emollient creams and toothpastes. Corn syrup is often used as a texturizier and carrying agent in cosmetics. Most brands of toothpaste contain sorbitol, in fact, a gel toothpaste may contain up to 50% liquid sorbitol; cosmetics use sorbitol or corn starch in the processing. The sorbitol is for humidity control and it also absorbs moisture from the air; mouthwash contains sorbitol for that cool sweet taste.

Corn Starch
Derived from dried corn kernels. Absorbs water, soothing to the skin. It is the primary ingredient in commercial baby powders. Cornstarch can cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive or allergic to corn or corn products. Used in Chandlers Soaps products.

Chemicals linked to birth defects can stay in cosmetics, says Cosmetic Industry safety panel

Most people are surprised to learn that the government neither conducts nor requires safety testing of chemicals that goes into health and beauty products. Today a panel funded and advised by the cosmetic industry determined that cosmetic companies could continue to add reproductive toxins known as phthalates to cosmetics marketed to women of childbearing age.

Phthalates are linked in animal studies to birth defects of the male reproductive system, including undescended testicles, absent testicles, and a physical defect of the penis known as hypospadias, and are used in a wide range of beauty products including shampoo, hair spray, nail polish, deodorant, and lotion.

The industry safety panel, the national arbiter of cosmetic safety in this self-policing industry, made the decision that phthalates such as dibutyl phthalate (DBP) in cosmetics are safe as used, undeterred by significant data gaps:

According to the panels own scientific review document, scientists have not yet determined a dose of DBP that does not effect the male fetus: "A NOEL [No Observed Effects Level] has not been established for the male-specific effects of DBP in rats."

Scientists have not yet determined the amounts of DBP that are absorbed in peoples bodies from cosmetics. The industrys trade association scientist made ad-hoc calculations of exposure during panel deliberations on Monday that were accepted without qualification by the panel.

The industry has not determined the full range of products DBP is added to. The trade associations science advisor was surprised to learn that independent lab testing contracted by EWG and others showed DBP in deodorant, hair spray, and fragrances.

The federal government has no recourse, lacking the authority to require basic safety assessments of cosmetic ingredients. The burden for choosing safe cosmetics falls on the consumer. The decision to provide consumers with safe cosmetics falls on individual cosmetic companies, and fortunately were seeing some companies take the lead. Body Shop and Urban Decay, for instance, are reformulating product lines, taking out of their products chemicals linked to birth defects, and giving consumers safer choices.

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