Light and Bare: How Materials Science Can Aid Innovation in Liquid-Based Makeup Products

materials science makeup
Can materials science help cosmetics companies reinvent the makeup consumers rely on daily?
Image source: Flickr CC user Maria Morri

The quest for all-natural hasn’t just impacted the foods we eat. It’s also affected the cosmetics we put on our faces and body. That’s to be expected. After all, once you become invested in organic products in one aspect of your lifestyle, chances are that interest will spread to others aspects. Given how current consumers value authenticity, it makes sense that what began as an interest in organic food products will lead to organic beauty and cosmetics products.

But the trend doesn’t only influence the cosmetics themselves; it also affects the final result. If people value a healthy, all-natural lifestyle, then they want to appear like they do, too. That’s what living an authentic life is all about, right? This may seem counterintuitive to some. Makeup is something we apply to hide flaws and augment traits. Why would you put on cosmetics, only for the purpose of looking like you’re not wearing any?

Believe it or not though, this has been a major trend the past few years. Models strutting down runways have sported faces that look suspiciously bare. No one actually believes they’re not wearing makeup, but it certainly gives that impression. How can consumers replicate this look for themselves and more importantly, how can cosmetics companies capitalize on that desire?

A Look into the Future of Cosmetics

The average cosmetics consumer isn’t suddenly going to give up their makeup to hop on a trend—and thank goodness for that. Can you imagine if everyone stopped buying makeup? Instead, what makeup firms can do to address this growing trend is develop products that give an all-natural, bare face look while also providing the full coverage that cosmetics aficionados have grown accustomed to. While this may sound impossible, it’s actually within reach.

Let’s consider the growing popularity of serum foundation. This product combines the best of both worlds, feeling as lightweight as a tinted moisturizer while offering full coverage like traditional liquid foundation.1 The end result is an airbrushed effect that also looks like you’re not wearing makeup at all.

Serum isn’t just leaving its mark on foundation. It’s moving into lip glosses, blushes and skin highlighters. While a liquid blush may seem strange at first, it turns out the product boasts easy application.2 In fact, the ease of use and ability to garner the desired end result might mean that serum liquid-based products are the future of cosmetics.

Materials Science Can Aid Innovative Cosmetic Development

Serum-based cosmetics can offer other advantages, such as the ability to change your skin. For example, improving skin tone, elasticity and firmness are all possible with a serum foundation.3 This certainly sounds like a boon for consumers who are seeking anti-aging benefits in their beauty products.

It’s doubtful that the trend for barely there liquid makeup will fade anytime soon. One of the key characteristics about this kind of makeup is that it feels light while also providing full coverage. It also serves as a photographic airbrush filter for your skin. And if liquid-based cosmetics do take off, then companies are going to need to adapt.

It sounds like a tall order, but it’s not impossible. In fact, materials science can aid these efforts. With the use of modeling and simulation software, scientists can develop new formulations that build on desired traits such as easy application, skin-tone matching, ability to blend with other cosmetics and a barely-there, lightweight finish. The so-called airbrushed effect is simply a result of masking existing flaws by either covering them or reflecting light to give skin a radiant glow. Researchers can utilize materials science to create new, innovative components that succeed at both simultaneously. Factor in other coveted benefits like improving overall skin health and the sky’s the limit.

BIOVIA Materials Studio offers a complete materials science modeling package that cosmetics companies can utilize for their development efforts. Like BIOVIA’s other products, it boosts research innovation, increases workflow efficiency and supports collaboration across geographic boundaries and time zones. Thanks to its built-in simulation environment, scientists can predict the qualities of material candidates and select the most promising ones for further development, thereby saving time and money. Instead of wasting effort on concepts prone to failure, scientists can focus on formulations poised to succeed—a great benefit to have in a stable, mature market. Please contact us today to learn more.

  1. “It’s All About That Base: Why You Need a Serum Foundation in Your Life,” March 25, 2015,
  2. “We Got a Sneak Peek at Bliss’s New Liquid Makeup Collection, and It’s Awesome,” September 4, 2015,
  3. “New Beauty Makeup Product: Serum Foundation,” October 17, 2013,

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