MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: How is bat guano used in the production of cosmetics, particularly eye-make

Date: Wed Aug 9 00:04:48 2000
Posted By: Erin Cram, Grad student, Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of CA, Berkeley
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 956169001.Gb

I have scoured the net to find an answer to your question, and I think I may have 
found it.  I found several references to the presence of guano in mascara, or 
other cosmetics, but of course none were documented.  I had my suspicions that 
guano itself was not being added (allergies, sanitation), but some component of 
guano may be added.  Turns out, a compound prevalent in guano, guanine (a 
nitrogenous base) can provide an irridescent finish to paints and cosmetics.  
Here is an 

Pearl is the original iridescent additive that customizes a finish. The base 
product comes from the interior lining of seashells (Mother of Pearl) or Guanine 
crystal, the derivative of sea bird and bat guano. When added to a translucent 
paint material, it alters the light ray within the film and bends or refracts the 
ray, giving off a secondary color. This action provides a completely new 
dimension of color--a refractive effect.

	Erin Cram, Admin MadSci Network

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