Anyone and everyone in our Facebook Group is well aware that I am a Medicinal Chemist by trade and serve proudly as a science educator with hopes of earning a doctorate in Chemistry Education Research.


I sellย LipSenseยฎ by SeneGenceยฎ because I fell in love with its staying power and the confidence these colors bring as a part of my beauty routine. But I HAD to know HOW this stuff works. This is the result of my research. Brace yourself for some science!

LipSenseยฎ by SeneGenceยฎ Long-Lasting Liquid Lip Color is a non-wax liquid lip color with serious staying power.

Here’s the Science Behind the Product:

LipSenseยฎ Long Lasting Liquid Lip Color is a patented combination of ingredients. Here are a few key components of the chemistry behind its staying power:


Ingredient #1: SDA – The Fast Dry, Light Tingling Sensation


SDA (“Alcohol Denat” in the ingredients list above) is short for SD Alcohol 40-B and is denatured with tert-Butyl Alcohol. This substance is veryย multifunctionalย alludingย to its prevalence in the formulaic make-up (no pun intended) of this product.

In the LipSenseยฎ formula, it serves 4 major purposes...

  1. Antimicrobial Agent: Serves as a denaturant (a substance that causes the denaturation of proteins or other biological compounds) and primarily acts as antibacterial to ensure no contaminants can proliferate within the tube (prevents the growth of bacteria and mold).
  2. Cuts down on drying time: SD-40 denatured with tert-Butyl alcohol is a clear liquid (or a colorless solid, depending on the ambient temperature) with a camphor-like odor. It is very soluble in water and miscible with ethanol and diethyl ether. This process in often used in cosmetics to decrease the amount of time it takes to dry the substance without removing moisture from the surface (your skin).
  3. Allows the color to be applied evenly and smoothly:ย SDA is a viscosity decreasing agent. Viscosity describes the flow rate of a liquid or how easily it is to pour. Honey is quite viscous, water less so. By decreasing the viscosity, SDA allows the color within LipSenseยฎ to apply evenly without running or smearing. An essential quality in a product intended for layering.
  4. Activates the polymer! Arguably it’s most important role, SDA activates the hydrophobic bonding agent responsible for the lack of smearing observed while wearing LipSenseยฎ .

Potential Health Concern: Toxic if consumed in large quantities. Don’t drink the LipSenseยฎ, or your nail polish remover, or rubbing alcohol for that matter.

Ingredient #2: Acrylates/Octylacrylomide Copolymer-ย No Smudges or Smearing


This polymer is a bonding agent with a hydrophobic nature (makes it water-resistant) and is the source of LipSense’s ability to avoid smudging, smearing, or skin-to-skin color transfer upon contact. Octylacrylomide is activated by SDA (ingredient number 1).

Ingredient #3: Isostearyl Alcohol-ย No Smudges or Smearing


A fatty alcohol (contains a large hydrophobic chain) used to keep an emulsion from separating into oil and liquid components. Odd as it sounds, not all “alcohols” dry out your skin. You will find isostearyl alcohol in many of your high-quality skin care products (lotions and face serums).

Ingredient #4: Silica – Bold Color


Silica (Silicon Dioxide) is a mineral found naturally in clays, sandstone, and granite that serves as an anticaking agent and opacifying agent.

Ingredient #5: PPG-20 Methyl Glucose Ether – Humectantmethyl-d-glucopyranoside-model

Methyl D-glucopyranoside (or “PPG-20 Methyl Glucose Ether” as listed in the ingredients) functions as a humectant (hair and skin replenishing/softening agent) and is often known as the substance that results in that silky soft feeling we get after washing our hair with a good conditioner.

Ingredient #6: Parfum (Perfume) – Prettyย Scent

A series of various mixtures and essential oils that contribute to the scent of the product. See ingredients 10-17 for a more detailed breakdown.

Ingredient #7: Hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC) – Lube

1-[[(2R,3R,4S,5R)-3,4,5-tris(2-hydroxypropoxy)-6-[(2R,3R,4S,5R,6R)-4,5,6-tris(2-hydroxypropoxy)-2-(2-hydroxypropoxymethyl)oxan-3-yl]oxyoxan-2-yl]methoxy]propan-2-ol (model).png

Arguably the coolest molecular struture we’ve seen yet. Hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPS) is a lubricant often used asย a topical ophthalmic protectant (eye drops). It enhances the solubility of the other constituents ensuring long shelf-life of the natural/organic components in the tube!

Ingredient #8: Butylene Glycol – Conditioning Agent

Often used as a skin conditioning agent in creams, lotions, sunscreens, etc. Can serve as a preservative to keep a Butylene glycol (model).pngsubstance moist and well formed. Resistant to humidity.

Potential Health Concern: Natural eye irritant. Do not put LipSenseยฎ in your eye.

Ingredient #9: Aqua (Water)


Dihydrogen monoxide! We’re all fairly familiar with water. Here it is used as a solvent and (with its high heat capacity and ability to hydrogen bond) keeps the boiling points of these organic solvents high enough to avoid evaporation of your product whilst in the tube.

Ingredients #10-16: Japonicus Leaf/Stalk Extract, Hypericum Perforatum (St. John’s Wort), Paeonia Suffruticosa (Tree Peony Extract), Tilia Cordata (Linden) Extract), Citronellol, and Limonene –ย Essential Oils and Natural Extracts


The following essential oils and extracts will be simplified to the following format: “name – origin: role”.

  • Japonicus Leaf/Stalk Extract – Type of Leaf: UV Skin Protectant.
    • Has anti-melanogenesis activity and prevents disorders due to melanin accumulation (via anti-tyrosinase activity).
  • Hypericum Perforatum (St. John’s Wort) – A Flowering Plant: A medicinal herb with antidepressant activity and potent anti-inflammatory properties (as an arachidonate-5-lipoxygenase inhibitor and COX-1 inhibitor).
  • Paeonia Suffruticosa (Tree Peony Extract) – The Bark of a Flowering Tree: Used in Chinese Herbalism. Has an anti-inflammatory effect, relieves pain, lowers blood pressure, inhibits various pathogens and skin fungi.
    • Potential Health Concern: Safe in small doses (LipSenseยฎ uses a teeny amount) but should not be consumed as the traditional Chinese soup or paste whilst pregnant as it can increase blood flowย the uterus (resulting in muscle contraction).
  • Tilia Cordata (Linden) Extract – Linden (Lime) Flower Herbal Tea: A conditioning agent natural to Europe and Western Asia. Anti-inflammatory used in traditional medicines for the treatment of respiratory problems associated with colds, flu, sore throats, etc.
  • Citronellol – Found in the Oils of Roses and Geranium: Used in perfumes and mosquito repellents.
  • Limonene – Oranges: Fragrance, antiangiogenic properties, and potential relief of gastroesophageal reflux disease or heartburn.

The “CL” Ingredients – Pigments, The Source of the Lip Colors!


Each LipSenseยฎ tube has a varied formulation used to arrive at a particular color – often involving the use of many different color pigments. Some colors naturally last longer than others as some are thicker or richer in color pigmentations, while some are sheer and thinner than others.

These “CL” ingredients often use micasย (minerals found in various shiny rocks) to create shine and shimmer. They reflect light and are made of particles that are larger than color pigments.

For your review, SeneGence has a list of their products and the ingredients that constitute each one. Click here to check it out:ย senegence-ingredients.

If you’d like to learn more, let me know! I’d be happy to write a post about any other ingredients or products you may find in a cosmetic. Next, I will write one about the ingredients inย LipSenseยฎ by SeneGenceยฎ Gloss!


  1. Final report of the safety assessment of Alcohol Denat., including SD Alcohol 3-A, SD Alcohol 30, SD Alcohol 39, SD Alcohol 39-B, SD Alcohol 39-C, SD Alcohol 40, SD Alcohol 40-B, and SD Alcohol 40-C, and the denaturants, Quassin, Brucine Sulfate/Brucine, and Denatonium Benzoate. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2017, from
  2. Luchs J, Nelinson D, Macy J (December 2010). “Efficacy of hydroxypropyl cellulose inserts (LACRISERTยฎ) in subsets of patients with dry eye syndrome (DES): Findings from a patient registry”. Cornea. 29 (12): 1417โ€“1427. doi:10.1097/ICO.0b013e3181e3f05b. PMIDย 20847657.
  3. The leaf extract of Mallotus japonicus and its major active constituent, rutin, suppressed on melanin production in murine B16F1 melanoma. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2017, from
  4. Hirota, Ryoji; Roger, Ngatu Nlandu; Nakamura, Hiroyuki; Song, Hee-Sun; Sawamura, Masayoshi; Suganuma, Narufumi (2010). “Anti-inflammatory Effects of Limonene from Yuzu (Citrus junos Tanaka) Essential Oil on Eosinophils”. Journal of Food Science. 75 (3): H87โ€“92. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01541.x. PMIDย 20492298.


Thanks for reading!