Makeup is a lot more than just pretty shades. 

We recently had the opportunity to visit the L’Oréal labs in Clark, NJ to learn more about how some of our favorite beauty products are made. Alongside the Internet’s coolest beauty influencers and kick-ass female beauty chemists, we put on knee-length lab coats and safety goggles to make our own lip glosses and nail polish.

Ahead, discover five surprising facts that you probably didn’t know about beauty labs:

  1. Foundation is made from four colors: black, red, white and yellow. They’re mixed together in different proportions to create various shades.

  2. Making foundations for women of color is more complex, and L’Oréal has an entire division devoted to creating face makeup for deeper complexions. They also use an additional pigment called Ultra Marine Blue.

  3. It takes at least a year to build a new formula from scratch. They plan, they mix, they test and then they mix it again. And then they share it with consumers before it hits stores.

  4. Certain areas are super top secret, and cellphones are absolutely not allowed. That’s all we can say about that.

  5. All lip products are created from 10 core pigments. Just like foundation, they’re mixed together to create a variety of colors.

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