Blood-red lipstick was the hallmark of, among others, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich and Sophia Loren. Thanks to this, it has become one of the attributes of femininity and to this day is considered the quintessence of sex appeal.
Responsible for the intense red color of the lipstick or eyeshadow is a naturally dark pigment called cochineal (carminic acid). It is extracted from dried and ground insects, also called the cochineal, living mainly in Mexico and parts of tropical South America. The bugs nourish on fruit juices, feeding on cacti from the opuntia genus. They produce carminic acid to scare away predators.
The pigment may be extracted from the body of the insect and its eggs. To extract a kilogram of cochineal, about 155 thousand insects have to be killed and ground. It is worth noting that the acceptable daily intake of the dye is 5 mg/kg of body weight.