Carmine, also called cochineal, is a red colored pigment that is commonly found in lipsticks, eyeshadows, blush, bronzers and sometimes illuminaters and highlighters. Also referred to as Crimson Lake, Natural Red 4 or E120, carmine is sourced from the Cochinal beetle.
Cochinal beetles are native to South America and Mexico and live as parasites on cactus plants. The red pigment is found in the shells of the female insects and in order to extract it, thousands of insects are collected and placed into bags in order and killed by either being immersed in hot water or boiled in steam or gas ovens. They are then crushed and boiled in a sodium carbonate or ammonia solution to obtain the red acidic pigment left behind.. Yes, your favourite shade of red lipstick is manufactured with the body of a creepy, crawly little bug.