New Lipstick Analysis Method Could Help Catch Criminals

You know that scene in your favorite police procedural where the detective finds a tiny lipstick sample on a napkin or a shirt collar and sends it off to the lab for analysis? On TV the sample comes back in a flash and the culprit is always wearing some exotic brand of lipstick that makes it easy to place them at the scene of the crime. In real life, those kinds of lab tests are slow, expensive and often inconclusive. Or at least they used to be.

Brian Bellott of Western Illinois University says he’s found a better way to do lipstick analysis. His method is simple enough for a graduate student to perform and use gas chromatography to identify unique compounds in 40 different lipstick brands. Bellot says this method requires no specialized equipment or training to perform. His lab is working to increase the number of lipstick samples on file.

Watch this video to learn more:

Watch Bellot talk about his research during the 251st ACS National Meeting:

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