Confocal Raman spectroscopy to trace lipstick with their smudges on different surfaces

Maria López-López, Nil Özbek, Carmen García-Ruiz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Lipsticks are very popular cosmetic products that can be transferred by contact to different surfaces, being important forensic evidence with an intricate analysis if they are found in a crime scene. This study evaluates the use of confocal Raman microscopy at 780 nm excitation wavelength for the nondestructive identification of 49 lipsticks of different brands and colors, overcoming the lipstick fluorescence problem reported by previous works using other laser wavelengths. Although the lipsticks samples showed some fluorescence, this effect was not so intense to completely overwhelm the Raman spectra. Lipsticks smudges on twelve different surfaces commonly stained with these samples were also analyzed. In the case of the surfaces, some of them provided several bands to the smudge spectra compromising the identification of the lipstick. For these samples spectral subtraction of the interfering bands from the surface was performed. Finally, five different red lipsticks with very similar color were measured on different surfaces to evaluate the lipstick traceability with their smudges even on interfering surfaces. Although previous spectral subtraction was needed in some cases, all the smudged were linked to their corresponding lipsticks even when they are smeared on the interfering surfaces. As a consequence, confocal Raman microscopy using the 780 nm excitation laser is presented as a nondestructive powerful tool for the identification of these tricky samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-139
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • Lipstick
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • lipstick smudges


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