Scientists Devise New Technique to Decode Lipstick Stain at Crime Scenes

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Lipstick Evidence

Scientists from the Western Illinois University, US have developed a new technique for lifting and analysing lipstick smears from crime scenes that may help forensic teams identify the brand of the lipstick. Forensic scientists have, for years, struggled to remove the lipstick samples from crime scenes and analyse their chemical composition.

However, these are difficult and expensive methods, which require specialised equipment and training. Scientists, therefore, devised a way for a two part process wherein, at first, they added an organic solvent to remove most of the oils and waxes and then added a basic solvent to extract the remaining residue.

In order to avoid complex training, researchers also investigated three types of chromatography–thin layer chromatography, gas chromatography and high–liquid performance chromatography. Different lipstick brands have different compositions and hence, they hold a distinct chromatography. Researchers can compare these compositions to identify the lipstick brand and narrow down on suspects.

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