Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but for Jennifer Rice, it’s lip gloss. Rice, an eighth grade student at Mount Carmel Christian School in Stone Mountain, won first place for her “Juicy Lips” science project at the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair in March.
“I wanted to do a project that would benefit young ladies in my age group,” said 13-year-old Jennifer Rice. “Lip gloss is a product pretty much all of us girls use or have used. With this project, I’ve created some sufficient, healthy, money-saving alternatives.”
Max Factor, a Proctor & Gamble company, invented lip gloss in 1930 to make lips shiny and glossy for films.
For her “Juicy Lips” project, Rice surveyed girls from Mount Carmel and Bethune Middle School for research.
“The gloss was made from natural oils and beeswax through a chemical process called emulsification. Glosses were made using different levels of beeswax. Varying the levels of waxes, changed the properties of the lip gloss,” said Rice. “Students made observations about the look, smell, feel and taste, to pick their favorite lip gloss on a five-point scale. Vanilla, which used half the original amount of beeswax, was the overall favorite.”
Rice says her hypothesis was right. She predicted that decreasing the beeswax ingredient decreases the thickness of the lip-gloss product and would be a winner among testers. The decrease in thickness made the vanilla flavor the favorite, as Rice predicted. Other flavors Rice made were cocoa, coconut and honey.
Jennifer’s mother, Dr. Angela Butler-Rice, M.D., said the entire process was exciting and somewhat frustrating.
“I tell all my children that they can do anything through Christ, so to see Jennifer taking on chemistry at such an early young age and coming up with this whole concept makes me so proud I could burst,” Dr. Rice said. She and her husband, Kenneth, have another daughter, 10-year-old Dora, and a 7-year-old son Kenneth Daniel Rice.
When Jennifer isn’t coming up with cool cosmetics, she’s enjoying cheerleading, acting, singing, dancing, shopping, soccer, running track, swimming, tennis, volleyball, playing the flute and sewing.
“Jennifer is so impressive in and out of the classroom. She really gives everything she does 110 percent. So while I was extremely proud, I can’t say I was surprised to see her reach this level,” said Mount Carmel Principal Tracy Moore. “She used beeswax and essential oils to make her product. She determined that her lip-gloss was marketable and helpful to the environment and cosmetic industry; and Jennifer gave science “girl power” when she won first place.”