Urine my powder, grossing me out.
March 19, 2010 6:10 AM   Subscribe

Why does my face powder smell like pee?

So, to be clear, I have no intentions of keeping the powder or using it again.

But in the past few days, I noticed that my powder brush smelled a bit weird when I used it in the morning. No problem, I rinsed it in soapy water and let it dry. I put powder on again this morning and recognized the smell again. It wasn't my brush that was the culprit, however - I smelled the loose powder directly, and holy shit - it smelled like urine. Rank urine, too, like one would smell in an alley.

Gross. Now I've been going around with pee face. How did this come to pass?

- The powder is CG TRUblend minerals.
- It's old, but not ancient. Maybe one year old.
- I keep it in the bathroom, so moisture could be an issue, but it's always in the sealed container, and I don't leave it uncovered during the day.
- My roommate is not the type to play pranks by peeing in my powder.
- Nothing else in the bathroom has this smell, including other brushes and makeup materials.

Is there an ingredient used in powder that causes the smell? Is the moisture in the bathroom enough to ferment it? Do I need to worry about a pee culprit that struck my bathroom?

I would like to know if it is the powder itself versus the environment, because I would avoid buying the same brand in the future.
posted by amicamentis to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total)
Not sure about the reason behind it, but face powders have a shelf life of around 2 years, so it isn't likely to be its age.
posted by ellieBOA at 6:14 AM on March 19, 2010

It could be the Urea content.
posted by Solomon at 6:16 AM on March 19, 2010 [3 favorites]

Do they put eucalyptus oil in it (for a "fresh scent" or "clean tingly feeling")? Sometimes eucalyptus smells like pee (specifically cat pee) to some people. The craft-store type eucalyptus doesn't smell like cat pee to me, but when I spend time near some of the giant eucalyptus trees in California, that does remind me of cat pee.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:48 AM on March 19, 2010

+1 urea.
posted by MesoFilter at 9:05 AM on March 19, 2010

Ingredients are: talc, mica, avena satina (oat), kernel flour, zinc stearate, calcium silicate, titanium dioxide, mineral oil, glycerin, quaternium-15, methylparaben, methicone, propylparaben, sodium dehydroacetate, BHT, isopropyl myristate. May contain iron oxides, carmine, yellow 5 lake, ultramarines.

So it doesn't say urea, or carbimide.

For powders with urea in them, do they smell like pee normally?
posted by amicamentis at 10:14 AM on March 19, 2010

What is on your face before the powder? Could the makeup brush have picked up any moisture or oils from products on your skin (like moisturizer or foundation) and contaminated the powder over time by providing a more friendly environment for bacteria?
posted by WeekendJen at 10:48 AM on March 19, 2010

That makes sense about the makeup brush, but would that really smell like pee?

To make the situation even more confusing, my roommate doesn't really smell it. Like, at all. I don't understand - the stench is like a gallon of old pee. Now I'm getting worried.
posted by amicamentis at 3:38 PM on March 19, 2010

My guess is that something funky got in the face powder (maybe your brush needs to be cleaned more regularly?), or that the oils in the oat kernel flour went rancid -- rancid oils don't smell like pee to me, but I'm not particularly sensitive to the smell of rancid fats anyway.

I would just chuck that face powder, clean the brush REALLY well, and maybe consider storing makeup in the bedroom and not the bathroom. (My bathroom doesn't have a vent, so it gets REALLY humid in there, so I keep my makeup and brushes in a drawer of my dresser, in a big box, and I just take the box into the bathroom with me to put on makeup.)
posted by kataclysm at 7:54 AM on March 21, 2010

ok, this is anecdotal, and also weird; but sometimes I will smell a super strong ammonia smell. Invariably I check the cats' litter box and then wander around the house sniffing things. I usually stop when my husband says I'm crazy 'cuz he doesn't smell it. I've concluded that the smell must be in my head. I have not done any research or asked my doctor about this, mostly 'cuz I forget when it's not happening. Until you just reminded me.
Anyway, it's probably not the same thing, since you say it's only related to the powder, but just in case.
posted by purpletangerine at 1:34 PM on March 31, 2010

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