A new technique developed by forensic scientists at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom, has reportedly established a way to identify which brand of lipstick is present at a crime scene, such as on a glass, a tissue or a cigarette, without removing the evidence from its bag, thereby avoiding

contamination. The new technique uses Raman spectroscopy to detect laser light and is considered a significant development for forensic science. Current lipstick-trace analysis apparently relies on destructive forensic techniques or human opinion.

“Continuity of evidence is of paramount importance in forensic science and can be maintained if there is no need to remove it from the bag,” said Kent forensic scientist Michael Went. “Raman spectroscopy is ideal as it can be performed through transparent layers, such as evidence bags.”

According to Went, Raman spectroscopy produces a characteristic “fingerprint,” which can be compared to various lipstick types and brands, allowing investigators to identify lipstick traces quickly and without destroying evidence. Research into applying the same method to other types of cosmetic evidence, such as powders, eye-liners and skin creams is reportedly underway. See ScienceDaily.com August 8, 2013.