Colour in cosmetics

You see colour over a whole range of products in the cosmetics industry, for example in creams, lotions, foam baths, shower gels, and make up.

Colours are actually classified into pigments or dyes and they can be sold as either a powder or a liquid which need to be treated differently when you add them to the product you are making. Some need a blender to disperse them and others need a slower mixer to more gently disperse them into the product.

Most colours are synthetic but there are natural colours available which tend to be dyes.

In my experience, natural colours have a limited range of colour - red, pinks, yellow and green. I personally don’t find them easy to use as they don’t have a long shelf life and the colour often degrades into a muddy brown. They can also smell which is not great for the product so I tend to use pigments.

Pigments are usually colours layered onto a solid like silica or mica which means that they are not soluble and need to be dispersed into the product where they hang in suspension. Sometimes additional ingredients need to be added to make sure that this happens evenly throughout the product – typically something like xanthan gum will be used as a thickener and to stabilise the colour.

Synthetic colours can also have stability issues and so if you are making products you really need to find out all you can about the colour before you incorporate it into a product.

The pigments I prefer to use are the mica pigments which have a pearlescent shimmer to them, work well in many products and have a huge range of colour which doesn’t fade over time. I love them in my soaps.

As I don’t work with natural colour I make sure that my product ranges include uncoloured products so that I can offer natural products alongside those with synthetic colour.

As well as colour, glitter is also often used in cosmetics.

Bio-glitters are used instead of the plastic glitters which are now banned from cosmetic use and it is great to see that the industry is continuing to develop natural stable colour and glitter ingredients makers can use.


Recent Posts

See All

Today, I'm answering questions about Hyaluronic Acid - found in many skincare products How does Hyaluronic Acid work? It is a very large carbohydrate molecule so it cannot penetrate the skin. It is wa