Let’s understand Cosmetic Dyes and Pigments

No one imagined that the colour cosmetics market would develop to the point where a customer would have a wide range of hues to pick from a few decades ago when deep crimson and maroon dominated the cosmetic sector in lipsticks and nail paints. Without high-quality colours, cosmetics would be incomplete, and for colours to be of premium quality, they must undergo extensive quality testing and certification. The local sector must use the best ingredients available and integrate cutting-edge techniques & machines to curate superior colouring products to compete with brands worldwide.


Pigments and dyes are the major products used as colour additives in cosmetics. The particle size is the primary distinction between dyes and pigments. Heavy metals and other elemental substances are often found in dyes and pigments, which can harm our skin. Therefore, it is essential to understand the colour additives used in cosmetics and whether they are safe.


Is it safe to use cosmetic colours and cosmetic dyes?

It might be really difficult to decide which colour would work best for the desired product. In the production of cosmetic items, colours are quite important nowadays, giving them appeal. With the use of cosmetic colours and dyes, the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and other sectors may acquire the appropriate hue for their products and utilize it to draw in clients.


Cosmetic lakes are made by adsorbing water-soluble dyes onto a substrate, which makes the colour insoluble in water. By using advanced technology, a wide range of cosmetic lake hues are produced with more help from incredibly small particles. In fact, food products that include fats and oils or even those that do not have adequate moisture for colour dissolution are more suited for lakes. In addition, bright and appealing colours are produced by superior-grade colouring pigments, which do not disintegrate in solvents.


Contrarily, cosmetic colours are produced using cosmetic dyes. The sectors and companies that produce cosmetics utilize dyes extensively. They are typically employed in producing personal care items, including shampoo, lipstick, nail paint, and hair colour. The usage of water-soluble and food dyes is relatively simple and secure.


To maintain the highest level of safety for cosmetics and personal care products, the US FDA ensures that cosmetic producers adhere to set safety standards. Many different synthetic colours employ cosmetic colours and cosmetic dyes. These artificial colours, known as FD&C colours, are primarily produced from coal tar, a petroleum by-product. The US FDA controls them and establishes the quantity of Arsenic (As) restricting to 3 ppm and Lead (Pb) restricting to 10 ppm. since some coal tar-based dyes are known to induce various health problems.



What kind of colours do they use in cosmetic products?

Colours have a wide variety of meanings in the world of cosmetics. The most frequent justification for providing so many hues is to treat the buyer with various colours to match their clothing.

There are two categories of colour additives used in cosmetics: Organic and Inorganic.


  • Organic Colours – Botanicals, synthetic dyes, and lakes are the three main categories of organic colour additives. Organic colours were previously known as “coal tar” since they were obtained from coal sources, even though you would assume they would be the safest. Today, however, practically all organic colourants are synthetic and are offered in a wide range of hues as either water-soluble, oil-soluble, or insoluble agents. In addition, since most organic pigments are adsorbed(either in water or oil), they may be used in aqueous and solid cosmetics, such as lipsticks or Nail polishes.


  • Inorganic Colours – Mineral substances like iron oxide and zinc oxide make up inorganic colour additives. In contrast to organic colourants, made of soluble metallic compounds, inorganic colourants are either made synthetically or from naturally occurring metallic compounds. Since inorganic colours are not regarded to have the same health dangers as organic colours, they are not subject to certification. In addition to artificial colours, natural colouring agents used in cosmetics like henna, carrot oil, and beet extract are also regarded as “safe” and excluded from categorization.


Dyes & Pigments

Organic and Inorganic colourants can also be categorized as either dyes or pigments. All inorganic mineral substances, including all organic lakes and botanicals, are regarded as pigments, while organic dyes are categorized as dyes. A dye’s solubility distinguishes it from a pigment when referring to cosmetic colour additives; dyes are water soluble, whereas pigments are oil dispersible.


Considering Safety while Deciding

The colour additives sold on the market can be used to create a variety of colour variations. However, while making a certain type of cosmetic, only certain colours in a certain consistency must be utilized. For this, regulatory agencies have implemented strict testing procedures for cosmetic colours to guarantee that the components in the colours don’t harm the cosmetics’ end users. Thus, to manufacture cosmetic pigments and cosmetic lakes that adhere to the legal requirements of the nation in which the cosmetic goods are meant to be produced and sold, cosmetic manufacturers must collaborate with reputable producers of cosmetic colours, such as Neelikon.


To make wise judgments, we must be accountable for educating ourselves on all these underlying aspects of cosmetic colourants.

Neelikon Colours Global