Article by: Kelly Dobos

There are a large number of colorants with good stability in lip cosmetics, giving the cosmetic chemist a lot of creativity in creating numerous finished product shades. The color additives used in lipsticks are divided in several categories: Organic colors are divided in main colors and shading colors categorized by yellow or blue shade. There are some additional specialty colors in the organic category and inorganics that are used as well. Below is a summary of the main colors and shading colors used in lipstick and lip gloss. color cosmetics

Main Colors: These colors constitute the largest percentage of the color additive portion of the formula. They are the main colorants because they are bright and exhibit very good color intensity, making them economical. The colors in this category are:

D&C Red No. 6 Ba Lake
D&C Red No. 7 Ca Lake
D&C Red No. 6

The Red 6 Lake is used as the main colorant in yellow red formulations, while the Red 7 Lake is used in blue shade ones. The Red 6 is used as the main color in yellow shade reds for the Japanese market.

Yellow Side Shading Colors: These colorants are used in combination with the main colors to create various shades in the yellow color space:

FD&C Yellow 5 No. Al Lake
FD&C Yellow 6 No. Al Lake
D&C Red 36

The Red 36 can also be used as the main colorant in orange shades.

Blue Side Shading Colors: These colorants are used in combination with the main colors to create various shades in the blue color space:

D&C Red No. 33 Al Lake
D&C Red No. 27 Al Lake
D&C Red No. 28 Al Lake

The Red 33 Lake can also be used as the main colorant in violet shades, while the Red 27 Lake is the ideal choice for fuchsia shades.

Kelly Dobos

About the Author

Kelly Dobos

Kelly Dobos is a cosmetic chemist and expert in both skin care and make-up product formulation. She has the coolest job and a passion for teaching others the smartest ways to express their creativity through cosmetic chemistry.

13 comments

  1. sarah

    Thank you very much for this amazing article. i haven been trying to make lipsticks for my new makeup line, but i was stuck because the final product was not rich in color. now i know what to do. thank you so much. i’m so glad that i found your website

  2. Shantell lewis

    Hi
    I’m in Houston Texas and i want to start a lipstick line. I’m walking into an unfamiliar zone so i need advice on how to get started.

  3. Jide Alo

    What coloring agent will be appropriate for beeswax based lipsticks?

  4. mend

    How can I make my lipstick color rich? When I use the base and mix it, the color is not as rich. Does this mean I’m not using enough coloring? Do you have any suggestion where I can get colors that are rich?

    1. Kelly Dobos
      Kelly Dobos

      Mend
      If you are using classical pigments you cannot just mix them in, you need to mill the pigments in a medium like castor oil with special equipment (3 roll mill) to get full color development before blending with your base. If you do not have the right equipment you can use pre-dispersed pigments or pigments with special treatments to improve dispersion.

      1. Mary

        Are all pigments in a formula generally dispersed in one medium or can a formula have pigments dispersed in several media? For example isododecane and isononyl isononanoate used to each disperse different types of pigments (iron oxides vs lakes).

  5. Carmen Alvarado

    Thank you Perry, but how about the ultramarines? and blue 1 lake?

    1. Kelly
      Kelly

      Ultramarines are restricted from use on lips by the FDA. FD&C Blue 1 Lake does not have any restrictions.

  6. Selina Jackson

    This is vary good information, thank you, but what about blushes, foundation and eyeshadow?

    1. Perry Romanowski

      We’ve got another article on this subject coming soon.

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