Coloring the Cosmetic World - Book Review

Faulkner’s new book Coloring the Cosmetic World: Using Pigments in Decorative Cosmetic Formulations is the latest color cosmetic technology book from Allured Publishing. The book promises to provide a comprehensive look at all aspects of this subject and overall meets and exceeds that goal. Its blend of practical information and theoretical information make it a valuable addition to any cosmetic chemist’s bookshelf.

Book organization

This book covers the subject of colorants in 12 chapters. It also includes extensive appendices, glossary, and bibliography.

The first chapter provides a solid background for the subject of colorants, covering topics of color theory, effects on people, physics and finally an introduction color chemistry. This is particularly helpful for a cosmetic chemist just getting started with the subject.

The next four chapters take an in-depth look at the key aspects of choosing a colorant. These include regulatory considerations, stability, color esthetics, and the economics of color. The regulatory chapter provides a description of the requirements of the US, EU and Japan. It also includes a nice historical perspective of how things ended up the way they are now. This chapter is particularly helpful because it suggests what may happen to color regulations in the future.

In the chapter on color stability, the author describes the various colorants that a formulator will likely use in her product. Two parts of this chapter will be most helpful to cosmetic chemists including a chart which lists the compatibility of colorants with a number of solvents and a section of colored photos of numerous powdered colors. No doubt this will become a section of the book that gets referred to often.

One of the most useful chapters in the book is the one on color esthetics. Here the author takes us through dozens of colorants describing the shade that can be produced, which product forms it is normally used in and both positive and negative aspects of using the color. This chapter will save time for any color cosmetic formulator.

The chapters in the second half of the book deal with the specifics of formulating with colorants, testing, and newer pigment technology. The pigment dispersion chapter focuses on creating color cosmetic products and it would have been nice to see this expanded to cover more types of formulations. The color testing chapter is brief but detailed methodologies in the appendix more than make up for any shortcomings.

The final chapters of the book discuss some specific color technologies including surface treated pigments, effect pigments, specialty pigments and natural colorants. Each chapter provides a blend of interesting background science and practical knowledge that can be used at the bench right away.

Colorful ending

The book’s last chapter is possibly one of the most entertaining. It does not discuss much about colorants but rather provides some sage advice from a color formulator who has spent 40 years in the pigment and cosmetic industries. This is bound to make any cosmetic formulator smile.

There is a number of useful pages included after the primary text. This section makes up almost a third of the book and includes the aforementioned appendix on color testing methodologies, an extensive listing on the patent history of colorants, a glossary, and an index. The only weakness in this part is the index which would have benefited from more listings.

The title of this book suggests it will provide a detailed look at the world of pigments used in color cosmetics and it certainly delivers. For cosmetic formulators who are just getting started, this could be the one and only book on color that you will ever need. And its detailed regulatory information, practical formulating tips, testing protocols, and description of pigment and color technology make it an indispensable reference for all color cosmetic scientists.

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