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Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Color and makeup Guanine crystals

  • Guanine crystals

    Posted by Anonymous on December 3, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    I see that cosmetics companies use guanine crystals (from natural sources), also known as pearl essence, in a wide range of products.  Does anyone know where I can buy some guanine crystals for use in my own products?

    Bobzchemist replied 6 years, 5 months ago 3 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Microformulation

    Professional Chemist / Formulator
    December 3, 2016 at 10:44 pm

  • johnb

    December 4, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Be very careful that you get the correct grade for your needs. Not all guanine has a pearlescent effect.
    Note that almost all pearlescent guanine is extracted from fish scales - which may not suit animal-free products.

  • Anonymous

    December 8, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Thanks for the help.

    As far as I can tell, the companies in that list sell only the powdered form of guanine, and I’m looking specifically for the pearlescent type that is extracted from fish scales.  Any leads on where I can buy those?

  • johnb

    December 8, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    The only commercial huanine pearl essence I know/knew is Mearlmaid from Mearl Corp. This company appears to have ceased trading and the plant closed in 2007 see

  • Bobzchemist

    December 8, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Sometimes you need an scorecard to keep track of the players. Mearl changed hands a few times and is now ECKART America, a subsidiary of Altana. I’m not sure if they still make guanine for anything but nail polish anymore, if they make it at all.

    @gbar, I’m afraid that your information is 20 or 30 years out-of-date. Especially since the rise of PETA/vegans, guanine pearl has been discontinued in at least 99.99% of all cosmetics, and has been for many years.

    All pearlescent powders are now either minerals, synthetics, or a combination of both.

  • Anonymous

    December 27, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Bobzchemist, do you have any idea how much the natural guanine pearl used to cost? I was told it was quite expensive.

    What about products from L’Oreal  for example that still have CI 75170 inside.
    Is it already a synthetic replacement?


  • Bobzchemist

    December 27, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    I remember it was more expensive than carmine, so upwards of $200/kilo, at least.

    There is no synthetic replacement - L’Oreal may have a proprietary source, which is a common tactic of theirs to make a product un-reproduceable.