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  • How to apply pigment to liquid based cosmetics

    Posted by lhunt on January 24, 2023 at 10:48 pm
    Currently I am trying to work out if it is feasible to have a way where cosmetic users can apply their own pigment to a liquid-based cosmetic (such as mascara, foundation, concealer, eyeshadow, highlighter, bronzer etc.) in store. Similar to going to into a hardware shop and mixing your own paint colour!
    In terms of paint/ink mixing you only need four colours, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. But what I am finding is this isn’t how cosmetics are pigmented at all. My current understanding is that a combination of 3 iron oxides and titanium dioxide are required to produce pigment. Does anyone else have any knowledge on the different ways of mixing, or is there one simple method of applying this to different base formulas of liquid cosmetics?
    I look forward to hearing your thoughts or suggestions.
    Many thanks :)
    lhunt replied 12 months ago 4 Members · 13 Replies
  • 13 Replies
  • ngarayeva001

    January 25, 2023 at 7:08 am

    Short answer: not feasible at all.
    Lond answer:

    I don’t know where to start as this topic is endless, so l will stick to one product I have more experience with: foundations.

    Foundations pigments are made of TiO2 and three iron oxides (yellow, red, and black). No consumer would be able to mix those three themselves to obtain their “perfect colour”. Ask an artist who paints portraits how long it took them to figure out how to mix human skin colour.

    These pigments are not easy to mix. They must be treated (say with methicone) to mix with oil. You need the right type of oil. You need dispersing agents such as polyhydroxystearic acid and hectorites to make it work. You need special equipment (three roll mills etc) to make it work. It’s problem after problem after problem. You solve one, and another arises.

    Also, foundations are mostly W/Si. W/Si are fussy structures. If your customer adds more of the pigment blend than that base could take, it will separate. If not right away it will do it in a week. If not in a week in a month. The customer won’t be happy.

    To summarise, there is a lot to it. It’s not the same as mixing paint, unfortunately.

  • chemicalooze

    January 25, 2023 at 9:33 am

    I agree, it would be a giant hassle for the customer and would most likely not be worth it. It would also be a costly business venture as you would need multiple roll mills and homogenizers. Presumably you would also need some kind of colorimeter/software/instrument the customer could use to get an idea of the combination of pigments they would need to mix to get the color they desire (their shade of foundation, a certain eyeshadow color, etc.) It seems like a logistical nightmare, although it is a very intriguing concept that would probably do well with Gen Z consumers as they are big on DIY 

  • lhunt

    January 25, 2023 at 11:49 am

    Thank you both very much ( @ngarayeva001 & @chemicalooze ) for your knowledge on the subject and bringing to light what issues the concept has.

    It is definitely something I want to keep developing and see if there is a way that I can tackle each of these issues, be this by narrowing down the products/formulas that one device can dispense or by making the process automated so these formulas are stable in syringes? 

    Anyway, i’ll keep working on it! Thanks again :)

  • ngarayeva001

    January 26, 2023 at 10:20 am

    There’s a couple solutions to this (for foundations) but you would have to give up on dry powder idea. I will share a couple of links later today.

  • ngarayeva001

    January 28, 2023 at 6:07 am

    So, a couple of ideas to bring the “DIY” vibe to the product.
    1) https://www.glamourcosmetics.it/it/gc-base-bb-cream-creamy-nude
    This is a premade foundation pigment blend. The supplier is The Innovation Company https://theinnovationcompany.fr/en/products/creasperse-bb/

    You can create a foundation base using the lightest neutral colour (or even white) and provide, say, 3 small bottles of pure liquid pigment blends 1) dark neutral, 2) pink undertone, and 3) yellow undertone. I can’t emphasise liquid enough. Please don’t mess with the dry powder; it will not end well (the consumer won’t be able to mix it). The innovation company sell relatively small quantities (I emailed them several years ago, and they agreed to 10kg). 10kg was not what a hobbyist needs, so I found the Italian repackager listed above. They, unfortunately, only have two shades, but you can buy a small bottle to test it before going to the original supplier.

    Having said that, you have to be very clear with the formulator who will create the base that it is a base and it will be mixed with something else. It absolutely must be accounted for during the product development (more preservatives, etc.).

  • ngarayeva001

    January 28, 2023 at 6:15 am

    2) Another idea can be using microencapsulated pigments like the one below https://www.glamourcosmetics.it/it/surprise-color-set (sorry don’t know who is the manufacturer).

    You can create a base with TiO2 and provide those encapsulated pigments in a separate packaging to mix as the person applies (put some base on a back of a hand, add microcapsules mix with a sponge/brush) it but you need to think through the measuring system (how much to add? you would need a light version, a dark version and pink version again).

    A lot of thinking is required here but it would definitely impress the consumer. I believe Clinique used microencapsulated pigments in one of its products.

  • ngarayeva001

    January 28, 2023 at 6:39 am

    On a separate note, the cream format of blush and highlighter (provided it’s mixed in a store, not by a consumer) can be relatively easy. 

    I make several hundred grams of cream blush base and mix it with liquid pigment when I fancy a new colour. 

    INCI %
    Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed
    Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax
    Pigment blend 20%

    The base is 80% of the final product. The pigment is usually 50% diisostearyl malate 50% (made by me) or premade blends I buy from TKB 

    Please don’t use that formula for commercial purposes because I created it to mimic a particular product for personal use. I would formulate it differently if it weren’t for personal use. It doesn’t have a proper preservation system (not ok for commercial), and I didn’t add antioxidants because I don’t add fragrance (you won’t get away with that for a commercial product).

    A similar approach might be applied to cream eyeliners, provided it is mixed by a trained consultant in a shop, not by the consumer. Eyeliner must be formulated by a professional, and much thinking must be put into preservation as it is applied close to the eyes. Again formulating a chassis is not the same as formulating a one-off product. It must have some room for error.

  • ngarayeva001

    January 28, 2023 at 6:45 am

    In theory, lipstick can be made similarly, but the need for moulds and cooling tunnels might make that non-feasible financially.

    So the long answer to your question: you can make the “paint mixing” shop for make-up. But not all products can be made like this, and those that can require an investment in equipment that would make the whole enterprise non-feasible commercially. 

    Don’t get discouraged. The idea is cool but needs further development. I would definitely like such mix it yourself make-up shop as a consumer.

    • lhunt

      February 17, 2023 at 5:02 am

      Hi @ngarayeva001

      Apologies for my delayed response, I really appreciate your advice and different ways in which I could achieve this concept, it is very insightful! It has be extremely useful to read through and makes me hopeful of the prospect.

      Using your suggestions I will delve further.

      Once again, many thanks for you insights! 🙂

      • squinny

        February 17, 2023 at 6:39 pm

        Hi - love all the useful and insightful info provided by @ngarayeva001 - I would love to make my own makeup one day (but probably won’t as seems far too complicated for a home formulator like me but love learning and reading all this just the same!). Not sure where you are based but My Skin Recipes in Thailand have a whole section on supplies for makeup that you may glean some extra info from and also depending on where you are and what your budget is you can buy very small amounts of lots of ingredients to try and won’t break the bank. Example : ReadyMixTM D&C Red No. 30 Lake (Oil Based) (myskinrecipes.com) - anyway may be worth taking a look. I recently purchased 10gram of Beige Iron Oxide EasyMixTM (myskinrecipes.com) for 45 Baht incl packing cost (but not shipping) with a recent order and I will never use the 10g in a lifetime as only need a very small amount for my use in a Primer I make (anhydrous) - It doesn’t color the skin (at the level I use anyway) but it colors the primer itself to a nice beige and it easy to disperse using only a hand stirring rod and paddle - It is seriously my best home-made product yet (and I like mine better than Clarins Primer - sorry for bragging! and there is no way I would have been able to make it if it wasn’t for this forum and the help I got, from sorry I think it was @Pharma ?). Anyway, just note that if you buy anything from MSR to get at least 500g total of all products to make the Shipping cost worthwhile. Cheers and good luck with your venture.

        • lhunt

          February 20, 2023 at 5:42 am

          Hi @Squinny

          Great to hear, and thanks for the tips on purchasing, i’ll be sure to have a look into it!

          A quick question for you; when you make your own primer for example, what do you find is the best method for storing it and how do you get it into it’s container ?

          Thanks & keep it up! 🙂

  • squinny

    February 20, 2023 at 4:44 pm

    Hi @lhunt I am only a homemaker so only make a very small batch for myself and a few friends. I put into 30 ml glass pots (kosma jar I think they are called as quite fancy looking!) - They also keep the light out (not that I think it matters too much for this product). If I made more I would probably keep in my wine fridge but so far I have had them just a room temp (about 25 degrees Celsius) for a few months and no issues.

    • This reply was modified 1 year ago by  Squinny.
    • lhunt

      February 24, 2023 at 8:53 am

      Thanks @Squinny ! That is useful to know!

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