Pigments in cosmetics

Pigments are solid molecules that bring color and nuance to a liquid or solid preparation. Pigments are found in cosmetics as well as in murals.

In the great family of pigments, we find:

synthetic pigments:

  • pigments from mineral chemistry, made from sulphides and oxides of iron, lead, chromium, titanium, cadmium, etc
  • pigments from organic chemistry, which are perylenes, azo, phthalocyanines and quinacridones.

Watch out for artificial pigments:

The development of organic chemistry has led to the creation of synthetic organic pigments at the expense of natural pigments. Yes, it is the petroleum chemistry, and more precisely the derivatives of aniline, which has led to the very marked appearance of pigmentary shades!

These synthetic dyes are easy to produce, cheaper, mix well with various ingredients and have an amazing covering ability. However, the use of synthetic pigments has for some years raised serious concerns about their toxicity.

These pigments are extracted from ores or from industrial waste, then undergo several modifications to obtain the desired colors. For iron oxides, it is the degree of calcination temperature that allows the hue variations.

Lipsticks, for example, are very rich in synthetic pigments. For experts, tar derivatives are carcinogenic, and can cause allergies instantly. Not to mention acid dyes with eosin that can cause photo sensitivities in particular.

natural pigments:

  • mineral pigments (from precious or semi-precious stones such as cinnabar or azurite)
  • organic pigments (from living matter such as plants, flowers)
  • metallic pigments (from iron, copper, etc …)
  • pigments of animal origin, from cochineal, murex, cuttlefish ink (sepia).

Naturally, natural pigments offer a more limited range of colors and shades compared to conventional cosmetics, but creativity continues to serve the natural world to create larger ranges.

In natural cosmetic we use:


Mineral powder brilliant and colored by natural pigments, micas are essential to create makeup products: balm or lipstick, powder or eyeshadow, blush, mascara, nail polish.

They can be incorporated at the end of preparation in creams, oils and body milks, to give the skin an illuminating and satin effect. They can also be used to color handmade soaps.

Coloring pigments

Natural dyes, oxides are obtained from iron ore. They color very strongly the preparations and must therefore be used in small quantities. They can be mixed together and with micas to create a wide range of colors. They are mostly used in the development of makeup products, such as foundations, blushes, and eye powders. They also serve as dyes for soaps and candles.

At Ceylan vie we use natural dye.