HomeA-Z of terms and ingredientsCosmetic Colours

Cosmetic Colours

Cosmetic colorants are ingredients that are used to either colour the cosmetic product, such as in a coloured bubble bath for example, or in colour cosmetics or make-up to impart colour to the body as a whole or certain parts of it. They impart colour either by absorbing or reflecting different wavelengths of light.

All cosmetic ingredients must be safe to use. In the UK and EU the cosmetics legislation controls what may or may not be put in a product, and only colorants that are specifically listed in the legislation can be used in cosmetics.

Colours are listed in the ingredients list on-pack using their Colour Index (CI) number and they may be listed in any order after the other cosmetic ingredients. For decorative cosmetic products marketed in several colour shades, all the colorants used in the range may be listed on each product, provided that the words ‘may contain’ or the symbol ‘+/-’ are added.

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