Colour cosmetics : an introduction to formulation and approaches for foundations and lipsticks

Colour cosmetics : an introduction to formulation and approaches for foundations and lipsticks

 Abstracted from Harry’s Cosmeticology, 9th Ed

By Charles Warren


The most common skin-active ingredients found in foundations and lipsticks are sunscreens. Numerous examples can be found where both types of products also claim sunscreen protection. Daily wear products now generally incorporate sunscreen filters against UVB and UVA. Very often, filters will be minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, since organic filters tend to bind and react with oxide pigments. Another concern of organic filters is their absorption by pigments, which potentially leads to a decrease in SPF value. Mineral sunscreens have the advantage of dispersing well within the formulation and the application on the skin while behaving neutrally towards pigments. They are often used to achieve SPF values of 15–20 with concentrations of 10% w.

An additional skincare benefit brought to those products is moisturization.

Commonly, glycerol is used in those cases but it also brings a slight drop in viscosity of the bulk formula as well as an oilier appearance when applied onto a person. This oily perception can be countered in foundations by either a slight increase in pigment fillers or by use of a polymer to give the product a finer visual texture instead of a local shine. However, it is less of a problem in lipsticks, since shine is an expected attribute. Lipsticks use a number of additional ingredients for moisturization and conditioning from oils (macademia, olive, castor seed, lavender, shea butter) to more complex natural ingredients (silk complex).

Read more on colour cosmetics: an introduction to formulation and approaches for mascaras.


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  5. Ackerman A natural history of the senses. 1991; Vintage Publishing.
  6. Yadav et al., Luster measurements of lips treated with lipstick formulations.

Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Vol. 62, No. 3, 317-326.

  1. Kwak et al. The character of eyelashes and the choice of mascara in Korean women. Skin Res. Technol. 2002.
  2. Gueret -L. et al., US Patent #4887622. Brush for the application of mascaras to eyelashes. 1989.
  3. Kingsford , US Patent #5137038. Adjustable curve mascara brush. 1990.
  4. Vasas M., US Patent #6237609B1. Curved longitudinal profile mascara brush. 2001.
  1. Diaz F.H. US Patent # 6565276B1. Electrically driven handheld device for eyelash mascara application. 2003.


AOPT, Acrylates/C12-22 Alkylmethacrylate copolymer; ADS, Vinyl Caprolac- tam/VP/Dimethylaminoethyl Methacrylate Copolymer; DC79, acrylates/acryl- amide copolymer; A4R-450, PPG-17/IPDI/DMPA copolymer.

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Meyer Rosen is the President of Interactive Consulting, Inc and a nationally certified Consulting Professional Chemist and Chemical Engineer.A Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry; Fellow American Institute of Chemists, Meyer is also Editor-in-Chief of Eurocosmetics Magazine and was previously Editor of Elsevier’s Personal Care & Cosmetic Technology Series; Chief Scientific Advisor & Director (Emeritus): HBA Global Expo Technical Conferences & International Safety & Regulatory Programs. Mr Rosen is also Editor-in-Chief of “Harry's Cosmeticology”, 9th Edition and Editor of “Delivery System Handbook for Personal Care and Cosmetic Products: Technology, Applications, and Formulations”.Meyer provides consulting services in chemical technology assessment for intellectual property & trade secret litigation; technical content editing & Cosmetic/Industrial Product Development for specialty chemical applications.

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