Skip to content

Taking Colour Cosmetics to the Next Dimension.

May 19, 2009

If you are the kind of person for whom no shopping trip is complete without a new lippy /  face powder or eye shadow you could not have failed to notice the complexity of claims being made by your average colour cosmetic.  No longer does your face powder just even your skin tone, it promises to enhance the luminosity of the skin.   Your foundation will not just give you great cover, it will also ensure that you stay crease free all day (now wouldn’t that be nice!)

So what happened? When did photochemistry enter the pharmacy and how on earth do these things work anyway?  Well, it goes something like this………


This is the buzz word around colour cosmetic counters this year with both mass market and niche brands promising to help your skin radiate, lighting up the world around you!   In cosmetic terms,  Luminosity is used to describe that look of “inner glow” or that rosy, radiance that we get when we have had a good night sleep.  To get this look you need to add some pretty special pigments to your mixing pot. As our skin ages it loses some of its glow, darker skins begin to look ashy and whiter skins pale away to gray.  Pigments that give a gentle shimmer when blended into your foundation or moisturiser can bring back some of that glow.  These pigments come in all colours and tones to give either a luminescence (silver tone making the skin seem lightened) or more of a glow (bronze / gold tones to give the skin some depth).  Chemically these pigments may be based on borosilicate with a titanium dioxide coating.


While you may not hear this word quite so much as some of those above, the iridescent effect is prevalent in modern colour cosmetics. Iridescent pigments are those that take on different colours depending on the viewing angle.  They can do this because of the way the pigments are manufactured and then coated, giving them two dimensions. When light hits these pigments,  its path is changed by the coating and the light reflected back is like a highlight of the background colour.  This highlight and background colour contrast giving the pigment a two dimensional appearance.  A whole range of colours and tones can be achieved including some that shimmer and sparkle while others have a matt appearance.

Wrinkle Busting!

Fillers once the poor relation of the colour cosmetic formulation have now graduated.  The filler no longer just bulks up and sticks together the functional ingredients; the filler IS a functional ingredient!  Thanks to advances in the manufacturing process it is now possible to get filler ingredients that do all of the usual skin feel modification and oil absorption stuff but with some extra wrinkle deflection thrown in. Their ability to do this is based on both the particles shape (beautifully rounded) and the chemical make up (silica coated with titanium dioxide and iron oxide).  This renders the pigment able to sit on top of the wrinkle while deflecting light away from it, giving the illusion of silky smooth skin – no needles required!


Think that just covering wrinkles is impressive? Well there exists a new breed of pigment that doubles up as a preservative booster!  Silver has long been admired not only for its aesthetic appeal  but also for its microbiological powers. Thanks to nanotechnology, the two properties can be combined producing a lustrous, pearlescent pigment with the power to preserve.  Silver enhanced products should be hitting the shelves soon.

So, not only will the colour cosmetics of the naughties highlight your best features, they may also leave your skin looking bright, shimmery, luminous and glowing!  Next time you take home a new cosmetic product, stop and think about all of the light refraction that is going on – just like a 70’s disco really.

disco ball round

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: