Discovering Cosmetic Science
Chapter 6: More Than a Smudge of Colour – The Science Behind Colour Cosmetics
Published:23 Sep 2020
Claire Summers, Pauline Dubois, 2020. "More Than a Smudge of Colour – The Science Behind Colour Cosmetics", Discovering Cosmetic Science, Stephen Barton, Allan Eastham, Amanda Isom, Denise Mclaverty, Yi Ling Soong
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The science behind colour cosmetics explains how colour is perceived by our eyes and how, as a result, an object will appear coloured. Changing the interactions between the body surfaces and the visible electromagnetic spectrum is how the cosmetic scientist creates the great variety of coloured cosmetic products – from lipsticks, eyeshadows and foundations to hair colourants. This chapter explores the many types of colourants that are available to us and their endless combinations. The options range from organic and inorganic for intensity through to pearlescent pigments, which can be used to achieve effects ranging from shimmer to sparkle, in addition to being able to create colour from light, which is referred to as interference. A question often asked is whether these colourants are chemicals, and the simple answer is ‘yes’. We need then to understand how and when to use them and also how to disperse them to achieve the desired effect. Colouring our formulations is then possible as it is both an art and a science.