- Synthetic Colours. Often derived from coal-tar (still found in colour cosmetics and in some hair dyes) but more recently derived from modified mineral pigment sources or made from petroleum. The reality is, most bright cosmetic pigments cannot be produced from mined minerals and therefore there are occasions that makeup artists will need to use synthetically produced colours. For instance, no “true red” lipstick can be produced ethically without using a synthetic pigment to replace the historic use of naturally-derived Carmine (made from crushed cochineal beetles and appears on cosmetic labels as CI 75470). There is an allowance for some “safe synthetic” (FDA approved as FD&C colours) colours in clean makeup, but they only appear in very small amounts (typically, 0.03 per cent). There are a number of FD & C and D & C colours (denoting Food, Drugs & Cosmetics) that are of high concerns that they are carcinogenic during animal tests, which include, but are not limited too: FD&C Red No.40 (CI 16035), FD&C, FD&C Blue No.1 (CI 42090), FD&C Green No.3 (CI 42053) and FD&C Yellow No.5 (CI 19140) which is an azo dye – also known as tartrazine when used as a food additive – well known to cause allergic reactions, especially for asthmatics and people allergic to aspirin (Mallowship, 2009)
Some are even banned altogether, namely: D&C Orange No.17, D&C Red No. 8, D&C Red No.9, D&C Red No.19, Carbon Black, D&C Black No.2, acetylene black, channel black, furnace black, lamp black and thermal black. These are sometimes found in cosmetics used around the delicate eye area. (Burke, 2016)
Risks: Carcinogenic, Skin irritants
Tip: Avoid cosmetics containing synthetic colours whenever possible.