Colours beautify things. It makes the object pleasant to the eyes. Most people have their own favourite colour to go with!

Imagine an object that is pale and strips off its colour, it loses its appeal almost immediately. In the cosmetic industry, colour plays a significant role to increase the physical attraction and value of the product.

However, for decades, the cosmetic and beauty industry has been using harmful, synthetic colouring in the process. Cosmetic-grade dyes are labelled D&C, meaning they are approved for use in drugs and cosmetics. FD&C dyes are approved for food as well as drugs and cosmetics.

“However the certification of D&C and FD&C colours doesn’t always address potential effects they may have with prolonged exposure. For example, many D&C and FD&C colours have been linked to allergic reactions, skin irritations, nervous system toxicity, reproductive system disruption and even cancer. For example, coal-tar-based dyes such as FD&C Blue 1, most commonly found in toothpaste, and FD&C Green 3, commonly found in mouthwash, have been found to be carcinogenic in animal studies when injected under the skin. Synthetically-enhanced colours may also contain heavy metal salts which can penetrate into the skin.” (Alison, alexami.com)


Some manufacturers try to reduce or phase out the usage of such colourant in the wake of public awareness of the long-term usage and exposure, which are the potential health hazard. The main reasons why these synthetic colours are chosen in the first place are due to the fact that they are inexpensive and easy to source.

To understand what is on your cosmetic, steer clear of those that listed D&C or FD&C in their labels. Some didn’t use the acronym but instead uses the ones like below:

• Orange 5 • Orange 5 Lake • Red 1 • Red 3 • Red 4 • Red 6 • Red 6 Lake • Red 7 Lake • Red 21 • Red 21 Lake • Red 27 • Red 27 Lake • Red 30 Lake • Red 33 Lake • Blue 1 Lake • Blue 2 • Green 3 • Yellow 5 Lake • Yellow 6 Lake

Clean beauty product manufacturers have been choosing to use natural colours obtained from fruits, vegetables, flowers or plants. Colours obtain from beetroot, acai, henna and butterfly pea have been a favourite in manufacturing their natural cosmetics and beauty products.

However, in this part of the region, especially South East Asia and Asia, the choices for natural colourant are super limited or near to non-existent.  With K-beauty swamping the Asian region in a Hallyu fever, it will take a while before clean beauty can make an impact here.



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