FD&C Colors


Colouring Agent/Pigment

No known benefits

FD&C Colors description

General term for any colour additive deemed safe and FDA-approved for use in foods, drugs, and cosmetics. When an FD&C colour is followed by the word “lake,” it means the colour has been mixed with a mineral (most commonly calcium or aluminum) to make the colour insoluble (not affected by water). For example, “FD&C Blue No. 1-Aluminum Lake” means that the colour FD&C Blue No. 1 has been combined with aluminum. Lake colours are used for candies and for dyes used to colour Easter eggs, among countless cosmetics applications. The current group of FD&C colours has been extensively studied, with many classified as “permanently approved” for use in drugs and foods. Some FD&C colours, such as Blue 1 and Blue 2, are derivatives of coal tar and can cause allergic reactions, although the amounts used in items such as lipsticks typically are lower than the amounts used for other types of colouring agents. No coal tar colours are permitted in products for use around the eyes, and every batch of coal tar colour must be deemed safe before it can be used in foods, drugs, or cosmetics. Any colouring agent used in eye makeup must be specifically approved for that purpose by the FDA. The colour of cosmetics products is often an emotional pull for many consumers. A soft pink lotion can denote a moisturizer meant to calm or soothe skin, while a bright yellow balm may be deemed energising. Whether natural or synthetic, colouring agents in skincare products serve no purpose other than to create a perception or an emotional response to the product. Colouring agents used in makeup are a different story, as they’re used to create an endless kaleidoscope of shades.

FD&C Colors references

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Color Additive Status List. [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2015 July]. Available from: http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/ColorAdditiveInventories/ucm106626.html

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


We couldn't find this in our ingredient dictionary. We log all missing ingredients and make continuous updates.

Not Rated