Red 21


Colouring Agent/Pigment

No known benefits

Red 21 at a glance

  • Synthetic pigment
  • Ruled safe as used in cosmetics and food products
  • Also known as D&C Red No. 21

Red 21 description

Red 21 is a synthetic pigment used to add colour to makeup, skin care and food products. The United States Food and Drug Administration has ruled it safe as it is used in these applications. It is also known as D&C Red No. 21, with the “D&C” designation meaning it is approved for use in drugs and cosmetics.

Red 21 references


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.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.