Though many people associate color cosmetics with anhydrous lipsticks and emulsion foundations, powder formulations have always been a core product category that drives brand growth and consumer loyalty. The U.S. powder market alone is set to grow by almost 7% by the end of fiscal 2014. This category has been steadily gaining share in the makeup market, with new technologies entering the market in both packaging and raw materials. Currently, powder formulations contribute approximately 12% to annual global makeup sales.
The skill set for complete powder formulating can only come from years of experimentation and development using a variety of powder-based products. It requires thorough knowledge of raw materials, color matching techniques and processing. Besides being a formulator, this is one case where the formulator must also unofficially play the role of a packaging analyst to ensure compatibility with the proposed components. Whether the powder-based product is loose or pressed, its stability in a packaging component can dictate its performance.
As noted, powder cosmetic products (both pressed and loose powders) include foundations, eyeshadows, primers, blushes, bronzers and all-over shimmer powders. Though the raw materials used in them often are similar, the processing, texture, packaging, applicators and application, along with color development, vary for each type; these are described here.
Raw Materials and Uses
Powder formulations involve the blending of pigments, fillers, and dry and wet binders to develop a uniform product. The coverage and shade provided by a product is defined by the levels of organic dyes, iron oxides and titanium dioxide in the formula—as well as processing techniques.
Dry binders: Dry binders are a necessity to powder formulations. They compact easily and use their adhesive properties to assist other ingredients in compacting. Some common dry binders are polyethylene, kaolin and fatty acid derivatives—including their metallic soaps, such as zinc stearate.