In 2010, the global makeup market generated total revenues of US $34.5 billion, with facial makeup including foundations proving the most lucrative at US $12.2 billion or 35.4% of the total makeup market. The global market for foundations and concealers alone is expected to grow to US $12 billion by 2014. This important product category elicits strong consumer loyalty, meaning that once consumers find the right foundation shade and it performs to their standards, they return for subsequent purchases. This behavior helps a brand to sell its complementary lines and introduce new launches.
Although any formulation type can pose obstacles for the cosmetic chemist, foundations are notorious for their degree of difficulty and intricacy of detail. As if it were not challenging enough to stabilize emulsions with superior aesthetics, foundations require emulsion stability while ensuring color properly develops and stays uniform throughout the product. This involves a balance between the oil and water phase interactions, emulsifiers, film-formers and several powders and pigments. The emulsions that are used to formulate foundations can be o/w and w/o, where silicones are typically used. This article will review the basic factors and common ingredients that comprise foundation formulations.
When developing a foundation shade, the formulator needs to choose the appropriate pigments and pigment levels that can be reliably scaled up to consistently produce the desired color. Pigments are added in the external phase of the emulsion and may need to be altered with a hydrophobic surface treatment, as is the case in w/o foundations. Titanium dioxide and iron oxide are the pigments primarily used in foundations. A wide range of flesh tones can be achieved with rutile or anatase titanium dioxide, using the former for more coverage, along with red, yellow and black iron oxides.
Most cosmetic grade titanium dioxides are coated with alumina or silica to improve photostability. As many color formulators can attest, it is of critical importance to test the light stability of each grade of titanium dioxide in a base formulation before it is completed because even a slight change can have disastrous effects on both light and dark foundation shades over time. For example, a slight yellowing of a pigment will shift the shade of the foundation, which then may not match the shade desired by consumers. Evaluating the light stability of the foundation can be performed by observing it under a UV lamp or sunlight during a determined period.
This content is adapted from an article in GCI Magazine. The original version can be found here.