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.1 The global market for foundations and concealers alone is expected to grow to US $12 billion by 2014.2 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.