Titanium dioxide: the cosmetic industry’s indispensable ingredient

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is one of the cosmetic industry’s best-kept assets – playing a central role in the development of products for sensitive skin.

Mineral make-up is big business in the cosmetics sector, with more and more wearers looking at the benefits pure, earth-derived ingredients can offer.

This trend has seen TiO2 – in both its pigment and non-pigment forms – take centre stage in beauty halls the world over. But actually, its use was established decades ago, particularly in decorative cosmetics and suncare products suitable for sensitive skin.

What makes TiO2 so attractive?

TiO2, or CI 77891 as it is known in this market, is one of the cosmetic industry’s best-kept secrets, having been used by beauty brands and skincare manufacturers alike for decades.

In that time, it has been used to enhance on-trend colours and formulations in a number of ways:

Use of pigment form TiO2 with other colours gives intensity and brightness to decorative cosmetics, as well as allowing manufacturers to create many different shades to suit all skin types in foundations and lipsticks.

TiO2 helps soak up oils in the skin, while lending it an opacity that reduces any unwanted shine – a key selling point for any matte-based cosmetic.

Non-pigment form TiO2 is a key ingredient in sun care products, absorbing and scattering both UVA and UVB rays, which help to prevent sun burn and premature ageing. This can be harnessed in cosmetics too, giving UV-protection properties to creams, foundations and lipsticks.

In its non-pigment form, TiO2 particles become transparent, helping to create much smoother and sheer formulations with a better spreadability. Its opaque qualities are also crucial to formulations that conceal blemishes.

Staying power
As an insoluble material, non-pigment form TiOis prized for its long-lasting and waterproof properties, which is important for sun care products in particular.

Products containing TiO2

TiO2 has been used globally in cosmetics safely for many decades

The unique properties of TiO2 make it an indispensable ingredient of many cosmetic products widely in use globally for many decades. TiO2, is an inert natural inorganic material. When used as a colourant in products like foundation and eye shadows it provides unsurpassed coverage power, which is a necessary attribute in many make-up products. TiO2 in ultrafine form is widely used in sunscreens and other products to reflect the sun’s harmful rays, protecting skin against damage and cancer.

TiO2 has been used long-term in a broad range of cosmetics products safely with no indications of harm to human users. It has been repeatedly assessed and approved by independent European and global safety authorities over the years and remains authorised for cosmetic uses throughout the world. 

Read more on the safety of TiO2 in cosmetics.