iron oxides

Coloring Agents/Pigments

Compounds of iron that are used as coloring agents in some cosmetics. They also are used as a metal polish called jewelers’ rouge, and are well-known in their crude form as rust. Although iron oxides occur naturally, the forms used in cosmetics are synthetic. Iron oxides are closely regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. According to the website (which links to the FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations for iron oxides), “Synthetic iron oxides are produced in various ways, including thermal decomposition of iron salts, such as ferrous sulfate, to produce reds; precipitation to produce yellows, reds, browns, and blacks; and reduction of organic compounds by iron to produce yellows and blacks.”

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