Diverse Ingredients for Inclusive Makeup Formulation

It’s not enough to stand for inclusivity. Organizations need to put diversity, equity and inclusion into action. Cosmetics brands have an especially important role in creating positive change in society as the...

It’s not enough to stand for inclusivity. Organizations need to put diversity, equity and inclusion into action. Cosmetics brands have an especially important role in creating positive change in society as the beauty industry has long and far underdelivered for people of color.

“To support and uplift marginalized and underrepresented communities, beauty brands need to reassess and lay out actionable goals,” HYPEBAE writes.

A contributor on Medium says:

“Being a dark-skinned woman myself, I have struggled to find the perfect shade that matches my skin tone perfectly. It was discouraging. Knowing and seeing that there were so many shades for people of lighter skin tones and maybe a handful of ones for darker-skinned individuals gave me the perception that these makeup industries didn’t care about the needs of the diverse range of women of color.”

One of the most impactful goals that brands can set is to intentionally formulate more inclusive products. When it comes to makeup, many brands are expanding their foundation shades for dark skin—a great start that we can take a step further by addressing specific skin concerns, such as hyperpigmentation, uneven tone, and dry skin. We also need to be inclusive of people with albinism and vitiligo. People with albinism may have difficulty finding the right shades of makeup, while those with vitiligo may seek even coverage for their condition.

Albino Vitiligo BIPOC Beauty

We’re not just talking about foundation, either, but also eyeshadows, powders, concealers, blushes, lipsticks, and more. Here are a few versatile ingredients and formulations that can help across the board:

Nat’vocado Compact Highlighter – SCT6291 SMF

Nat'vocado Compact Highlighter

Our Nat’vocado Compact Highlighter is changing what it means to have a natural glow. This high impact, light reflecting powder applies effortlessly thanks to our Botanical Avocado Surface Treatment. Applied to our Unipure LC pigments, as well as our Mica, Sericite, and Talc, this surface treatment allows the addition of 20% of pearls into the formula for an intense highlighting effect.

Vivid Tropic Eyeshadow – SCT6236-3 SMS

Vivid Tropic Eyeshadow

Sericite 0021 AS is a coated mica by triethoxycaprylylsiane, can provide smooth skin feeling. Talc 0040 AS provides a smooth and soft skin feeling. Covabead Crystal is combined with Sensibead SI 175 to give soft and matte effect. AS surface treated Ariabel AS provide bright color and good color strength with good adhesion and long lasting properties. Enhance pearly aspect with Covapearl AS and Covapearl Star AS.

Unipure® LC

Even with recent improvement, there is still room to create more shades that stand out on dark skin tones with just one swipe. Sensient constantly innovates in the development of intense shades using our Unipure® LC mineral and organic lakes and pigments internationally recognized for high purity. The Unipure® LC line has been designed to offer high batch-to-batch color consistency to formulators, along with tight specifications for low heavy metal content to meet the strictest global regulations for cosmetic pigments.

Darker skin tones are scientifically more sensitive. The more natural ingredients we can use to prevent possible inflammation, the better. As experts in surface treatment technology, Sensient is expertly positioned for this area. A surface treatment is a coating around pigments to help them disperse evenly. Our Unipure® BA (Botanical Avocado) is a natural hydrophobic surface treatment with a soft and lightweight feel despite its high pigment load. Unipure® BA enables the creation of a wide range of inclusive facial makeup formulations.

Natpure® Xfine

The ingredients in Natpure® Xfine extracts offer both color and care attributes. Red beetroot is a promising therapeutic treatment for various clinical pathologies associated with oxidative stress and inflammation, while blue spirulina is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. Purple sweet potatoes and red radishes contain anthocyanins, which may help prevent skin aging and UV-induced skin damage. Yellow turmeric is natural “go-to” for yellow extract, acting as an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and dye all wrapped into one. And black carrot, lesser known as a food but widely regarded as a natural purple dye, is an antioxidant.

Sensibead® SI

Dark skin can also be more prone to oil and acne. Our Sensibead® SI line helps to improve the texture and function of makeup products with spherical ultrafine silica particles. These particles help pigments distribute evenly, while also providing a mattifying effect so that makeup stays on the skin. Whether formulated with mineral or organic filters, the beads achieve optimal water and oil absorption.


Also ideal for use in makeup, lipstick, nail varnish and skincare, Sensient’s Ariabel brand offers a world of pure, colorful pigments. Ariabel is extremely cost-effective and has a short lead time, enabling a fast and approachable beginning point for brands that are just getting started on their inclusive beauty initiatives.

The time for inclusivity in makeup formulation is now. We must all step up our efforts, together. Sensient is committed to diversity and inclusion on a global scale—not just in our own corporate culture and partnerships, but also in our ingredients, formulations and industry leadership. Contact us to learn more about our makeup portfolio for inclusive beauty.

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