Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year Through 4 Regional Beauty Lenses

2020 is the year of Classic Blue—or Pantone 19-4052, to be precise. Each year, Pantone names its Color of the Year, primed to impact everything from architecture and interior design to packaging,...

2020 is the year of Classic Blue—or Pantone 19-4052, to be precise.

Each year, Pantone names its Color of the Year, primed to impact everything from architecture and interior design to packaging, fashion, and beauty. Described as a “timeless and enduring blue hue,” Classic Blue feels familiar yet fresh. How will this color manifest in cosmetics through the year ahead? Let’s take a quick trip around the world.

Latin America

Pantone's 2020

When one of our clients in the Latin American market challenged us to predict and present the 2020 Color of the Year ahead of Pantone’s announcement, we selected Pantone 15-4421 TCX Blue Grotto.

Not bad! Our thought process in choosing blue was based on analyses from various agencies specializing in consumer behavior, which suggested a “less is more” response to an era of uncertainty. Knowing that cosmetics are a form of expression, we also explored art in the region. True to the predominance of blue in Latin America (think clear skies and sparkling waters), we expect to see playful makeup—particularly, eye shadow—with blue details spanning the full spectrum from subtle to bold.


Blue is a welcome color in China, especially when it appears in the sky – as an indication of pure air quality. Down Under, the Blue Mountains of Australia are a recognizable landmark. And in India, blue has great cultural and religious significance.  Overall, the soothing nature of dark blue mixes wonderfully with the Asian beauty experience. How does the product feel when it’s applied? How does the product visually evolve as it’s being applied? What is the fragrance? Does the scent impart an implied taste? We’re interested to see how Pantone’s Classic Blue translates to the senses and imagination.


Classic Blue lends itself very well to metallic makeup products, as seen in L’Officiel. The French fashion magazine includes glistening eyeshadow, shimmering eyeliner, glittery makeup and holographic lipstick in its roundup of beauty products inspired by the Color of the Year. Others in Europe suggest a push toward green, but not necessarily the color. With the European Union announcing its aim to be a global leader in the carbon-neutral movement, consumers here are more mindful of packaging and sustainability than perhaps anywhere else in the world.

North America

Here’s an interesting take: Classic Blue could potentially help Americans simply feel better. With Google searches for “self-care” having risen by 100 percent in the last five years, according to Harper’s Bazaar, how about a color that Pantone Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman describes as bringing “calmness, confidence, and connection”?

“We are living in a time that requires trust and faith,” Eiseman said. “It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by Pantone Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on.”

Harper’s Bazaar predicts that “mental health will become a bigger focus for beauty brands, especially directed towards millennials (dubbed ‘the anxious generation’) and Gen Zers (who are ‘more likely to report mental health concerns’).” Paired with a separate prediction from the magazine that “2020 looks set to be the year of a return to make-up experimentation,” Classic Blue appears poised for prominence.

Create Classic Blue

Cosmetics makers know that the Pantone Color of the Year has a clear and continual influence on new beauty products. Looking to formulate for Classic Blue in 2020? Sensient can help bring this color to life in clean, powerful formulations that consumers love.

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