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Color Selection—Economics

By: Edwin B. Faulkner
Posted: August 28, 2012, from the September 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

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A cosmetic company often turns to dispersions for the same reasons that a person will choose the microwave meal route. Making dispersions requires good dispersion equipment (pots and pans) and the technology to produce a good dispersion (cooking know-how), which will give consistent color results (the meal turns out the same every time). Finally, in the rush to make product on schedule, using dispersions saves a significant amount of manufacturing time (getting the meal on the table quickly).

The price of dispersions is dependent on several factors, including the type of pigment in the dispersion, the percentage of that pigment, and the vehicle system employed. The cost to produce the dispersion and the manufacturer’s desired profit margin are also considered. So, when all the calculations are completed to comparing the use of dry color to a pre-made dispersion, the dry is less expensive. This is because the dispersion includes the producer’s conversion costs and profit margin. However, just like the microwave meal, the convenience and consistency of a dispersion bring tremendous value to the table.

If you are interested in reading more about the practical considerations of color cosmetic development, you can find Coloring the Cosmetic World at www.Alluredbooks.com.

Edwin B. Faulkner is global business director of cosmetics and personal care for Sun Chemical Corporation. He holds a degree in chemistry from Widener University and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Cincinnati, where he teaches in the Cosmetic Science Masters Program. He is also an instructor for the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, where he serves as the color expert on the “Ask the Expert” section of the website, and is active in the Color Pigments Manufacturers Association.