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Colors for Bath Bombs

November 03, 2017 3 min read

Did you know most green and blue micas are not approved for coloring bath bombs?

When it comes to colors for bath bombs, the already confusing color regulations can be even more so. I have researched this topic in depth and wanted to share my findings with you.

I read a blog post on another site the other day that stated that micas and exempt colorants were not regulated by the FDA for bath bomb use. This is not correct.

What we hear most about regarding bath bombs and colorants are dyes or lakes. Dyes and lakes are subject to certification, meaning that the reseller must have the colors batch certified before selling to the end user (you) for products for sale. For dyes and lakes to be considered cosmetic grade, the colors need to be sent to the FDA for testing before we can legally sell them to you as batch certified.

However, there is another very important thing to be considered. Are the colorants approved by the FDA for use in bath bombs? Even if a color is batch certified DOES NOT mean it is approved for bath bomb use. Also, just because a color is exempt from certification does not mean it’s not regulated by the FDA or does not have to meet approval requirements per the FDA.

Colors exempt from certification and those subject to certification must have colorants approved for the intended use.

Colors in bath bombs come in contact with mucous membranes. Basically, we’re sitting in the water that we place the bath bomb in. Whether you’re male or female, we all have mucous membranes…ahem…down below.

Many think that bath bomb colors must be approved for external use, which is not accurate. For a color to be approved for bath bomb use, the colors must be approved generally, including lipsticks. Here’s why:

Externally applied cosmetics: This term does not apply to the lips or any body surface covered by mucous membrane. For instance, if a color additive is approved for use in externally applied cosmetics, you may not use it in products such as lipsticks unless the regulation specifically permits this use [21 CFR 70.3 (v)].

In other words, if a color for bath bombs is not approved for general use or lipstick it’s a no-go for bath bombs.

If you are making anything other than what is considered true soap, it is absolutely imperative to learn to read the FDA Color Tables. Believe me when I say that I have seen many reputable suppliers get this information wrong, and pass this bad information onto their customers. This is why it is so important to learn what colors are or aren’t approved for whatever product you’re making. In the end, the maker is responsible for the product being introduced to the market. Knowing color and cosmetic regulations is, in my opinion, one of the first things you should do before making products for sale.

Let’s look at two common colors used in micas. Most soap stable green micas are colored with chromium oxide green. Most soap stable blue micas are colored with ultramarine blue.

Chromium Oxide Green Approval:

  • Eyes: Yes
  • Generally (includes lipsticks): No
  • External Use: Yes

As you can see, chromium oxide green is not approved for general use. IT SHOULD NOT BE USED IN BATH BOMBS.

Ultramarine Blue Approval:

  • Eyes: Yes
  • Generally (includes lipsticks): No
  • External Use: Yes

Just like chromium oxide green, ultramarine blue should not be used in bath bombs.

Basically, to know if your color is approved for bath bombs, you need to look for ‘yes’ in the column ‘generally (includes lipsticks)’ column in the FDA Color Tables.

Fortunately, the FDA has stated that they do not see use in this way as a safety issue and will not currently penalize anyone for use of these colors in bath bombs. However, now is the time to start learning and complying with these regulations. As bath bombs become more popular, there is no doubt that these regulations will eventually be enforced much more strongly.

If you are using green or blue micas or any color containing an unapproved color additive, it is best to stop doing so. This way you can be sure you are following regulation, and by doing so you can produce beautiful bath bombs to the market knowing you’re doing it correctly and 100% worry-free.