Name / description

Anthocyanins are water-soluble pigments obtained by the physical processing of edible fruits or vegetables

Function(s) of this ingredient in cosmetic products


Colours cosmetic products, skin, nails and / or hair



Occurrence in other products

Food colorant: E 163

Background information on use in cosmetics

Red dye Colourants ensure an appealing appearance of the cosmetic product and serve for the embellishment of the skin and hair. The most frequently used colourants are synthetic; only a few natural substances are available. For colourants, the applicable INCI names are in most cases the so-called Colour Index Numbers, the "CI Numbers".

Information on safe use

According to the EC Cosmetics Regulation [Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009], which applies to the entire EU market, colourants are defined as substances which are exclusively or mainly intended to colour the cosmetic product, the body as a whole or certain parts thereof, by absorption or reflection of physical light. Annex IV of the Regulation defines the substances which may be used as colourants in cosmetic products. In this positive list of colourants maximum concentrations are defined in part for the use of these substances in cosmetic products as well as the permitted areas of application. Hair colourants are currently still separately regulated in the EC Cosmetics legislation. In future it is planned to include them also into Annex IV. Colourants are examined prior to their authorisation in Annex IV selectively for their toxicological safety and subjected to extensive tests. The manufacturers must prove the health safety in extensive scientific studies. Moreover, the approved colorants are reassessed and the list is updated accordingly in line with new scientific findings and in the event of suspected adverse events evident from market surveillance.

Belongs to the following substance groups

Regulating cosmetics

Cosmetics Ingredients are subject to regulation. Please note, different regulations may apply to cosmetic ingredients outside the EU.

Understanding your cosmetics

How are cosmetics kept safe in Europe?

Strict laws make sure that cosmetics and personal care products sold in the European Union are safe for people to use. Companies, national and European regulatory authorities share the responsibility of keeping cosmetic products safe.

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What should I know about endocrine disruptors?

Some ingredients used in cosmetic products have been claimed to be ‘endocrine disruptors’ because they have the potential to mimic some of the properties of our hormones. Just because something has the potential to mimic a hormone does not mean it will disrupt our endocrine system. Many substances, including natural ones, mimic hormones but very few, and these are mostly potent medicines, have ever been shown to cause disruption of the endocrine system. The rigorous product safety assessments by qualified, scientific experts that companies are legally obliged to carry out cover all potential risks, including potential endocrine disruption.

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Are cosmetics tested on animals? No!

In the European Union, testing cosmetics on animals has been fully banned since 2013. Over the last 30 years, long before a ban was in place, the cosmetics and personal care industry has invested in research and development to pioneer alternatives to animal testing tools to assess the safety of cosmetics ingredients and products.

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What about allergens in cosmetics?

Many substances, natural or man-made, have the potential to cause an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction occurs when a person’s immune system reacts to substances that are harmless to most people. A substance that causes an allergic reaction is called an allergen. Cosmetics and personal care products may contain ingredients that can be allergenic for some people. This does not mean that the product is not safe for others to use.

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Cosmetics matter to people and play an important role in our everyday life. On average European consumers use over seven different cosmetics daily. You too? It’s only natural that you want to know more about the ingredients in those products.

In the digital world we live in, there’s a deluge of information on cosmetics. However, it can be difficult to know which sources are reliable. COSMILE Europe is a European cosmetic ingredient database that offers reliable, verified and scientifically supported information on almost 30,000 ingredients used in cosmetics.

This database will help you understand why certain ingredients are in your cosmetic products; which properties they have and much more. The database is currently available in fourteen languages with more to come.

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