Since 2021, powder cosmetics have been growing in popularity. We donot refer only to makeup products, but also to cosmetic ingredients, usually for skin care, which come in powder format. These ingredients to be activated, must contact with another ingredient in a different phase, usually liquid. 


The main advantage of powder cosmetics comes from sustainability. In a previous post, we talked about waterless cosmetics, or how the cosmetics industry was advancing in the formulation of products that produce zero waste. On this path towards greater sustainability, reducing the use of water in the final formulation is key. 

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With powder cosmetic ingredients, the use of water in the final formulation is avoided, either by using oils to activate the powder, exfoliating powder products or even serums in solid format [1]. 

On the other hand, powder ingredients are easier to transport and store, as they do not require environmental conditions similar to those of liquid phase cosmetics [2]. 

Types of cosmetic powder ingredients 


Among the different applications of surfactants in cosmetics, one of the most important is the production of foam. Depending on the amount of foam and its stability, we can find three types of surfactant ingredients: 

  • Sodium Coco Sulfate: produces a large amount of foam. However, this ingredient can be irritating, so it is used in hair cleansing products along with other surfactants that reduce its irritating property. 
  • Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate: generates a moderate amount of foam and is not as irritating as the previous ingredient, which is why it is widely used in products as a skin conditioner. 
  • Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate: widely used thanks to the fact that it produces a stable foam. 

Divided into two phases 

These types of ingredients are activated when the different phases come into contact. These ingredients are mainly used in emulsions. These are composed of an aqueous phase and an oily phase, which are mixed with the help of emulsifiers [3]. 

For hair care 

In hair products powdered ingredients are usually used surfactant ingredients for foam generation. But not only, since the use of powdered ingredients is increasingly common in products used for hair dyeing [4]. 

Natural cosmetics usually use a large amount of powdered ingredients. For hair care, we find plant extracts of Walnut or Cassia obovata that serve to strengthen hair and prevent hair loss [5].  

Effervescent agents 

These types of powdered ingredients produce foam upon contact with water and are often used in bath products [6]. 

Filling agents 

Powder cosmetics require a reduction in the use of water in the formulation, but to do so, the water must be replaced with other types of ingredients. 

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A classic ingredient agent of powder cosmetics is talc. Talc is magnesium silicate, used in cosmetics since its main property is to absorb moisture and thus prevent the product from caking. 

The use of talcum powder has generated controversy for years, since various scientific studies have suggested a possible association between its use in the genital area with a higher incidence of ovarian cancer. However, this statement could not be confirmed. Furthermore, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (CCSC) of the European Commission have carried out various studies in which they affirm its safety in the use of cosmetic products. [7]. 

In conclusion, the use of powdered ingredients for the formulation of cosmetic products will contribute to the sustainability of the industry. But their use must be directed by their properties and the characteristics that they can contribute to the final product. 


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