Frequently Asked Questions

Are the colored mica and matte colors already ready to use as pigment eye shadows?

TKB Trading sells ingredients for you to make your own cosmetics. Our only actual "finished" products are in the MyMix section of our website.

Having said that, there is no particular harm in using our eye-permitted micas and pigments directly as an eye shadow. The problem is that the results will probably not satisfy you. The mica will fall off too easily, or the pigments will be to strong in color and too draggy on the skin.

Color additives are usually texturized with something. In the case of a powdered eye shadow, our TKB Matte Texture base is a good option.

Which of your colors are natural?

People call all kinds of things natural, but as there is no regulation on what that means, they personally choose to draw the line and how they communicate with their customers. With regard to color additives, you can view what the FDA allows in cosmetics here.

If you click on the "21CFR Section Code" at the above referenced page for the color you are interested in, you'll confirm that iron oxides and ultramarines are synthetically manufactured items.

What are the differences between a Cosmetic Grade and a Non-cosmestic Grade color additive?

On our website, a cosmetic grade color additive is one that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in cosmetics. Any color additive which has not been so approved would be considered non-cosmetic (or, "technical grade" or, "industrial grade". The emphasis here is on U.S., because our website does not currently identify which colors are approved (or not approved) by other governments; if you have a question about another country, please feel free to email us and we will respond.

Another difference between a cosmetic-grade and non-cosmetic grade color additive is the level of purity. Iron Oxide Red is approved for use by the FDA in cosmetics generally, but the product you purchase must also meet specific requirements set forth by the FDA. For example, you can purchase Red Iron Oxide which is cosmetic-grade or non-cosmetic grade. The non-cosmetic grade is much less expensive and it used to color cement or concrete (as an example). But it is not pure enough to be used as a cosmetic on your face, lips, and eyes.

While you can't use a non-cosmetic grade color additive in a cosmetic project; you can use a cosmetic-grade color additive in a craft or art project. We do it all the time! Our studio walls have been painted with cosmetic grade manganese violet (for a vivid, resonating purple hue), and our chairs have been glazed with hilite (interference) violet mica. To the left is a photo of a mosaic project where the grout was colored with our ultramarine blue pigment.

If you are a soap maker, you may also use both cosmetic, and non-cosmetic grade color additives for your projects, because the FDA does not consider soap a cosmetic. This is great news because we have some really fabulous neon colors which are very popular with our customers because they are bright, stable and non-bleeding. While they are not cosmetic grade, they were tested by Duke University and shown to be non-toxic.

What does "approved" mean here?

When the U.S. FDA approves a color additive for cosmetic use, it also designates what kind of cosmetics the color is approved for.

Just because something is safe for use on your nails, does not mean it will also be safe for use on your lips. Because the lips are a soft mucous membrane and a pathway to your mouth. Whatever you put on your lips, you will end up eating as well!

Similarly, the FDA wants to make sure that we are careful about what we put on or near our eyes. Following is the language that the FDA uses when it approves a product:

When FDA says  " ... safe for use in coloring cosmetics generally in amounts consistent with good manufacturing practice..."
It means No Eyes!  Eyes are only OK if specifically called out by the FDA.  Lips, Face and Nails, OK.
When FDA says " ... safe for use in coloring cosmetics generally, including cosmetics applied to the area of the eye ... in amounts consistent with good manufacturing practice ..."
It means Approved for face, eyes, lips and nails.
When FDA Says " ... safely used for coloring externally applied cosmetics in amounts consistent with good manufacturing practice..."
It means External cosmetics only.  No Lips! No Eyes!  Nails and face are OK.
When FDA Says " ... safely used for coloring cosmetic lip products in amounts not to exceed 3 percent total color by weight of the finished cosmetic products . . .and externally applied cosmetics ..."
It means No Eyes!  Approved for face, lips and nails, except that there is a limit on how much may be used in lip products.
Can I mix the versagel and the lip balm base together to make lip gloss less sticky?

You can mix them together but it will mke the product more sticky not less.

Which powder products are vegan?

Your main concern is for anything which contains Carmine. Carmine is a pink color and found in many of the reds, pinks and purples. If you shop only in the "soap" section of the website you will avoid carmine because carmine is also not stable in high pH that soap has.

Alternatively, under the photo of each color is a More Details hyperlink which you can click and which will tell you the ingredients. As a final fail-safe you can include in your comments at checkout "please triple check all vegan".

What is the difference between sericite and mica? Sometimes I see "serecite mica," sometimes just "sericite," sometimes just "mica." Are they different?

Sericite is a kind of mica, different than Muscovite mica. I "think" it has to do mainly with where they are mined from but I'm not sure about that. Regardless, sericite is what is commonly used in makeup. When labeling a product the INCI (international nomenclature for cosmetic ingredients) for mica, regardless of the type is simply 'mica'. So that is why you typically see just mica on the labels.

What colors do you recommend for bath salts?

Ours, of course! But let's dig in a little deeper as to why . . .


Use A Dye
We first suggest that you stick with using a dye (not a pigment or a mica) for coloring salts which will be dissolved in water. This is because a dye is something which will dissolve in water, and therefore go down the drain with the water (think: food dye for coloring eggs). If you use a pigment or mica, you run the risk of the matter sticking to the side of the tub or lingering on the bottom. This requires you to get on your knees and scrub after a relaxing bath. Yuck!

If you are making a potpourri or some kind of product that will not be used in water, then you can use any color additive you want, however the dyes will give the most jewel-like tones.

Use a Lake Dye  We offer several liquid dyes which you could use, and which people use all the time. (Specifically: Bright Red, Bright Blue, Bright Yellow, Bright Green, Bright Purple, Bright Orange, Warm Yellow and Teal Blue). However, our salt-making customers have advised us that these colors can be unstable in light (especially the purple). Through experimentation, they have determined that a preferred option is to use a Lake Dye.

A Lake Dye is kind of a hybrid between a dye and a pigment. We love 'em and offer them in several different forms:

1) As a powder (Look in our Lipstick section, under "Powdered Lip Dyes")
2) Predispersed in Castor Oil (Look in our Lipstick section, under "Liquid Lip Dyes")
3) Predispersed in Vegetable Glycerin (Look in our Soap section, under "Salt Dyes")

 

What colors may be used in tattoos?

Because the industry is unregulated and the dyes are sold to tattoo artists and not "retail consumers" there are no requirements placed on the manufacturers of colors to label the product in any way. Inks are usually sold by "brand name" and not by chemical composition. One company's "red" might be Napthol-AS in an alcohol/glycerin base or it might be Cadmium Red in a propylene glycol/wax base. You have no way of knowing and the company is not required to tell you.

If you plan to mix your own pigments, we suggest that you talk with other tattoo artists rather than rely on information at this website. We are not tattoo artists and have no direct experience in the matter.

I bought some pearl powders (both hydrolyzed & micronized) and I noticed there's a weird smell. Is this normal?

A smell is normal because they are animal products. They are not odor free.

Having said that, there is no particular harm in using our eye-permitted micas and pigments directly as an eye shadow. The problem is that the results will probably not satisfy you. The mica will fall off too easily, or the pigments will be to strong in color and too draggy on the skin.

I'd like to buy pearl and silk powders in large quantities - does TKB guarantee a minimum shelf life of 18 months from the date of purchase?

Our vendor gives us a one year date for shelf life and we reorder about every three months. This means we normally guarantee a shelf life of 8-9 months.

However, hydrolyzed pearl is more problematic, because if it is exposed to air, it begins to degrade. For this reason, you should only order in the bulk size (kg). because then we are not repacking it and it is most stable.

What are your jars made of? And how can I get printing on them?

The jars are made of polystyrene (PS).

To print on the jars, you'll need a pad printer. Pad printers print on uneven surfaces, which is what the lid is (not perfectly smooth).

What determines whether a mica mix needs grinding or not?

Mica is actually uncolored, or slightly amber colored mineral. What you are calling Mica is really "colored mica". It is mica which has been processed in such a way to include layers of colors such as iron oxides, or dyes. Because these colors have been made lighter and fluffier by the mica, they do not need any grinding. In fact, grinding can also damage them because if you grind colored mica you can cause the mica and color to separate and therefore get a little duller.

The ingredients which are used to color the mica, such things as iron oxide, ultramarine, blue #1 lake and so forth, those are the pure pigments. Those are the ones which need to be ground in order to avoid streaking and to bring out the color.

Two simple tests to tell if you are holding a pure pigment or a mica:

  1. Look at the ingredients list.  If it has the word Mica, you are holding a mica.
  2. Rub the product between your fingers, if it is a little sticky or very staining, it is a pure pigment.
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