What Is Pigmented Makeup

What Is Pigmented Makeup?

To put it simply, it means that the makeup has a higher concentration of pigments, leading to a more vibrant payoff.

I get asked about pigmentation a lot as a cosmetologist. The term is a huge marketing buzzword these days! Makeup lovers want vibrant products that stick, so we’re seeing many brands going for high pigmentation now.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of high pigmentation, we have you covered. Keep reading to learn more about makeup pigmentation.

Understanding Pigmentation

Makeup has been around for thousands of years. While the purpose of makeup is the same, the products have evolved a lot!

Today, pigmentation comes from a wide variety of sources. Usually, the color comes from powdered minerals or synthetic dyes. Many brands also utilize more natural alternatives, such as fruit pigments.

Manufacturers have to worry about a lot more than just color payoff. They also have to consider safety. Brands must avoid prohibited or unsafe ingredients. Not only that, but they must consider the formula as a whole.

In addition to pigments, makeup must use additives like emulsifiers, preservatives, moisturizers, and more.

When you hear someone referring to pigmented makeup, they’re talking about pigments’ concentration over the other ingredients. Highly pigmented products prioritize vibrancy above all else. As a result, those products usually contain fewer extras and more raw pigments.

Pigmented Makeup vs. Pressed Pigments

What’s the most pigmented product out there? Well, it’s pressed pigments, of course!

Pressed pigments are nothing more than raw pigments pressed into a pan. They don’t contain any binders or additives. Thus, they offer the most color payoff possible!

Now, there are some caveats. Since pressed pigments don’t have any extras, application techniques are a bit different. You must use eyeshadow bases or primers to get the pigment to stick. Otherwise, it’ll just fall off like loose powder.

There are many ways to use pressed pigments. They’re pretty popular in the makeup world these days.

But, it’s important to remember that pressed pigments are not the same as pigmented makeup. Pressed pigments do not contain anything but raw pigments. Since they lack additives that could improve application and safety, they are not FDA-approved for eye use.

Highly pigmented eyeshadows, blushes, and highlighters do contain FDA-approved ingredients. That’s the key difference. It’s the reason why you don’t see makeup brands calling their pressed pigments “eyeshadows.”


Pigmented makeup is a must if you want your artistry to really pop! These products contain higher concentrations of pigments, ensuring superior color payoff.

The next time you’re in your favorite makeup shop, do a few swatches on your arm! When you see a thick, opaque swatch that covers your natural skin tone, you’ll know you’re dealing with a highly pigmented product. Give it a try and see what kinds of cool looks you can come up with!

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