Basic Blue 99

What Is It?

Basic Blue 99 is a blue or dark blue powder. Basic Blue 99 is used in the formulation of temporary and semi-permanent hair dyes, colors and tints.

Why Is It Used?

Basic Blue 99 helps to impart a color to hair. The exact color obtained will depend on the other ingredients that are used in the preparation and the starting color of the hair.

Scientific Facts

Basic Blue 99 is a synthetic pigment sometimes referred to in general terms as a naphthoquinoneimine color. Basic Blue 99 is used in semi-permanent hair coloring systems that are usually applied in a shampoo base and contain thickeners, alkalizers, and foam stabilizers. The color that is produced results from careful formulation of the product.

Safety Information

The safety of Basic Blue 99 has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Basic Blue 99 was safe as a hair dye ingredient.

CIR Safety Review:

The dermal absorption of Basic Blue 99 was shown to be low. Oral administration of Basic Blue 99 for 90 days did not result in cumulative toxicity. Discoloration of organs involved in the elimination of Basic Blue 99 was noted. Basic Blue 99 did not cause ocular irritation, but some discoloration was noted. Basic Blue 99 caused minimal dermal irritation. Basic Blue 99 did not cause reproductive or developmental toxicity. Basic Blue 99 was a weak mutagen in Salmonella bacteria, but did not induce mutations in E. coli or in any mammalian cells tested. Sensitization occurred after exposure to Basic Blue 99 in a DMSO vehicle, but not in a water vehicle. In a modified sensitization test in humans, no volunteers had any reaction to Basic Blue 99 after a 1-hour occlusive challenge. Case reports have documented positive patch test results to 1% Basic Blue 99 in three patients.

A review of the hair dye epidemiology literature identified that use of direct hair dyes, while not the focus in all investigations, appears to have little evidence of an association with cancer or other adverse events. Based on the available safety test data on Basic Blue 99, the Panel determined that this ingredient would not have carcinogenic potential as used in hair dyes.

More information about the safety of hair dyes.

Basic Blue 99 is not specifically listed in the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:

More Scientific Information

Hair dyeing formulations belong to three categories – temporary, semi-permanent and permanent coloring of hair. Temporary coloring preparations, often called color rinses, provide color which lasts until the first shampooing. Ingredients which impart temporary color may have a fairly high molecular weight and are unable to penetrate the hair shaft. These materials are simply deposited onto the hair fiber and are removed by subsequent shampooing. Semi-permanent coloring preparations generally provide color through several shampooings. These materials are often low molecular weight pre-formed dyes which can penetrate the hair shaft to some extent. In cosmetics and personal care products, Basic Blue 99 functions as a direct, non-oxidative hair colorant.


The FDA’s factsheet on Hair Dye Products…

Search the FDA Code of Federal Regulations

EU Cosmetic Ingredients Inventory