Bismuth Citrate

What Is It?

Bismuth Citrate is the bismuth salt of citric acid. In cosmetics and personal care products, Bismuth Citrate is used in the formulation of hair coloring products used on the scalp.

Why Is It Used?

Bismuth Citrate 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

Bismuth Citrate is the bismuth salt of citric acid. Bismuth is a brittle metal with a pinkish hue. It occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust and is about twice as abundant as gold.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists Bismuth Citrate as a color additive exempt from certification and it may be safely used for coloring hair on the scalp at concentrations not to exceed 0.5% of the final product. Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) has deferred evaluation of this ingredient because the safety has been assessed by FDA. This deferral of review is according to the provisions of the CIR Procedures.

All color additives used in foods, drugs and cosmetics in the United States must be approved by FDA and listed in the Code of Federal Regulations. In some cases, FDA requires that each batch of color produced for use in regulated products can be used only if it is certified by the agency to meet strict specifications. FDA maintains a laboratory especially for this purpose and color manufacturers must pay a fee to support this activity. FDA only approves colors after extensive review of all safety data and publication of the basis for its approval in the Federal Register.

You can find out more about FDA regulation of colors at:

Link to FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Bismuth Citrate…

More information about the safety of hair dyes.

Bismuth Citrate is not permitted for use as a colorant of cosmetics and personal care products in the European Union.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:

You can learn more about the regulation and labeling of colors at:…

More Scientific Information

Bismuth Citrate is a synthetically produced crystalline salt of bismuth and citric acid. In cosmetics and personal care products, Bismuth Citrate functions as a hair colorant.


EU Cosmetic Ingredients Inventory

Search the FDA Code of Federal Regulations