What Is It?

Carmine is a bright red pigment made from cochineal. In cosmetics and personal care products, Carmine is used in the formulation of a wide variety of product types, including make up and nail polish.

Why Is It Used?

Carmine imparts a red color to cosmetics and personal care products.

Scientific Facts

Carmine is the aluminum lake of the coloring agent, cochineal, a natural pigment derived from the dried female insect Coccus cacti (cochineal). In addition to its use in cosmetics and personal care products. Carmine is used as a food coloring and may often be found in juice, yogurt and candy.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists Carmine as a color additive exempt from certification. Carmine may be safely used as both a food color additive and for cosmetics and personal care products, including products intended for use on the lips and in products intended for use in the area of the eye. The 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:

FDA: Link to Code of Federal Regulations for Carmine

Carmine is listed as CI 75470 in Annex IV, Part I (coloring agent allowed for use in cosmetic products) of the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union and may be used without restriction when purity requirements are fulfilled. When used in cosmetic products in the European Union, this ingredient must be called CI 75470.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:…

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives has determined that it is not necessary to limit the dietary intake of cochineal extract.

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

More Scientific Information

Carmine is the aluminum lake made from the cochineal dye derived from the dried female cochineal insects. In cosmetics and personal care products, Carmine functions as a colorant. To be used as a colorant, Carmine must comply with FDA specifications. This includes the requirement that Carmine must be pasteurized or otherwise treated to destroy all viable Salmonella microorganisms.