Red 33 Lake

What Is It?

Red 33 (D&C Red No. 33) and Red 33 are synthetic colorants. In cosmetics and personal care products, Red 33 and Red 33 Lake are used in the formulation of a wide variety of product types, including makeup and lipstick.

Why Is It Used?

Red 33 is used to impart a red color to cosmetics and personal care products.

Scientific Facts

Red 33, also called D&C Red No. 33, and Red 33 Lake are synthetic organic colorants (color additive). In the United States, colorants are subject to a wide range of regulatory restrictions. A listing of approved colorants that may be used in the U.S. may be found in U.S. Food and Drug Administration color additive regulations.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed the safety of Red 33 and approved its use in cosmetics and personal care products, with the exception of products intended for use in the area of the eye. It is allowed for use in lipsticks at a maximum concentration of 3%. It may also be safely used for coloring mouthwashes (including breath fresheners), dentifrices and externally applied cosmetics and personal care products when it conforms to FDA specifications. According to U.S. regulations, all Red 33 and Red 33 Lake that is manufactured for use in products are subject to certification by the FDA. This certification process ensures that the strict chemical and identity specifications set by FDA are met. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) has deferred evaluation of these ingredients 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 Red 33

Red 33 is sometimes converted to an insoluble pigment for use in those situations where migration of the color to surrounding ingredients needs to be controlled. These insoluble pigments are referred to as “lakes” and the ingredient declaration on the product may be labeled as “Red 33 Lake”. FDA has also considered the safety of these lakes and has issued regulations that address their use in products.

Link to FDA Code of Federal Regulations for color additive lakes:…

Red 33 is listed as CI 17200 in the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union (Annex IV, Part I) and may be used in all cosmetics and personal care products. The insoluble barium, strontium and zirconium lakes, salts and pigments of Red 33 are also permitted and must pass the test for insolubility. When used in cosmetic products in the European Union, these ingredients must be called CI 17200.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:…

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

More Scientific Information

Certifiable color additive such as Red 33 are used widely because their coloring ability is more intense than most colors derived from natural products; thus, they are often added in smaller quantities. In addition, certifiable color additives are more stable, provide better color uniformity and blend together easily to provide a wide range of hues. Certifiable color additives generally do not impart undesirable odors or flavors while color derived from foods such as beets and cranberries can produce such unintended effects. Certifiable color additives typically are available for use as either “dyes” or “lakes.” Dyes dissolve in water and are manufactured as powders, granules, liquids or other special purpose forms. Lakes are the water insoluble form of the dye. Lakes are typically more stable than dyes and are ideal for coloring products lacking sufficient moisture to dissolve dyes. Lakes are often used to form the coating of drug tablets.