What Is It?

Silver is a metallic element. In cosmetics and personal care products, Silver is used in the formulation of nail polish.

Why Is It Used?

Silver imparts a color to nail polish.

Scientific Facts

Silver is a naturally occurring metallic element that is often combined with other elements such as sulfide, chloride, and nitrate. Although pure Silver is silver-colored, silver chloride and silver nitrate are powdery white while silver sulfide is dark gray to black.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists Silver as a color additive exempt from certification. It may be safely used for coloring fingernail polish at a level not to exceed 1% 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 Silver…

Silver is listed as CI 77820 in the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union and may be used as a coloring agent in all cosmetics and personal care products. When used in cosmetics and personal care products in Europe, Silver must be called CI 77820.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:…

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

Health Canada permits the use of Silver and its salts in cosmetics and personal care products. Silver and its salts are restricted to concentrations of 0.04% or less in mouthwashes. Cosmetics and personal care products containing Silver or silver salts must include the following statement on the label: “This product contains silver and/or silver salts, avoid contact with broken or abraded skin.”

See the Health Canada website for more information.…

More Scientific Information

Silver is prepared by the reaction of silver nitrate with ferrous sulfate in the presence of nitric, phosphoric, and sulfuric acids. In cosmetics and personal care products, Silver functions as a colorant.


The International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) has developed a summary of toxicological data on Silver as a food additive

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) factsheet on Silver

Search the Code of Federal Regulations

EU Cosmetics Inventory