MultiColor Effect Pigments

August 4, 2008

These skin-tone effect pigments from the Taizhu Group enhance color and correct flaws with unique natural radiance.

MultiColor Effect Pigments

These skin-tone effect pigments from the Taizhu Group enhance color and correct flaws with unique natural radiance.

By Bradford G. Brooker and Frank Mazzella     
Kobo Products

Marie-Josee Lafontaine
Product and Color Development Consultant

Beauty has always been more than skin deep. But everyday beauty starts with the skin. The world’s evolving demographics mean there may be as many ideals of beauty today as there are skin types and tones. It is in recognition of those changing demographics and multiplicity of skin tones that the Taizhu Group developed KTZ MultiColor skin-toned effect pigments. The next frontier for its pigments will be the duplication of physiology through effect. MultiColors represent the first in a series of products that are “optically integral.” Optically Integral products intersect, enrich and enhance traditional effect and cosmetic pigments with the goal of complementing the colors of human physiology.
There is no one ideal type of skin or skin tone. As skin types and tones expand, Optically Integral colors will help the cosmetic industry expand color-space, vary color depth, improve the appearance of skin texture and balance skin tones across the industry’s categories of facial cosmetic products. Creating everyday beauty will be made that much easier, more fun, faster and foolproof whatever the look required.

Facilitating ‘Bonne Mine’

Multicolors when used in skin-toned cosmetics are effect pigments with voluminous dimensionality and great color purity, but little sheen. They contribute a natural radiance to skin-toned cosmetics. When used in color cosmetics, MultiColors are rich, vivid and sophisticated pearls with great depth and nuance. 
MultiColor pigments are multi-layer stacks of alternating titanium dioxide and iron oxide coated on natural mica. They are color variable, displaying two or more reflection colors as viewing angle changes. Importantly, each pigment contains layers of absorption colors that dynamically interact with their reflection colors. This interaction enriches the pigment’s color purity while conveying tonal variety to the skin. Because the absorption color complements skin tone and eliminates product whitening on the skin, the effect is functional as well as esthetic. There are five commercial grades of MultiColors, each representing a gradation of skin tone and color. MultiColors bond an appropriate reflection color to an appropriate skin tone, enhance that skin tone and neutralize undertones or uneven pigmentation. The result is a subtle but incredibly alluring natural, healthy, shine-free glow in skin-toned foundations, moisturizers, powders and blushes.
This healthy, fresh looking glow is called bonne mine in French. We use this phrase because it so effortlessly captures the essence of beauty and the concept we designed MultiColors to reflect. Bonne mine may take different forms around the world, but natural, youthful skin tone—whether brown, white, black or yellow—is universally valued and desired.
Millions of new, affluent consumers are entering the cosmetic market every year in China and India. Skin tones and colors in China and India are very complex and in that complexity they reflect skin tones and color around the world. Taizhu must create products for skin that are white, yellow, light brown, dark brown, black and everything in-between. This is the same challenge faced by cosmetic houses in the U.S. and many parts of Europe. Marketing and R&D in the U.S. and Europe have successfully captured the needs of important and diverse segments of the market with appropriate commercial products. Given Taizhu’s partnership with Kobo Products and deepening experience in U.S. and European markets, Taizhu is adapting and commercializing the requirements of consumers in Asia to consumers in the U.S. and Europe and vice versa.
The chart below provides details on the MultiColor product  selection.

A Wide Range of Uses

Consumers around the world want the same thing from cosmetics: function, sophistication, suitability, convenience, simplicity and flexibility. While today’s cosmetic bases and colors deliver, they do not always faithfully complement nature’s infinite variations of skin color and tone. If life often accurately imitates art, facial cosmetics often inadequately imitate nature. MultiColors help rectify this fact.

MultiColors may be used very specifically in skin-toned bases, powders and crèmes. Or, they may be broadly used in color applications. Either way, their effect is unique.

Skin-toned Cosmetics

MultiColors in skin-toned cosmetics behave differently than traditional metal oxide coated mica effect pigments. In skin-toned liquids, powders and crèmes, MultiColors will perform as an ultra-pure colorant with a variable but unifying luminosity. This luminosity translates into bonne mine. The interplay between the pigment’s absorption and reflection colors result in a unique dimensionality that eliminates the sheen of traditional pearl pigments. This interplay bonds reflection color to the skin with the reflection color then becoming ever more pure and intense. MultiColors were designed to transform skin-toned bases, powders and crèmes from pallid to performing, from good to better.
MultiColor pigments are dual-action color enhancers and correctors. They enhance natural skin color (according to the product) while at the same time neutralizing uneven pigmentation and undertones. The corrective mechanism involves the products’ transmission colors. These are filtered through the pigments’ absorption color, slightly altered and intensified. The transmission colors are opposite to the reflection colors and therefore tone down a range of uneven pigmentation. The absorption color is also altered and contributes to the correction of uneven skin tone.
Skin-toned moisturizers, foundations, powders, concealers and bronzers account for more than half of the facial cosmetic market. As good as many of these products are, they lack that color specific, natural luminosity we are calling bonne mine. We have heard this complaint from women around the world as well as from makeup artists. Their experiences and opinions have been translated by Kobo’s color formulators into practical products.
MultiColors perform unconventionally in the most conventional products. For example, Xian Vistas (see chart), a green-gold pigment developed for women with light yellow skin tones, will correct red and some blue undertones. Use it across the board in tinted moisturizers, foundations, powders and crèmes to lift, cover and revitalize skin. Use Xian Vistas in a concealer or crème to powder under the eyes in a range of light skin tones and it works as well to conceal blue circles and fatigue. Bolero Cromatico, developed for lighter complexions, will enhance rosy complexions and correct yellowish to green undertones. Bolero Cromatico, along with Winterveld, Foliage Flutter and Jaipur Sunset will enhance and correct skin tones and work the same magic under eyes in a progression of tones from rose to olive to medium dark to dark brown skin.

Enhance and Correct

Small concentrations of a Multicolor in skin-toned cosmetics may transform these products into stand-alone facial cosmetics. MultiColor will impart just the right color and glow to skin-toned cosmetics, whether a moisturizer, foundation, powder or bronzer. The pure color and dimensionality of the MultiColor will, given the right formulation, also transit through to successive base and color cosmetics applied to the face (see chart below). 

So, the use of Multicolors will allow a skin-toned cosmetic to stand on its own or be used with additional layers of facial cosmetics. For the consumer on the go who wants a quick, easy and immediate fix, any of these products with the right touch of color and effect, used alone or in combination, can be very beneficial. Use of any one product does not preclude use of others. MultiColors in the right concentrations will help integrate successive layers of base and color on the face (see below).

Improved Color Cosmetics

MultiColor pigments may be used in a complete range of color cosmetics to create vivid, deep, smoky and sultry colors with sophisticated shimmer. They are more muted than our traditional mica-based titanium dioxide or iron oxide coated effect pigments, but their combination of color play and bottomless, ethereal radiance make them ideal for color cosmetics in any number of textures that complement a mood, evening’s desire, whim or season. MultiColors on lips, eyes and the face can be tailored to any age group. However, because they create a somewhat more mature and nuanced shimmer, MultiColors extend the possible use of effect pigments across age groups. 


MultiColors are skin-toned effect pigments that breath new life into skin-toned facial cosmetics by means of simultaneously enhancing and correcting skin tones. In color cosmetics, their pure, rich colors and unique dimensionality provide a more muted, sophisticated glamour than traditional mica-based effect pigments.
We are exploring new uses, or combination of uses, for MultiColors.Taizhu does so partly by harnessing the creativity and innovative capabilities of makeup artists, whom we admire and consult when developing certain products. Taizhu’s Optically Integral colors will therefore be designed to meet industry and consumer needs in very directed ways with the help of a broad range of partners. MultiColors will revitalize, extend or transform existing and new cosmetic products to better meet consumer’s stated and unstated expectations.


The authors would like to thank Carl Orr, Shirley Wang, Pam Notino and Pascal Delrieu for their assistance with this article.

For more information about multicolor effect pigments, contact Kobo Products, Inc. Tel: 908-757-0033