Glow in the Dark Pigments in Cosmetics

There seems to be some question about glow in the dark pigments and whether they are safe for cosmetic use. There are a few things you need to know that will help you make an informed choice as to whether you want to use this in your cosmetic products.

There is only one ingredient that is approved for use in glow pigments for makeup. The color additive luminescent zinc sulfide is zinc sulfide containing a copper activator (copper chloride).  The FDA has stringent standards as to how much copper chloride can be in the powder.  Glow in the dark zinc sulphide is generally at least 99.8% Zinc Sulphide and less than 0.02% Copper Chloride. It is the copper activator that make the zinc sulphide glow! Here is an example of the breakdown of  this pigment. The INCI for luminescent zinc sulphide is INCI: Luminescent Zinc Sulphide .

Our Glo in the Dark pigments may be used in cosmetics and bath bombs but should only be used for short and occasional use.

Product name : Yellow Green
Product code :  
INCI Name : Luminescent Zinc sulfide
Chemical Name




Zinc sulfide, copper chloride doped




CAS Number 68611-70-1
Physical properties
Characteristics Yellow Green
Average particle size varies
D-50 varies
Chemical composition
Zinc sulfide        (CI: 77975) 100 %
Heavy metals
As < 2 ppm Hg < 1 ppm
Ba < 50 ppm Ni < 10 ppm
Cd < 3 ppm Pb < 5 ppm
Cr < 20 ppm Sb < 1 ppm
Cu < 50 ppm Zn < 50 ppm
Microbial purity
Total viable Aerobic count < 100
E. Coli Absent in 1 g
Pseudomonas aeruginosa Absent in 1 g
Staphylococcus aureus Absent in 1 g
Salmonella species Absent in 1 g
Candida albicans Absent in 1 g

Cu is the symbol for Copper. This this particular brand has less than 50 ppm per million of copper. The FDA safety requirement is Copper, 100+/-5 parts per million, so this product would be considered safe for cosmetic use.

Here is the information that is supplied by the FDA.  Your supplier should be able to supply you with a Certificate of Analysis. MSDS sheets are basically useless for this. All they tell you is how to handle the powder and whether they are considered hazardous. Glow in the dark pigments made up of 99.8% or more of zinc sulphide doped with copper chloride is approved by the FDA for cosmetics with some restriction and is not considered toxic or hazardous.

Yes it is approved for cosmetics including Halloween makeup but is only intended for occasional use. It is not approved for use around the eye area.

(a) Identity. The color additive luminescent zinc sulfide is zinc sulfide containing a copper activator. Following excitation by daylight or a suitable artificial light, luminescent zinc sulfide produces a yellow-green phosphorescence with a maximum at 530 nanometers.

(b) Specifications. Luminescent zinc sulfide shall conform to the following specifications and shall be free from impurities other than those named to the extent that such impurities may be avoided by good manufacturing practice:

Zinc sulfide, not less than 99.8 percent.

Copper, 100+/-5 parts per million.

Lead, not more than 20 parts per million.

Arsenic, not more than 3 parts per million.

Mercury, not more than 1 part per million.

Cadmium, not more than 15 parts per million.

(c) Uses and restrictions. The color additive luminescent zinc sulfide may be safely used for coloring externally applied facial makeup preparations and nail polish included under 720.4(c)(7)(ix) and (c)(8)(v) of this chapter, respectively, to the following restrictions:

(1) The amount of luminescent zinc sulfide in facial makeup preparations shall not exceed 10 percent by weight of the final product.

(2) Facial makeup preparations containing luminescent zinc sulfide are intended for use only on limited, infrequent occasions, e.g., Halloween, and not for regular or daily use.

(d) Labeling requirements. (1) The label of the color additive and any mixtures prepared therefrom shall bear expiration dates for the sealed and open container (established through generally accepted stability testing methods), other information required by 70.25 of this chapter, and adequate directions to prepare a final product complying with the limitations prescribed in paragraph (c) of this section.

(2) The label of a facial makeup preparation containing the color additive shall bear, in addition to other information required by the law, the following statement conspicuously displayed:

Do not use in the area of the eye.

(e) Exemption from certification. Certification of this color additive is not necessary for the protection of the public health, and therefore batches thereof are exempt from the certification requirements of section 721(c) of the act.