Fashion

What is pH makeup?

pH makeup is trending on TikTok and you know how we feel about TikTok trends… Love them or hate them, we are always fascinated by them, and we always want to understand what the fuss is really about.

Right now, everyone is talking about the Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip & Cheek Shift, which can apparently specifically adapt to your specific skin tone… but how does it actually work?

Be it blusher, foundation, or lipgloss, it’s extremely difficult to create a makeup product with a universal hue. Although colour sits in a very wide spectrum, the Pantone company — a leading authority on standardised colour reproduction — has actually identified 110 different skin tones, but let’s be real, no beauty brand is out here releasing that many shades of anything anytime soon. However, that is where pH powered makeup comes in. Science nerds, please assemble at the front of the class.

Although many makeup product shades stretch, think about how great it would be to have a product that specifically adapts to your skin tone. pH powered makeup tackles exactly that. This should mean no more swatching in that poor beauty counter lighting or second guessing the match websites online, or so we hope.

Struggling to get your head around pH powered makeup? Just think about those cool colour changing pens in school or even mood rings. pH colour changing makeup, otherwise known as pH-activated makeup, is becoming more and more popular, and more beauty brands are tapping into what could either be a fad or the future. 

TikTok is sold and the science behind it is interesting. We asked Charlotte Knight, founder and CEO of Lottie London who recently launched a special edition of black pH powered blusher and lipstick, how it worked. She explained to GLAMOUR: “pH colour changing makeup is a huge trend we’re seeing at the moment. Although it looks completely like magic, it’s just some really clever cosmetics science. The product uses dye that reacts to the levels of pH on your skin/your skin’s surface, creating a reaction that results in the pigment seen on your skin. So it is one step away from being witchcraft.” Spooky…

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What is ph colour changing makeup?

A good and well functioning pH colour changing makeup product comes in a universal hue (be it black, green, blue, clear or many other shades) and when in contact with the skin and blended thoroughly it will transcend into the appropriate shade for that skin complexion. So people from different complexions can use the same product in the same colour. Many brands have tapped into the market launching blushers, eye makeup, lip glosses, and even foundations (although we are yet to find a brand that has mastered a truly inclusive and universal ph powered foundation).

What does pH have to do with your beauty products?

Transport yourself back to year nine chemistry, do you recall the litmus test? Do those cool rainbow coloured scales ring a bell? Well that’s how we measure pH, which stands for potential of hydrogen, and it measures the acidity or alkaline of a beauty product. As you may know, pure water (otherwise known as H2O) sits smack bang in the middle of that scale at number seven (on a scale of 0-14), it’s neutral.