Titanium Dioxide: Is it safe?

Posted by Joy Kakabeeke on

Titanium Dioxide: Is it safe? 

Titanium Dioxide is a controversial ingredient in the clean beauty industry. Should it be used? Is it safe in small amounts? This blog post explores the answers to those questions and the ways Titanium Dioxide is used in makeup. Let’s dive into the details! 

Titanium Dioxide Use in Makeup 


Titanium Dioxide is a mineral used in many of the makeup products available on the market today. It has excellent light-diffusing properties, providing high coverage and protecting the skin from the sun’s UV rays. Additionally, it aids in improving product efficacy by increasing pigment retention and making colors more vibrant. 

The most efficient way to use Titanium Dioxide in makeup products is by utilizing its liquid form. This helps improve coverage rapidly without leaving behind any residue or causing irritation on the skin due to its oil-free composition. Moreover, this method ensures no particles are left out which may lead to clogging pores or other unwanted effects including allergies or rashes when applied directly onto the skin instead of mixing it with an inert carrier like water or silicones.

When used correctly, Titanium Dioxide can offer all sorts of benefits for both consumers and companies alike including improved longevity of makeup products and enhanced depth of color pigmentation. (Clean Beauty by Joy uses pigment grade, non-nano titanium dioxide in their foundation, eye crayon, mascara, eyebrow pomade, and lipstick formulas.)

Risks of Titanium Dioxide 

Titanium Dioxide comes naturally from sources such as soil but certain grades have become contaminated during manufacturing processes. Because of this, some grades of Titanium Dioxide is unsuitable for human consumption. High doses can also be a risk to nose, eyes, and throat. There have been limited studies done regarding its impact when coming into contact with skin. 

However, increasing evidence shows that larger nanoparticles cannot pass through unclogged pores making topical exposure seem like a quite low risk when compared to deliberately ingesting substances containing higher levels of contamination. 

It’s always important to carefully read labels before purchasing any sort of skincare product - particularly those containing TiO so you can make sure what goes onto your body is free from unwanted toxins! 

Always keep an eye out for signs of allergic reactions should you choose to try a new makeup product, especially since many people may be sensitive to trace amounts present within certain formulations. 

Safe in Small Amounts and “May Contain” List 

We believe that Titanium Dioxide is safe in small amounts. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetic’s official website, Titanium Dioxide does not penetrate through healthy skin and poses no local or systemic risk to human health from skin exposure. This is good news! In our opinion, Titanium Dioxide is naturally occurring and is safe in small amounts, as long as you’re not allergic. If you’re allergic to Titanium Dioxide, it’s likely you’ll have a reaction to mineral makeup as a whole. We recommend avoiding products that list it as a main ingredient. 

However, if it’s in the “May Contain,” list, that’s another story. When it’s under “May Contain,” it’s unlikely there are large amounts of Titanium Dioxide in the product. Often, brands use a “May Contain” list because the brand wants to use one ingredient list for all of the products, even if not all of the shades contain these ingredients. It could also be because a product could have been made on shared equipment with other products that do contain the ingredients. The last reason it may be that a brand is changing the formula of the product and wants to be prepared for when the new formula is released. 

There is pigment grade Titanium Dioxide in the "May Contain" list of ingredients on all of my products except the Baked Mineral Eye Shadow Trios, Perfect Pout Lip Gloss, and Pro Prep Face Primer. While there may be Titanium Dioxide in my products, it is pigment grade and non-nano. (Learn more about that here.)  

If you have super sensitive skin, products with even small amounts of titanium dioxide may not be for you. Our products are created to perform well without compromising your health, but that doesn't mean that sensitivities to certain ingredients don't exist. Check out our ingredient labels to learn more and, kudos for doing your research! 

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