Posted on | November 9, 2012 | No Comments
In October, X-Rite Pantone was an active participant at Color & Pigments 2012 conference in Miami, showing and talking about all of our hardware and software solutions for cosmetic color measurement. Both a science and an art, cosmetics are part of the rapidly growing health and beauty industry where color accuracy is crucial.
X-Rite instruments and software often provide the science, while companies such as Microskin provide the art. In 2010, Microskin enlisted the help of an X-Rite spectrophotometer and color matching software to research the benefits of this customized camouflage to children being treated for burns and skin conditions at Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, Australia. Microskin is an individually formulated second skin which color corrects skin conditions including burn scars, dermatitis and psoriasis. Unlike makeup, it can be worn for several days and allows the wearer’s skin to sweat and breathe. The revolutionary product offers freedom from the psychological and physical discomfort that come with such conditions.
Sephora is another unique example of cosmetics companies using color solutions such as the PANTONE CAPSURE, to help them better serve customers. Sephora collaborated with Pantone to create the Sephora + Pantone Color IQ. It works like this, a device based on CAPSURE is used to measure a customer’s skin tone and then assigns them PANTONE SkinTone number which is then provides a corresponding matching foundation shade that fits that customer’s skin color.
Additoinally, Boots, the number 1 cosmetics and skin care brand in the United Kingdom, is also using a variation of the CAPSURE device as well with their No7 Foundations. Check out the embedded video below at around the 30 second mark to see how the foundation match service is used to measure skin tones.
Other cosmetic companies have different missions- some aim to create glittering, unique looks for women’s faces, some prevent aging and others help those with acne to have clearer skin. But no matter what a company’s mission is, color measurement is at the heart of making it possible. Effective color measurement depends on three basic elements: the object, the illumination of the object and the observer or instrument.
For years, manufacturers in various industries have used lightbooths to accurately evaluate the color of their products under specified lighting sources. When measuring color, it’s critical to consider the source of light due to metamerism, an optical phenomenon where a pair of colors might appear equal under one light source, but different under another light source.
We perceive the color of an object differently depending on the strength of each color of the visible spectrum that combined make the white light we observe. An apple appears red to us because its skin absorbs all the colors of the visible spectrum except for the color red. That apple may appear a vibrant red under a white light source that is rich in red light, but dull red under a white light source that is deficient of red light.
Lightbooths can be used to ensure product quality by comparing samples with a color standard during a production run. They can also be used to evaluate how consumers will perceive the color and appearance of products under fluorescent store lighting, in daylight and at home under incandescent lighting.
Proper illumination helps with some of the qualitative elements of manufacturing, but color still needs to be accurately measured and defined so vendors and specifiers anywhere in the world can agree on quality standards and how they are applied. In a nutshell, this requires a numerical system of identifying color and instruments that can reliably provide data using the numerical system.
Spectrophotometers are instruments that can measure and assign numerical values to the three attributes of color: hue, chroma (saturation) and value (lightness). When asked to identify the color of an object, a person will most likely speak first of its hue — red, orange, green, blue, etc. Chroma describes the vividness or dullness of a color — how close the color is to either gray or to its pure hue. For example, think of the appearance of a tomato and a radish. The red of the tomato is vivid, while the radish appears duller. The luminous intensity of the color — its degree of lightness — is called its value. Colors can be classified as light or dark when comparing their values.
While instruments and light are crucial, the need for a reliable observer cannot be ignored. Schwan-STABILO Cosmetics GmbH & Co., the Weissenburg, Germany-based private label manufacturer of cosmetic pencils worldwide, uses the Farnsworth-Munsell 100-Hue Test to distinguish between individuals who have poor, normal, or exceptional color vision. The test helps Schwan-STABILO to produce accurate and consistent colors for more than 10,000 shades and more than 200 textures that cover every possible cosmetics use. Read more here.
The combination of the object with proper illumination and a reliable observer and/or instrument lays the proper groundwork for any cosmetic company to achieve its goal, however large or small. To learn more about X-Rite and its color solutions for the cosmetics industry please visit www.xrite.com/cosmetics.
We’d like to hear from you. How do you use lightbooths, color vision tests or spectrophotometers in your business?