Unlike certain materials emitting light through processes such as fluorescence and luminescence, high-quality pigments change the transmission or reflection of light’s coloring through the process of absorbing selected wavelengths of light. This process allows the human eye to see the remaining wavelengths as a distinctive color.

Pigments are made up of small particles of insoluble materials. Organic pigments — which contain carbon — have been in use for thousands of years and are made from natural materials. Today, however, most organic pigments are synthetic organic pigments made from petrochemical derivatives.

It is essential to understand the difference between pigments and dyes. The majority of pigments are insoluble and most often ground into the form of a fine powder. As a result, the process of giving a distinctive color to materials such as paints requires the mixing of a pigment in powder form with a liquid vehicle — or binder — that then suspends the given pigment before it’s applied and adhered.

Dyes, on the other hand, are either liquids or soluble materials suspended in liquids. In contrast to paints, dyes add color by staining the materials they are applied to.


  • Zinc Phosphate
  • Carbon Black LB1011
  • Burnt Umber

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From the metallic shine on the hull of a motorboat to the pearl-like luster on the body of an electric guitar, pigments bring vivid colors and particular finishes to all sorts of products in our world today. That is why it is crucial for pigment users to bear in mind the aspects of consistency, compliance, and cost-effectiveness in their product supply chain.

Brenntag is an industry leader in all three of these aspects. We minimize your risk by offering tested, consistent, and traceable coloring solutions. And for those whose business involves the food and/or cosmetics industries, we provide pigments that are fully compliant with all food and health safety standards, regulations, and guidelines. Moreover, with our experienced color technicians and helpful account managers, we can advise and supply you with the most cost-effective solutions for all your pigment needs.

Colorful pigments in circle

Types of Pigments

What follows is a closer look at some of the most popular pigment types and classifications.

Organic Pigments: High-quality organic pigments provide long-term color retention to materials such as platics, inks, paints, fabrics, food, and cosmetics.

Mica Pigments: Mica pigments are the result of mixing mineral mica with another pigment or colorant. This process produces shimmering, glassy, color-shaded micas that produce a shine effect in popular cosmetics and makeups.

Pearl Pigments: Pearl pigments, sometimes known as pearlescent pigments, impart a specific type of interaction with light known as the process of multiple reflection that produces a highly transparent shine similar to the surface of a highly polished pearl.


Purchase pigments from Brenntag North America. Our global network of suppliers spans 74 countries and 530 locations. With an inventory of well over 10,000 products, we can be a one-stop shop for all your organic, mica, and pearl pigment needs. Contact us for cost-effective colorant products and delivery solutions.


This document is for informational purposes only. You accept sole responsibility for reading and complying with the Safety Data Sheets (SDS’s), as well as any other safety information, relating to the products listed herein. The information contained herein is based on Brenntag’s knowledge at the time of publication or release and not on any publications, independent studies, empirical evidence or other form of verification. You should not use or rely on any statements contained herein as a basis for any representations or warranties to your customers or end users as to the safety, efficacy or suitability of any product or for purposes of ensuring your compliance with any laws or regulations. Brenntag makes no warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or as to fitness of any product for any particular purpose. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as an authorization to use or an inducement to practice any patent, trade secret or other intellectual property right. Before producing and distributing any product, it is your sole responsibility to adequately test and document the performance of the product and acquire any required intellectual property rights. You assume all risks for failing to do so and Brenntag shall not be liable (regardless of fault) to you, your employees, customers or end users or any third party for direct, special or consequential damages arising out of or in connection with the furnishing or use of this information. Please contact your local Brenntag representative if you have any questions about this information.