pH Makeup — Looks Like Magic, Fad or Future?

Whether it’s foundation, lipgloss, or blush,  it’s really challenging to make a makeup product with a universal hue. Although there are 110 different skin tones (according to Pantone), that doesn’t account for all the skin tones in the world. But that’s where pH-powered makeup comes into play.


What is pH makeup?

If you’re not familiar with pH makeup, commonly referred to as mood makeup, read on. This niche beauty category has long attracted interest on social media. The term “PH make-up” refers to a group of cosmetics, typically lip wear, that looks a certain shade in the container but changes colour completely when applied to the skin. Think along the lines of those funky color-changing school pens or even mood rings. The use of pH-activated cosmetics is growing in popularity, and more beauty brands are capitalising on what could either be a fad or the future.


Cosmetic science or magic? How does pH makeup work?

The pH makeup trend has transported us all back to class IX chemistry. Who else remembers the litmus test? Do you recall the rainbow-coloured scales? That’s how we determine a cosmetic product’s pH, which stands for the potential of hydrogen and determines how acidic or alkaline it is. 

The makeup item has a dye in it that functions somewhat like litmus paper, much like what we’ve learned in chemistry class. The skin, whether it be the cheeks, eyelids, or lips, should have a higher pH than the makeup product itself. The dye in the makeup will contain acidic, colourless, and weak acids, and it will cause a small chemical reaction when in contact with the skin. As a consequence, you should have a coloured pigment that, in principle, completely matches your natural skin tone.
Remember that throughout the day, changes in your skin’s pH can cause the colour of the application to alter. 


Is pH makeup suitable for all skin tones?

Although it’s understandable to be concerned about how pH-powered makeup can affect the skin’s pH equilibrium, it’s incredibly unlikely given how weak the acid used in pH colour-shifting makeup is and how it simply uses the skin as a catalyst. As you would with any beauty product, don’t discount the possibility of irritation, but if it occurs, you should stop using it right once.
The downside is that some makeup products, including foundations and some blushers, haven’t fully perfected the science of inclusivity when it comes to pH adjustments. As a result, science may not be sufficiently developed to accommodate people of all shades, from lightest to darkest.


Curated list of 10 pH products you can try:

1) Kylie Wizard of Oz Transformative Lip Tint
2) Dior Addict Lip Glow
3) Tom Ford’s Soleil Lip Blush
4) Haus Labs PHD Hybrid Lip Oil
5) Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip and Cheek Shift, 326
6) Milani Rose transforming lip balm
7) KIKO Milano pH glow lipstick
8) Youthforia BYO Blush
9) The black blush- Lottie London X Vampire Diaries pH colour changing blush
10) Espressoh Glassy Blush by The Glass


With the same product, every user will have a different experience. I believe that personalization is something that we all enjoy, and this really takes it to the next level. All that matters is whether you like the colour the product makes your skin look like.