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Iron oxides are naturally occurring mineral deposits composed of iron and oxygen.1 Iron oxides for cosmetics use are made synthetically to avoid contamination from heavy metals or other hazardous materials that may be found in earth-mined oxides.
Iron oxides come in shades of red, yellow, brown, and black and are excellent options for coloring cosmetics because they are non-toxic, non-bleeding, and colorfast.
1. Cornell, R. M. & Schwertmann, U. (2003). The iron oxides: structure, properties, reactions, occurrences and uses. Wiley VCH. ISBN 3-527-30274-3.
2. Cosmetics Info. 2016. Iron oxides. Cosmeticsinfo.org. Retrieved from http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/iron-oxides-0