INCI: Alkanna tinctoria

Alkanet powder, derived from the roots of the Alkanna tinctoria plant, is a natural dye widely utilized in various cosmetic formulations. The traditional meticulous extraction process which involves macerating the roots in a suitable solvent to extract the desired colorant constituents, followed by filtration, grinding, and pulverizing to yield a fine powder with deep red to purple hues.

Renowned for its coloring properties, alkanet powder has been employed for centuries in cosmetic applications due to its ability to impart vibrant shades to products.

Rich in compounds such as alkannin and shikonin, alkanet powder offers not only color but also potential skincare benefits. Its utilization in cosmetics extends beyond mere pigmentation, as it possesses emollient and soothing properties beneficial for the skin, contributing to the moisturizing effects of skincare formulations. The presence of bioactive compounds, such as alkannins and flavonoids, further enhances its utility by offering antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits for the skin.


Common Name

Alkanet Root Powder


Alkanna tinctoria

Extraction or Production Process

The extraction process involves harvesting the roots of the Alkanna tinctoria plant, followed by cleaning and drying to remove impurities. The dried roots are then ground into a fine powder. Alternatively, the roots can be macerated in a suitable solvent using alcohol or oil to extract and isolate the pigments or colorant constituents, which are then filtered and dried to obtain the powdered form.


Alkanet powder is derived from the roots of the Alkanna tinctoria plant, commonly known as dyer's alkanet or anchusa. The roots are the primary source of the pigment, harvested for their natural coloring properties.

Country of Origin

Alkanet powder is sourced from regions across Europe and Asia, including Spain, Iran, and India, where the Alkanna tinctoria plant thrives in diverse climatic conditions.


In cosmetics, alkanet powder primarily functions as a natural colorant, providing vibrant red hues to various skincare and makeup formulations. Additionally, it offers emollient properties, contributing to the moisturizing effects of products.


Alkanet powder exhibits intense red pigmentation due to the presence of alkannins, which are natural compounds responsible for its coloring properties. Furthermore, it contains flavonoids, tannins, and saponins, contributing to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.


  • Natural Coloring Agent: Alkanet powder serves as an alternative to synthetic dyes, offering vibrant red shades to cosmetics while aligning with consumer preferences for natural ingredients.
  • Emollient: Its emollient properties help hydrate and nourish the skin, making it suitable for moisturizing formulations.
  • Antioxidant: The presence of bioactive compounds such as alkannins confers antioxidant benefits, protecting the skin from oxidative stress and environmental aggressors.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Alkanet powder exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, soothing irritation and redness, making it suitable for sensitive skin formulations.

Contraindications and Precautions

While generally considered safe for topical use, individuals with known sensitivities to plant-derived products should exercise caution. Additionally, pregnant women should consult with a healthcare professional before using products containing alkanet powder, as its safety during pregnancy has not been extensively studied.

Overall, alkanet powder offers a natural and multifaceted approach to cosmetic formulation, providing both aesthetic appeal and skincare benefits backed by scientific evidence.


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