Choosing the Right Colorant – 3 Best Methods

January 19, 2022

Choosing the right colorant for your coatings or thermoset application can be a challenge. Sometimes, it can take hours of combing through product data sheets. Plus, you always run the risk of picking the wrong product, chemistry, or color. Thankfully, there’s an easier way.

Pigments are the key components in providing color to plastics, paints, and coatings. Once dispersed in a liquid medium, these pigments are known as colorants, which provide an easy-to-use method of adding color to a material.

Colorants come in many forms and variations. Historically, people would use whatever was available to create colored coatings – think plants, insects, charcoal, and natural oxidization. Now, colorants are much more complex, synthesized materials.

They can be dry or liquid. They can contain water, solvent, or be 100% solids. They can contain resins or additives that improve performance or bestow a desirable attribute, such as improved scratch-resistance or UV-resistance.

So, when choosing the right colorant, how do you make sense of all the possibilities and find the right colorant for your application?

There are a couple ways to go about it…

Finding the Right Colorant – The Manual Way

When you want to find a colorant, there are two approaches you can take:

  • Starting with the desired chemistry
  • Starting with the desired color

Both approaches have strengths and weaknesses that we’ll cover below. No matter which one of these approaches you decide to take, you’re going to have a lot of time-consuming manual work to do.

The process involves searching through lists of product data and specification information to find the right chemistry, in the color you want, for the right application. It takes a lot of time, and there can be a lot of room for error, especially for those newer to the process.

With that in mind, let’s get into the details of each approach.

#1. Starting with the Chemistry

This approach is a good starting point because some of the more difficult decisions have already been made. You will generally have a good idea of the type of chemistry you want and the attributes you want your colorant to have. For instance, you’ll already know if you’re looking for aspects like fade-resistance and resin-containing.

But that doesn’t mean this approach is without hassle.

With your formula in mind, you’ll be combing through tons of color and product spec options to fit exactly what you need in fine detail. More time. More effort. More room for error.

#2. Starting with the Color

Having the finished color in mind is another good starting point, but it also comes with its own set of problems.

The challenge here is you’ll still need to find the chemistry that performs well with your application. However, the exact color you want may not be available in the chemistry that your application needs. Then it’s back to the drawing board, manually combing through product sheets to find the color you want in the chemistry you need.

A New Way to Find the Right Colorant Product

If you’ve ever tried to find the right colorant for a coatings or thermoset application, you know it can be time-consuming and require immense attention to detail. That’s why Chromaflo created an app to help.

Introducing the Colorant Explorer App.

The Colorant Explorer App uses intuitive color wheels to help users visualize the color and shade of pigments used in their colorants. Plus, it has access to the Chromaflo product offering.

The app provides two ways to identify a colorant for applications in thermoset plastics, paints and coatings: Explore Colors and Explore Products.

Explore Colors

Scroll through chromatic or neutral color wheels to visualize the various pigments for shade and tone used in our colorants. A digital representation of the color shade is displayed, identifying the pigment chemistries as they would appear when it is the only pigment used (masstone) or mixed with a white pigment (tint).

Explore Products

Search a filterable catalog of Chromaflo’s colorant lines to find the optimal colorant type for your needs. The list can be filtered by type of application, global region where the colorant is available, and the chemistry of the product being colored. From the list of products, the user can see colors available in each line by viewing the product sheet. If additional information is needed, there is an option to view the full product data sheet on the Chromaflo website, or simply use the “contact us” button for additional assistance.


Finding the right colorant doesn’t need to be a time-consuming process. We’ve re-invented the color wheel!  It’s as easy as selecting your application requirements and filtering to find the right color, or vice versa.

Thanks to the Colorant Explorer App, you can save time when selecting your colorant, and you can feel confident you’re finding the right colorant for your application.

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