Frequently Asked Questions About Colors of
Nature's Watercolor and Oil Paints

Q: Where do you ship to?

A: Colors of Nature ships all over the world using Canada Post. Canada Post is the most reliable and cost effective shipping option Colors of Nature can provide our customers.

To find out how much it will cost to ship to your destination please fill your cart with the products you wish to purchase and click the button "Proceed to Checkout". Then fill out the shipping information in the Billing Information section. Check the box that says "Same as Billing". The shopping cart will then provide you with all your shipping options and their costs.

Q: Why does it cost so much to ship?

A: Colors of Nature uses Canada Post exclusively for all its shipping solutions. As such our shipping rates are the lowest that can be provided. Our shipping rates represent the true cost of shipping.

Many compare Colors of Nature's shipping rates to what they receive from suppliers located in China who offer free shipping. The difference in shipping rates is a direct result of China being categorized, by an international shipping consortium, as a third world country. As such, their postage rates are subsidized by countries like Canada and the United States. What this means is that shippers in China pay a much lower rate to ship out of China but Canada Post or the USPS will have to subsidize the costs of shipping once it enters their countries' borders so the package can reach its destination.

In addition to this, shippers in China use a "registered mail" label to achieve further subsidies from countries like Canada and the United States. If a parcel with this "registered mail" label is not properly scanned at the delivery point Canada Post, for example, will have to pay a fine to the shipper in China of approximately $15. Therefore, the true cost of shipping is being charged by the shippers in China but it is the postal organizations like Canada Post or USPS that is paying for it rather than the consumer directly with their purchase.

Q: I noticed that you have 19 colors whereas other companies have so many colors to choose from. Why?

A: Colors of Nature has stringent standards for its pigment selection. Not all pigments meet the criteria for being earth-friendly, and only those that meet the criteria are used in our paints. Colors of Nature paints are ‘base colors’ which means that these are the colors found in nature, and they vibrantly contribute to beautiful and natural works of art. Artists can mix endless colors of their own using our base colors, using their color mixing skills to create any variety of colors desired.

Q: Are you going to offer acrylic or oil paints?

A: We are currently finalizing our formula for oil paint, which will be offered in the same base colors as our watercolor paints. The same standards that we adhere to with our watercolors will be mirrored with our oil paints.

We will never offer acrylic paints. Acrylic paints are made from petroleum-derived ingredients, such as acrylic, vinyl or PVC. We know how to formulate our paints using natural ingredients and prefer to bypass the use of petroleum-derived ingredients. Once you experience how easy it is to use Colors of Nature Oil Paints, and see their superior quality and color, you may find that you too will prefer switching to oils to produce your beautiful works of art.

Source: http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Acrylic_paint.html

Q: Why should I use an earth-friendly paint instead of conventional paint? Does it really matter which paint I use? ​

A: There are many reasons to switch over to Colors of Nature earth-friendly paint. Our paint is made with ingredients that have minimal impact to the earth, both in its manufacture and disposal. We have very strict standards for our paint formulation.

Our watercolor paints have to meet these criteria:

  • real colors that reflect the true colors of nature
  • high ratio of pigment to vehicle, giving rich colors that can be mixed to create unlimited numbers of innovative and traditional colors
  • made completely from natural ingredients
  • animal free, cruelty free, solvent free and petroleum free
  • professional quality performance
  • maintains its integrity in the long term when painted on watercolor paper
  • permanent or excellent lightfastness
  • affordable price and long lasting
  • made in Canada

Conventional paints are primarily composed of petroleum-derived ingredients that don’t biodegrade and pollute the earth in ways that our ingredients do not. For instance, plastic-based ingredients don’t biodegrade when released into the water supply whereas our plant ingredients do. Another consideration is the quality of the colors. Colors of Nature pigments are rich and reflect the real colors found in nature, unlike the synthetic colors found in conventional paint. Once you experience the difference in the quality of Colors of Nature, you won’t likely go back to conventional paints!

Q: In what ways is your paint ‘earth-friendly’? ​

A: The term ‘earth-friendly’ means that a product meets these criteria:

  • Raw materials were obtained using methods that are not toxic or perpetually damaging to the environment
  • Raw materials come from plant life or existing earth materials with the exception of fossil fuels.
  • Raw materials come from recycled or re-purposed consumer products.
  • When chemistry is necessary, methods used are minimal or operate on the principle of reducing harm to the environment.
  • Manufacturing processes do not pollute the environment, either by contributing excessively to landfills or exhausting toxins into water systems or the air.
  • Packaging can be re-used, recycled or re-purposed.
  • Animals and their by-products are not used at any point in the process of manufacturing or of testing the product.

These are general criteria for earth-friendly products. Colors of Nature paints fulfills all of these criteria. Our paints are made from simple plant derivatives and mineral pigments which have had minimal chemistry applied to remove toxins like lead and arsenic or to isolate the substance from its original state. Our packaging and labels use waterless printing imprinted with vegetable dyes. We do not produce any garbage when we manufacture our paints, so nothing from Colors of Nature goes into the landfill, and any small amounts of residual paint that is washed from our machinery is not hazardous to the water supply according to MSDS indicators. Unlike conventional artists’ paints, which are made of petroleum-derived plastics and other synthetics that pollute the environment, our paints are made from natural materials that fully biodegrade or can be filtered out easily when washed down the sink. Our watercolor packaging can be washed out and re-used and our oil paint packaging is recyclable. Our products are 100% vegan.

Q: What is lightfastness and how is it rated?

A: The term ‘lightfastness’ refers to a pigment’s ability to maintain its color after prolonged exposure to light. The lightfastness of a paint depends on the pigment, pigment concentration and the vehicle it is mixed with. The degree of color fading in the pigment is measured and rated according to how well the pigment maintains its original color once exposed to light over time.

Pigments are rated by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Only pigments rated as class one and two are acceptable for artists’ materials. The pigments that Colors of Nature uses are of class one or two, and denoted by the words ‘excellent’ or ‘permanent’ which reflect our pigment manufacturers’ lightfast ratings.

Other artists’ paint companies produce colors with pigments that are vegetable based, and although these paints are great for temporary use, they will fade with time. Colors of Nature pigments will not fade, and so you can be assured that your efforts producing your artwork will last forever.

Source: Smith, Ray. New Artist’s Handbook, DK Publishing; New York: 2003 print

Q: Is there such a thing as a natural mineral pigment? ​

A: Yes, but they are too toxic for human use, often being high in arsenic and heavy metals. Colors of Nature only selects pigments that meet our stringent standards and deemed as ‘acceptable synthetics’, which are pigments that have had minimal chemistry applied to the raw mineral to remove naturally occurring toxins and/or to intensify their color. Fully synthetic pigments are not acceptable for Colors of Nature paints, as these have no base in nature and are usually derived from petroleum. For more information, please visit our parent company, The Organic Make-up Company, and read more about this topic in the article entitled Natural vs Synthetic.

Q: Did you authorize any tests that required animals in order to be certified to sell in the U.S.?

A: No, Colors of Nature did not authorize any testing that required animals to be used. To be certified, Colors of Nature had to submit its formulas to a regulatory body that would review the formula, the ingredients, and the chemical composition of the finished products including an in-depth analysis of each individual ingredient.

MSDS documents needed to be submitted with each ingredient used by Colors of Nature watercolor paints. The MSDS document tells the consumer everything there is to know about the ingredient from toxicology to the particle size. Colors of Nature's ingredients are natural. Written statements, from the ingredient manufacturers, were provided to show that these ingredients did not use animals nor were tested on animals. Colors of Nature was not required to do any tests except for lead testing.

Lead testing can use animals but the lab that Colors of Nature used had devised a procedure to remove the animal aspect from the test. That meant that Colors of Nature did not use animals to test for lead in its paints.

It was, and is a major concern for Colors of Nature that no tests be performed that involve animals even if it means not achieving an important certification.

Q: Please explain the certification process Colors of Nature's watercolor paints went through for the ACMI AP Seal.

A: ACMI does not do ANY tests. ACMI is a governing body or organization that compiles all the state laws governing arts & crafts and creates a standard that meets and exceeds those states' laws. Thus a company that has an ACMI certification can be sold in any US state without having to conform to each individual state's laws. All toxicology reviews are done by Duke University.

Duke University reviews all toxicological information but DOES NOT perform any tests. Duke University looks at the MSDS information for every ingredient found in a finished product and determines whether or not testing needs to be done. There are over 26 individual tests that may apply to a single finished product. The tests are very detailed. Normally, ingredient manufacturers have already done these extensive tests and the results are in a database somewhere that Duke University can draw on. However, lead testing can not be refused, everyone needs to comply. This test checks the lead content of a package, its labels, and the finished product itself.

When tests are required by Duke University those tests are done by 3rd party laboratories and the paint company gets to choose which laboratory to use. The laboratory has no affiliation with Duke University nor ACMI. The results go to Duke University before the paint company even gets the results. When the results are in, Duke University either passes the product, fails the product or tells the manufacturer to get the tests redone. It is during these 3rd party lab tests that Colors of Nature had to determine if any of the tests included animals. The only test that could have required animal testing was the lead testing. Colors of Nature had chosen a lab that used a non-animal form of the test.

Colors of Nature wanted to achieve the AP Seal so that its paints could safely be used by both children and adults. Therefore, Duke University made sure Colors of Nature watercolor paints met very high standards.

The results of the toxicological review from Duke University are then reviewed by ACMI and they decide to grant either an AP or CL Seal. And that is the end of the process.

Q: Does an artist paint ever have to be tested on animals? ​

A: Animal testing for final products may or may not happen depending upon the type of product and the amount of information a company provides on their ingredients. For example, a pigment may have talc as filler or it is a byproduct of the mineral used. That talc may or may not be asbestos. Unless the manufacturer of the pigment can prove that the talc is larger that a specific size they need to prove that the talc is not asbestos. The test for asbestos may actually include animal testing.

In this particular case the paint manufacturer would not need to perform animal testing on the final product but may request the ingredient manufacturer to perform animal tests on their ingredient in order to provide the information a certifying body needs to certify the paint.

This almost happened to Colors of Nature but Duke University diligently followed up with the ingredient manufacturer who had the necessary information.

Duke University has a very long list of tests that a paint or arts & crafts product needs to go through. Not every paint needs to do every test.

A paint may have to undergo some tests and they may or may not require animal test subjects. The real testing occurs at the ingredient level because they are the ones that provide all the chemical and safety information to a certifying body.

Colors of Nature has gone the extra mile for its customers, it has provided a full ingredient list and supplier list to PETA and Vegan.org who have in turn completed their own investigation and have certified Colors of Nature's products vegan and cruelty free. Colors of Nature has also provided an ingredient list on all of its products.

Q: Can you give more information about the pigments you use?

A: Each pigment that Colors of Nature uses has been carefully researched for its safety and ecological impact. Here is a summary of the information available. Sources include manufacturers’ descriptions and MSDS data:

Pigment Type Source Processing Ecological Information
Ochres - Clay earth pigment
- Iron oxide from geothite
Washed by water and dried by the sun - Non-toxic
- Not listed as a carcinogen by the NTP, IARC, or OSHA; no adverse long-term effects are known

“There is no evidence to suggest that this substance will create any significant ecological properties if released into the environment. Inorganic pigments are insoluble and should not exhibit any bioaccumulation or biodegradation properties.” (MSDS)
Umbers - Clay earth pigment
- Iron oxide from geothite
Raw or burnt (heat applied) Not listed as a carcinogen by the NTP, IARC, or OSHA; no adverse long-term effects are known.

“Inorganic pigments are insoluble and should not exhibit any bioaccumulation or biodegradation properties”. (MSDS)
Oxides - Naturally occurring iron oxides from hematite or magnetite Heat applied Not listed as a carcinogen by the NTP, IARC, or OSHA; no adverse long-term effects are known

“Inorganic pigments are insoluble and should not exhibit any bioaccumulation or biodegradation properties.” (MSDS)
Siennas - Clay earth pigment
- Iron oxide from goethite or hematite
Raw or burnt (heat applied) Not listed as a carcinogen by the NTP, IARC, or OSHA; no adverse long-term effects are known

“Inorganic pigments are insoluble and should not exhibit any bioaccumulation or biodegradation properties”. (MSDS)
Chromium Oxide - Chromite ore
- Chromium oxide
Two chemical steps: roasting (ore is treated with hot air) and leaching (converts metal to a soluble salt in a water medium) FDA approved.

Not classified as a hazardous material (MSDS)
Ultramarine - Pigment Blue 29:77007
- Sulfurized silicilic acid, aluminium sodium salt from zeolite, lazurite
Manufactured from clay (contains silica, alumina), sodium sulfate, sulfur and charcoal.

Heat applied, then washed
Food and cosmetic grade

No evidence of carcinogenic effects according to ACGIH or IARC (MSDS)
Titanium dioxide - Ilmenite ore
- Titanium dioxide
Iron oxide is removed to leave synthetic rutile, which is reduced with carbon and oxidized with chlorine. Compound is re-oxidized with oxygen to regenerate the chlorine Food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic grade

Environmental Effects: No known significant effects or critical hazards (MSDS)

For more information please visit The Organic Make-up Company - Titanium Dioxide
Vehicles for pigment Plant: gums, oils, waxes; simple sugar alcohol, water, natural preservative Variety of methods Food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical grades


No evidence of carcinogenic effects according to ACGIH or IARC (MSDS)