What Are The Difference Between Dyes And Pigments?

What Are The Difference Between Dyes And Pigments?

  • Admin
  • Jul 21, 2021
What Are The Difference Between Dyes And Pigments?

Dyes and Pigments are for the same purpose of coloring different materials but vary in the processes employed for them. Solubility plays a leading role here i.e. the tendency to disperse in a liquid especially water. It’s the same as dissolving salt in one and mud in another.


Mud when dissolved in water with all sorts of dirt and mud particles settles down. This mixture is referred to as suspension. On the other hand, when salt is dissolved in water it wholly dissolves in water. Leave it for a while and you won’t find a layer of salt particles settling at the bottom. This is called a solution. Likewise, pigments are mud that does not fully dissolve in water but get suspended. Whereas dyes are like salt that easily get dissolved in the solvent to create colourant.


Mentioned above are not just the only difference between dyes and pigments. They likewise differ in the way colourant attaches itself to the material. Dyes bind with the materials chemically but pigments just get painted on the upper surface i.e. physically bound.

Pigment when blended with the dispersing agent is applied to the base so that it forms a coating on top. The dispersing agent binds the pigment to the surface of the material.

Dyes are not painted as a layer but end up becoming a part of the material. The chemical nature of dyes defines whether or not the dye will stick with the material. In special cases, extra chemicals might be required to tie up that are noted as mordant.

Some further differences

Lightfastness is the tendency of fading of colourant of dyes or pigments when exposed to light. Pigments are more lightfast than dyes. Light especially sunlight damages the colour in a dyed material by splitting the open electronic bonds. Dyes are hence not much preferred as they aren’t durable and easily wither away quickly. This is partially applicable to pigments too and that’s the utmost reason why art museums have dim light to preserve the paintings.

What are the uses of Dyes and Pigments?

Dyes are extensively utilized in textile and paper industries as materials like leather, wood, lubricating oils, polishes and gasoline are dyed. Food items have natural dyes or synthetic dyes approved safe for human consumption. Pigments are employed for colouring rubber, plastics and resin products.

To know more about dyes and pigments and to explore different types of dyes and pigments visit Veeraco Colourants Private Limited.