Paint Pigments: Titanium Buff PW6

A profile of titanium buff paint pigment, including its characteristics.

Titanium white mixed in with titanium buff paint.
Titanium white mixed in with titanium buff paint. Photo © 2009 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to, Inc.

Characteristics: Buff titanium is a gray-creamy-light-coffee sort of color that is extremely opaque (so it's useful for painting out mistakes), and has an extremely strong tinting ability (so a little lightens another color very quickly). Mixed with white it creates lovely off-white colors, perfect for beach sand.

Sometimes it is a single pigment (PW6, processed differently than when used to create titanium white) and sometimes it's a mixture (such as PW6 + PBr7 or, for Winsor & Newton's Buff Titanium PW6 + PBk11 + PY42).

Common Names: Unbleached titanium.

Color Index Name: PW6.
(Color Index Explained)

Color Index Number: 77891

Pigment Origin: Derived from the metal titanium.

Used for Painting Since: -

Opacity/Transparency: Opaque.
(Opacity Explained)

Tinting Ability: Very strong.
(Tinting explained)

Lightfastness Rating: ASTM I.
(Lightfastness explained)

Oil Paint Drying Speed: Slow.

Specific Notes:

  • Titanium white, and thus titanium buff, is not recommended for priming/initial layers or thick impasto in oil painting because of slow drying rate.
  • Extremely strong tinting ability so easily overwhelms a transparent pigment. Use with caution.
  • Create your own version by mixing titanium white with a brown pigment such as raw sienna.

Quotes About This Pigment:
"Daniel Smith buff titanium white is made from titanium pigment heated to high temperatures with a larger pigment particle size; this shifts the color toward a grayed, pale coffee brown..." -- Handprint, Handprint: Gray, White, and Black Pigments, accessed 12 July 2009.

"Titanium dioxide, or titania, has twice the covering power of lead white and is extremely stable. Once the manufacturing difficulties were resolved, titania quickly became the dominant white pigment: by 1945 it accounted for 80 percent of the market. ... Today most white paint of any sort is 'titanium white'." -- Philip Ball, Bright Earth, p382.