The Harmful Effects of Lipsticks. Finding Safe Lipsticks
As a professional hair and makeup artist, specializing in using cruelty free and “safer” cosmetics, I am concerned about the harmful effects of many of the lipsticks and lip-glosses that woman, through to young girls, reapply multiple times each and every day. Finding safe lipsticks is not only important for the skin on your lips but your internal health too.
We need to be aware of which lipsticks and lip-glosses we choose to use, and make a conscious effort to find the safest ones possible.
*Recently I had a client, who was going to be a part of a wedding party. She wanted me to use her own 24 hour stay-on-lippy, which I begrudgingly did. Do you know that no matter what I used, I couldn’t wash that lipstick out of my lip-brush. If no cleaning product could budge that lipstick, then how on earth can this be a safe product to have on your mouth?
Heavy Metals Found in Lipsticks and There Side Effects
Below are the most common heavy metals found in lipsticks and lip-glosses according to a study done by the University of California-Berkeley’s School of Public Health. They tested a variety of 32 lippies and lip-glosses.
- Chromium – a carcinogen, especially linked to tumors of the stomach.
- Lead – medical experts agree, there are NO safe levels of lead. It is a potent neurotoxin and hormone disruptor.
- Cadmium – a build up from accumulative exposure can damage the kidneys and cause fragile bones.
- Manganese – while an essential nutrient we need, too much can cause Parkinson like symptoms.
- Aluminum – a recognized neurotoxin, with no biological role to play inside the human body.
Due to the number of times a woman reapplies her lipstick or gloss throughout the day, woman are often being exposed to well over the safe limits for heavy metals exposure.
While the FDA have set safe exposure limits, they do not take into account accumulative exposure, over many years. It was found that the average lipstick user reapplies her lippy at least twice, and sometimes as much as 14 times a day!
Note *Unfortunately, these heavy metals are also found in natural and organic lipstick and lip-glosses , as they are contained in raw materials; e.g. natural pigments from minerals. However these natural lipsticks do not contain the other harmful ingredients that synthetic lipsticks and glosses do; e.g. petrochemicals, artificial fragrances, flavours and colours.
Popular Lipstick Brands With High Lead Levels
This article from Safe Cosmetics goes into depth, over the issue of lead found in the lipsticks . It states that the highest lead levels were found in lipsticks by, surprise, surprise… L’Oreal, Cover Girl, Revlon, Maybelline and The Body Shop, -who are not as cruelty free as they make out!
Other Dangerous Ingredients That Can Be Found in Some Lip-gloss and Lipstick Are
- Dangerous Plasticizes known as Phthalates ( like those found in PVC toys) were found in tests done on specific Max Factor and Revlon lipsticks. Phthalates cause birth defects amongst other health issues -see here
- Petrochemicals – no need to elaborate, we all know be now these are toxic to us and to the environment at large.
- Synthetic fragrances – these can be made up a hundreds of different, not so safe, “secret” ingredients – read Synthetic Perfumes Making Us Sick
- Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) – carcinogen, endocrine disruptor, reproductive and developmental toxicity, organ toxicity
- Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) – carcinogen, endocrine disruptor, reproductive and developmental toxicity, organ toxicity * read more on BHT & BHA in this article by The Campaign For Safe Cosmetics
Finding Safe Lipsticks
Thankfully there are some safer alternatives around out there for all you lippy lovers. However, less is more when it comes to wearing highly pigmented lipsticks and lip-glosses, as these will definitely have a higher mica and iron oxide content, so there definitely could be traces of heavy metals.
Here is a list of my personal favourite, natural, accredited cruelty free lipstick and lip-gloss brands
Finding Cruelty Free, Safer & Natural Lipstick and Lip-glosses
We also want to be mindful that we source safer lip products that are also vegan and truly, transparently, cruelty free and by far the best way to do this is to search through the ethical brands that have undergone 3rd party scrutiny by and independent nonprofit organisation such as Leaping Bunny Programme List by Cruelty Free International.
Wearing Lipstick When Pregnant
When pregnant, avoid as much as possible, even natural and organic, highly pigment, lipsticks and glosses. Opt for really basic ingredients to moisturize your lips during pregnancy; e.g. for dry lips and 1 ingredient, 100% natural lip-gloss, use raw, organic, cold-pressed, coconut oil.
Try staining your lips with some organic beetroot juice . You can keep it as a simple red lip stain, or gloss it up with coconut oil.
Or opt for a very natural, low pigmented, organic tinted gloss and be careful if these products contain essential oils, as some are not safe for use in pregnancy. See my articles Pregnancy Product Safety and A Pregnant Woman’s Guide To Safer Beauty
Before you leave, if you enjoyed this article sign up to LivingSafe and stay informed! LivingSafe helping you live healthier & safer.
Some other personal care articles you may find interesting are;