Can Your Lipstick Be Harming You?

There’s nothing like the perfect shade of lipstick. Trust me, I know. I’ve gone to great lengths to get my perfect shade. I once sent my boyfriend to go around and find a favourite colour that I couldn’t get where I lived because it was either sold out or other stores just didn’t carry the specific brand. I once bought the remaining stock of a MAC lipglass colour in Paris at the MAC store because it was discontinued in its North American locations at the time.
So I know from personal experience how we women can love the perfect shade.  Yesterday, July 29th, was #NationalLipstickDay. Retailers were offering discounts and exclusive offers on various brands, while ladies posted selfies showing their favourite lip colours. Lots of fun for lipstick lovers.

Nudus organic lipstick.

Have you ever asked yourself what are the ingredients in your lipstick and if that favourite lip colour of yours could be harming you? Think about it, we ingest our lipstick by the sheer fact it’s on our lips. When we eat it doesn’t just disappear, we’ve eaten our lipstick too.

We expect that with all the testing done on skin care and cosmetics the products allowed on the shelf would be safe. For several years the debate continues over the safety of ingredients in lipstick and other cosmetics. An FDA study done on 400 lipsticks in 2010 revealed that most brands have small traces of lead. Most are below limits deemed safe, but there are some that were found to have higher levels than normal. Another study done by UC Berkley found traces of cadmium, aluminum, chromium and titanium in very small amounts.

Overall the levels found in most lipsticks are considered safe and not likely to cause any harm. Of the 400 lipsticks tested only 13 were found to have levels higher than 3.06 mg Pb/kg. The average was around 1.11 mg Pb/kg for most lipsticks. The troublesome concern for some who argue the danger lies in frequent use. Some women apply their lipstick up to 14 times throughout the day and doing this daily for years is what those who are speaking about it say could be cause for concern. Some of these ingredients are found in other products we use daily too like anti-perspirants which are known to have aluminum.

Overall like most things moderate use is the key. However if you are greatly concerned you can source out products that are made without these harmful chemicals. Keep in mind that some products won’t be the same as what you’re used to since they tend to be more natural and consistency in colour can vary.


I purchased a natural lipstick at a pop-up shopping event two years ago and I found it didn’t stay on as well and also was prone to becoming too soft in the tube. It’s a matter of trial and error to find what you’ll like when searching for more natural options.

Some of the big brands that were found to have lead free lipsticks included some colours made by Avon, Revlon, Dior, Body Shop and Clinique [Click Here for  list].

Keep in mind that brands that say they are organic don’t necessarily mean they are lead free. But they do promise to have all natural ingredients that are better for you.
Some popular organic lipsticks include:

  1. Lotus Pure Organic Lip Colour
  2. Ecco Bella
  3. Lippy Girl Organic Vegan Lipstick
  4. Vapour Organic Beauty Siren Lipstick
  5. Bite Beauty
  6. Bert’s Bees Lip Crayon
  7. ILIA
  8. W3LL People Nudist ColorBalm Stick
  9. Axiology
  10. Red Apple Lipstick
  11. Nudus

On the issue of lead in lipsticks, the FDA contends that lipstick has limited absorption and is ingested in small quantities. They also say they don’t consider the lead levels found in lipsticks to be a safety concern.  Like with anything, do your research. Most cosmetics have some chemicals in them. For the most part, nearly everything we eat, breath and drink have something in it that is not always the best for our health.

If you can’t see yourself ditching your favourite lipstick, remember that using it in moderation is an idea to consider. Save your favourite colour for special occasions or avoid applying too frequently.



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