Lead, dead bugs & petroleum - what's in YOUR lipstick?
Lead, dead bugs & petroleum - what's in YOUR lipstick?

I seem to be getting emails and social media posts popping up trying to entice me to buy a brightly coloured lipstick to celebrate Lipstick day every 5 minutes at the moment!  Are you?

I thought that may be a sign for me to share some of my research when it comes to this topic.

Every single day thousands and thousands of women apply lipstick. You possibly do too. Maybe your children do too.

Then you eat, drink, lick your lips and ingest it - then reapply to ensure the colour is still there.

- Maybe you’ve invested in a lipstick that promises the colour stays on for ## hours.

- Maybe you’ve invested in one because it’s from a company that promises products to be cruelty-free and vegan-friendly. (Things that are wonderful, however, this can also take your attention away from the ingredients in the products).

- Maybe you’ve invested in one that promises lasting high-shine moisture and other benefits.

At what cost do these ‘benefits’ come though? After my cancer journey, I started questioning anything and everything I was using, and especially skincare and cosmetics.

When it came to lipstick I was shocked at what I found:

Many contained lead and other heavy metals such as chromium.

Some (think bright red) were coloured with the dried blood of dead bugs.

Regulations differ pretty widely from country to country, for example, while European regulators have restricted or banned more than 1200 chemical ingredients, in the USA the FDA has prohibited just 11.



What are the main culprits in lipsticks?

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1. Metals

Heavy metals. For example, lead is a neurotoxin and can cause high blood pressure and kidney damage. 

Other metals include cadmium, arsenic, aluminium and chromium.

 

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2. Colours

Artificial dyes used such as reds, yellows and green colours have been attributed to many health issues including immune system issues, hyperactivity and even some cancers. 





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3. Petroleum, mineral oils and more 

Some lipsticks contain ingredients derived from petroleum and mineral oil by-products. 

Some also contain tallow (made from boiling carcasses of animals). 






How do we know what we are buying?

Unless you want to do a lot of detective work it’s tricky. Labelling laws are lax these days, and greenwashing is huge.
What can be seen as a ‘healthy’ product can actually have hidden ingredients.

The one thing you CAN do is ensure that you buy from a brand that is completely transparent. Where you can see the ingredients grown, see the labs that create the products etc, and let's just say in 12 years I have only found one.


Let’s take a look at 2 of the seemingly ‘safe’ lipsticks and their ingredients 

Because these types of products are available for sale many of us blankly trust that 'someone' has done all the homework on the ingredients and they are good for us....not so much, you only need to watch The Story of Cosmetics to understand the truth. 

I have chosen two popular brands.  I'm not going to name the brands, however just know that one is a leading cosmetic brand, and the other is promoted as cruelty-free, with vegan-friendly products, yet has some very concerning ingredients, and is even greenwashing by using green coloured packaging!  Remember when a certain soft drink company did the same?!

Brand 1 and some of it’s ingredients:

Note the 'CIR' is mentioned several times.  Who are they? An independent, nonprofit scientific body, established in 1976 to assess the safety of cosmetic ingredients used in the U.S. through the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) program. The Expert Panel consists of world-renowned scientists and physicians who have been publicly nominated by consumer, scientific and medical groups; government agencies; and industry.

Aluminium Hydroxide. 
  • Produced as an intermediate in the production of aluminium. 
  • Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by CIR. 
  • Suspected liver, musculoskeletal and neurotoxicity.
Fragrance. 
  • Synthetic. 
  • Potential effects 
    • Allergic reactions, 
    • Asthma. 
    • Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by CIR. 
    • Suspected Immuno and neurotoxicity.
Hydroxycitronellal. 
  • Synthetic. 
  • Potential effects 
    • Allergic reactions. 
    • Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by CIR. 
    • Skin irritations.
Benzyl alcohol. 
  • Petroleum derived. 
  • Potential effects
    • Allergic reactions.
    • Classified as harmful if used in products around the mouth.
    • Liver, immune and neurotoxicity.
Colours including:

CI 45410/Red 28 Lake. 
  • Petroleum derived. 
  • Potential effects
    • May cause skin irritation. 
    • Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by CIR. 
    • Suspected carcinogen, teratogen and mutagen. 
    • Suspected reproductive toxicity.
CI 19140 / Yellow 5 Lake (aka Tartrazine). 
  • Petroleum derived. 
  • Product labels in the EU must carry a health warning. 
  • Potential effects
    • Aggressive behaviour. 
    • Avoid if aspirin-sensitive. 
    • Behavioural problems. 
    • Difficult concentration. 
    • Headache, insomnia. 
    • Learning difficulties. 
    • May be contaminated with the carcinogen benzidine. 
    • Skin rash. 
    • Suspected musculoskeletal and neurotoxicity.
Brand 2 and some of it’s ingredients:

Paraffin 
  • Petroleum Derived. 
  • Potential effects
    • May cause mild skin irritation.
    • May interfere with proper skin function.
Calcium Sodium Boroscilicate. 
  • A glass consisting of calcium and aluminium borosilicates. 
  • Potential effects
    • Aluminium compounds have known neurotoxicity in humans. 
    • Aluminium compounds have suspected respiratory toxicity.
Tocopheryl Acetate 
  • Potential effects
    • Human skin toxicity. 
    • May contain harmful impurities such as hydroquinone ( this is petroleum-derived and a suspected carcinogen, respiratory, liver, reproductive, cardiovascular, immune and neurotoxicity. Also used in paint and super glue).
Polyethylene 
  • Petroleum derived. 
  • Potential effects
    • May cause skin, eye or lung irritation.
    • May contain harmful impurities. 
    • Not safe for use on injured or damaged skin.
BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene) 
  • Petroleum derived. 
  • Potential effects
    • Human skin toxicity. 
    • Skin irritation. 
    • Suspected respiratory, liver, skin or sense organ, kidney, immune and neurotoxicity.
Benzoic Acid. 
  • Petroleum derived. 
  • Potential effects
    • May cause irritation to eyes, mouth or lips. 
    • Skin and eye irritation. 
    • Suspected respiratory and neurotoxicity. 

Colours Including: 

CI 45410/Red 28 Lake. 
  • Petroleum derived. 
  • Potential effects
    • May cause skin irritation. 
    • Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by CIR. 
    • Suspected carcinogen, teratogen and mutagen. 
    • Suspected reproductive toxicity.
CI 19140 / Yellow 5 Lake (aka Tartrazine). 
  • Petroleum derived. 
  • Product labels in the EU must carry a health warning. 
  • Potential effects
    • Aggressive behaviour. 
    • Avoid if aspirin-sensitive. 
    • Behavioural problems. 
    • Difficult concentration. 
    • Headache.
    • Insomnia. 
    • Learning difficulties. 
    • May be contaminated with the carcinogen benzidine. 
    • Skin rash. 
    • Suspected musculoskeletal and neurotoxicity.
CI 77163/Bismuth Oxychloride. Synthetic. 
  • Potential effects
    • May cause or aggravate acne. 
    • May irritate sensitive skin. 
    • Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by CIR.
CI75470/Carmine. 
  • Animal Derived from the dried bodies of the insect Coccus cacti. 
  • Potential effects
    • May cause skin, eye or lung irritation. 
    • Avoid if vegan.
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How are you feeling after reading all of that?  

I know that's a lot to take in and get your head around especially when you've been trusting these products for years. Believe I know.  

I also know that some of you may be saying ‘it’s just a tiny amount’….however even with just the ingredients I have mentioned above, there are many repeated in each application, and then multiple applications.  


So whilst you may not experience the instant rashes or breathing issues that some may, each tiny amount from each application will be accumulating in your body increasing your toxic load. 

I am absolutely sure that some of you reading this will be using those brands because they are so popular, so I’m sure you are thinking what can I do to change this for my own health?

1. Start being more aware and checking labels. 

2. Download The Chemical Maze app to help you.  All you do then is get ingredient lists of your brands (the full list not just ‘key ingredients’) and look for anything that is not marked ‘green’ in the app.

3. Share this blog with friends and family who you know need to hear this important information. 

4. Ditch and switch to a brand that is safe and goes to extraordinary lengths to make sure you have the cleanest makeup around. 

If you don’t have the time to research, I’ve done the hard work for you and this is the brand I’ve used for the last 12 years!  (Check out the * below for some exciting news about this!)


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One last suggestion, for those of you who love supporting charities and see your lipstick brand supporting one, donate the money you would have used on the purchase of the lipstick directly to the charity instead. That way you aren’t potentially having to put lead, dead bugs, or petroleum onto your lips and into your body each time you use it because you wanted to do good for charity. The charity will appreciate the support, and your body will appreciate lowering its toxic burden.




Happy International Lipstick Day! 💋
Naomi xo 

* If you are ready to ditch and switch to the clean makeup brand I prefer I’d love to treat you to a gift!  Simply use my referral ID: 1127382 as the sponsor ID when you place your first order via this link - and I’ll design a gorgeous welcome gift for you! 





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