Remember a few years ago when people were freaking out about lead in toys that were produced in China? Well, around the same time, the FDA began investigating the content of lead in lipstick. That’s right, lipstick, something many women wear every day. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is horrified, and did their own research. They found that two-thirds of the 33 red lipsticks they tested contained lead, and that one third had levels above what the FDA allows in candy. In 2008, the FDA did its own tests on 20 lipsticks and then expanded their testing to include 400 lipstick shades in their most recent study, which was released recently. They found that many of them were indeed contaminated, but it’s not at all clear that the lead levels in any of them are dangerous.
The argument for allowing these lipsticks to be sold is that (1) lipstick is topical; not meant to be ingested, and people only use a trivial amount (2) a lot of the lead comes from mineral composition. However, the other argument is that while it only adds a trivial amount of lead to your lips, the lead can build up overtime, which could be potentially harmful if you plan to have children (or even if you don’t, I think.) And we lick our lips and eat our lipstick and lip gloss without even realizing it- the average woman consumes 3-9 lbs of lipstick in her lifetime! YUCK!
The FDA has released a list of 400 contaminated lipsticks from brands including Cover Girl, NARS, L’oreal, Origins and, very heartbreakingly, Burt’s Bees (which is owned by Clorox. Learn something new everyday!) The whole list can be seen at the FDA website; but here are the top 10 offenders:
1. Maybelline Color Sensational in Pink Petal
2. L’Oréal Colour Riche in Volcanic
3. NARS Semi-Matte in Red Lizard
4. Cover Girl Queen Collection Vibrant Hues Color in Ruby Remix
5. NARS Semi-Matte in Funny Face
6. L’Oréal Colour Riche in Tickled Pink
7. L’Oréal Intensely Moisturizing Lipcolor in Heroic
8. Cover Girl Continuous Color in Warm Brick
9. Maybelline Color Sensational in Mauve Me
10. Stargazer Lipstick in Shade 103
So what’s a girl to do? Research. You can find brands/shades that are (relatively) uncontaminated, or maybe change your lipstick composition–try a liquid lipstick (perfect for the nineties trend) or a stain. Whatever you decide, don’t let the big cosmetic companies bully you into buying their shade for the sake of your health! Start switching over to natural & organic makeup brands. Some of our top faves are Borlind, Korres, tarte, Lavera, Juice Beauty, and Suki.