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Lead in Lipstick
Lead of Course!

There has been a lot of publicity about the chemicals in our make-up for the last couple of years. It really is an interesting topic as there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information out there. The FDA updated an old study into the quantity of lead found in lipsticks and published it recently. They took four hundred lipsticks found in retail stores and chemists and listed them in order of how much lead they contained.

Body Shop Lip Color

I was really surprised to see that in the original survey circa 2007 The Body Shop was right up there at number 4! Their Lipstick: Lip Colour – 22 Garnet had 1.79ppm of lead in it. I always associate the Body Shop with being cleaner/greener than the other brands, for instance their slogan is “Natural, inspired by nature, ethically produced beauty products”. Anyway in the most recent survey they were no where to be seen so perhaps they got their act together. However, in the latest study in at no. 17 was Burts Bees, another one of those companies that I thought was good for me. Their Toffee Lip Shimmer contains 2.81ppm of lead!

Burts Bees Toffee Lip Shimmer

I know I shouldn’t pick on the natural companies, it is just I expected this kind of thing from everyone else, but not them. You might be thinking to yourself, big deal, that is not a lot of lead. This is true, but the fact remains that Lead is a Neurotoxin: A poison that acts on the nervous system, damaging growth and brain development. I really just don’t think I want that anywhere near me, in ANY quantity.

I was stunned to see that since the original survey the quantity of lead had actually increased in lipsticks! Below is the top ten culprits, the list is just far too long to publish, but if you want to check it out for yourself there’s a link at the bottom.

Sample
Brand
Parent company
Lipstick line
Shade
Lead (Pb)b
(ppm)
1
Maybelline
L’Oréal USA
Color Sensational
125
Pink Petal
7.19
2
L’Oréal
L’Oréal USA
Colour Riche
410
Volcanic
7.00
3
NARS
Shiseido
Semi-Matte
1005
Red Lizard
4.93
4
Cover Girl Queen
Collection
Procter & Gamble
Vibrant Hues Color
Q580
Ruby Remix
4.92
5
NARS
Shiseido
Semi-Matte
1009
Funny Face
4.89
6
L’Oréal
L’Oréal USA
Colour Riche
165
Tickled Pink
4.45
7
L’Oréal
L’Oréal USA
Intensely Moisturizing Lipcolor
748
Heroic
4.41
8
Cover Girl
Procter & Gamble
Continuous Color
025
Warm Brick
4.28
9
Maybelline
L’Oréal USA
Color Sensational
475
Mauve Me
4.23
10
Stargazer
Stargazer
Lipstick
103
4.12

The FDA weren’t too concerned over the quantities of lead, stating that that as the product is intended for topical use with limited absorption, the small quantities that would be ingested would be negligible. Now the interesting thing is that the levels of lead found actually exceed the recommended limits for lead in sweets. Now I don’t think that they realise just how much lipstick I eat! I know that as a makeup artist I should know better, but I’m insatiable. The minute I put anything on my lips I lick them, I just can’t help myself! Hence why I can’t stand Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream for my lips, because it tastes so bad! (Great for dry elbows though, can’t reach them with my tongue haha.)

Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream

It just makes you think what else am I consuming on a regular bases? They are all small quantities, but do they eventually start to add up? I personally think they do. I really would love to be using natural and organic make-up more often, but I just find that they don’t give the same results as standard cosmetics. I think the natural and organic ranges are fantastic for skin care and even foundation, I will be doing a review shortly on some of the great mineral ranges out there. However, when it comes to eye shadows, liners, primers and mascaras, you just can’t beat the ‘ol chemical ridden cosmetics. You need the silicone, bismuth oxychloride and talc for easier blending and longer lasting make-up…well at least until they develop some new advanced natural formulas.

I hope to learn more about this topic in the future and will keep you posted on anything that I find. Here is an interesting video of how makeup got this way.

FDA List of 400 hundred Lipsticks and their Lead Content

*EDIT
Thanks to Dolly Rouge another great beauty blog for sharing Colin’s Beauty Pages, below is a really informative video about Lead in Lipsticks and how much lipstick you would need to ingest to do any harm:

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Dolly Rouge says:

    Hi Emma! Colin, cosmetic scientist of Colin’s Beauty Pages has a very informative post on this. Well worth a read: http://colinsbeautypages.co.uk/how-to-kill-yourself-with-lipstick/

    All the best! x

  • Emma Farrell says:

    Hi Dolly Rouge, 

    thanks a million for sharing that info with everyone, really interesting read. It would seem that he is of the same opinion as the FDA that the quantities are negligible. What is your opinion on the whole thing? Are you worried about chemicals in makeup  or do you think that the quantities are so small that there is nothing to worry about? Or do you think that if there is small amounts in everything that we use that they will add up?

    All the best, Emma xx

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