I’ve been reading up on lead in lipstick lately and what I’ve found isn’t pretty. It turns out that lead is not only poisonous is large amounts, but also in trace amounts. This is because lead interferes with other molecules in our body such as zinc and calcium, so that these molecules can no longer function normally. I’ve also learned that exposure to lead in children can result in developmental problems.
To quote Anne Marie Helmenstine, Biomedical Sciences Ph.D: “There is no minimum safe exposure limit, in part because lead accumulates in the body. There are government regulations regarding ‘acceptable’ limits for products and pollution, because lead is useful and necessary, but the reality is, any lead is too much lead.”
I’ve accepted that a portion of my lipstick will end up swallowed. It may not be much, but it adds up, and it’s gross. I’ve loved wearing my Vapour Siren Lipsticks, but I’ve also looked into more options. This lipstick roundup features cruelty-free brands that are not only lead-free, but also free from potentially toxic chemicals.
For my vegan readers, you’ll find some vegan options below as well! I’ve listed all the ingredients. Some lipsticks do contain Carmine or Beeswax.
Is There Lead In Lipstick?
Yes, this is absolutely not a myth. Almost all lipstick contains some amount of lead! The law tolerates it in tiny amounts, be it in the USA, Canada, or the EU.
Choosing natural makeup brands is the only way to ensure that your lipsticks doesn’t contain lead.
Here’s a graph based on a study by the FDA, showing us the 20 lipsticks that were found to contain the most lead.
As you can see, there are some very mainstream brands in there. This even includes Burt’s Bees, which claims to be a natural brand!
How dangerous is lead?
The reason why trace amounts of lead are permitted by the FDA is because lead is considered safe, as long as it’s in very small amounts.
But on the other hand, research shows that lead can be harmful. One of the metals contained in some lipsticks is Cadmium, which is found in breast cancer tissue and has been found to help cancer cells multiply.
The bottom line is that lead in very small amounts is found to be safe, but the safest option is to minimize the lead you’re absorbing. Lead isn’t even necessary in lipstick, so why not choose a natural lipsticks that’s just as good and non-toxic?
Let’s move on to the lipstick.
ILIA Lipstick in Wild Child ($26)
The Brand: The ultimate non-toxic lipstick. Each ILIA product contains over 85% organic ingredients and is formulated to be both high-quality and healthy.
Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil*, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil*, Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis) Seed Oil*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Beeswax (Cera Alba)*, Triisostearyl Citrate, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Manihot Esculenta (Tapioca) Starch *, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Fruit Oil, Sage (Salvia Officinalis) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol. May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide (CI 77499, CI 77492, CI 77491), Red 7 CI15850, Red 28 CI45410, Yellow 5 CI19140.
W3ll People Nudist Colorbalm Stick in No. 3 Cherry ($22)
The Brand: Offering everything from face to lip products, W3ll People focuses on simple products that can sometimes multi-task. Everything is totally free from potentially harsh chemicals and over 80% organic.
The Brand: Vapour Organics Beauty wants to give you glowy skin, the natural way. They use high-quality ingredients and offer everything from dewy foundations to moisturizing lipsticks. These lipsticks contain 70% organic ingredients, and 30% minerals.
The Brand: What makes 100% Pure stand out from the crowd is their use of fruit pigments. They actually extract pigments from berries (or even tomatoes!) and use them to color their makeup. Isn’t that the best thing ever?! If that’s not natural, I don’t know what is.