What’s in your lipstick?

GPB Lipstick and Mad

Do you know what ingredients could be lurking in your lipstick?  Would you trust the safety of your lipstick on someone you love?  I’m thankful I use non-toxic lipsticks for myself and my daughter, who occasionally tries on my lipstick.

It’s crazy to think that lipstick could contain unsafe chemicals when lipstick is applied to lips and can be ingested.  This is why knowing what ingredients your lipstick contains and how to avoid toxic chemicals is necessary.  Look for ingredients to avoid by reading the labels or the ingredient lists if purchasing on-line.

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the following toxic ingredients should be avoided in lipsticks:

  • BHAbutalated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a preservative and stabilizer in food, cosmetics, food packaging and animal feed.  These chemicals are linked to endocrine disruption, cancer and immune-toxicity.
  • Hydrogenated cotton seed oilcontamination concerns may be contaminated with arsenic, lead and mercury.  The oil is subject to concentration and use limitations.
  • Mineral oil should be avoided because it is a known carcinogen, and the unrefined versions are known carcinogens.  Choose alternatives based on plant oils or beeswax
  • Padimate O and Petroltum  Japan restricts use of Padimate in some types of cosmetics.  So why does the United States allow these toxic ingredients when they can be contaminated with nitrosamines and PAHS also found in car exhaust?
  • Lead and other heavy metals such as arsenic, and mercury can be found in personal care products including lipstick, but contaminant metals may not always be listed on the label.  Try to avoid the following:
    • lead acetate
    • chromium
    • thimerosal
    • hydrogenated cotton seed oil
    • sodium hexametaphosphate

Look to avoid these ingredients when you can, however, products may not always list the contaminant metals on the label.  Concerns with these ingredients range from reproductive, immune and nervous system toxicity.


Reading labels to avoid toxic ingredients is one way to find alternative safe beauty products such as lipstick.   There are also online boutiques, such as the Choosy Chick that help conscious consumers because they research the products they sell to meet their standard of safety and effectiveness.  Another way to check your beauty products is through other resources like EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic DatabaseThink Dirty,  and Good Guide.

We have the right to safe lipstick, but not all companies in the cosmetic industry are concerned with non-toxic ingredients and safety as their priority.  Until laws are changed to regulate the safety of all our beauty and personal care products, knowledge is power and we have to check labels and make conscious choices to avoid these toxic ingredients even in our lipstick.



Green Passion Beauty

[Disclaimer:  Resources from  Campaign for Safe CosmeticsBreast Cancer Fund, EWG’s Skin Deep Database where they have done and continue to do the research to keep us safe from toxic products.]



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