Skip to main content

Lead in Lipstick?


Relax! Lipstick makes you feel great – not sick.

Beware! Traces of lead, a neurotoxin found in some lipstick, accumulates over long periods of time in your body and can create adverse health effects.

What to believe?

Thanks to A Simple Smooch or a Toxic Smack, a recent New York Times article on the subject…that’s still unclear (with all due respect to the old gray lady and crack reporter Abby Ellin).

The piece quotes doctors like Dr. David Bellinger, who say simply “no level of lead exposure appears to be ‘safe;’” and still other doctors like Dr. Therese Bevers, who says “lead hasn’t been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer or other cancers.”

Need to know highlights from the piece include…

  • One-third of 33 lipsticks had lead in excess of 0.1 parts per million, the federal limit for candy (according to research done by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics)
  • Worst offender #1: L’Oreal Colour Riche “True Red” lipstick (with a lead content of 0.65 parts per million)
  • Worst offender #2: Cover Girl’s Incredifull Lipcolor “Maximum Red” (0.56 parts per million)
  • Lead is typically found in the pigment of the reddest lipsticks
Scroll to Continue

From the Organic Authority Files

Price is not the Point

Wet and Wild Mega Colors “Cherry Blossom” contained no lead, whereas a $24 tube of Dior Addict “Postive Red” contained 0.21 parts per million.

How do you know?

The Times writes:

There are no F.D.A. standards limiting lead and other toxins in lipstick. The agency leaves it up to manufacturers to decide which safety and efficacy tests to perform on products. Cosmetics companies are required to list their “intended” ingredients on labels. But lead would be considered an “unintended” byproduct of the manufacturing process.

That sounds like a very convenient excuse for makeup manufacturers to me.

Be your own advocate – read up on the top personal care ingredients to avoid, and tap into where ingredients of over 42,000 products are clearly listed. Only then can you pucker up with peace of mind.

Via: A Simple Smooch or a Toxic Smack

Shop Editors' Picks

Related Stories