In case you were holding out on tossing a few of your conventional lipsticks, thinking that companies have cleaned up their act when it comes to lead in lipstick, some ugly news was announced last week: lead is showing up in many conventional lipsticks as much as ever. According to a just-released Food and Drug Administration report, which tested lipsticks purchased between February and July 2010, the lead levels detected are okay, since lipstick is intended to be a topical product, ingested in only small amounts. But some of the lipsticks showed very high levels (certain Maybelline, and L'Oreal lipsticks were very high!). Personally, I will not risk ingesting lead at those rates.
Here's the FDA's official stance: "Lipstick, as a product intended for topical use with limited absorption, is ingested only in very small quantities. We do not consider the lead levels we found in the lipsticks to be a safety concern. The lead levels we found are within the limits recommended by other public health authorities for lead in cosmetics, including lipstick.
We do know that lipsticks and balms are ingested (it's erroneous to say that they're merely topical) and that we consume pounds of them over a lifetime. FDA scientists found lead in all of the 20 lipsticks tested, ranging from 0.09 ppm to 3.06 ppm, with an average value of 1.07 ppm. But the highest lead levels were 7 ppm and over, which is significantly higher than most of the lipsticks in the study ( if the average was 1.07, that's almost 7 times higher!). You can check out the whole list of lipsticks tested here. You'll notice that there are several natural lipsticks in the study (I spotted shimmers from Burt's Bees, lipstick from Colorganics and Gabriel) that have detectable lead levels, which demonstrates that lead does shows up to some degree in most lipsticks because of the mineral color additives.
Still, I'll choose natural lipsticks over conventional brands any day, especially since there are so many amazing natural lipstick formulas available now. Below are a few of my road-tested favorites, and a few to watch out for in the coming months. Get ready to be surprised by how gorgeous, sleek and pigment-packed natural liptsticks are today!
I'm a huge fan of Zuii Organic cosmetics, and their Flora lipsticks (right) are beautiful (I wore Zuii's Cashmere lipstick shade on my wedding day!). These lipsticks use mineral colors, and include the skin benefits of natural oils and flower petals.
Vapour Organic Beauty Siren Lipsticks (below) are another favorite, and I always return to their Ravish shade, a deep magenta that come out slightly sheer on lips and feels very light. Vapour lipstick shades are a favorite to recommend to my clients, whether they're seasoned lipstick lovers or newbies. Everyone loves them! To note, Siren lipsticks contain 70% certified organic ingredients & 30% minerals and vitamins, but they're not officially certified organic.
Afterglow Organic Lip Love Lipsticks (below) come in 19 pretty shades (every single one I've tried manages to be flattering), all deeply pigmented and very creamy, with pomegranate and grapeseed extracts for a natural antioxidant boost.
The latest hot natural beauty product is probably Ilia lipstick (right). I have yet to try this line, but from the raves I've been hearing, both you and I need to get Ilia lipstick on our lips stat! Ilia's colors are very on-trend (check out that coral and bright pink).
The Organic Pharmacy's Organic Glam lipsticks (below) are slender, elegant- and rather pricey. But their colors are beautiful and they were one of the original brands to add a dose of chic to natural lip color. They're also infused with green tea for an extra dose of antioxidants for your lips, but they are not officially USDA certified organic, despite the name.
For the lipstick-shy, there are a few natural balms that also give lips a gorgeous hue. My favorite is the double-ended Badger Lip Tint (the Jasper shade, shown below, is perfectly creamy and bold all by itself). Each gemstone-inspired set features one red or pink hue and one subtle opal shimmer. It's the kind of color you'd want to swipe on a bare face before yoga class, just to give your face a little color.
And Yes to Carrots' new Color Balms are even more sheer than Badger's tints, with a creamy feel and a boost of vitamin E. Color Balms come in three shades, and Soft Plum (below) is the deepest.
And coming in early summer 2012 is Sophyto's new color cosmetics line, Color Actives, which looks like it will be gorgeous. Color Actives lipsticks will be completely carmine-free. Here's a preview of just one of the beautiful natural lipsticks that will be in the line (which will also include glosses, eyeshadows, blushes and mascara, all gluten-free and vegan):
To take action against high lead levels in lipstick and request that L'Oreal get the lead out of theirs, you can support the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics movement here.
Main image: styles-guide.com