Beauty Health Makeup

Is Lipstick Toxic? Watch your Mouth!

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By Diane Small

It’s the one item of makeup many women won’t leave their home without. It has the power to transform a makeup look from day to night, from plain to sexy, from bland to powerful, all with just a slash of colour. But could your lipstick be full of hidden toxins?

The short answer is, unless you’re using an organic brand, yes. Most lipsticks contain several heavy metals including cadmium, aluminium and even lead, researchers have shown.

In America, although the FDA insists that the level of metals found in lipsticks is inconsequential,they did admit in this article entitled “Lipstick and Lead: Questions and Answers” that there is currently no set limit for the amount of lead used in cosmetics. If that is the case, why is the government not regulating what goes into lipstick more stringently?

Indeed, other scientists have raised the alarm. They believe that long term, daily exposure could pose a serious risk: heavy metals accumulate in the body, and over time, their presence can result in a wide range of health problems ranging from skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis to cancer. The University of California at Berkeley found traces of cadmium, cobalt, aluminium, titanium, manganese, chromium, copper and nickel in 24 lip glosses and eight mainstream lipstick brands.

So, what can we do? Firstly, reduce your exposure. Studies show that many women apply lipstick or gloss up to 24 times per day–obviously, reducing this to 2-3 times a day would greatly reduce your risk. Secondly, choosing softer hues of lipsticks and glosses can also decrease your exposure. Apparently, the darker the colour, the more heavy the concentration of metals.

Finally, you should switch to a non- toxic lipstick brand, of course. With awareness of the dangers of lipstick growing, there is an increasing number of natural brands coming out, with incredible quality.

We’ve tried and tested several, and here are some of the best we’ve found.

1. Ilia Lipsticks

For those who like their lipsticks highly pigmented, this brand is practically a miracle. Ilia produces bright shades of pink, red and orange that stay on for ages yet are not derived from heavy metal sources. It all comes in a sleek, minimalist silver tube. These shades tend to go on a bit more sheer than you’d expect from the colour of the product, and some re-application is necessary throughout the day.

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2. Axiology

If the luxuriously heavy gold tube doesn’t impress you, the contents will: these lippies are amongst the best we’ve tried. Creamy, rich and bursting with opaque colour, the brand bases its lipsticks on  Organic Candelilla Wax and nourishing Organic Avocado Oil, so not only are their ingredients all-natural, they’re also mainly organic!

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4. Lisa Noto

Formulated by a model who knows which lipstick shades work on most skin types, Lisa Noto’s creations are made with glamour in mind. Using organic Shea and Cocoa butters, these not only look super chic, but keep your lips moist and kissable all day. Our favourite shade is Inammorato, which is a classic scarlet red, but there’s a variety of highly pigmented lip colours to choose from.

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3. Neal’s Yard 

There are some excellent points about this brand’s lipsticks: first, they smell refreshingly citrusy and come in a recyclable aluminium tube. They’re also infused with a range of organic ingredients, and soften and moisturise the lips. The problem is, they only come in a limited range of shades, which are pretty much represented in the picture below. Our favourite is Pomegranate, first on the left, which looks dark but goes on in a shade that makes you look as though someone just gently pinched your lip.

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5. Zuii Organics

Zuii Flora Lipstick is a rich, creamy Certified Organic lipstick range with a wide variety of brightly pigmented shades to choose from. Soothing and nourishing, these lippies are also long lasting, and pack Vitamins A and E to protect and moisturise the skin. Our only complaint? The words on the tube wore off over time, making the packing look a bit shoddy. But it’s inside what counts, right?

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6. The Elixery

Elixery lipsticks are seriously to DIE for. Their colours are absolutely incredible, and their coverage is slightly sheer, hydrating and stays on for hours. Tempest and Karma are our two go-to shades for every day. Every single day! But there are loads more exotic shades too, like this trio below designed by Samantha Rei. Cannot live without this!

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7. Hynt Beauty Aria Pure Lipstick

It’s incredible how some lipstick shades just seem to suit all skin tones, but Aria Pure Passion Plum is one of them. It kind of looks how your lips do, after you bite them a bit. Hynt Beauty specialises in makeup that’s free of all nasty chemicals, and their gorgeous lipstick collections are no exception. Peonies Please is another of their best selling shades, perfect for those with lighter, fairer skin.

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8. Lavera Lipsticks

Lavera was one of the first all natural lipstick brands, and their years of experience comes through with their 100% natural Beautiful Lips Lipsticks. Rosewood Dream #12 lipstick is one of their top sellers, but all their shades saturate your pout with vivid intense colour. Rosewood is a deep rose, great for very day wear. All natural pigments are blended with organic flower extracts from roses, lime blossom and mallow to ensure these lippies taste and smell as great as they look.

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9. 100% Pure Lipsticks

This is another brand we’re 100% obsessed with here at Eluxe! Staffers actually argued about who would take the Poppy shade (a rich, wine red) home! All 100% Pure’s lippies are anti-aging due to the high concentration of antioxidants and vitamins packed into each tube, and are super moisturising thanks to all the pomegranate oil and shea butter they contain. Their colours come from fruit pigments to keep lips super soft and youthful. We like the rose metallic tubes, too!

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10. PHB Beauty

PHB’s lipstick range may contain fewer colours than some, but what they lack in quantity, PHB makes up for with their handmade lipstick’s quality. Packed with anti-aging oils and rich organic butters and infused with pure mineral pigments, these babies provide rich colour and deep texture. Like all the lipsticks in this list, they’re 100%, vegan and cruelty free.

Their best seller? Cranberry, a warm burnt red with pink undertones, below.

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