This guide explains the many reasons why you should start making the switch to organic lipstick.
We look at the benefits of natural and organic lipstick and discuss the high street lipstick ingredients in the UK that could be potentially harmful to your health.
Lipstick ingredients: lead and synthetic pigments
Many of us wear make up for hours at a time throughout the day and evening.
Are you sure that what you are applying to your skin - especially your lips and around your delicate eye area - is safe and doesn't contain questionable ingredients that could be absorbed into your body?
Cosmetic ranges can contain all sorts of synthetic chemicals, and even lipsticks in the UK can include mercury, formaldehyde and heavy metals like lead which are proven to be toxic.
"Lead is a contaminant from the pigments and therefore not listed on labels."
Lead accumulates in the body over time and there is no safe level of lead exposure.
Other ingredients such as synthetic pigments and colours, drying alcohol, methylisothiazolinone, parabens, silicones, petroleum-derived ingredients, synthetic fragrances, PEGs and a whole host of other ingredients are routinely used in mainstream cosmetics.
Many of these have potentially adverse effects which range from skin irritation to more serious issues.
Choosing an organic cosmetics range allows you to enjoy your make-up without worrying about what’s in it. You can be confident that our lead-free lipsticks, face powders, blushers, mascara, concealer and eyeshadows are safe and natural.
Lipstick ingredients: cochineal/carmine
For many women, lipstick is a vital component of their make up bag. But have you ever given any thought to what goes into your lipstick?
As it is on your lips so much of the time, you are likely to ingest at least some of it into your body. In fact, research suggests that the average woman will consume at least 4lbs of lipstick over their lipstick-wearing lifetime.
Unfortunately there are some very commonly used ingredients used in cosmetics that you probably would not want to ingest.
If you can find reference to ‘Carmine’, ‘Cochineal’ or CI 75470 in your lipstick ingredients, then your lipstick contains crushed beetle shells. Carmine is an effective red pigment which is used in a range of cosmetics.
As well as lipsticks, it is found in make-up base, nail polishes and some baby products. Outside of the cosmetics world, it is also used as a food dye, and is sometimes found in such foods as ice cream, strawberry milk and fruit juices.
There are a number of other UK lipstick ingredients that are thought to have carcinogenic properties. Many of these ingredients are the colourants used to achieve the huge variety of shades that lipsticks come in.
Coal tar derivatives are used to create a range of colours which may be pleasing to the eye but may not be so good for your health. Some coal tar colours have already been banned while others are sources of allergic reactions in some people, causing skin rashes and hives.
Artificial colours can also be problematic in lipsticks as, like coal tar dyes, they can cause allergic reactions.
Summary of lipstick ingredients you may wish to avoid
Approach your cosmetics with caution – always read the label, as even make up that claims to be 'natural' could contain some of these nasty and potentially harmful ingredients. The following list is just a few of the chemicals found in high street make-up products:
Carmine, or CI 75470 – this bright red pigment is obtained from the Cochineal beetle. It takes around 70,000 beetles to produce one pound of Carmine pigment.
PEGs – used as solvents and carriers, polyethylene glycols (PEGs) are produced by a process called Ethoxylation. PEGs may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane which is a human carcinogen.
Alcohol (ethanol, ethyl alcohol) - solvent and penetration enhancer. Has a drying effect on the skin, can increase sensitivity and can also transport otherwise inert substances across the skin/blood barrier.
Parabens – range of ingredients used as preservatives and found in the majority of cosmetic products. Some types of parabens are known to have weak oestrogenic activity and their use is restricted in some countries.
Propylene glycol – a commonly used solvent and humectant. It is a skin irritant that may cause dermatitis at levels as low as 2%. Can also transport otherwise inert substances across the skin/blood barrier.
Petrochemicals - huge range of ingredients derived from crude oil including petroleum jelly and paraffin wax. These have little or no affinity to human skin. Petrochemicals also include silicones and mineral oils, often used in sun lotions to make them waterproof, much like wrapping your skin in cling film.
Phthalates – used as plasticisers to keep some plastics and cosmetics such as mascara and nail varnish supple and flexible. Phthalates have been shown to affect normal development of the central nervous system, and have hormone-disruptive activity.
Synthetic colourants – most common ones are azo-dyes and these are strongly irritant to the skin, especially eyelids, lips and mucous membranes. Green People only use natural mineral pigments to colour our cosmetics. Together with synthetic fragrances these are the most common causes of skin sensitivities and reactions.
Synthetic fragrances - these are the most common causes of skin sensitivities and reactions. Green People’s make-up is free from synthetic fragrances to minimise the risk of sensitisation reactions.
Try our safe and natural lipsticks
If you are concerned about the content of your lipstick, don’t worry; there are safe alternatives out there.
Choosing a natural and organic lipstick without coal tar derivatives, artificial colours or crushed insects means you can still enjoy wearing make-up, without worrying about what you are applying to your lips.
Green People is a pioneer in the field of natural make-up, our lead-free lipstick and primer contain nature’s own nourishing herbs and plant oils to soothe and protect your lips and leave them shimmering and soft.