Do Lipsticks Have Lead In Them? Why Should You Care?

Do Lipsticks Have Lead In Them? Why Should You Care?

Let’s make it clear at the onset: most beauty products that you see in the market are made with chemicals. In a study by the Food and Drug Administration in the US, it was found that the lipsticks tested had lead in them, way more than the permissible limit. The Consumer Education and Research Society (CERN) in Ahmedabad also found lead in lipsticks and lip glosses it tested. You’d think that more expensive makeup would be safer, right? That hasn’t been the case and lead can be found in both affordable lipsticks and premium brands—the content is higher in darker shades. And, there’s no other way to tell if there’s any toxic component in a lipstick other than testing it in a lab.

What’s worse is that you may not even realise what toxic chemicals lurk in your lipstick or foundation because they aren’t always listed. You can’t check the label to know if your pout-perfect brand has lead in it, or not. Consequently, two of the recommendations that CERN made were to prohibit colours that have lead in them and make the permissible limit of lead in cosmetics to be 0ppm (from 20ppm). 

It would also be in the benefit of the consumer to know what they’re taking home when they buy a cosmetic product. Sadly, it’s not just lipsticks and lip glosses, but many hair dyes, foundations, and mascaras that have traces of harmful toxins in them! Of course, there are lead-free lipsticks available in the market and conscious beauty lovers are making the shift to Ayurvedic products like the range that Just Herbs offers.

Lead In Lipstick Has Major Side Effects

Not even a small amount of lead is harmless to the body, according to experts. The metal is present in the environment and we also breathe it in through air and get exposed to it by food we eat. It is so readily available in the environment—as pollution, in soil, and even in paint—that it can lead to lead poisoning after a period of months or decades of exposure.

Lead is especially bad for children because it interferes with their normal development; so that’s another reason why mothers keep their children away from makeup. The metal is also linked to infertility in both men and women, and can cause hormonal changes and heart problems. Pregnant women are also warned about this because lead can impair cognitive and neurological development of the fetus. It is not something that you would willingly give to your body, but unfortunately most people don’t even know they’re risking their health when they buy lipstick.

An average woman applies lipstick more 24 times in a day. Lips are also permeable, so even with one application, the body will absorb lead—you lick your lips, eat and drink while lipstick on. According to research, a woman applying lipstick two to 14 times a day can introduce 87 milligrams of lead into her body. Even if cosmetic brands argue that there’s little traces of lead in lipsticks, you should still be careful about what product you’re buying. 

Lead-Free Lipsticks Exist!

The revelation that there’s lead in lipsticks, even high-end brands, has caused people to be more conscious about the products they use. There are lead-free lipsticks available in the market, made with natural products that don’t harm you. 

Just Herbs has a collection of 16 shades of Ayurvedic lipsticks (from peachy pink to caramel) that uses ghee, sesame oil, brahmi, manjistha, bala and other herbs. These lipsticks are free of petrochemicals, film-formers, parabens, and silicones, so they’re safe to use. Plus, they don’t dry your lips, but give them nourishment along with the glam factor!

So yes, lipstick brands without lead are a better option, even if you are using a base and aren’t reapplying your lipstick 10 times a day. There are other things you can do, too. Be wary of lipsticks that promise a full-day effect. Definitely avoid brands that promise long lasting, darker shades—the darker, the worse in lead content. These are also generally difficult to take off, so they’re overall unhealthy for your body. Try to give yourself a break from lipsticks some days of the week and moisturize them with a natural balm. And never let children use your shades.


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