My world revolves around lipstick. I can’t walk into a Sephora, Ulta, or Target without coming out with a new gloss, balm, or stain, and don’t even get me started on liquid mattes. A night out isn’t complete without my trusty dude (dark nude for all of the newbies).
So, you can imagine my shock when I learned that wearing lipstick can actually be detrimental to your health.
Those who wear lipstick, when they are not blotting or wiping it off, actually consume it one way or another. Taking repeated sips from your cup, licking your lips, and leaving it on food bite after bite all contribute to the ingestion of the beauty product.
In fact, lipstick lovers consume almost four pounds of lipstick over their lifetime. The average lipstick bullet (the lipstick minus the plastic tube it comes in) weighs anywhere from 2.5 to 4.3 grams. Let’s call that three grams, to stay in the middle and make things easy. In case you don’t feel like doing the math, that means a lipstick user will swallow up to 605 bullets of lipstick during their lifetime.
If you’re thinking “how could the beauty world betray me like this?” then I’m with you on that one. The issue is, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is required to regulate products such as lipstick, deodorant, and shampoo, but they do not approve them.
The only ingredients in your lipstick approved by the FDA are the color additives. I appreciate them taking the time to make sure i wouldn’t have an allergic reaction to my shade of plum, but I still feel like there is something wrong with this picture.
Many studies have shown that our popular cosmetics may contain carcinogens that can lead to long term health problems, such as developmental and reproductive issues. Metals such as lead and aluminum have been found lurking in the depths of your signature shade.
This would be okay for short term exposure considering the amount of lipstick you put on with each application is minimal. However, in a 2013 study, 24 lip colors were tested and found to have an average lead concentration of 0.375 parts per million (ppm). Darker colors tend to have a higher level of ppm, ranging up to over 8.0, while lighter colors are on the lower side.
Out of context, you don’t think anything of it. But what if I told you that the FDA regulation for lead concentration was 0.1 ppm on candy?
Thankfully, two United States senators are looking to change this. Dianne Feinstein and Susan Collins have introduced a bill that would allow the FDA to test and approve some of the seemingly harmful chemicals that we consume through our beauty products. The proposal states that the FDA would have to study and approve or deny five chemicals in beauty products annually.
This is huge. Currently, there are only 11 chemicals that the FDA prohibits from being used. In Europe there are over 1,300 chemicals banned. This proposed bill has public support from the American Cancer Society and the Environmental Working Group.
I know that it doesn’t seem like a lot of risk for the average lipstick user, but combined with chemicals found in your deodorant, hair dye, foundation, and other beauty products, it can add up. Until the FDA receives the power to control more of the chemicals being used in our cosmetics, we as consumers need to be consciously aware of our usage. You’re prettier without all that makeup, anyways.