Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lip Service - Miss. Lead

It’s bold. It’s beautiful. It makes a statement. Whether you wear a bold red or a modest nude, lipstick has always been a staple in a girl's makeup bag. Well, recent studies show that there may be some dangers lurking in your makeup bag.

A new study of lead in lipstick conducted by the FDA reveals that the level of lead in lipstick is actually worse than previously reported. The new study found lead in 400 lipsticks tested by the agency, at widely varying levels of up to 7.19 parts per million [ppm] which is more than twice the levels reported in a previous FDA study in 2009.

Severe levels of exposure to lead have been linked to miscarriages, infertility and learning disabilities in children. “Lead is a proven neurotoxin that can cause learning, language and behavioral problems such as lowered IQ, reduced school performance and increased aggression. Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure, because lead easily crosses the placenta and enters the fetal brain where it can interfere with normal development,” according to Sean Palfrey, MD, a professor of pediatrics and public health at Boston University and the medical director of Boston's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. “Since recent science suggests that there is truly no safe lead exposure for children and pregnant women, it is disturbing that manufacturers are allowed to continue to sell lead-containing lipsticks."

The FDA claims that all dyes used in cosmetics have to be examined for safety and although some of the coloring agents used in cosmetics are approved contain lead, it is present in such a small amount that there are no severe effects from it. Each of the approved dyes has its own set of specifications that must be adhered to. For example, F&C Red #6 cannot contain more than 20ppm of lead. According to the top 10 most lead-contaminating brands list, just about all of the colors are pinks and reds, which contain Red #6.

Psssh, so are you telling me that my favorite go-to red that I wear on the weekend might not be a good choice? Perhaps.

Lead is still an element that is dangerous to humans. Although the recent studies revealed that there are no safe levels of lead exposure, applying lipstick may not necessarily cause cancer, but one should probably make an effort to avoid contact with lead. Period. Lead builds up in the body over time and I guess lipstick that contains lead applied to your lips every day can probably add some significant levels of exposure.

Here is a list of the Top 10 lipsticks that were tested and found high levels of lead:

1. Maybelline’s Color Sensation in Pink Petal. (Lead content: 7.19 ppm)
2. L’Oreal Colour Riche in Volcanic. (Lead content: 7.00 ppm)
3. NARS Semi-Matte in Red Lizard. (Lead content: 4.93 ppm)
4. Cover Girl Queen Collection Vibrant Hues Color in Ruby Remix (Lead content: 4.92 ppm)
5. NARS Semi-Matte in Funny Face. (Lead content: 4.89)
6. L’Oreal Colour Rich in Tickled Pink. (Lead content: 4.45)
7. L’Oreal Intensely Moisturizing Lipcolor in Heroic. (Lead content: 4.41)
8. Cover Girl Continuous Color in Warm Brick. (Lead content: 4.28)
9. Maybelline Color Sensational in Mauve Me. (Lead content: 4.23)
10. Stargazer lipstick in shade “c.” (Lead content: 4.12)

Because lead is a contaminant not listed on lipstick ingredient labels, it's damn near impossible for consumers to avoid it. Hey, don't let that dissuade you from doing something though:
- E-mail, call or write to the companies that make your favorite lipstick shades and tell them that lead-free products are important to you.
- Write to L’Oreal to demand the company get the lead out of its products.

Although I love when my lips are poppin', I don't wear lipstick every day so its not a major concern for me. I'm no doctor, but I don’t think that it’s a major cause for concern...well, unless you’re eating it!

Until next time,



  1. Great post!! I use Maybelline (Hollywood Red) - Timeless red lips .. have no idea how much lead is in it...
    By the way - you have such a beautiful "about you" text :)
    I found your blog on IFB and if you check out my blog as well it would be very nice! :)

    just JE NE SAIS QUOI
    Independent Fashion Bloggers

  2. I totally appreciate your compliments Jesika. I look forward to reading your posts :)


  3. wow you have so beautiful colour of lipstick. i like red.


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