There’s an urban legend floating around that claims the average woman eats 7 LBs of lipstick in her lifetime. Regardless of the volume, cosmetic products worn on lips are not only absorbed into the skin, but some of it is ingested. It would certainly make sense then to look very carefully at the ingredient list on your tube of lip gloss, a closer inspection may reveal some ingredients that are…well, not so delicious. Let’s take a closer look.
Burt’s Bee’s Lip Gloss, Ruby Moon:
Ingredients: rincinus communis (castor) seed oil, oleic/linoleic/linolenic polyglycerides, cera alba (beeswax, cire d’abeille), aroma (flavor), helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, silica, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, jojoba esters, ammonium glycyrrhizate, tocopherol, glycine sojo (soybean) oil, may contain: bismuth oxychloride, tin oxide, iron oxides, mica, carmine, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide.
Pros: Many of the ingredients on this list are recognizable as food. For the most part, the ingredients can be generally considered safe and benign for topical use.
Cons: No organic ingredients specified and the list includes soybean oil, which could come from a GMO source. This product is not suitable for vegans because of the inclusion of beeswax. Carmine is a red pigment/dye derived from insects native to South America and Mexico that live as parasites on cactus plants. It is used as a colorant in food, cosmetics and textiles, and has been associated with severe allergic reactions.
Alba Botanica Lip Gloss, Blaze:
Ingredients: Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Brassica Campestris/Aleurites Fordi Oil Copolymer, Oleic/Linoleic/Linolenic Polyglycerides, Silica Silylate, Soybean Glycerides, Beeswax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Silica, Mica (CI 77019), Iron Oxide (CI 77491), Flavor, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Tocopheryl Acetate, Benzyl Benzoate.
Pros: A few ingredients can be recognized as actual plants.
Cons: Not organic. Not suitable for vegans. There is strong evidence that suggests Tocopheryl Acetate, a skin conditioning agent, is a skin toxicant, and can cause allergic reactions. In addition, one or more animal studies have shown that high doses of this ingredient lead to tumor formation. It is also suspected to be an environmental toxin. Benzyl benzoate is associated with endocrine disruption, immune system toxicity, and allergies, especially at high doses.
Badger Balm, Lip Tint/Shimmer Stick:
Ingredients: *Olea Europaea (Organic Extra Virgin Olive) Oil, *Cera Alba (Organic Beeswax), *Theobroma Cacao (Organic & Fair Trade CertifiedTM Cocoa) Butter, *Ricinus Communis (Organic Castor) Oil, *Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Extract, and CO2 Extracts of *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Organic Rosemary), *Rosa Canina (Organic Rosehip), & *Hippophae Rhamnoides (Organic Seabuckthorn). Each Tint contains one or all of the following: Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Silica, Iron Oxide.
* Certified Organic
Pros: The majority of the ingredients are organic and the cacao butter is fair trade certified. The majority of the ingredients are recognizable as food or herbs. I.e. things one might actually want to eat.
Cons: The mineral ingredients; titanium dioxide, mica, silica, and iron oxide are somewhat controversial ingredients. While generally considered safe, they are considered dangerous when inhaled, which is more likely to occur when these minerals are in the form of a loose powder. Some of these ingredients could still cause some skin irritation, especially if you are prone to sensitive skin.
100 Percent Pure, Fruit Pigmented Lip Glaze, Boysenberry:
Ingredients: Organic Avocado Butter*, Organic Cocoa Butter*, Contains all or some of the following Fruit Pigments: Organic Cherry*, Organic Plum*, Cabernet Grape, Organic Raspberry*, Organic Blueberry*, Organic Blackberry*, Organic Peach*, Organic Apricot*, Organic Tomato*, Organic Pomegranate*, Organic Cacao (chocolate)*, Organic Rose Petals*, Organic Lavender Flower* and Organic Cinnamon*, Organic Shea Butter*, Organic Rosehip Oil*, Organic Mango Butter*, Vitamin E (a-tocopherol), Vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate), May contain Mica (natural shimmery mineral).
Pros: Nearly all of the ingredients are recognized as food, all come from organic sources and no synthetic or animal ingredients. The majority of the ingredients sound delicious in fact.
Cons: It is more expensive than the other lip glosses mentioned in this article.
In short, if one is going to be wearing lip gloss, one is going to wind up eating some of it. Choose cosmetics that come from real plants, herbs and oils, and kiss those synthetic ingredients goodbye!