I am most definitely not.Who wants poison on their lips. Absolutely no one.Now ,here comes the shocking bit of news.Most of the lipsticks we use, have disturbingly high concentration of lead in them.

lead in lipstick

While surfing online to find a good red lipstick,I came across a news that an independent laboratory conducted tests on red lipsticks bought in Boston,Hartford,Conn., San Francisco and Minneapolis .

The results said that: "More than half of 33 brand-name lipsticks tested (61 percent) contained detectable levels of lead, with levels ranging from 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm). None of these lipsticks listed lead as an ingredient".

The standerd used for the test is 0.1ppm limit, the permitted  level,  by U.S food and drug administration, of lead level in candy(permitted level for ingestion).

No lead in lipstick
Just imagine how bad lead is in your lipstick if you are a mom

FDA has not even set a limit for lead levels in lipsticks and cosmetic companies are availing this oversight.

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. Lead easily crosses the placenta and enters the fetal brain where it can interfere with normal development. Lead has also been linked to infertility and miscarriage.

“Lead builds up in the body over time and lead-containing lipstick applied several times a day, every day, can add up to significant exposure levels. The latest studies show there is no safe level of lead exposure,” said Mark Mitchell, M.D., MPH, president, Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice.

Lead causes accumulative poisoning.levels add up in the body from daily exposure and result in multi-organ damage.

An organization, The Campaign For Safe Cosmetics(part of the Environment Working Group) is calling on the industry to reformulate their products ,remove lead and suppliers to guarantee that raw materials are free from lead and other toxic contamination and join the campaign in demanding the FDA to regulate beauty and personal care products more strictly.

The good news is that lead is not the necessary ingredient in lipsticks.Lead free lippies are present in the market..39% of the lipsticks tested showed no detectable levels of lead and cost doesnt seem to be a factor.

Some less expensive brands like Revlon had no detectable levels of lead and some high end brands like Dior Addict had the higher level of lead then other brands.Guess which other brand tied up for highest level of lead... L'Oreal and Cover girl

-L’Oreal Colour Riche “True Red” – 0.65 ppm

-L’Oreal Colour Riche “Classic Wine” – 0.58 ppm 
-Cover Girl Incredifull Lipcolor “Maximum Red” – 0.56 ppm 
-Dior Addict “Positive Red” – 0.21 ppm

L'Oreal makes number 1 and 2 of the 10 lipsticks with highest level of lead as revealed 
in a study by FDA.

It took nearly two years, pressure from consumers and a letter from three U.S. Senators to move FDA to action, but in 2009 the FDA released a follow-up study that found lead in all samples of lipstick it tested, at levels ranging from 0.09 to 3.06 ppm – levels four times higher than the levels found in the Campaign study.

 FDA found the highest lead levels in lipsticks made by three manufacturers: Procter &Gamble (Cover Girl brand), L'Oreal (L'Oreal, Body Shop and Maybelline brands) and Revlon.

Here is the link to list of  lipsticks tested and the levels of lead in them.Note that consistently low concentrations are found in MAC and Estee Lauder.

FDA ,on the other hand, says that the concentration of lead in lipstick is not because of addition of lead but because of contamination of raw material and pigments used in lipsticks. 

According to scientists at FDA,the lipsticks are meant to be applied topically and  not to be ingested, so it is unfair to compare the levels of lead in lipstick with that of in candy(meant to be eaten).

Recently I came across a website which busts myths realted to makeup and toxins.The owner Dr Paula is a researcher and a Cosmetic cop.She is the author of 20 very succesful books on maekup and skin care(Most famous is,"Don't go to the cosmetic counter without me") .Here is the topic of lead in lippies discussed.According to Dr Paula the assumption that lipsticks have lead which reaches our blood stream would have been effectively proven if the levels of lead in the blood of women who wore it was compared with the levels in blood of those who didn't.So,jumping to conclusion before conducting proper tests is wrong.Well she has a point.She agrees with FDA scientist about level of ingestion of lipstick being minimal.]

Any ways,seems like now the consumers have to be smart.We can reduce the levels of lead exposure by reducing use of lipstick and buying environmental friendly brands who have signed compact for safe cosmetics.

PS:Not licking your lips when wearing lipstick and wiping it off before eating is also a good idea.

You can find more info on this website.

Founding members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics include: Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, Breast Cancer Fund, Clean Water Fund, Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, National Black Environmental Justice Network, National Environmental Trust and Women's Voices for the Earth. 
For more information and background on the campaign, see


  1. thank you SO much such an informative post... I am sorry to hear about loreal and DIOR and thanks God i have no lipstick of this brand with or otherwise I had to throw :)

  2. love this post very informative and learns alot from it keep posting such kind of post love to read and love to spend my tym on ur blog :)


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