Non-Toxic Beauty Guide: Non-Toxic Lipsticks

non-toxic lipsticks

Shopping for lipsticks can be so much fun, and when you find the perfect one, it’s the cosmetic that can make one of the biggest differences in changing your look. 9AM you’re polished and ready for work, with a quick change at 7 you’re ready for date night. Boom! Sadly, all the pretty packaging can hide some not-so-pretty toxic ingredients that are definitely not on anyone’s wish list this season. To make it easier, we’ve put together quick guides of our non-toxic favorites to help you choose safer options. We’re starting with lipsticks, because the pigments & preservatives in them can be a landmine of harmful chemicals. Here’s your handy guide to shopping for non-toxic lipsticks.

Why you need to shop safer

The main reason that we need to be careful when it comes to lipstick (or any personal care product) is because the industry is incredibly poorly regulated. In fact, the law doesn’t require that cosmetics to undergo FDA safety reviews before they hit the market! Since we wear these products on our largest organ (our skin) and absorb them into our bloodstream, this is a pretty serious issue.

Lipstick is one of the worst offenders when it comes to toxicity. Here’s some great in-depth information on how lipstick is made, some of the health hazards it contains from Gimme The Good Stuff. But, for our purposes today, here’s a quick run-down of what you’re looking to avoid, and then a couple of our favorite non toxic lipstick choices.

Lead: many popular lipstick brands contain lead, either as an intentional ingredient (shocking, we know!) or as a byproduct from manufacturing process. It’s toxic, it’s correlated with terrible health issues including cancer and reproductive toxicity and you don’t want it in your life.

Preservatives: most cosmetics include preservatives, like parabens and BHA or BHT, and have been linked to all kinds of nasty stuff from breast cancer to endocrine disruption.

Fragrances: this is a big one. Fragrance ingredients are considered trade secrets, so manufacturers do not have to disclose specific ingredients. Unfortunately, this means the one word “fragrance” on a cosmetic label can be a hiding place for really toxic stuff like hormone-disrupting phthalates that can lead to a host of health issues. Keep in mind that even “natural” fragrances aren’t necessarily safer. In lipsticks, you may be wondering why there are fragrances, and often it comes down to “masking” fragrances to cover up other scents from the chemicals used to create the product. Remember that the word “unscented” isn’t regulated by the FDA, nor is “hypoallergenic“.

3 Non-Toxic Lipsticks We Love

Ready to pucker up under the mistletoe? Now that we’ve been total downers about lipstick, we’re going to redeem ourselves with three awesome brands you should check out for safer, non-toxic lipstick to wear all year round.

Beautycounter Beyond Gloss and Sheer Genius Conditioning Lipstick

Why we love them: Sheer Genius Conditioning Lipstick shades go on creamy and sheer, but they are totally buildable if you want more pigment. They’re moisturizing, flattering across multiple skin tones, and feel weightless. Beyond Gloss Lip Glosses are amazing for shine without the annoying stickiness (don’t you hate it when your hair sticks to your lipgloss on a windy day?). They use a blend of waxes to lock in moisture that lasts and lasts. 

Ilia Lipsticks

Why we love them: The Ilia Colorblock Lipstick comes in eye-poppingly gorgeous shades that are cruelty-free, vegan and gluten-free. If you’re looking for more of a lip balm, we love their Balmy Tint Hydrating Lip Balm. They come in sheer, flattering colors that can be dialed up or down and the formula is super moisturizing. This is the product that launched this great “clean beauty” brand, and we can see why. 

Drugstore Option

Why we love them: For those of us saving for a home, college, daycare for our kiddos or retirement, shopping at a local drugstore, Target or Amazon can be the default choice. There aren’t as many “clean” options in these outlets, but we do have a great find for you. Honest Tinted Lip Balms are a great option for a moisturizing, fresh wash of color that’s vegan too. 

The good news is, thanks to brands like these, you don’t need to go without beautiful, creamy color in luxurious packaging that makes it fun to put on makeup. And there are amazing resources like the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database’s Lipstick Product rankings, to help you separate the good from the not-so-good when it comes to non-toxic lipsticks. So, go ahead, dig through your cosmetic drawer and see how what you’re wearing now stacks up in safety, and then find some new options you’ll love even more.

Remember:  one of the reasons buying cosmetics is so fraught with anxiety is that they by nature need to be pigmented and preserved. You’re going to have to consider the pros and cons to any cosmetic purchase, no matter how “clean” or “natural” it is, and decide for yourself.  Finding a product with no tradeoffs probably isn’t possible when it comes to cosmetics. We are hoping that our guides give you an informed starting point, so you can make better decisions for your makeup bag. Mwah!

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