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Why You Need To Choose Safer Lipstick

Man, I love lipsticks and lip glosses. Always have, always will.

As little girls, I think the first thing makeup item we want to use is bright and colorful lipstick. We are just drawn to all those pretty colors! After watching our mothers put it on to get ready for the day or on special occasions, we just can’t wait to try it out so we can look as beautiful and sophisticated as they do.


I’m pretty sure that if my mother had known most lip products contain harmful ingredients in them she would have never let me near those pretty Avon lipsticks in her makeup bag.

We’ve all heard the statistic before — women eat 7 pounds of lipstick during the course of their lives! Or maybe it’s 4 pounds. To be honest, I have no idea if this is true or not. But I do know that whatever products we put on our lips are going to end up inside of our bodies either through absorption or digestion. So when you think of it that way, don’t you want to make sure that the ingredients in your lipsticks aren’t harmful? How about the lip gloss you let your little girl play with while you put on your makeup? I don’t have daughters, but I kiss my boys endlessly (much to their dismay) and they don’t need their mom smearing sketchy chemicals and heavy metals on their skin in the name of love. Just a reminder that if you’re doing any kind of kissing, that lipstick you’re wearing is making its way into your loved ones’ bodies as well.

I tend to repeat myself ad nauseum when I bring up the current status of our cosmetics industry, but let’s face it — it bears repeating. This multi-billion dollar beauty industry has very little regulation in our country. Products are not required to be tested before hitting the shelves, whether it’s lipstick or mascara or moisturizer. Companies are basically working on the honor system, and independent studies have shown that not everyone has consumer health at the forefront of their priorities. So it’s up to us to seek out the safer stuff.

Beautycounter lipstick

So what ingredients should we avoid when it comes to all the pretty lipsticks and lip glosses?

Heavy Metals — These include lead, cadmium, chromium, manganese, aluminum, and nickel. Independent studies have shown that lead is found in over 60{14558ebb005ca3a014f8e1f496704d81e0a2f10192e8e315668058e58697a03a} of lipsticks. We all know lead is really bad, right? I mean, there are laws that ban lead in the paint on the walls. Shouldn’t we also avoid putting lead ON OUR LIPS? Lead is classified as a neurotoxin (a poison which acts on the nervous system) and is connected to behavioral problems and learning disabilities. There is no known safe level of exposure to lead and it’s extremely dangerous at very small levels. So hey, let’s not put poison on our lips if we don’t have to, ok?

*For the record, heavy metals are not put into these products as an actual ingredient. The colorants for cosmetics come from the earth, and heavy metals are inherently in the soils. This is why sourcing is so important as well as heavy metal testing.

Phthalates — These​ ​are​ ​plasticizing chemicals​ ​which​ ​help​ ​lubricate​ ​other​ ​substances,​ ​help​ ​lotions​ ​and​ ​makeup penetrate​ ​and​ ​soften​ ​the​ ​skin,​ ​and​ ​help​ ​fragrances​ ​last​ ​longer.​ ​It’s​ ​quite obvious​ ​why​ ​companies​ ​would​ ​want​ ​to​ ​use​ ​these​ ​little​ ​chemical​ ​plasticizers, but​ ​rather​ ​alarming​ ​to​ ​think​ ​of​ ​these​ ​substances​ ​in​ ​our​ ​bodies. In​ ​recent​ ​years,​ ​phthalates​ ​have​ ​been​ ​linked​ ​to​ ​an​ ​array​ ​of​ ​troubling​ ​issues to​ ​include​ ​asthma,​ ​ADHD,​ ​breast​ ​cancer,​ ​obesity,​ ​type​ ​II​ ​diabetes, neurodevelopmental​ ​issues,​ ​behavioral​ ​issues,​ ​autism​ ​spectrum​ ​disorders, endocrine​ ​disruption,​ ​impaired​ ​reproductive​ ​development,​ ​and​ ​male​ ​fertility issues. These things are nasty, you guys.

Parabens — These ​are​ ​very​ ​common​ly found​ ​in​ ​many​ ​beauty​ ​and​ ​skincare​ ​products because​ ​they​ ​increase​ ​shelf​ ​life.​ ​Aside​ ​from​ ​their​ ​antibacterial​ ​properties, they​ ​act​ ​as​ ​preservatives​ ​which​ ​allow​ ​products​ ​to​ ​last​ ​much​ ​longer. It​ ​is​ ​important​ ​to​ ​avoid​ ​parabens​ ​because​ ​of​ ​their​ ​damaging​ ​effects​ ​on​ ​the endocrine​ ​system.​ ​​ ​Parabens​ ​mimic​ ​estrogen​ ​in​ ​the​ ​body.​ ​​ ​In​ ​other​ ​words, our​ ​bodies​ ​recognize​ ​parabens​ ​the​ ​same​ ​way​ ​they​ ​recognize​ ​estrogen​ ​—​ ​so in​ ​essence​ ​as​ ​a​ ​“fake​ ​estrogen”.​ ​An​ ​excess​ ​of​ ​parabens​ ​can​ ​result​ ​in​ ​high estrogen​ ​levels​ ​in​ ​the​ ​body​ ​which​ ​have​ ​been​ ​linked​ ​to​ ​breast​ ​cancer,​ ​skin cancer,​ ​decreased​ ​sperm​ ​count,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​hormonal​ ​imbalances​ ​and reproductive​ ​issues.

Fragrance — Fragrance is a known trade secret in the beauty industry. Companies are able to disguise an alarming amount of chemicals by listing this single ingredient. Unfortunately, these cryptic “fragrances” which are found in many cosmetic items are largely linked to allergies (both food and environmental), skin issues, respiratory problems, hormone disruption, and reproductive issues.

Petroleum — I know the first thing we think of in regards to petroleum is Vaseline, which seems totally old school and harmless. But you guys, petroleum is the general term for oil and gas. We do not want this stuff on our lips or really anywhere on our skin. Petroleum is a red flag because it is cannot be metabolized (it just stays in your body), is most likely carcinogenic, is occlusive (which means it creates a barrier so skin respiration is completely blocked), is linked to estrogen dominance, and does not provide any nourishment to the skin whatsoever. It’s basically a cheap filler. MADE FROM OIL.

This information is not meant to scare anyone or make you think (as one of my clients has said to me before), “My lipstick is trying to kill me!” Most people do not think twice about the safety of cosmetics and personal care products because  there is an assumption that someone out there is checking these items for safety. Since that is not the case as of right now (hopefully that will change soon!), let’s just be informed and make better choices. Let’s track down companies who are making lip products free from lead, phthalates, parabens, artificial dyes, synthetic fragrances, and petroleum, ok? I promise they do exist.

So let’s chat about my favorite safer lip products.

It’s no secret that I partnered up with Beautycounter to have a bigger platform to communicate the education and need for safer products. I truly believe no other company out there is making as much effort to make sure its products are not only safer but also high performing. And I freaking LOVE the Lip Sheers, Lip Glosses, and new Color Intense Lipsticks! They are made with quality ingredients which are sourced properly and fully disclosed, are batch tested 3X during production for heavy metal contamination, and use vanilla planifolia fruit extract and natural peppermint extract in place of sketchy fragrances.

Beautycounter lipstick

Beautycounter has launched so many new lip products and colors this month, so there are many options to choose from:

Lip Sheers — These feel so luxurious and moisturizing! A lightweight feel that offers a great combination of color and sheen and totally applies like your favorite lip balm. Plus, they have a hint of vanilla planifolia that is downright yummy. My favorite shade is Currant, and I just ordered the new Lily to try out. Check out the 10 Lip Sheer colors here!

Lip Gloss — I’ve never been a lip gloss kind of girl until I started using Beautycounter. They come with a tear drop applicator for easy use, are not goopy or sticky at all, and also have that hint of vanilla and pretty shine. Dahlia is my favorite, and I can’t wait to try the new Rosewood. Check out the Lip Gloss colors here!

Color Intense Lipsticks — This is like legit, long-lasting lipstick with much safer ingredients. The new navy blue tubes are so pretty, and you can’t beat the fun color names! Brunch is my favorite for a everyday look, and Little Black Dress is perfect for a night out when I want real color that stays on. And these have a great natural peppermint oil added which I love — it boosts my mood and energy levels when I put it on. See the eight new Color Intense Lipsticks here!

Lip Conditioners — Hey, some people just like to wear Carmex or Chapstick. I get it. But seriously, please stop using those. Scroll back up and read the info about petroleum! Beautycounter offers two lip conditioners in peppermint and calendula that are heavenly. I swear they are our most underrated product! My husband and I both keep this on our nightstands — peppermint for me and calendula for him. Click here to see the Lip Conditioners!

*If you want a traditional lip balm in a tube (a la Chapstick), I recommend shopping Primally Pure or Chae Organics. My teenager keeps a peppermint lip balm from Primally Pure in his backpack.

Let’s be kind to our lips and choose some products that are safe for that sensitive skin as well as our overall health. There is too much at stake and way too many safer options out there! If you’re making the first step into the world of safer beauty, a pretty lipstick is a good place to start.

And if you decide to try out one of the Beautycounter lip products, just know that everything has a 60-day return policy if it doesn’t work out for you. But I bet it will.

I’m Amanda! 

I’m a Pilates & Barre Master Trainer, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Executive Director with Beautycounter, recently retired military wife, and mother of two very energetic boys.

I’ve given up the unrealistic notion of being awesome at everything and embraced the idea of just keeping the important stuff well balanced.

My life is not nearly as cool as my Pinterest boards, you guys. But I do try to live a healthy life and make better choices for my family. If you have any interest in doing the same, please stick around!