There’s no denying it – a passionate kiss can do wonders for a gal and her lip-locking partner. Not that you need any excuse to pucker up, but it turns out that there are plenty of great reasons to do so. Alas, all benefits aside, if you choose to reapply your lip color before leaning in, your smooch might have several unintended consequences for you and your sweetheart.
But what could possibly taint beautifully done-up lips and a highly anticipated kiss? How about heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, chromium and manganese?
Oh hell, it’s true. Turns out that countless lipsticks and lip glosses contain many of those metals. And they’ve been detected at high enough levels that, considering how often they are used (quite often) and where they are used (well, on the mouth), they could actually pose a health hazard over time. But no need to take my word for it; a study published recently in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives really does indicate that, unlike those flashy tubes of lipstick regulated in the European Union, our sticks of color in America are not being monitored by the FDA in ways that they absolutely should be.
The lead content of the lipsticks was no big surprise. In 2007, 2009 and 2012 the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the FDA, respectively, found that many popular brands of lipstick (regardless of price point) had worrisome levels of lead contamination. Of the ones that were tested in 2012, the worst offenders were Maybelline Color Sensational in Petal Pink, L’Oreal Colour Riche in Volcanic and NARS Semi-Matte in Red Lizard. Wet n’ Wild, Bobbi Brown, and Shiseido brand lipsticks were low on the list.
But this most recent study unearthed some new facts about what’s hiding in lipstick – ones that can’t be ignored. It’s becoming clearer every day that beauty is coming at too high a cost and that we need to take action to protect ourselves and our families. To wit: lead is a known neurotoxin; chromium, a known human carcinogen; cadmium, also a known human carcinogen, has been linked to kidney disease at chronic, low level doses; and manganese has been connected with neurological problems in children…and that’s what’s in our lipstick!
With many reapplications daily, women are being exposed to heavy metals at levels higher than the acceptable daily intake; over a lifetime, this amount is obviously much greater. And, considering the sweet scent and taste of many lip products marketed to kids, young girls will likely take in a whole lotta lipstick as well. Rather makes the idea of wearing lipstick hard to swallow (or, gulp, easy…).
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with going lipstick-free; I certainly do that and I impress upon my young daughter that lipstick is not necessary. But let’s be real – there’s nothing like a glossy pink pout for a casual day or an awesome bold swipe of red on the lips for a night out and I’m pretty sure that my daughter already knows that as well.
But no wallowing in worry – I’m big on knowing the deal and making changes. And I’ve found plenty of lipsticks that I feel much more comfortable wearing and that I will feel a gazillion times more comfortable giving my daughter when she ultimately wins that battle.
To greatly reduce exposure to chemicals and heavy metals, try ILIA Beauty’s line of lip products which can be purchased online or at certain retailers, as well as Vapour Organic Beauty’s collection of lipsticks and glosses. Bite Beauty lipsticks, which are sold at Sephora, are produced with food-grade ingredients and antioxidants. And the The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has done a lot of the work for you, by compiling a list of many safe brands.
So give the kiss-off to those lipsticks that aren’t too pretty for your health and find yourself some new brands that are beautiful and safe. Mwah!