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wildmint cosmetics blog

The Natural and Organic Lipstick Guide

This guide will explain exactly how to shop for natural and organic lipstick, including: What to look for, beneficial and harmful ingredients and the easiest ways to spot high-quality lipsticks that are nutrient-rich and beneficial to your health.


When it comes to choosing the perfect natural or organic lipstick, your options are really endless. With the ever-expanding demand for safe, chemical-free makeup, natural lipstick options are growing by the day.

But what exactly should we be looking for when shopping for healthier lipstick options? More importantly, which natural and organic lipsticks will perform the best?

You’ll be relieved to discover that natural and organic lipsticks can perform just as well, and many times better, than their non-natural counterparts.

By switching to chemical-free lip products, you will be doing your body a huge favor and at no cost to yourself or your wallet!

Natural and organic options are widely available!

Quality natural and organic lipstick options on the shelves today are varied, affordable, high-quality and offer many hydrating, nourishing ingredients often absent from conventional lip products.

When beginning the transition to a more natural makeup routine, it is highly recommended to begin by first replacing your lip products. The skin around the lip area is very thin, packed with blood vessels and very easily absorbs anything you put on it.

The most important makeup item for your health

Not only this but lipstick is one of the few makeup products that wearers are directly consuming each time they apply it.

Whether you’re eating, drinking or licking your lips, there’s no escaping the fact that a large amount of your lipstick ends up being swallowed throughout the day in some amount.

It is estimated that out of the approximately 9 pounds of lipstick used throughout the average consumer’s lifetime, about 30 percent ends up being swallowed.

After taking a moment to consider this, it suddenly becomes clear why lipstick is often referred to as the most dangerous makeup item.

Red Lipstick

Natural vs organic lipstick

What is natural lipstick?

A natural lipstick is one that has been manufactured with predominantly natural or plant-based ingredients derived from the Earth instead of synthetic ingredients produced in a lab.

These products are usually free of chemicals such as parabens, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic dyes and petrochemicals.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not legally define or regulate “natural” makeup in the USA and therefore, does not require any audits or safety testing on makeup ingredients, with the exception of some color additives.

This basically means that cosmetics brands are largely free to use natural claims as they please and without an independent certification, there is no way to guarantee that the natural claims are valid.

What is organic lipstick?

An organic lipstick is one that is also, by definition, natural but that is also certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as having been grown without fertilizers, synthetic pesticides or any genetically modified organisms (GMO).

Organic certifications, specifically the USDA Organic Seal, are much more closely monitored for authenticity than non-certified natural claims.

Therefore, the first and most important step when shopping for natural and organic lipstick is to locate the correct labels and certifications on the item's packaging. This is the easiest and most straight-forward way to ensure that you're getting exactly what you pay for.

For a complete overview of what makes a beauty product “natural” or “organic” and in-depth descriptions of these logos, be sure to refer to the “Complete Guide to Natural and Organic Makeup, Cosmetics and Skin Care.”

Chemicals in your lipstick

Lead and other heavy metals

In a February 2012 study, the FDA found traces of lead in 400 popular lipsticks.

However, the FDA reported shortly after this finding that they did not feel that the levels found in the lipsticks were a safety concern, since the levels found were all less than the 5 parts-per-million labelled as safe by the State of California.

The average lead concentration found among all of the lipsticks in the study was 1.11 parts-per-million.

Although the health risks associated with lead or other potentially harmful ingredients will vary based on the level of exposure to the ingredient and susceptibility, most medical and scientific professionals would agree that there is truly no “safe” amount of lead for human consumption.

Lead, along with many of the other dangerous metals often found in lipstick, is a neurotoxin and known carcinogen that can cause an array of very serious health problems.

  • "From a public health policy perspective, there should be zero tolerance for such metals (and other toxic contaminants) in consumer products, and personal care products, in particular." -Dr. Ken Spaeth, Director of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Center at North Shore LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y 

Although lead is never added directly into lip products, it often finds its way into these products through questionable color additives.

Since the FDA does not monitor or test for these ingredients in cosmetics before they hit the shelves, these levels go unreported and are not disclosed on the label.

Some of the other toxic metals often found in addition to lead include: cadmium, chromium, manganese, mercury, titanium, arsenic, nickel and aluminum.

Lipstick Shades

Testing for heavy metals in your lipstick

There are many easy methods and tricks available to test whether or not your lipstick contains heavy metals such as lead. For instance, you can apply your favorite shade onto the top of your hand and if the color darkens or turns black after rubbing a gold ring on it for at least 30 seconds, it means that the product contains traces of lead or another heavy metal.

Unfortunately, the truth is that in such a chemically-driven beauty industry, the chances are quite high that your lipsticks do contain harmful ingredients in some amount.

Certain brands and specific shades of lip color have been confirmed to contain higher amounts of these chemicals but most are still guilty to some degree.

Other harmful ingredients

It is not only lead and other toxic metals that are potentially harmful in lipstick products. Other potentially harmful ingredients commonly found in lip products include: Petroleum-derived ingredients such as Coal tar, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Retinyl Palmitate and Tocopheryl Acetate.

Synthetic dyes such as D&C Red 22 & 36 are yet another example of potentially harmful chemical ingredients. It's important to remember that any colorants labelled "D&C" are not approved by the FDA as food additives and therefore, if such additives cannot be used in our food products, we probably don't want to be putting these dyes on our lips either.

Addition ingredients that should also be avoided in lipsticks include: synthetic "fragrance," synthetic preservatives such as BHA and BHT, parabens, mineral oil and petrolatum.  

The list of questionable ingredients goes on and on, but the bottom line is that many of these ingredients are known skin irritants and carcinogens and reported health risks include birth defects, skin allergies, nausea, fatigue, endocrine and hormone disruption, reproductive damage, nervous system damage, brain damage and more.

Avoiding harmful ingredients in lip products

Although pressure is slowly growing for stricter regulation in the cosmetics industry, it can safely be assumed that no major changes will occur in the very near future.

Therefore, the easiest way to avoid coming into contact with any of these harmful ingredients is by simply swapping out your old lipsticks for natural, organic alternatives.

Natural and organic lipsticks are generally far more hydrating and contain only the highest-quality ingredients that most often include vitamins and minerals from various plant sources.

With all of the fantastic options available, you most definitely won’t miss your old lip products and, even better, your lips will love you for it!

Pink Lipsticks

Comparing Natural and Conventional Lipsticks

Once you've made the transition to chemical-free lipstick that is free of any harmful or harsh ingredients, you will quickly notice the many benefits and superior functionality of these products.

Benefits of natural and organic lipstick

For instance, lead-free and paraben-free lipsticks are safer overall and you can confidently apply them as many times as you like without having to worry about potentially dangerous chemical exposure.

These lipsticks also have excellent staying power and are beautifully pigmented with plant-based sources (such as beets) rather than the usual non-vegan dye known as carmine. Carmine is found in most conventional lipsticks and is made from the crushed remains of female cochineal beetles. 

Even better, fruit often becomes the base for many natural lipsticks when synthetic ingredients can't be used, leaving them with a high vitamin factor that nourishes lips upon application.

Lastly, natural and organic lipsticks are generally more compassionate to animals and to the environment and the manufacturers of these products are generally eco-friendly and do not test on animals.

Woman Applying Lipgloss

Say goodbye to harmful chemicals!

As the number one recommendation for your natural makeup routine and potentially the most dangerous of all cosmetic items, lipstick is truly that one item that is worth replacing

With the right knowledge, all it takes is a bit of research into the highest-quality natural and organic lipstick brands and before long, you will be equipped with your very own collection of fabulous chemical-free lipsticks!

Read more

6 Reasons to Choose Natural Lipstick
The Benefits Of Using Organic Lipsticks
Lipstick Facts
Toxic metals and cancer risks found in lipsticks, lip glosses
Secret Lipstick Ingredients Revealed: Your Perfect Shade Is... 'Retinyl Palmitate Red'?
Surprising Ingredients Found in Lipstick
Lipstick: The Most Dangerous of All Cosmetics
5 Reasons to Avoid Petroleum and Mineral Oil in Your Skincare

What’s in Your Lipstick? FDA Finds Lead in 400 Shades

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