Thursday, October 23, 2008

What Is In My Lipstick? Organics Or Synthetics!

When deciding on a lipstick or lip shine, you may be wondering what is in your lipstick or other lip color you might be purchasing, based on passed news of lead being found in red lipstick. This is not typically something we give caution to or spend any amount of time worrying about. Although lead in lipstick is disconcerting, it is not a prevalent problem at all.

However with that said, the news did change the way we view labels and to see what is in our products. It simply became another wake up call to consumers to be cognizant of what is in any product we eat or put on our skin. And of course when we eat or drink something, the lip color gradually wears off and in small amounts is ingested. The claim is a woman will consume up to 4 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime, presuming she wears lipstick at all.

So do we need to worry about our lipsticks and lip glosses?

Well it depends on your concerns. I personally have tried to avoid lip colors that possess synthetic chemicals and FD&C dyes, lakes and preservatives. Since it is a fact we do ingest our lipsticks in small increments, natural is a better choice for me whenever feasible, though difficult to come by.

What about color choices?

“Natural lip colors seem to be more limited in shade variations”, you may be questioning.

Well the truth of the matter is natural lipsticks and lip glosses will have more subtlety in shading, appear softer in texture and will make for a softer lip tone. You can get natural luscious lips and you can still achieve a deep, rich color or have luminous or vibrant color also through the use of Iron Oxide powders for depth and range of shading and Micas for sparkle, sheen and luminosity. Synthetically created lipstick bases aren't always a necessity, and performance can still be promising without using them.

Another important factor to consider is your young teen girl. As she begins to explore makeup and color choices, wouldn't it be wise to also educate her as to the safety of lip colors? She can accomplish the same effect with a natural product as she can from all the drugstore brands. And as a mom, you can feel better knowing your daughter is using a product that is not massed produced to help her look her best as she comes into her own with her girlfriends.

Why can’t the colors be more intense like drugstore brands?

This really is the whole point of the matter. FD and C dyes and lakes are synthetically derived chemicals creating colors which will give the very rich, vibrant heavy color you may be use to in a drugstore brand lipstick or gloss, but then you can defeat the purpose of going all natural. Dyes are usually a derivative of coal tar, although many are now being created through an alternate process, and are water soluble. The FDA does not certify dyes for safety in cosmetics, just that they are free of high concentrations of lead and arsenic. These types of colorants are used in lip colors because they are inexpensive to use, but my main focus is also on the main ingredients that make up the lip color base, since colorants are utilized in tiny incremental doses.

Lakes are an insoluble synthetic color and are derived from aluminum, barium potassium and strontium. In a small percentage of people, an allergic reaction can include headaches, nausea, and contact dermatitis. Also it is typical to find these artificial colors mixed with Bismuth Oxychloride to create the pearlescent shine for those wanting a more shimmering effect.

The final color that you can find on the list for intense pink, purple and red shades is a color known as Carmine.

What is Carmine?

It is the Cochineal beetle that is crushed to create the color that we find in Popsicles, gelatin, fruit drinks, cosmetics, processed foods, lollipops, etc. etc. It is essentially a safe color, has been used for centuries to achieve a vibrant red and came on the scene in popularity to replace coal tar dyes (Red Dye #40) due to their link to cancers. However, if you don’t want crushed beetle on your skin then this would still not be a preferred pigment. It is typically labeled on packaging as "artificial color added" or "cochineal dye" or "E120" or "carmine". Unfortunately, labeling without exact clarity of the ingredient is irresponsible since some people can have a severe reaction to this insect such as allergies, asthma attack or anaphylaxis. There are those concerned who are lobbying the FDA to make it a requirement for food companies to fully disclose the source of the color so a choice can be reached by the consumer to eliminate it from their lives not just for safety reasons but it is also not considered Kosher for some religions. Vegans especially don’t want any product on their skin that possesses this colorant, much less eat it.

I bet next time you go to buy a bag of lollipops, fruit juice or your favorite jello you'll take a peek at that label for the mysterious pigment known as Carmine. Personally the thought of smearing insect on my lips makes my skin crawl.

With a proper mix of natural waxes, butters and oils, blended with iron oxides, titanium dioxide and micas, you can achieve a beautiful shade of lip color, although muted as compared to those using the synthetic dyes. And the best part is, when the natural ingredients are found in a blend of proper proportion they can actually have substantial staying power. No…they won’t outlast the synthetically derived, advertised as, "all day lip colors", but then think about what it is you are putting on your lips in order for this to be achieved. Read the ingredients of these lipsticks and you will be stunned at the list of synthetic chemicals all for the sake of it lasting all day. I would rather reapply than put this stuff on my mouth. Besides, these are very drying to the lips and can cause over time your lips to crack.

Lip colors made from organic butters and oils are very soothing to the lips and you get a fresh application of moisture repair every time you crack the tube open and spread it on your lips. They will be so soft and kissable and what woman doesn’t want the freedom from the chapped, dry look!

Give natural a try and see how lovely your face will be with a subtle splash of natural lip color!

The benefit offered to your honey....he won't have to worry about his skin either when you lay a nice big soft kiss on his cheek!


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