Non-Toxic Lipstick and Gloss


Ah! Lipstick! The most stolen item from the rays of cosmetics! Who could imagine Greta Garbo without lipstick? What would Elisabeth I and Cleopatra have been without lipstick? Symbol of sexuality, sensuality and eroticism, lipstick has surmounted all the obstacles of History, from the Inquisition to the Middle Ages to the Act of the British Parliament of 1770 which envisaged the judgement for sorcery of any woman having used lipstick or make-up.  Thorough archaeological studies revealed that the first use of lipstick goes back 5000 years, to the territory of Mesopotamia (nowadays Iraq, Syria and the south of Turkey).

Regarded as a weapon of seduction lipstick became invaluable, in the true meaning of the term, because one mixed with beewax precious stones of colour, finely crushed, which gave a particular glare to the lips.

Lipstick was my first contact with cosmetics. One of my mother’s sisters, my aunt Aneta, was particularly elegant. Each summer she kept me for a week or two in her house in the countryside where it pleased me well to go because, since she did not have children, she spoiled me much. One day, being all by myself in the house, I got the idea to put on lipstick just like my aunt. I took a chair and I climbed on it because I could not reach the shelf where the tube was lying among other coveted items like the powder and the Eau de Cologne. It was a tube made out of paperboard (no plastic yet!), worn, of a rather dark-brown colour wherein there remained perhaps only one quarter of lipstick. I tested it in front of the mirror with a lot of curiosity, mistrust and pleasure promising tons of them to myself when I finally would be grown-up! It was a red garnet-Burgundy, matt, of which one could not complain as for its holding, because when I heard the entrance door and the steps of my aunt returning from her shopping, I hopelessly tried in vain to wipe it off with the side of my dress, it remained indelible on my lips! I had barely time enough  to come down from my chair and when my aunt asked me what had happened to my mouth, I answered – “nothing”- and took an unspecified direction to avoid other questions.  Tactfully, given her elegance, she did not make any other remarks and I took this as a connivence, a complicity and a tacit understanding between two elegant women. It was in 1969 and I still remember it because that same summer we had watched together, my aunt and I and many other neighbours, the first steps of man on the Moon.

“Lipsticks and some other make-up products are manufactured with greasy substances which can dissolve and contain certain pollutants . In particular, lanolin extracted from wool of sheep, may have contained large quantities of pesticides, when the wool came from countries where sheep were entirely and regularly soaked in insecticide baths (of which lindane , now prohibited in many countries) to protect them from ticks and other parasites. Manufacturers are theoretically sensitized to these matters and their products are normally checked by various verifications, from the point of view of their allergenicity in particular. Under particular conditions, these raw materials can also have solubilized solvable toxins in the fat such as dioxanes, furans, PCB , etc… Nevertheless, various dyes and additives may contain toxic heavy metals . Thus, a study carried out within the framework of a Campaign for safe cosmetics by an American association of consumer protection showed that in 2007 one still finds lead in 61% of the 33 brands of lipsticks tested, sold in the United States; the lead rates varied from 0,03 to 0,65 ppm , amounts which remain relatively weak, but affixed on mucous membranes , and likely to be in contact with food. In a third of the cases, these lipsticks contained more lead than would be authorized  in candy (0,1 ppm), but there is not in the USA a standard for heavy metals in this type of make-up. This study showed that the most expensive lipsticks were often those that contained most of the lead. The grease of sharks is used for the shining effect of the lipsticks. Another recent study of the FDA bearing on 400 lipsticks was discreetly published on the Website of the agency in December 2011, one learns on the site Safe Cosmetics . The most contaminated brand in the study, Maybelline Color Sensation by L’Oréal- the United States , contained 275 times more lead than the quantity of it found in the the least contaminated brand, and the least expensive, Wet & Wild Mega Mixers Lip Balm – showing that the price is not an indicator of good manufacturing practices. Certain lipsticks contain iron oxide ( nanoparticles ), whereas it was not verified whether these particles can cross the cutaneous barrier or not”.  [1]
Here’s the list of 400 lipsticks containing lead on


Nanoparticles are prohibited in the composition of certified organic products since 2012. To read more about nanoparticles see the chapter on “ Non-Toxic Sunscreens ”.


Seven new glosses by Zorah Biocosmetics are available on the market. I tried Bea, one single word: exquisite!

Ingredients posted on the company website.

  Lavera Lipstick with oils and vegetable waxes are excellent products, with a good texture and a good holding in my opinion. I’ve tested several of them and I was satisfied. It doesn’t hold as long as the one of certain conventional lipsticks but, once again, what matters is the content because, whether one wants it or not, lipstick, one ends up eating it! Moreover, as for the contour of the eyes, the skin of the lips is extremely thin and the blood vessels are very close to the skin which makes them fast conduits towards the blood stream of all the substances applied on this area. Lavera lipsticks can have several certifications, BDIH, NaTrue, look at the tube when you buy it. Only disadvantage, the price (around 20$) and the rather restricted range of colours in the brand and on the market.
  Lavera lip glosses, BDIH certified, are also very pleasant, holding well and safe, products available in Transparent, Orange, Berry and Burgundy.
Ingredients : Castor Oil*, Silica, Carnauba Wax, Candelilla Wax, Jojoba Seed Oil*, Vitamin E, Almond Oil*, Aloe Vera Extract*, Shea Butter*, Soybean Oil*, Grain Alcohol, Vitamin C, Essential Oils*. Natural Oils: Citral, Coumarin, Eugenol, Geraniol, Citronellol, Limonene, Linalool. Natural Mineral: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Ultramarines, Carmine.
Couleur Caramel, which is characterized by the use of recycled materials and which can be recycled, is available in several boutiques of natural products, 21$. The lipsticks “long holding,” manufactured by the conventional industry, contain synthetic ingredients which are connected with silicones. However, these substances are prohibited in the certified organic lipsticks whose “holding” remains normal.Certified Cosmetique Bio Versions 103 – 107 – 109 – 201 – 203 – 204 -205 – 206 – 207 – 209 – 210 – 211 -212 – 217 – 218 – 221 – 223 – 224 -226 – 229 – 234 – 236 – 237 – 238 -239 – 240 – 241 – 242 – 243 – 244 -245  I tested the 203, dark pearly pink, a perfect lipstick! Hydrating, good holding, colour tendency, and before and above everything else: safe! 16 gloss tints available also in Couleur Caramel, some certified organics, others not.

Ingredients (they can vary from one colour to another): Ricinus communis (Castor) oil, Oleic/Linoleic/Linoleic polyglycerides, Sucrose acetate isobutyrate, Prunus armeniaca (Apricot) kernel oil unsaponifiables, Silica, Aspalathus linearis leaf extract, Pongamia glabra seed oil, Tocopherol, Aroma, [+/- May contain : Alumina, CI 77019 (Mica), CI 77891 (Titanium dioxide), CI 77491 (Red iron oxide), CI 77492 (Yellow iron oxide), CI 77499 (Black iron oxide), Lactoflavine, CI 75470 (Carmine), CI 77007 (Ultramarine), CI 77510 (Ferric ferrocyanide).]

Lipstick Zuii, certified organic by USDA ORGANIC and OFC (Australia), 23.99 $, beautiful colours, varied choices (18), no difference with the conventional lipsticks, texture, flavour, everything is there.I tested “Copper” and I was very satisfied.
Ingredients: Sunflower Oil 0 , Castor Oil 2 , Jojoba Seed Oil 0 , Carnauba Wax 0 , Natural Beeswax 1 , Soribtan Olivate 0 , Honeysuckle Flower Extract 0 , Candelilla Wax 0 , Tocopheryl 2 , Ascorbyl Palmitate 1 , Aloe Vera 1 , St. Johns Wort Extract 0 , Palmarosa Oil 1 , Geranium Flower Oil 1 , Orange Peel Oil 1 , May Contain – Ci 77491 2 , Ci 77492 0 , Ci 77499 2 , Ci 77742 1 , Ci 77019 2 , Ci 77891 1 3 , Ci 75470 1 .
  Recently arrived on the market, the brand Naturkosmetik Health offers us the whole range of make-up, eye shadows, powders, make-up foundations, pencils and lipsticks, all products being BDIH certified. I think that Naturkosmetik Health offers very competitive products but the prices are too high. There are some product analyses of this brand on the site of Rita Stiens.
  Once again, the Miessence products are on top of the list for their harmlessness as much on  Skin Deep  (rated 1) as on  GoodGuide (8/10 for health).

Miessence Shimmer creme – Peach blush, bronzer/highlighter, lipstick; Messene Shimmer creme – Berryblush, lipstick; Miessence Shimmer creme – Cocoablush, lipstick; Vapour Organic Beauty Siren Lipstick.

Miessence  Lip Balms also classified 1 aussi: Miessence Lip creme – Grape lip balm,Miessence Lip creme – Melon lip balm, Miessence Lip creme – Grapelip balm, Miessence Lip creme – Plum Miessence Lip creme – Cinnamon lip balm, Miessence Lip creme – Paprika lip balm.

  Green Beaver lip balm, a perfect lip balm and lipstick hybrid, available in six different shimmering shades: Passion, Amour, Mocha, Rose, Bordeaux, Lustre (Clear), 5.80 $
Certified organic, vegan (beeswax and carmine free), biodegradable, gluten free, mint free, homeopathic friendly.Green Beaver are good non-toxic options for teenagers or for ‘petites’coquetish girls. The range is elaborate starting from organic ingredients to which carrot extracts and cranberries cultivated in Canadian soil were added.
  100% PURE Canada, a Canadian range that I did not know and which is not sold yet in the boutiques in my area. It is recommended by Gillian Deacon whose history is very similar to mine  [2] .The pencils for lipsticks are coloured with natural fruit pigments and are formulated to be of long duration. If you want more shine, apply the brilliance to lips after having used these unctuous pencils. These formulas are entirely natural lead-free, free of chemicals of synthesis, artificial flavours and chemical preservatives. Price: 20 $.
Ingredients: Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Beeswax, Coconut Stearic Acid, Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Rosehip Oil, May contain all or some of the following fruit pigments: Cherry, Cocoa, Strawberry, Plum, Blueberry, Blackberry, Peach, Apricot, Tomato, Pomegranate, Acai, Raspberry, Chokeberry and Cranberry, Rice Strach Powder.
  100% Pure Canada, Cosmopolitan Lip Gloss, a 100% natural lip gloss, containing vitamin E 83%, from organic rice oats and beautiful colours from fruit pigments. Price 16 $.
Ingredients: Vitamin E (a-tocopherol), contains all or some of the following Fruit Pigments: Organic Cherry*, Organic Pomegranate*, Organic Red Wine**, Organic Cranberry*, Organic Blackberry*, Organic Raspberry*, Organic Peach*, Organic Cocoa Bean* and Organic Plum*, Organic Rosehip Oil***, Organic Cocoa Butter*, Vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate), Organic Strawberry Flavor*.

*   certified organic by Organic Certifiers.

**  certified organic by Soil Association Certification Limited.

*** certified organic by Baystate Organic Certifiers.

  100% Pure Canada Lipstick  (Fruit Pigmented Lip Glaze Boysenberry), obtained from an avocado butter base, cocoa butter, and pigment dyes derived from fruits. Price: 19 $.
Ingredients :Organic Avocado Butter*, Organic Cocoa Butter*, Contains all or some of the following Fruit Pigments: Organic Cherry**, Organic Plum**, Cabernet Grape, Organic Raspberry**, Organic Blueberry**, Organic Blackberry**, Organic Peach**, Organic Apricot**, Organic Tomato***, Organic Pomegranate**, Organic Cacao (chocolate)**, Organic Rose Petals*, Organic Lavender Flower* and Organic Cinnamon***, Organic Shea Butter****, Organic Rosehip Oil*****, Organic Mango Butter*, Vitamin E (a-tocopherol), Vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate), May contain Mica (natural shimmery mineral).*         certified organic by Oregon Tilth Cerfitied Organic.
**       certified organic by Organic Certifiers.
***      certified organic by QAI.
****     certified organic by Soil Association Certification Limited.
*****   certified organic by Baystate Organic Certifiers.


  Another great find available in Quebec City, Ghislaine’s contribution, is the lipstick Lakhsimi certified by Ecocert. There are some product analyses of this brand on the site of Rita Stiens .

At the pharmacy  


  Revlon  More than 25 lipsticks Revlon are graded 2 and 3 on   Skin Deep, about ten Color Science are graded 2.Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick, Platinum Petal 005 Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick, Maximum Mocha 080Revlon ColorStay Overtime Lip Color Glossy TopcoatRevlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick, Premium Pink 010 Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick, Iconic Iris 035 Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick, Prized Peach 065 Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick, Grand Garnet 055 Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick, Brilliant Bordeaux 040The other numbers are available on  Skin Deep. Be very vigilant with the choice of the number, because other versions of Revlon are in the red, classified 7 and 8 on  Skin Deep   and some “glosses” have a grade 4/10 on  GoodGuide.


To avoid in lipsticks: azoic colours, paraffin oils, lead, aluminum, mercury and parabens.  It was recently shown ( study 2007, in French), that even with low doses, lead has a cytotoxic effect on the stem cells of the central nervous system.

In 2009, Canada was the first country to prohibit two ingredients largely used in the manufacture of lipsticks: D4 and D5 siloxane because of their toxicity for humans and the environment. Moreover, they were added to the list of the toxic substances of the Chemicals Management Plan of the Government of Canada. These two substances are connected to uterine tumours and other damage to the reproductive system in animals. They accumulate in the food chains, the environment and the human body.  [3]

On  GoodGuide, Laura Mercier  is very well-graded (10 /10 grade for health), but I do not know if it is sold in Quebec. On  On the same site more than twenty lipsticks Body Shop have a grade of 8/10 for health (on Skin Deep the Body Shop page is not updated…) and some lipsticks have the grade 10/10 but do not forget that it concerns only one colour here and not the whole of the range! It is always necessary to check product by product, because the grade for health, like the certification, is granted to the product and not to the brand.


To avoid:

Several lipsticks: Avon Sally Hansen Elisabeth Arden Meybelline CoverGirl L’Oréal  are in the red, on Skin Deep, between 7 and 10 !



  And the proof that price does not guarantee safety, the “repulpor” Givenchy Pulp Lady, graded  8  on  Skin Deep, with an impressive card of 51 ingredients including 4 that are not identified! A real aluminum treat!

Two other “anti-age” creams of the same Company are graded  9 .

Ingredients : Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cyclopentasiloxane, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Trisocetyl Citrate, Diisostearyl Malate, Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Dextrin Palmitate, Ozokerite , Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone , Disteardimonium Hectorite, Silica, Lauryl PCA, Propylene Carbonate, Parfum (Fragrance) , Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Tribehenin, Linalool , Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone , Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Limonene , Sorbitan Isostearate, Propyl Gallate, BHT , Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Geraniol , Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Methylparaben , Propylparaben , Sorbic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Dehydroacetate. [+/- May Contain: Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Tin Oxide, Aluminium Hydroxide, CI 12085 (Red 36), CI 15985 (Yellow 6 Lake), CI 17200 (Red 33 Lake), CI 19140 ( Yellow 5 Lake ), CI 42090 ( Blue 1 Lake ), CI 45380 (Red 21 - Red 22 Lake ), CI 45410 ( Red 28 Lake ), CI 73360 (Red 30 - Red 30 Lake), CI 75470 (Carmine), CI 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride), CI 77491 - CI 77492 - CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77510 (Ferric Ferrocyanide), CI 77742 (Manganese Violet), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Mica].]

Scores of lipsticks and “gloss” of the Avon Company have the terrifying grade of 1/10 for health on  GoodGuide !

Small trick : to pass from time to time a disinfecting wipe for babies on your lipstick to eliminate the microbial risks.



New Product : ARGANAT CANADA LIP BALM Intense Hydration, 4 ml, $ 7.99

INCI: Apis mellifera (Natural Beeswax), Argania Spinoza oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Vitellaria paradoxa (shea butter), Maris Sal, Alpha Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Tepezchouite (Mimosa Tenuiflora Bark Extract), Kaolinite (Moroccan red clay), Calendula Officinalis Flower Water, Rosa Damascena Flower Extract/Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract/Oil, Origanum vulgare Flower Extract/Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Oil, Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Citrus Aurantum Bergamia (Bergamot) Oil.

  Lip Balm  100% natural with shea butter and beewax made by the company ”Les Trois Acres” on sale in the boutiques of natural products, 5 ml, 3.99 $.
Ingredients: Ous Prunus Dulcis (Sweet Almond Oil), Olus Vitis Vinifera (Grape Seed Oil), 3 Acres Beswax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Olus Menthe Piperita, Cinnamomum Camphora (Peppermint, Camphor Essential Oil, Rosemary Extract).
  Drude Lip Balm Stick  with Shea butter  and Vanilla, 5 g, 4.99 $.
Ingredients: Helianthus Annuus Oil, Shea (Butyrospermum Parkii) Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii Extract, Candelilla Cera, Argania Spinosa Oil, Cocoa (Theobroma Cacao) Butter, Copernicia Cerifera Wax, Tocophérol, Vanilla Planifolia Extract, Aniba Parviflora Oil, Cymbopogon Martinii Oil, Geraniol, Linalool.
  Lip Balm with chocolate and orange by Les Soins Corporels l’Herbier with organic ingredients verified by Vrai Quebec, 5.99 $. Very original, encompassing flavour, the children will love it ! Good quality /price ratio, small disadvantage: it must be spread out with the finger…
Ingredients: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower Seed) Oil*, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Cera Alba, Thebroma Cacao (Cocoa) Powder, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil*, Tocopherol.


At the pharmacy (Pharmaprix): 

  Kibio Lip Balm, 15 ml, 19 $, certified organic (ECOCERT and Cosmetic bio), with orange, spreads out well and hydrates in-depth by leaving a pretty brilliance on the lips.
Ingredients : RicinusCommunis (Castor) Seed Oil*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Silica, Cera Carnauba/Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax.Cire De Carnauba, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil*, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil*, Tocopherol, Calendulaofficinalis Flower Extract*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Limonene, Linalool.* Ingredients resulting from Organic Agriculture
  Badger Lip Balm certified organic USDA not scented, graded 0 on  Skin Deep.
Ingredients: *Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, *Golden Yellow Beeswax, and *Castor Oil.* = Certified Organic Ingredient
Penny Lane Tahitian Vanilla – 100% Natural Lip Balm With Carabiner, 5 $.
Ingredients: Castor Seed oil (Ricinus communis) , Cocoa (Theobroma Cacao) Seed Butter , Beeswax (Cera Alba) , Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii) ,  Almond (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis) Oil , Calendula (Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract) Oil , Vitamin E (Tocopherol) ,  Natural Vanilla (Vanilla Planifolia) Oleoresin.

*      made with Unbleached Beeswax

*      the flavor is natural and comes from vanilla beans

*      carabiner allows you to clip the tube on your knapsack, gym bag, golf bag, etc. thus keeping your balm always on hand.


To Avoid:


  Nuxe Baume Prodigieux Levres Nutri-Protecting Lip Care – SPF 15, Shimmering Chocolate , (03) classified  7 on   Skin Deep , (40 ingredients in the formula!!).


If you use the Avon balsams, they should be checked because many of them are graded 8 on  Skin Deep .

Like the lipstick, the balsam is likely to be eaten, be prudent! “If I cannot eat it, I do not put it on my skin! ” because we swallow on average 60 Mg of lipstick per day! The longer the lipstick holds on your lips (it thus profits from a long hold) the more there are risks of toxicity. You have access to a toxicological decoding of the most popular marks like Christian Dior , Chanel , Maybelline , Clarins in a complete report under the heading ” Rouges et Gloss: baisers chimiques ( Lipsticks and Gloss: chemical kisses)  presented on  TSR . (in French)
Le rouge à lèvres industriel serait-il toxique? ” ( Would industrial lipstick be toxic?)  short report on  ARTE   which delivers information on the products contained in lipsticks resulting from the petrochemical industry.
“Nearly 3.000 chemicals are used as ingredients of fragrance. One single product can contain tens of them, even hundreds. Many of these non-identified ingredients are irritating and can trigger allergies, migraines and symptoms of asthma. Within the framework of laboratory experiments, ingredients of fragrance taken separately were associated with adverse effects, in particular with cancer and neurotoxicity. The synthetic musks used in perfumes constitute a serious problem for the environment. Environment Canada indexed several synthetic musks as being persistent, bio-accumulative or toxic and identified other agents to be evaluated in priority because of their possible effect on human health. One finds measurable quantities of synthetic musks in the fish of the Great Lakes. Moreover, the levels in the sediments increase. Laboratory tests commissioned by the American organization Environmental Working Group also revealed the presence of synthetic musk currents (Galaxolide and/or Tonalide) in seven new-born babies out of ten”.   [4]




Guide of non-toxic hygiene, beauty and cosmetic products


[1] ↑ Wikipedia: Lipstick, Health, and the Environment (in French: Rouge à lèvres, santé et environnement)

[2] ↑  Affected breast cancer, Gillian Deacon publishes a book, There is Lead in Your Lipstick, in which she explains how one can reduce the number of chemical substances dangerous for health in cosmetic products

[3] ↑ Gillian Deacon, There’s Lead in Your Lipstick .

[4] ↑ Source : Fondation David Suzuki

3 thoughts on “ Non-Toxic Lipstick and Gloss

  1. Pingback: Lead Still Poisoning Us

  2. If a product contains CARMINE (ground up beetles!) is CAUSES asthma. This is not the position of the United States, but it is of different European countries and I know for a fact my asthma is non existent when I avoid all Carmine in cosmetics and foods.

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