What are Non-Toxic and Eco-Friendly Lipsticks?
Low-toxic lipsticks are free of multiple commonly used harmful chemicals including parabens, PFAS, phthalates, lead, and others that can be absorbed into your body. Eco-friendly lipsticks are made with natural ingredients that are gentle on the environment, not sourced from petroleum-based ingredients, and don't contain any microplastics or certain forever chemicals such as PFAS.
These days you can find a wide range of low-toxic and eco-friendly lipsticks on the market. From natural lipsticks made with plant-based oils and waxes to vegan lipsticks made without any animal products if that is your primary concern. With so many options available, it's easy to find a lipstick that suits your needs without compromising on quality or safety.
In addition to selecting a low-toxic lipstick, take into consideration the packaging it is housed in. Opt for sustainable options like paper or bamboo containers, or ones made from reusable materials such as aluminum. Recycled plastic packaging may be a decent idea in principle, but the long-term consequences just can't be ignored. We should do our best to limit our use of plastic and find better ways to package items. This would help minimize the microplastics that end up in our environment and our bodies. However, since progress, rather than perfection is our goal, I include some companies which may use plastic packaging for their low-toxic lipsticks.
Common ingredients of conventional lipsticks to avoid are:
Otherwise known as “forever chemicals” because they are highly resistant to degradation and can remain in the environment for thousands of years. They can also be absorbed through the skin or inhaled when airborne particles settle on surfaces. PFAS have been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive and developmental toxicity, and other adverse health effects. PFAS are commonly found in cosmetic products such as long-wear foundation & lipsticks, and waterproof mascaras. Additionally, many companies neglect to disclose whether or not their products contain these harmful chemicals.
Lead is a heavy metal that has been used in cosmetics for centuries, but it is also a dangerous and harmful carcinogen. Recent research has found that lead exposure can have a negative effect on brain development in children, making it even more important to stay away from this harmful chemical.
Talc is a mineral that has been used in cosmetics and other personal care products for centuries. However, it can be dangerous because it may contain asbestos, which is a known carcinogen. No amount of asbestos is considered a safe amount. Asbestos exposure can cause serious health problems such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Therefore, it is imperative to stay away from this mineral whenever possible.
FD&C and D&C colors
FD&C and D&C colors are frequently used synthetic dyes which are derived from petroleum or coal tar, and can contain harmful microplastics that can seep into the skin and cause long-term health problems.
Glitter is usually made from dyed or aluminum-plated microplastic polyethylene terephthalate, and it's tiny enough to sneak past water filtration systems and end up in our waterways. This can be devastating for wildlife due to its size, as it can easily get ingested by animals and birds.
Parabens have been widely used as preservatives in cosmetics for decades, but their potential to cause health risks has recently been brought to light. Studies suggest that parabens can be absorbed into the skin and can be potentially harmful to our bodies in the long run.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals that have been used in cosmetics and other products for decades. Unfortunately, these chemicals are now known to be dangerous and harmful to humans, animals, and the environment. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the presence of phthalates when purchasing cosmetics and other products.
Mineral oils are commonly used in cosmetics, but they can be dangerous to our health and environment. These oils contain microplastics which can accumulate in the body and cause harm.
Keep in mind
A non-vegan lipstick that contains beeswax may still be a sustainable and eco-friendly option if the beeswax is sourced sustainably, without harming the hive. A vegan product may still be very toxic, depending on the chemicals chosen as the primary ingredients.
Vegan-washing is a common practice by many manufacturers and may not take into account the damage many ingredients can do to our environment. Therefore, look carefully at the ingredients of any product you just to buy, and past the fancy green 'vegan' label slapped on it by its producers.
Some Non-Toxic and Eco-Friendly Lipstick Brands on the Market
This is not an exhaustive list, but the companies listed below offer some of the most eco-friendly & low-toxic products currently available.
Remember: NO PRODUCT IS PERFECT...but we ought to do better and choose products that are less harmful to our bodies and the environment whenever we can (based on currently available information)
This is my number one pick because this lipstick is in a word: GLORIOUS. The color, the feel, and the compostable packaging that it's shipped in. I can't say enough good things about it. Moreover, you get a lot of product in one lipstick tube that is bound to last you a mighty long time. For some reason, the formula they use in their tinted lip balm is different from their lipstick so while their lipsticks feel luxurious as they glide across the lips, the lip balms end up feeling a bit dry...maybe that's something they'll fix in the future. But for now, seriously, please try these palm-oil free, FRAGRANCE-FREE, vegan, cruelty-free and biodegradable lipsticks. You will NOT be sorry. And watch me use one of their shades here on my Youtube channel!
This company specializes in natural, organic, and fair-trade lipsticks. Their products are made with compostable materials and are designed to be environmentally friendly. As a result, their lipsticks are made from plant-based ingredients such as shea butter, jojoba oil, and vitamin E - all of which help nourish lips while providing vibrant color pigments. The lipsticks come in a variety of shades and are packaged in bamboo containers. Elate Cosmetics is dedicated to providing high-quality products that are both kind to the environment and beneficial for their customers.
This USA-based company does not use FD&C or heavy metals, rather they use only plant and naturally derived colorants for their lipsticks. Additionally, they are committed to using post-consumer recycled materials like glass, plastic, tin, and paper to create packaging that is fully recyclable and printed with non-toxic soy & vegetable inks. This helps reduce the environmental impact of their operations. With multiple long-lasting shades to choose from, it's very likely that you will find a product you like from this company.
Ilia provides multiple lipstick shades from their organic lipstick lineup. This company sources its materials from eco-friendly and fair-trade suppliers to ensure that its products are cruelty-free. While they do use plastic in their packaging, Ilia offers a free recycling program that allows US-based customers to send back up to 5 empty containers (from any cosmetic brand) to be recycled.
This company makes a point to use raw, organic, and food-grade ingredients in their makeup. With 16 highly pigmented lipstick shades to choose from, you should be able to find a natural and safe color that is to your liking. Their minimal and sustainable packaging consists of recycled materials made from cardboard and glass.
The best zero waste option by this company is their Lid-to-Lip Balmies & Multi Stick which are multifunctional - they can be used as lipstick and as eye shadow or cheek coloring. They have fair trade practices and use recycled materials for their packaging, with limited plastic packaging included in their product lineup.
With over 60,000 sales, this Etsy store provides lipsticks that are perfectly safe enough to be edible. Furthermore, their packaging consists of glass and metal, which can be sent back to Dab Herb to be refilled. With just 4 lipstick colors to choose from, the options are a little limited, but it's a step in the right direction.
As with most things, finding sustainable and non-toxic lipstick isn't very easy. However, as shown above, there are options that will suit many people. Choosing non-toxic and sustainable beauty products helps you stay safe, while also reducing the massive amounts of pollution that the beauty industry inflicts on the planet every day.
Remember, the goal is not perfection, just little changes that will later snowball into big changes. Do the very best that you can, whenever you can, and encourage others to do the same; that's how we make positive changes for our bodies and for our planet.