“Lead is in lipstick either because raw materials are contaminated with lead, or the pigment contains lead,” explains Stacy Malkan, the co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “There may also be cases where packaging contributes to lead content.”
Surprisingly, the study found that more expensive brands did not necessarily contain less lead than cheaper options. In fact, the least expensive brand tested, Wet & Wild, also contained the least lead.
L’Oreal was by far the worst offender, having manufactured 5 of the top 10 lead-contaminated products.
Another shocker? Natural mega-brand Burt’s Bees had several products on the list—one placed as the 17th worst offender. You can see the full list of lipsticks and lead content here.
“The bottom line is that FDA needs to provide guidance to this industry by setting a recommended upper limit for lead in lipstick, based on the lowest lead levels that cosmetic manufacturers can reasonably achieve,” says Malkan.
She’s putting pressure on the FDA and the manufacturers with a new campaign called “Kiss Lead GoodBye” that allows consumers to voice their concerns.
In the meantime, you can stick to small-batch natural beauty brands, which are generally not manufactured in the same way and are less likely to contain lead. (Although we unfortunately don’t have a lab here at Well+Good to personally test them!)
Here are some Well+Good suggestions: