Harmful Chemicals in Lipsticks To Avoid
29th Oct 2017

Harmful Chemicals in Lipsticks To Avoid

Most of the lipsticks on the market contain harmful chemicals and many of us have consumed harmful chemical without knowing through eating or drinking with lipsticks on. Some argue that toxins in lipsticks are not of concern due to the low does per application. However, one must also consider the accumulative effect as a woman usually put on lipsticks several times a day every day. Therefore, it is necessary for us to know more about the ingredients in the lipsticks. Here are top few harmful chemicals that we should look out for:

1. Lead

What: In fact, Lead is never listed in the ingredients list and as it is considered as a 'contaminant'.

Why Harmful: Lead is poisonous to our nervous system and is associated with adversely affecting learning and language ability. It can also potentially lower fertility in both sexes. Look out for news and report on the concentration of lead present in different lipsticks and only purchase lipsticks that are clearly labelled as lead-free or non-toxic.

2. Heavy Metals

Apart from Lead, other heavy metals also exist in lipsticks and should be avoided. For example, excessive consumption of the below heavy metals will result in the respective adverse effects:

  • Aluminium: adversely affect the neurological system
  • Cadium: a carcinogen, and associated with kidney failure and bone fracture.
  • Chromium: associated with stomach problems; damage in liver, kidneys, and nerves.
  • Manganese: disturb nervous system; adversely effect reproductive system.
  • Formaldehyde

3. Coal Tar

What: Coal Tar is a complex mixture of harmful chemicals such as benzene, naphthalene and PAH.

How Harmful: Studies show that exposure to Coal Tar is associated with skin tumour, lung cancer, bladder cancer and kidney cancer. The constituents of the Coal Tar also have different adverse effects on our bodies.

4. Colourants

What: The commonly used FD&C and D&C colours are mostly derived from Coal Tar.

How Harmful:These synthetic colours are usually tested on animals as they are potential carcinogen. However, different colorants have different level of concerns, always check their toxicity on EWG's Skin Deep database. Alternatively, always look for pigments that are derived from plant.

5. Tocopheryl Acetate

What: Tocopheryl Acetate is a synthetically-made chemical compound of acetic acid and vitamin E. Beauty brands mix acetic acid and vitamin E to lengthen the shelf time.

How Harmful: Some studies show that Tocopheryl Acetate can potentially be sensitising and irritating. Choose products with natural Vitamin E instead of Tocopheryl Acetate whenever possible.


If you are considering to go non-toxic for your beauty products, lipstick is definitely the first thing you can explore as we consume it most directly everyday. The above are just a few examples of the top harmful chemicals that can potentially exist in lipsticks, and remember always to avoid the common toxic chemicals (e.g. parabens and BHT). Look for lipsticks that are clearly stated as non-toxic and look at the ingredients list as always!

You can also check out our favourite clean and toxin-free lipstick: 


Nautral Lipstick
Lily Lolo
Natural Lip Gloss 
Lily Lolo
Eternity Lipstick
Au Naturale Cosmetics

Disclaimer: This post is for reference only.

FREAN BEAUTY is an online store with a collection of carefully selected organic & natural skincare and makeup products. Our label system will help you to explore organic & natural skincare products without breaking a sweat. Subscribe to our email list to be alerted when we post more beauty knowledge.