How bad are the ingredients in makeup?

Danique Motzheim

Posted on March 11 2019

How bad are the ingredients in mascara’s & Lipsticks?


The safety of make-up products is a hot item. Not surprising if you read all the stories on the internet about lead, arsenic and other dangerous substances in eyeshadow, eyeliner or lipstick. And the average woman gets a lot of lipstick inside. According to Canberra's National Health and Medical Research Council, a woman in her life "eats" between 500 and 1500 grams of lipstick. It is also a shame if you are very consciously busy with your skin care to then ruin the effect by using the wrong make-up. Reason enough to look critically at your cosmetics.

Toxic ingredients in lipstick and mascara

There is evidence that make-up products can contain toxins. Lead occurs in lipsticks, cadmium in eyeliners and concealers, nickel is mainly in powder and rouge, beryllium in bronzers and eyeshadow and arsenic is found in mascara and foundation. Another scare because such fabrics are found in products of well-known brands that are also for sale in Europe

In a study by the Environmental Defense Group Canada, traces of at least two toxic ingredients were found in 48 of the 49 makeup products tested. A study conducted by FDA in 2011 into lead in lipstick showed that lead was present in all 400 lipsticks tested. The concentration of lead varied considerably. You don’t ultimately have to panic; the concentrations of such toxins in make-up are terribly low. 


But what is a safe upper limit?

Determining a safe upper limit of toxins in make-up is a must! Incidentally easier said than done, because it is in practice pretty difficult to determine the effect of chronic exposure to toxic substances in make-up, especially because toxic substances (as lead) can accumulate in the body.

Protecting yourself from toxic substances is also not easy as it is not mentioned on the ingredient list. And do you think to be smart by only applying organic make-up, then I must also disappoint you; research has shown that the use of 'natural' products is certainly no guarantee that the products are free from toxic substances.

If you are worried about lead in your lipstick, I advise you to use lip gloss instead of lipstick. The chance that there is lead in it is much smaller. It also seems that a diet with a lot of calcium, zinc and vitamin C protects you against the potentially harmful effects of lead. Good food so before you go out for a night out!

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