Women consume 8 to 27 tubes of lipstick a year. Lipstick does more than just become part of us. It transforms the way we feel about ourselves. A red lip is always bold and confident. A pink lip indicates playfulness and softness. An orange lip is courageous and daring. We define ourselves by the way colors make us feel. To paint a lip is to say to the world how we feel about ourselves. It's a powerful subconscious statement made conscious to the world.
What ingredients go into making a simple lipstick? Most are edible, beautiful and absolutely safe, but some have cheap ingredients that harm the earth, the environment and ultimately the world we live in as reflected through each and every one of us. We end up being what we consume. If we consume plastics, use plastics, wash plastics down the drain, eventually some of those plastics get into the waterways. Fish swallow the plastics and we eat the fish, thus consuming (again) the plastic/petrol.
I make this brief point to illustrate that no one is one individual. We are in relationships all the time even if we don't know it. In fact, we can't really do anything alone. Even if we are sitting at home on a computer we have already interacted with thousands of people who helped make the computer, your Internet provider, not to mention social media! We are all connected to one another.
I provide my information freely and openly as possible because I believe in a world that is cleaner and better than the one we live in today. I love makeup so much that I want to know how to make them and what ingredients go into them. I started my quest by making my own tinted lipsticks, experiments with dozens of DIY formulas. But after working in the makeup/spa industry for over 15 years, I yearned to know more about the ingredients in commercial grade cosmetics. The logical start would be lipsticks, since we will eat the lipstick while wearing it. In my experience, it's one of the go to products for most women. I myself am a big lipstick junkie. Collecting shades, mixing shades and having fun putting them on clients. I love makeup, so don't get me wrong.
Trust me! Most lipsticks are fine, edible and completely harmless. In my research, I have found that more expensive brands will use ingredients that aren't the finest quality, but this also goes for more inexpensive brands. It just goes to show you that you can't judge a lipstick by its cover and price!
How Lipsticks are Made
Wax: This hardens the lipstick. It should be soft enough to glide on, but hard enough so it doesn’t lose its form. The melting point needs to be high, so that it doesn’t melt on a hot day. Waxes and polymers are used to structure the lipsticks. These are often called ‘binders’ as well because of the structuring ability of waxes and polymers (We’ve also listed binders as separate ingredients). Many of the waxes also act as an emollient. A good example is beeswax and microcrystalline wax.
Lipsticks will normally have 2-3 waxes. They include, but aren’t limited to: Beeswax, synthetic wax, carunaba wax, emulsion wax, candelillia wax, Lauryl Laureate, cetearyl alcohol, microcrystalline wax, ceresin, Octyl Palmitate, polyethylene, ozokerite
Emollient: These are normally oils. Emollients keeps lipstick creamy and help to disperse the pigments. In the industry, the term ‘spread’ or ‘drag’ are used to describe how easily the product glides on the skin.
Types of emollients found in lipstick: Petroleum, Castor Oil, Caprylic Triglceryides or fractionated coconut oils, soy lecithin, Cyclomethicone, Lanolin, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2 (synthetic lanolin), Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter (both shea and cocoa melt at body temperature), Polybutene, Hydrogentated Polyisobutene, Triisostearyl Citrate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone
Filler: Bulks up the product. Some ingredients are interchangeable with binders. Fillers are also add elements such as pearls, mattes and pastels. For example, micas can add shimmer and pigment, titanium dioxide always mattifies, but most importantly creates a pastel, borosilicate adds massive glitter. Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Borosilicate, Kaolin
Binders: Like the word, binder, is used to bind ingredients together to keep them all homogenous. Types of ingredients used as binders: Dimethicone
Preservatives: Preservatives are added to the cooling down phase. If the temperature is over a certain degree, then the preservative will heat up and deactivate. Different types of preservatives have different heating points. Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Phenonip