Lipstick Ingredients to Avoid

Published Categorized as Beauty Tips

Why is it important to have nontoxic ingredients in your makeup? Why should you choose products that have safe ingredients to put on your face? What lipstick ingredients should you avoid applying?

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If you do not pay attention to what ingredients go into your makeup, you could end up using a product harmful to your skin.  Unfortunately, there are companies that produce beauty products that contain harmful chemicals. Even if these chemicals are not harmful in general, they might be to you if you have certain types of skin.

Table of Contents

Why is it Important To Have Nontoxic Ingredients in Your Lipstick?

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Your lips have the most sensitive skin in all your body. Just pay attention after you have a meal or if there’s a slight temperature change. You’ll find that the skin on your lips will react by peeling or cracking.

Not to mention that our lips are the main entry into our bodies. What you intake through your mouth, you introduce into your body.

Lipstick and other lip products are arguably the most prone for us to ingest of all the cosmetics we use. Lip products help make us look good and feel good. But we must make sure the products we use also make our bodies be good.

Harmful ingredients in your lipstick may harm your lips as well your health.

Safe Lipstick Brands To Use

Before we go on to explain what ingredients you SHOULD AVOID (read on below to find out), here are some brands that are certified SAFE TO USE.

  • RMS Beauty
  • Babo Botanicals
  • Honest Beauty
  • 100% Pure
  • Kjaer Weis
Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Why are they safe?

These lipsticks are safe. They have food-grade ingredients in their composition and formulation. All the ingredients are organic.

More importantly, these products do not contain harmful chemicals and other toxic ingredients.

Why are Toxic Ingredients Present in Makeup?

Now let’s get back on what lipstick ingredients to avoid.

First we’ll briefly look into what qualifies as “toxic”.

Toxic means that a specific substance can be harmful or dangerous to you. Not just that, in a different context, it can mean that something may be potentially deadly. It may cause either long- or short-term effects.

Toxic is anything that is harmful (in varying levels) to you when you are exposed to it. It could have immediate results, or if you are exposed for a long time, you could develop slow-reacting results. This may include harmful chemicals that may cause harm to you over a long period.

The worst case scenario is that it may lead to the death of anyone exposed to it.

There are a number of toxic ingredients that might be present in your lipstick.

Some of them are to change the smell of the lipstick to give them different scents. These could be harmful chemicals.

Another ingredient that can be added to the list of ingredients is methylparaben that helps to stop fungal growth in your lipstick. However, this chemical may cause cancer.

Why Should We Avoid Toxic Ingredients?

Should we avoid products with ingredients that aren’t poisonous or pose an immediate threat to our health?

Some toxic ingredients may not seem harmful at first, but after prolonged use and exposure, may cause bad results.

There are some chemicals and minerals that may only pose problems under certain conditions, for instance, when a woman gets pregnant.

For a list of pregnancy safe makeup brands, click the link.

Toxic Beauty: How Cosmetics and Personal-Care Products Endanger Your Health... and What You Can Do About It

Top Ingredients to Avoid in Lipstick:


  • Siloxanes are a type of silicon. They are derived from their compound elements alkane oxygen and silicon. This is a chemical compound.
  • It is used to smooth and moisten cosmetics. It helps to make your lipstick soft and smooth for easy application.
  • This chemical may disrupt the endocrine system and may be harmful to the reproductive system.
  • This ingredient should be avoided in your lipstick because it may be absorbed into your body and disrupt your hormone balance.


  • It is an anti-fungal substance, as well as a preservative.
  • Used in lipstick to prevent the harmful fungi from growing. It also helps preserve the other components.
  • This substance is added to your lipstick to keep it fresh for longer.
  • It may be a possible risk to the endocrine system.
  • Do not use this ingredient because it may be cancer-causing.


  • This is a preservative to keep the lipstick from going rancid.
  • Polyparaben is used in lipstick to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. This ingredient prevents the oily part of the lipstick from going bad.
  • It may be an allergen and may disrupt hormones balance. Polyparaben may cause disruption to the endocrine system and cause an allergic reaction.

Retinyl Palmitate

  • This chemical is a preservative to keep the lipstick fresh. Retinyl Palmitate is used as a synthetic preservative in lipstick
  • It is a form of a vitamin that helps in anti-aging effects.
  • When absorbed into the skin, it will become a toxic radical that may cause cancer. This substance may damage the DNA and lead to cancer.


  • These are colorants that gives lipstick its unique color.
  • Without dyes, there would be no bright colors for lipsticks. We love the diversity in our lipstick options, and this makes that possible.
  • A lot of synthetic dyes come from petroleum-based products.
  • These dyes may end up being stored in the fatty tissues of the body.

Tocopheryl Acetate

  • This product is a laboratory-created vitamin E added to lipstick.
  • Tocpheryl Acetate is used as an antioxidant and helps in skin conditioning.
  • It is added to lipstick to act as an antioxidant and to prevent mold growth in the lipstick.
  • It is toxic for the skin and may cause hives and blisters. Avoid this ingredient because it may enhance the effects of UV rays and cause discomfort to the skin with allergic reactions.


  • Lead is a heavy metal that is formed in cosmetics in the production stage.
  • This is a byproduct that is created by some of the ingredients found in lipstick. It is a result of the manufacturing process of creating lipstick.
  • It has no specific use but is only a side product of other ingredients.
  • Lead exposure is not good, and you don’t need it. This heavy metal may also cause brain damage among other things
  • Pregnant women should avoid this. Keep it out of children’s reach as well. This is a high-level toxic ingredient and should not be in your lipstick.


  • This is the base for many lip products, including lipstick.
  • Petrolatum helps in coating the lips and to prevent the lipstick from forming clumps. It is part of lipstick to prevent the base from coagulating.
  • It may clog the pores and may cause unhealthy buildup on the skin.
  • This ingredient may cause premature aging and may cause cancer.

Butylated Compound

  • This substance preserves, so your lipstick will last much longer.
  • Butylated Compound is used as a preservative to keep your lipstick fresh and preventing mold growth.
  • This ingredient may cause allergic reactions to the skin.
  • Avoid this in lipstick because it may promote tumor growth. It can also throw off your hormone balance.

Artificial Fragrance

  • This ingredient helps to create different fragrances and smells for lipstick.
  • Fragrances in lipstick make them smell better, so you do not have an unpleasant-smelling lipstick.
  • It is not a necessary ingredient for lipstick but is welcome to break the old traditional smell of lipstick.
  • This ingredient in lipstick may cause a few problems, from hormone disruption to skin rashes and even migraines.
  • The fragrances in lipstick are not regulated. Some of them can even cause birth defects.
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Lipstick Ingredients to Avoid: A Summary

Again, here is a list of lipstick ingredients to avoid:

  • Siloxanes
  • MethylParaben
  • Polyparaben
  • Retinyl Palmitate
  • Dyes
  • Tocopheryl Acetate
  • Lead
  • Petrolatum
  • Butylated Compound
  • Artificial Fragrance

When selecting products that make you look good (and feel good), it is advisable to avoid ingredients that may not just bring discomfort but also do lasting damage. It is then a priority to find lipstick that contains natural ingredients that are not harmful to your body.

Check out related posts on our blog:

What are your favorite safe cosmetic brands?

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  1. Understandable, Veronica!

    Usually silicones would be ingredients that end in “-cone”, such as Dimethicone in your list. Alcohols would end in “-anol”, like Octyldodecanol. But the ingredients you mentioned don’t seem to have high toxicity ratings according to EWG. The highest is about 4-5, but that’s depending on exposure/usage. Which product is this? You may also look into reaching out to the company if you find yourself allergic to something or reacting badly to an ingredient.

  2. This is good info but I wish it had a list of the actual ingredients listed on the packages. Most of the ingredients I see listed on the packaging are much more complicated than what is listed which makes it difficult to determine if it is toxic.

    Here is an example of what I was looking at to make my decision to use or not use this product.
    INGREDIENTS / INGRÉDIENTS: Dimethicone, Synthetic Wax, Caprylyl Methicone, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Octyldodecanol, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Dicalcium Phosphate, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Kaolin, Polypropylsilsesquioxane, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Limonene, Benzyl Benzoate, Aluminum Hydroxide

    See what I mean 😐

  3. This is a really helpful post. You’re right that for lipstick especially, the wearer runs the risk of ingesting it so should be aware of all the ingredients. Thank you for suggesting some safe brands to try, I will check them out. xo

  4. You’re totally right, Nancy! We should always be looking after ourselves.

  5. It is so important to have the right ingredients in your lipstick. I mean after all, this is something that we put on our mouth! Thank you for sharing all of these facts!

    Nancy ♥

  6. Wow I had no idea about this! Thank you so much for sharing this, I will keep an eye out in the future!


  7. Thank you for this detailed lipstick ingredients post, I am going to look at my lipstick to check!


  8. I’m going to have to do a deep dive into the lipsticks in my collection to see what is safe and what is not. My favorite clean lipstick formula is def Bite Beauty – they use food grade ingredients and are completely Vegan.

  9. I am not a big fan of toxic ingredients in my make up especially lipstick. I read the labels in the stores before I buy makeup.

  10. Many people don’t, and sticking to safe ingredients means taking better care of ourselves!

  11. Thank you Charity, we’re very happy to have been of help! Let us know if any of the safe brands work for you!

  12. Interesting, I don’t pay much attention to the ingredients in my lipsticks compared to other things that go on the skin usually x

  13. This is such a great and helpful post. Thanks for sharing all this information. I did not know some of those ingredients were toxic! And thanks for sharing safe brands. I may have to check some of those out.

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