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The History of Lipstick & What is Lipstick Made Out of?

We’re exposing lipstick’s dirty secrets – and spelling out why natural lipstick is your lips’ best bet

Written by: 100% PURE®
Lipstick Juicy Main

A common myth about natural lipstick is that you need to sacrifice color payoff, vibrancy, or staying power for safer ingredients. WRONG: the proof is in the pigments. Sure, anyone can add shea butter or vitamin E to a lipstick. But the pigments are where most brands lose any chance for a ‘natural’ lipstick formula.

Since the beginning, Susie Wang has formulated our lipsticks with the ultimate trifecta of natural ingredients. She nailed natural pigments, natural moisturizers, and natural long-lasting color – all without sacrificing a truly natural formula.

A History of Lipstick

Since the 1950’s, lipstick has been a beauty staple for the modern woman. However, the real history of this small and mighty cosmetic dates back to centuries earlier. It all started with Islamic chemist and cosmetologist Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi, who crafted the first molded form of lip color.

Centuries later, Queen Elizabeth I immortalized the image of coloring one’s lips. Her stark white face and bold, red lips led to a brief red lip color trend in the 16th century. It wasn’t until the 19th century that French cosmetologists began molding lipsticks for widespread, commercial sale.

Through the years, lipstick has evolved from crushed plant powder to a chemically formulated cosmetic. Even with new cosmetic innovations, there have been little to no regulations by the FDA on what can be used to make lipstick. This means that synthetic, toxic, and animal-derived ingredients have been freely tracing women’s lips for the last century. These ingredients have been masquerading as a girl’s must-have beauty product for too long!

Before you read on, we want you to consider one important fact. Throughout a woman’s life, it is estimated that she will ingest (or unknowingly EAT) 4-8lbs of lipstick. This happens through licking lips, saliva runoff, and eating. That’s heavier than a bag of apples, or a handful of 10 spoons!

Cochineal Beetle Cochineal beetles, which are crushed by the thousands to produce just 1lb of red lipstick pigment
So What Is Lipstick Made Of?

Ready to hear what’s in the average stick of lipstick? Are you sure you’re ready? Then let’s start with those sneaky animal byproducts we mentioned, since they’re downright nasty.

Carmine is a common red colorant found in many popular lipsticks today. It’s red pigment is sourced from the carcasses of the female cochineal beetle. 70,000 cochineal beetles must be crushed and killed to produce 1lb of dye. To avoid bug guts in your lipstick, look out for ingredients titled:

  • Carmine

  • Carminic Acid

  • Carminic Acid Lake

  • Cochineal/ Cochineal Extract

  • Dactylopius Extract

  • Ci 75470

  • E120

  • Carmine 5297

  • B Rose Liquid

  • Crimson Lake

  • Natural Red 4

Ever wonder what leaves the oily residue on your lips after using your favorite lipstick? That oily residue could be from tallow, or rendered animal fat from carcasses of dead animals.

Tallow is a great option for cosmetic formulators who are trying to save a few bucks. Slaughterhouses sell the excess byproducts of their carcasses to cosmetics companies, for a low price that suits for their bottom line. Look out for rendered animal fats by avoiding the following ingredients:

  • Hydrolyzed collagen

  • Suet

  • Lard

  • Caprylic Acid

  • Lauric Acid

  • Myristic Acid

  • Oleic Acid

  • Oleyl Oleate

  • Oleyl Stearate

  • Palmitic Acid

  • Stearic Acid

  • Any ingredient including the word “Tallow”

What else is hiding in conventional lipsticks? Try heavy metals! While ‘heavy metals’ sound cool, they’re anything but. Remember what we said about all that lipstick you’re bound to ingest during your lifetime? Numerous studies have linked ingestion of these industrial grade minerals and metals to organ toxicity, reproductive harm, and even cancer.

These heavy metals serve as long-lasting colorants, which can stand up to the other synthetics in your average lipstick formula. Heavy metals will be listed as colorants beginning with “Ci”, “Red”, “Blue”, “Yellow”, “Violet” or “Green”. The heavy metals listed below were once in the average tube of lipstick. In fact, many are still allowed to be used in lip products sold today:

  • Lead

  • Nickel

  • Arsenic

  • Cadmium

  • Aluminum

  • Iron

  • Chromium

  • Antimony

Carolina Glass Kissing
A Better Way to Wear Lip Color

We see lipstick as one of the most classic, impactful forms of cosmetic expression. There’s a shade to make any skin tone feel beautiful, and we believe in spreading that feeling as safely as possible. That’s why we’ve opted out when it comes to using any animal byproducts toxic heavy metals in our natural lipsticks. Instead of these conventional ingredients, we’ve formulated dozens of healthy, natural lipsticks.

Pomegranate 2

Instead of oily, rendered animal fat, we use plant ingredients to keep lips soft and moisturized all day long. Our liquid lipsticks, matte lipsticks, lip balms, lip liners, you name it – they’re all cruelty-free.

Pomegranate oil is not only intensely moisturizing, but packed with anti-aging antioxidants to keep lips looking supple, plump, and glossy. Cocoa butter is perfect for our matte lipstick, because this butter is naturally semi-solid. When warmed against lips, this butter softens and is one of the best natural, plant based moisturizers available. The only moisturizers and oils you’ll find in our lipsticks are:

  • Pomegranate oil

  • Cocoa butter

  • Vitamin E (from rice bran)

  • Shea butter

  • Rosehip oil

  • Mango seed butter

  • Jojoba seed oil

  • Coconut oil

Now, on to the shining jewel of our natural makeup formulas: fruit pigments. The vibrant, stunning colors extracted from fruit are intensely pigmented. You’ll find the color payoff just as good or better than any lipstick colored by synthetic, heavy metal colorants.

To check out the impressive color palette we’re working with, just visit your local market. Vibrant reds, pinks, purples, and oranges are all at our disposal, courtesy of mother nature herself. In our vegan lipsticks, we use cocoa beans to supplement the rainbow-forward color palette that’s provided by fruit alone:

  • Apricot

  • Cherry

  • Plum

  • Raspberry

  • Blueberry

  • Blackberry

  • Cabernet grape

  • Tomato

  • Peach

  • Pomegranate

We’ve done all we can to make the best vegan, natural lipstick for the world to enjoy. We know that the hard work – and scrupulous ingredient sourcing – is worth the results. We feel passionately that by giving you safe, beautiful lipstick, you can rest easy. You can know that what you’re putting on your lips is bug-free, animal-free, and heavy metal-free.

Nobody should ever have to choose between beauty and safety, and that’s why 100% PURE was born. We’re changing the world with makeup, one tube of natural lipstick at a time.

We carefully hand-select products based on strict purity standards, and only recommend products we feel meet this criteria. 100% PURE™ may earn a small commission for products purchased through affiliate links.

The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.

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