Cleaning Out The Lipstick Cupboard


As someone who is new to The G3, I am starting to really hone in on products that are good (or not-so-good )to use on my face and body. A big makeup purge is something that we can all benefit from on occasion, and though I am not ready to completely toss out everything I own, I thought it would be a fun learning experiment to slowly go through and research each of my favorite go-to lip products in an effort to replace them with products that are clean, healthy and, as frequently as possible, woman-owned. 

Using the wonderful EWG Cosmetics Database, let’s eliminate some of my favorite lip products. I’m a big fan of lip stuff -- everything from the cheapest quick Lipsmacker (I’m a sucker for the holiday flavors, even as an adult) and Chapstick, to much more expensive products like lip mattes from high-end makeup brands. My favorite shades are anything deep red, though I do play around with lavenders, mauves, and pinks. 

So, let’s start with a handful of lip products that I keep in a big mug on my makeup vanity counter. 

Cosmetics Clean-Up Court:

  1. Though the Cosmetics Database doesn’t have my specific e.l.f. lip primer and plumper, most e.l.f. products are pretty cheap. They have plenty of products that rank as low hazard in the Database, most of their lip stuff ranks as moderate to high hazard. VERDICT: Throw out. 

  2. The RealHer Moisturizing Lipstick isn't covered in the Database but their website claims it's entirely free of harmful ingredients and isn’t tested on animals. After checking the top ten ingredients from the website in the database, the VERDICT: Keeper.

  3. For years MAC Cosmetics Russian Red was my favorite lipstick, and I'd like to point out that I have not purchased it since the controversy around animal testing. Though MAC claims that they do not test on animals, PETA, among other organizations, still claim they do. VERDICT: better safe than sorry. Toss. (This goes for the other MAC lipstick in the pile as well, not to mention, that one is a very old tube.) 

  4. My Revlon matte lipstick is not one I use often because the color makes me feel a bit matronly, but the score in the Database is okay-ish. However, if you break down the ingredients, BHT, tocopheryl acetate, and fd&c blue 1 are some concerning inclusions here. VERDICT: Toss, for multiple reasons.

  5. L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche Collection Exclusive Lip Color, JLO's Nude is a favorite because I always admire how Jennifer Lopez's nude lipstick looks. (Disclaimer: I know she doesn't actually wear this lip.) According to the Database, it scores a 2, which is cleaner than I assumed it would be. One of the most concerning ingredients is dimethicone, which one should use with restrictions, if at all. VERDICT: I'm going to keep this one.

  6. That cute, tall pink tube? I have no idea what brand that is and I rarely use it. VERDICT: Toss. 

  7. TheBalmJour Creamy Lip Stain is one of my favorite lip colors and after checking the top ten ingredients, my VERDICT: Keep. Note: this contains Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 dimethicone, which is a moderate hazard. 

  8. Manna Kadar's Priming Lip Wand is one I use for a very subtle look. Most of the top ingredients check out just fine, though paraffinum liquidum is the top listed ingredient and should be used sparingly. VERDICT: Keep. 

  9. SKYN Iceland's Berry Lip Fix is a nice, textured gloss that I throw on over a lip that needs to be revived mid-day. It scores as a moderate hazard on the Database, largely because of the fragrance, which can be a big allergy issue. VERDICT: Keep, but be aware!


It’s Not Easy Being Green:

Going clean isn't an overnight process, and it’s not always easy to let go of our favorite nasties –– but I’m on my clean cosmetics journey now, and looking forward to kicking lots of dirty habits (and lip colors) to the curb. Hmmm…what should I get rid of next?

beautyJessica Tholmer