Why Vegan and Cruelty-Free Lipstick Is Not Enough (Part 1)

Your Lipstick may be vegan or cruelty-free but it still contains toxic dyes and questionable chemicals that can be a danger to your health.

Warning Signs

If a lipstick claims to be waterproof, smudge-proof, or lasts all-day, there may be questionable chemicals within the ingredients to add these components to the lipstick. What’s more, even if a lipstick is vegan or cruelty-free that does not mean it contains all non-toxic ingredients. Below are some of the toxic ingredients you may find in vegan or cruelty-free lipsticks.

D&C FD&C Dyes

Otherwise known as lake colorants, D&C or FD&C are synthetic dyes that add red, yellow, and blue colors to your lipstick. You may see them listed like this on the ingredient list:

  • D&C Red #30 (CI 73360)
  • FD&C Yellow #6 (CI 15985)
  • FD&C Blue #1 (CI 42090)

These dyes are often added to lipsticks because of their staying power; they are able to more readily resist water and can help create waterproof lipstick or lipstick that lasts all-day. The problem with these synthetic dyes is that they contain toxic metals like aluminum and tin oxide which when ingested by licking your lips go into your bloodstream. Once inside the body these metals cause stress on your body’s cells. Our bodies are not meant to intake such a large amount of trace metals.

Manganese Violet

Manganese Violet (manganese ammonium pyrophosphate) is a powdered pigment found in most lipsticks for its purplish, shiny color. While Manganese is a naturally occurring mineral in the Earth’s soil, the Manganese Violet found in cosmetic presents a health issue.
“Although low levels of manganese intake are necessary for human health, exposures to high manganese levels are toxic” (Source).

Although the reports of Manganese Violet having adverse effects on human health have to do with the pigment being inhaled, studies “collectively suggest that ingestion of water and/or foodstuffs containing increased concentrations of manganese may result in adverse neurological effects.” This means that whether you have Manganese Violet in your eyeshadow (a powder which can be inhaled) or in your lipstick (which is ingested when you eat or drink), this chemical poses a health risk.

Flavor/Aroma or Fragrance

If you see this on the lipstick ingredient list, run the other way. Flavor, aroma or otherwise known as fragrance is not regulated by the FDA. This means it can contain anything. That’s right, any chemical can be hidden under the word “fragrance.” Fragrance is an inexpensive way to add a pleasing smell or taste to lipstick. Instead of using an essential oil, which costs more, lipsticks contain an aroma or flavor additive that can be unsafe to ingest regularly.


Studies about the dangers of inhaling baby powders and eye shadows containing talc with carcinogen asbestos came out in International Agency for Research on Cancer and the 2014 FDA. Talc. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Asbestos are “a mineral substance that can be linked to cancer… The only way for consumers to know if products are free of asbestos is if manufacturers use talc that is tested and certified as asbestos-free. However… this approach is not foolproof” So if talc is a danger to inhale and causes adverse effects just from smelling it, imagine ingesting it in your lipstick!

All these ingredients can be found in several Vegan or Cruelty-free lipsticks. The issue is that a lipstick can be vegan (does not use beeswax) and cruelty-free (does not test on animals) and still be completely toxic and a danger to your health. You deserve more; demand more from your lipstick.

These are the reasons I decided against using toxic ingredients in lipstick for my lipstick. We use our organic ingredients but without all of potentially toxic additives.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our series Why Vegan and Cruelty-Free Lipstick Is Not Enough where we will discuss other danger chemicals like Tin Oxide, Dimethicone, and more.

No comments