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My lipstick has WHAT in it?

Arabian goggles aside, I was thinking in particular of the nasty things women put on their faces in the pursuit of beauty. Because it is more chemistry than I care to explain, I’ll leave off ranting about all the harsh anal bleaches, lead in lipstick and glycols and just stick to the organic compounds. What kind of gross things are in your face cream? Well here is a short list:

1) placenta  Another anti-aging treatment,  injectable as well as topical. Also part of the “ayurveda” bandwagon claiming superior benefits for the user.

2) animal protein  Ah- remember the days when companies used to brag that their products were more packed with animal bits than the next one? These are obtained by boiling  or rendering skins, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones with water. Seems relatively benign compared to some of the toxic chemicals used.

3) ground up rooster combs Products that contain “hyaluronic acid” tout their ability to plump up wrinkles from deep under the skin. This acid is derived from processing the combs of roosters, like poor Frisbie (see   gratuitous photo of my lovely cock at left) 

4) Ground up female beetles (70,000 cochineal beetles must be killed to produce one pound of this red dye which is used in coloring lipstick to lollipops)

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has no authority to require pre-market safety assessment as it does with drugs, so cosmetics are among the least-regulated products on the market. The FDA does not review – nor does it have the authority to regulate – what goes into cosmetics before they are marketed for salon use and consumer use. In fact, 89 percent of all ingredients in cosmetics have not been evaluated for safety by any publicly accountable institution.

Ironically, most consumers believe the U.S. government regulates the cosmetics industry the same way it regulates food and drugs sold in this country to make sure they’re safe. The truth is, no one’s minding the store when it comes to shampoo, skin moisturizers, baby products, lipstick or any other personal care product.

From the FDA website:

“FDA’s legal authority over cosmetics is different from other products regulated by the agency …. Cosmetic products and ingredients are not subject to FDA premarket approval authority, with the exception of color additives.”

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), the industry’s self-policing safety panel, falls far short of compensating for the lack of FDA oversight. According to its Web site, the CIR “thoroughly reviews and assesses the safety of ingredients used in cosmetics in an open, unbiased, and expert manner, and publishes the results in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.”

Yet in its more than 30-year history, the CIR has reviewed the safety of only 11 percent of the ingredients used to formulate personal care products, and through June of 2008 has found only nine ingredients to be unsafe for use in cosmetics.This panel operates in a vacuum of guidance from FDA when it comes to the safety of personal care products. Words on labels like “natural,” “safe” and “pure” have no definition in law and no relationship to the hazard inside the packaging. Acceptable levels of risk are entirely at this panel’s discretion.”

We all know how corporations  aren’t really interested in anything but their bottom line. Unless consumers like you and me threaten to boycott a dangerous product things are not going to change.  Since there really is no watchdog agency, very little regulation has been going on except the industry’s own.

Independent consumer groups DO exist that monitor the chemicals in these products, because well- the government doesn’t or can’t and the industries will do whatever they can get away with.

Skin Deep names and rates products according to how free of dangerous chemicals they are.

This site lists chemicals and their toxic effects, as well as the type of products they are used in.

If you want to really find out what else (and worse) things are in your cosmetic products, (cream, aftershave, shampoo, etc) watch this film!

If you want to lose all faith in the decency and intelligence of the consumers that demand (and deserve) such products, watch THIS film!

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Posted by on July 30, 2010. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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15 Responses to My lipstick has WHAT in it?

  1. lazersedge Reply

    July 31, 2010 at 1:53 am

    I hate seem so uninformed here but(t), pun intended, I would have never thought of this.

    • Mother Hen Reply

      July 31, 2010 at 8:46 am

      You mean you’ve never contemplated a holy luminous glowing taint of ethereal whiteness?

      Neither have I.

  2. MadMike Reply

    July 31, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Fun stuff happening here! By the way who the f*ck is Perry? Not that there is anything wrong with being Perry. All kidding aside Perry you are welcome anytime and I hope you come again.

    • Perry Reply

      August 2, 2010 at 8:00 am

      Perry = the most famous cosmetic chemist (at least according to Google)

  3. Pingback: My lipstick has WHAT in it? « RattleBaby.com

  4. Mother Hen Reply

    July 30, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Actually my post was more about what is gross in cosmetics rather than what is harmful, not that there isn’t plenty of both. We already carry more toxins in our body than is good for us, many of which is due to using things that we could avoid, (or just find a less toxic version of it.)

    I know there is a lot of scaremongering, but there is also very little regulation. Time and again we have seen what happens when industries are left to police themselves.

    The thing is, most of the stuff used has NOT been assessed for its safe inclusion in everyday products which could have cumulative effects. I’m not really afraid of rooster combs harming me, but lead? There is NO safe lead exposure amount.

    Wouldn’t it just be easier to demand a little more regulation- especially for children’s products, and be more choosy about what we poison ourselves with in the name of beauty. (Anal bleaching? Seriously?)

    • Perry Reply

      August 2, 2010 at 7:57 am

      @Mother Hen – guess I don’t find those things as gross as you. Although there are a bunch of other weird ingredients in cosmetics.

      I would disagree that “There is NO safe lead exposure”. In fact, a safe level of lead exposure has been determined. The EPA allows up to 15 ppb of lead in drinking water. The FDA allows 100 ppb of lead in candy.

      The dose makes the poison.

      This is the problem with more regulations however. Who decides what is a safe level of a toxin? Are you ok with the government telling companies they are allowed to put 100 ppb of lead in candy or cosmetics?

  5. Jess Reply

    July 30, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Hemp oil lipstick/gloss. ONLY way to go IMO.

  6. Pingback: Tweets that mention My lipstick has WHAT in it? -- Topsy.com

  7. Randal Graves Reply

    July 30, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Like none of you would get an anal bleach if offered.

  8. Perry Reply

    July 30, 2010 at 9:40 am

    I’ve formulated for big cosmetic companies. They are not interested in harming people for the sake of profit. Everything is tested and prove to be safe before being marketed. Do you really think that corporations would risk being sued over products that harm people?

    The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a fearmongering group who doesn’t base any of their information on science.

    See what scientists (who don’t work for industry) think about the toxicity of cosmetics.

    No need to fear lipstick, shampoo or any other cosmetic.

    • Krell Reply

      July 30, 2010 at 11:01 am

      Astroturfing denotes political, advertising, or public relations campaigns that are formally planned by an organization, but are disguised as spontaneous, popular “grassroots” behavior. The term refers to AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass.

      The goal of such campaigns is to disguise the efforts of a political or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to some political entity—a politician, political group, product, service or event. Astroturfers attempt to orchestrate the actions of apparently diverse and geographically distributed individuals, by both overt (“outreach”, “awareness”, etc.) and covert (disinformation) means.

      The Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) touts itself as a “non-profit, non-partisan organization” but its funders are not transparent. It is an arm, or “sister organization,” of the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA).

      STATS promotes itself as a disinterested, non-partisan guardian of scientific and statistical integrity to often unsuspecting media outlets. It has been surprisingly successful in this guise, with many persons and organizations citing STATS (especially, its stats.org web site), for example, the University of Iowa’s Journalism school[1] and the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point[2] as an authoritative or useful resource.

      From its inception, however, STATS has repeatedly attacked environmentalists, civil libertarians, feminists and other “liberals.” The first director of STATS, David Murray, was not a statistician at all. His academic training was in anthropology, but he was often described in the media as a “statistician” when he commented on various topics.


      This is a prime example of the sophistication of PR awareness and manipulation. The best defense is to be informed!

      • Perry Reply

        July 30, 2010 at 11:17 am

        Alright, you don’t accept information from STATS, that’s fair enough. The same suspicions can be raised about the EWG.

        But why don’t you find out what scientists are actually saying?
        Why do you automatically accept what non-scientific groups like the EWG or the CFSC have to say?

        Are you only skeptical of groups you disagree with?

        Is what you want to believe more important than what’s really true?

  9. Teeluck Reply

    July 30, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Loved this post, and you gave me the ammo to show the Wifey and confrontational, smart, independent teenaged, now has her learner’s permit daughter…did I mention Genius?? (Like her Dad) lol

  10. Tim Waters Reply

    July 29, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Sounds delicious. Actually I don’t care but I will say this, somebody thought of all that stuff to experiment with. What kind of sick mind come up with that stuff…

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