Happy Mother’s Day! In honor of all mothers of all ages, I thought this month we could foray into the topic of makeup. With so many different styles of makeup, I have decided to focus on the little gem of lipstick.

There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there so I’ll be gentle, as I am aware that some of you love your lipstick and are not ready to toss them out! It is all about knowledge leading to understanding leading to change.

Ancient Sumerian men and women were possibly the first to invent and wear lipstick about 5,000 years ago. They crushed gemstones and used them to decorate their faces, mainly on the lips and around the eyes. Also, Egyptians including Cleopatra crushed bugs to create a red color on their lips (Wikipedia). Interesting, as that means the first lipsticks were naturally chemical free! Wonder if they were ladybugs?

Lips are known to be sensitive and to absorb anything on them. Maybe you have heard some “facts” about how many pounds of lipstick a woman supposedly ingests in her lifetime. Usually these claims are exaggerated, but it’s true that we do ingest a majority of the ingredients. Cosmetics are regulated loosely in general, but the FDA does a good job in labeling of colorants. That has been a main concern when it comes to lipsticks (and glosses, lip pencils, lip crayons, etc) and as long as the item is marked clearly, you can feel confident about your choices there.

The good news is that there are a lot of brands now that have created effective lipsticks using safe ingredients! Here are safer ingredients: 

1). Organic waxes, oils and plant butters (such as beeswax, candelilla wax (vegan alternative to beeswax), carnauba wax, cocoa butter, mango seed butter, Shea butter, avocado butter and coconut oil).

2). Organic caster seed oil.

3). Safe antioxidants and preservatives (such as rosemary extract, elderberry extract, neem oil, pure tocopherols (vitamin E), and jojoba esters).

4). Straight-forward flavoring and aroma ingredients.

There are a lot of brands that use these ingredients that really deliver. A few brands to look into are: RMS Beauty, Ilia, Axiology Lipstick, Honest Beauty and Jane Iredale.


— Sara Lemons Vaules is the founder of Lemon and Light, which offers consulting, products and strategies for moving with ease into an organic, chemical-free lifestyle.