Does Lipstick Ruin Your Lips? Is There a Better Way to Get That Color?

Beautiful asian woman holding red lipstick and applying it
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A lot of us love applying lipsticks. We know they add a dash of glamor to any woman’s personality. Some women say that lipsticks make them feel more beautiful and brave, and colored lips help them nail a certain look. 

There have even been scientific studies that say that women feel more confident when putting on lipstick. It’s been used for a long time! Most of these women tend to have two types of lipstick; one for the special one-of-a-kind situations and one that they usually apply on an everyday basis. 

But does lipstick ruin your lips? How exactly does lipstick affect your lips over time? What are some of the drawbacks that come with using it too much?

Read on for a look at the impacts of lipstick.


Does Lipstick Ruin Your Lips? What Are the Negatives of Using Lipstick?

Putting on lipstick may have adverse side effects on your lips because of the preservations and pigments found on them.

The following are some of the downsides of using lipstick, both for your lips, your health, and the environment:

1. Some Lipsticks Have Lead 

Applying lipstick a couple of times a day can result in heavy metal exposure over the long term. Yes, there’s still at least some lead to be found in many lipsticks.

There have even been scientific results that say that lipstick has lead, a harmful neurotoxin that causes damage to the nervous system. The FDA limits those levels, but they’re not zero. And if you accidentally get a knockoff, who knows what’s in those!

It is a well-known fact that lead is a problem; it is used not just in lipstick but also in toys, paints, and batteries. Ingesting lead causes several problems in everyone but especially children.

It is also disturbing that very few lipsticks are free of lead.

It is also disturbing that very few lipsticks are free of lead.

2. It Dries Out the Lips 

If dry skin comes naturally to you, especially in winter, then lipstick might not be for you. Chemicals found in lipsticks tend to drain moisture from your lipstick.

This is why your lips often look chapped if you wear lipsticks all day long — especially the cheap ones with chemicals that pull the moisture from the lips.

3. Harmful to the Environment 

Most lipsticks contain harmful and toxic petrochemicals to both the environment and us. It is a rising concern how many chemicals there are in lipstick. These chemicals hinder our development, reproduction, intelligence, and growth. 

Chemicals like Formaldehyde, commonly used as preservatives, are a carcinogen that can result in skin irritation, breathlessness, and coughing. In addition, chromium sometimes can be found in lipsticks and is associated with stomach tumors.

Some of these chemicals do not just get into our bodies when we swallow them; they do so by being absorbed through the skin directly. There was a time when lipsticks used to be known for being poisonous, and even the term “‘kiss of death” was based on this. 

Lipsticks do not just cause harm to our bodies when we wear them; they can also cause harm when we take them off. Whenever you wash your face when cleaning off the makeup, some lipstick particles go down the drain and eventually find their way to a water source.

Plastic accumulates in the ocean and takes a long time to biodegrade.

How Can You Be Careful With Lipstick?

If you use lipsticks less frequently, you might be fine in a long while. You should, however, always be cautious; look out for flaking, peeling lips, blackness, irritation, or rashes, as this might indicate that it is time to stop using your product.

You need to be aware and careful of the ingredients in your lipstick. Anything with many parabens, stabilizers, and chemicals should be considered carcinogenic.

However, a lot of brands find them helpful in stabilizing long-time shades.

So what should you do? 

You need to be aware and careful of the ingredients in your lipstick. Anything with many parabens, stabilizers, and chemicals should be considered carcinogenic.

The good thing is that healthy and mindful habits can reverse most of the damage usually caused by cosmetics.


You can take precautions by applying a moisturizer as a first layer. This serves as a barrier and helps minimize the chemical’s harmful effects. Your awareness of what lipstick you are using is the most important thing. 

Avoid Retouching Needlessly

When picking lipsticks, pick ones that can come off quickly and avoid retouching repeatedly. Lead builds up over a long time in your body when you use lipstick frequently. And if you are not aware, the shade you are using might just be killing you.

So ensure you apply a base before applying lipstick and use it in moderation.

The following are a few things you can do to lessen the effects that come with using lipstick:

  • Stop applying lipstick more than two times a day
  • Avoid licking lips
  • Stay off dark or matte shades. As often the darker it is, the more toxic it is
  • Use tinted lip balms. Tinted lip balms add color to your lips without the chemicals, and if you want to lessen the damage even more, choose the ones without fragrance.

Be Aware of Knockoffs

Knockoffs are always a problem when it comes to makeup. There’s a lot of money to be made from counterfeit production and marketing. But when it comes to makeup that you ingest at least some of (like lipstick) you really need to know that you’re not using a knockoff.

Buy from reputable vendors, and if you’re on Amazon, pay attention to the amazon brand you’re buying from. At least reputable vendors are following FDA guidelines and are testing for quality.

Home Remedies You Can Opt For

You can also use home remedies to your advantage. For example, if you are a user of matte lipsticks, you might have noticed they tend to soak the moisture from your lips.

It’s much worse if you wear it for long periods during the day. 

Milk Cream

You can solve this problem by applying natural moisturizing agents like milk cream, which will help restore suppleness on your lips. You can do this every night for maximum results.

Milk cream also works surprisingly well if you have dark lips and want to restore your natural lip color.

Sugar Exfoliation

You can also exfoliate your lips. The same way you exfoliate your face with a scrub to remove dead skin cells, you can also remove them from your lips. However, for the lips, don’t use scrubs made with chemicals you can accidentally ingest; instead, a suitable option is brown sugar. 

First, get some brown sugar granules and mix them with a drop of honey. Then, in circular motions, apply it to your lips; this will help keep them healthy and eliminate dead cells. After cleaning yourself with lukewarm water, apply a round-off lip balm. If you want soft lips, repeat this process at least once weekly.

Use Food like Beet and Pomegranate for Color

Some people use lipstick to get the tint; if this is you, we have a healthy solution for you. To add color to your lips, you can use beetroot or pomegranate. For beetroot, cut it into a small slice and rub it on your lips; this will give you the deep pink you are looking for. 

If you prefer pomegranate, crush a few grains into juice, then apply them to your lips. The bright side to this method is that when you lick your lips, you will not be ingesting lead or any other harmful chemicals.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).