Is Lipstick Edible?

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Lipstick is an essential part of many women’s makeup looks. Even if the woman does not use any other cosmetics, she makes sure to apply color to her lips as it instantly enhances her appearance. 

The popular appeal of lipstick isn’t just for its enhancing properties; it also serves as a protective layer to prevent chapped lips. There are also lipsticks with sun protection factors (SPF) that protect against the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays.

So is lipstick edible? Well no matter what, you’re always ingesting some of it. But… we’ll discuss it below!


What Is Lipstick Made Of?

Products differ in their ingredient lists, but typical lipsticks may contain synthetic dyes. In addition, heavy metals, such as lead, are sometimes found in some lipsticks. That said, they should not have lead over 10ppm if they are not a knock-off, or made in an unregulated way.

See this article from the FDA for further details on lead in lipstick.

If the sound of lead in your favorite lipstick is enough to make you cringe, then it’s time for a clean-out.

There are many natural and organic lipsticks without all the nasties like lead and metal. 

In addition, heavy metals, such as lead, are sometimes found in some lipsticks. That said, they should not have lead over 10ppm if they are not a knock-off, or made in an unregulated way.

Heavy metals

Lipstick could have lead, a neurotoxin, and can cause kidney damage and high blood pressure. In 32 lipstick samples, manganese and cadmium were found.

These are toxic metals that cause cancer cells to multiply.


Many lipsticks use red, green, and yellow artificial dyes. These have been linked to hyperactivity, immune system problems, and bladder cancer.


Tallow, an animal fat created by boiling carcasses, is used to make lipstick. There are also mineral oils and petroleum found in lipsticks. Unfortunately, many have been found to contain palm oil, a nasty carcinogen oil that you should steer clear of.

Long ago, lipstick was made with ambergris from sperm whales (note: not whale sperm!), but it is essentially no longer made with any ambergris.

Is Lipstick Edible and Safe to Consume?

Unfortunately, it turns out that lipsticks are toxic and contain chemicals and metals that are not safe to consume.

When we re-apply lipstick over the course of the day, we are consuming a small amount of poison each time.

But the dose makes the poison.

But the dose makes the poison.

While it might seem like a little bit, those toxins could build up over time. Our body is skin that absorbs whatever you put on it — this includes lipstick.

There is nothing to worry about if you use lipstick regularly as intended, and it’s high-quality lipstick. But if you’re unintentionally (or intentionally!) consuming way too much, that’s not good.

How Can Lipstick Harm the Body?

Ingesting even small amounts of lead from lipstick can have serious health effects. The toxin nature of lead makes it harmful to kidneys, hearts, brains, bones, and digestion. Aluminum, another quite toxic metal, can also have damaging effects on the body since it can act as a neurotoxin, which can damage the nervous system and the brain.

Is this a sign that you might have to give up wearing lipstick altogether?

In all honesty, no.

Choose healthier lipsticks formulated to last longer on your lips, so you won’t need to re-apply as often. However, to be safe, you should avoid lip products made with toxic ingredients. 

Are There Lipsticks That Are Safe to Consume?

Yes! This is where natural and organic products come into play. Some companies use natural pigments in their lipsticks. Fruits and vegetables are used to create a natural color, flavor, and vitamin-rich lipstick. 

For example, BareMinerals is a great brand at the forefront of this.

bareMinerals Mineralist Hydra-Smoothing Lipstick for Women, Satin Finish, Full Coverage Lip Stick, Lightweight Hydrating Lipstick, Long Lasting, Vegan
  • Packed with minerals, vitamins, and...
  • Intensifies Color For Maximum Impact In...
  • Help Seal In Moisture For Smoother,...
  • A Clean, Mineral-infused, Vegan Lipstick...
  • With Less Dryness And Visible Lip Lines,...

The good thing is that you are getting everything possible out of the fruits and vegetables, making them eco-friendly and healthier for your body. It is best to steer clear of cheap lipsticks and those found in little corner shops, as they are often filled with toxic fillers.

It would be best if you bought lipsticks from reputable companies with the ingredients listed on the package.

Most of us don’t pick up a whole lipstick and bite a big chunk off and eat it! If you were doing this, you would indeed be seeing side effects.

But that constant daily reapplication and consumption of small amounts… it’s concerning.

Overall, lipsticks can last some people for months, so that amount probably won’t cause too much harm. After all, you are only applying a smear top and bottom a few times a day.

What Ingredients Are Safe for Lips?

Look for lipsticks that contain beeswax, which helps retain moisture and natural fruit ingredients that often contain anti-inflammatory properties. Castor seed oil is another good ingredient to look out for as it is a free radical-fighting antioxidant.

Furthermore, one ingredient you are likely to know is vitamin E. Vitamin E is a natural preservative that heals the lips with antioxidant power. Finding lipstick with these ingredients is a good starting point for quality and safe lipstick. 

How Much Lead Is in Lipstick

400 lipsticks were tested and found the lead levels were sitting at 0.026 ppm. While these levels are nothing serious, you should think about how many times a day a month and a year you apply lipstick. For comparison, the lead that is found in sweets is 0.1ppm. Some lipsticks actually had higher concentrations of aluminum than lead. 

Each person eats around 24mg of lipstick each day which builds up in the system over time. While it is believed we ingest more lead and metal from other sources such as water, soil, paint chips, and food, it is still something to think about.

As mentioned above, this article from the FDA is an excellent jumping-off point.

Why You Should Choose a Natural Lipstick

 Everyone wants to own lipstick. However, natural elements are perceived to be less effective than traditional elements and will not last as long. Raw materials are as powerful as conventional elements.

The natural elements in liquid lipstick make it the best choice for moisturizing your lips while preventing any irritation resulting from the harmful ingredients in traditional lipsticks. 

Rather than using conventional lipstick, consider switching to natural lipsticks since they are made of natural oils, earth minerals, and plant waxes. Natural lipsticks feed the lips keeping them smooth, plump, and hydrated.  


Is this an indication you should give up wearing lipstick? Not the case. When you select smudge-proof, paraben-free lipsticks that stay on the lips for longer durations, you can safely continue wearing them.

However, it’s best to check the ingredients and avoid lipsticks containing lead or other toxic ingredients. 

There are plenty of healthier options out there waiting to be found. If you are going out for the night or have a work interview, don’t hesitate to put some color on, pucker up, and enjoy the confidence boost.

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).