The Makeup Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know This Safety Checklist!

Makeup products are part and parcel of our lives. From the basic stuff like moisturizers and sunscreens to highlighters, lipsticks, and contours, we need them all based on the occasion.

But how many of us ever considered the ingredients used in those items?

Besides, no products come with a tag promising to be completely harmless.

So it is up to you to ensure it. But how do you know if your makeup is safe?

Let’s talk about it and educate ourselves.

How To Know If Your Makeup Is Safe?

The article will illustrate a comprehensive guideline on how to know your makeup is safe, taking lead as an ingredient with possible adverse effects.

Public concerns about the presence of lead in cosmetics have come to light in the last 3 decades, often found in social platforms and news reports.

High consumption of lead is a serious health concern and can lead to hormonal imbalance, reduced fertility, language and behavior impairment, and other issues.

The following sections will cover what you should do regarding this to ensure your safety.

But note that you can apply it to other ingredients, i.e., paraben, talc, titanium dioxide, triclosan, and PAHs, which are known to be harmful to the human body.

Identifying The Possible Sources

Finding The Limit Set By The FDA

Although the FDA does not have full authority for cosmetics regulation, it regulates color additives.

Apart from some exceptions, it permits using lead in color additives up to 20 parts in each million and considers it safe.

It has a list of color additives with their permitted limits. You can look it up on its official website.

Saying No To Traditional Eye Products

Traditional eye products, e.g., surma, kajal, and kohl, are prohibited for use and sale in the USA because they contain large quantities of lead.

These products are considered threatening because of their connection to children suffering from lead poisoning.

Moreover, they have an import alert set by the FDA. That means the organization can seize them to ban sale and distribution.

Practicing Caution When Using Hair Dyes

Hair dyes, particularly the progressive ones that make the hair color darker, contain color additives that require the FDA’s approval.

Manufacturers use lead acetate in their products and are approved by the FDA to apply lead in higher concentrations than are usually permitted for other color additives.

According to the FDA, using the products externally will not be a problem.

That is why you find a label on them suggesting you use it only as intended and keep it away from children.

Being More Selective About Lipsticks

If you wonder which of your makeup should concern you the most, it has to be your lipstick.

The talk has been going on for years that they have lead that could make users vulnerable to different health problems.

After conducting massive research on the product, the FDA did not bother much with the results. But it found lead in each lipstick it tested.

I will talk more about it later in the discussion. However, know that the redder or darker your lipstick color is, the higher the quantity of lead it contains.

Finding Safe Makeup

I always advise buyers to check the ingredient list before purchasing it. But that may not work in the case of lead.

Your lipstick could have lead without having its name mentioned in the package. That is because it is not treated as an ingredient.

Manufacturers do not intentionally use it in the production.

Instead, they consider it a contaminant present in the pigments and materials’ trace amounts.

The FDA research I mentioned above was conducted in 2010 on 400 different cosmetic products. If that makes you worried, you can check out those products online.

Plus, many organizations working on the removal of toxic materials from makeup have databases and lists. You can look them up, too.

When searching for safe makeup, see if a brand is certified by B-corp or the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

That way, you can determine if a brand is ethically concerned about its customers.

Finally, you can contact the manufacturer directly to ask about lead and other toxins.

But note that if they did not mention it in the package, they will not disclose it to you over the phone. However, it is worth trying.

Understanding Before Reacting

Just like lead, you can find research on toxins like talc, paraben, and other materials. On one hand, the FDA does not seem bothered about them because consuming the toxins through makeup will not put your health at risk.

On the other hand, advocacy groups are against using toxic components regardless of their insignificance.

If this puts you in a dilemma, you should take matters into your own hands and consider doing the following things.

  • Use high-quality products from well-reputed brands only. Cheap products are more likely to have harmful ingredients.
  • Limit your use of cosmetics. If you have children, do not use makeup on their skin.
  • Reapply the products only when necessary. Do not do it more than 3 to 4 times a day.
  • In the case of lead, choose lighter shades of makeup as they contain lower amounts of lead.

How Do I Test A Product By Myself?

The first and most effective way to test a product for lead is to send it to a laboratory and have it tested by professionals. But that might not be within everyone’s capacity.

Another option is to buy a testing kit, which is often inaccurate. Some people try a DIY method by smearing their lipsticks on a neat surface to rub a piece of gold, silver, pewter, or copper on it.

If there is any lead, it will discolor that material with darker smears. This one, too, is not a completely accurate method.

What Are The Ingredients Restricted And Prohibited By The FDA?

The FDA does not test and approve cosmetics but has restricted and prohibited the use of certain ingredients in makeup. Find them from the table below. They will come in handy when you research a product.

Ingredient Name Use Potential Health Risks
Mercury Pigment remover Skin irritation, allergic reactions, and neurotoxic issues
Chloroform Solvent It might have a connection to cancer.
Bithionol Antibacterial Photo-contact sensitization
Sunscreens in makeup items Color additive It could be subject to the FDA’s regulations as a drug instead of a cosmetic item when not appropriately labeled.
Vinyl chloride Aerosol Cancer and other issues
Methylene chloride Aerosol Same as chloroform
Hexachlorophene Preservative Harmful effects on skin
Halogenated salicylanilides Antimicrobial Skin disorders
Cattle materials (cow fat) Collagen, texture It can cause Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), AKA mad cow disease.
Zirconium-containing complexes Aerosol Granulomas in the skin

Final Words

So, how to know if your makeup is safe? Unfortunately, there is no definite way to confirm that. Sometimes, manufacturers are not bound to disclose everything.

However, millions of people are putting on makeup every day. That essentially validates the FDA’s claim that there is nothing to be concerned about. As for you, you can make healthy decisions to ensure your safety.

Learn more about the ingredients and join the advocacy groups. They promote brands that provide safe products. Besides, try to reduce your use of makeup altogether.

This decision alone will yield more sustainable results for you.

Now that you know how to find out if your makeup is safe or not, find out Is Sheglam makeup safe? and Is Temu makeup safe?


My name is Maria and I am a beauty blogger and writer. I am passionate about all things beauty, from skincare to makeup. On my blog, I share product reviews, tips, and tricks to help others feel confident and beautiful in their own skin. I strive to create a positive and inclusive space for everyone. Join me on my journey as I discover my unique beauty brand and share it with you.