Green beauty: lip products be made as safe as food?

Do you wear any lip products? For some, lip products are a must either for beautifying or medical reasons. It can be a lip balm to soothe your cracked lips, or a pretty lip gloss/lipstick to freshen and brighten up your look. But because this particular cosmetic is applied on such a delicate area, where the skin is most permeable and there’s a high tendency to ingest whatever is applied on it, do you think it should be made 100% safe for consumption, just like food?

What’s in your average lip product?
The ingredient list of an average lip product is very long and truth be told, those names sounds like nothing edible to me at all. Some argue that a lip product is safe because it is made for the lips, but there is no government body that specially monitors the production process and the safety of each ingredient used. Would it be better if the lip product is a natural or organic one? I can’t say for sure. While it is said that an organic or natural brand of lip product is safer and somewhat better than a commercial branded one, there is no way of being sure unless we have a chemist and/or scientist to really prove it.

Do you make a conscious act of not eating your lip product?
Some ladies are more careful about not eating their lip product by wiping it off before their meals, or even using a straw when drinking. It may be a tad bit troublesome, but I feel it’s better than not making efforts to avoid eating it. It is said that an average woman eats 6 pounds of lipstick in their lifetime. This is not including those who diligently reapply their lip product the moment it wears off. I don’t believe we would be willing to take a bite off our lip products, so what makes it all right if we eat it in little amounts?

Would consumers feel safer?
Is it only reasonable, or is it plain paranoia speaking, if I were to suggest the safety of lip products be equivalent to that of the food we eat? I think it does make sense to some extent for a product that is applied on the lips and so easily consumed, be totally safe even if we were to consume large amounts of it in the long run. Such measures that involve testing for safety, however, will more or less increase the cost of production, and in turn increase the price of lip products. As long as it’s not too drastic an increase in price, I don’t think it will affect sales much, especially when compared to the prices some ladies are willing to fork out for high end products.

What’s your say?
I hope my stance on not consuming lip products won’t come across as an extremist one, as I am merely reminding ladies to be more careful when they have lip products on. There is no direct health risks involved in consuming lip products just yet, but these products are not made to be consumed in the first place either. And while it is quite a wide assumption that lip products won’t hurt you even if you eat it, why would you want to risk it?


  1. EcoBeauty says:

    I think I’ve never really paid attention because I used to never wear any lip product regularly (except for petroleum jelly at night) and when I started to, it was by the time I also decided to go green and be more conscious of what I apply on my skin. So I only started wearing lip balm day and night (no petroleum for me anymore :> ) about 3-4 years ago and the products I use certainly have edible ingredients. Sometimes, they even taste like real food lol.
    EcoBeauty last post is: Review & Giveaway: Dress made from Bamboo Fabric by Zhai Eco Collection!

  2. Alexandra says:

    I make it a point that anything that I apply on the lips should be as natural as possible. That is why I always pick pure shea butter or natural essential oil balms. Before I went organic/natural, I use petroleum jelly, which I thought was safe. But I have second thoughts when I got a taste of it when I drink my water. It was yuck-y!
    Alexandra last post is: Do you use feminine washes?

  3. Carrie says:

    Great post! I also agree that lip products should be made safe to ‘eat’, and hence now have turned to natural or organic lip products. I just cannot live without my lip balm as my lips get dehydrated very easily and need a lot of look after! I hardly lipsticks or lip gloss (Only on special occassions! Not even meetings at work :P) because I do not like the taste nor the mark left on my cup as I have to drink water regularly!! (Personally I think the straw could reduce the consumption of the lip product somewhat yet not 100%.) Though in saying that I did throw out a lip balm (which came along with the lip exfoliator) simply because it left strong aftertaste on my cup and it was just disgusting!! >0<

  4. Lisa says:

    I just bought a lanolin based lip balm, called Lanolips. I know lanolin comes from sheep. Is it okay to ingest?

  5. Jyoan says:

    Yes, I agree with you. I do make a conscious effort to not eat my lipstick. And I am very, very particular about the lipbalm I use in the day. I only use those non-organic ones overnight (even though I think I would still swallow lipbalm in my sleep).
    Jyoan last post is: Maybelline Jelly Glow

  6. Helz Nguyen says:

    It would be almost a perfect world if all lip products are made safe for us to consume. Most of us dont think about it much because the amount of lip product that we eat every day isnt much, but it does adds up over our life time. A while back I read about how the FDA found lead in lipsticks, most of them are popular brands too – do we actually need it in our cosmetic products?!
    Helz Nguyen last post is: MAC Hey, Sailor!

  7. stella says:

    this is not an unimportant issue, but we probably consume more transfat and other undesirable chemicals in our daily meals… i guess you can’t control everything and will just have to prioritize

  8. Lanie says:

    Hi Cassie,
    quoting you:
    Such measures that involve testing for safety, however, will more or less increase the cost of production, and in turn increase the price of lip products.

    My say:
    definitely agree that measures to test these products for safety should be established. actually HSA has some form of governance on this.. (e.g. which chemicals are allowed as an ingredient in cosmetic products).. however I think the measures are not stringent enough.. for example, they allow a lot of these chemicals to be added into the products in trace amounts (but what does trace amounts really mean?)..

    I’ve been muling about this for quite some time, so I wrote a review of the story of cosmetics in Singapore context..

    I even emailed HSA some questions that has been at the back of my head for some time.. no response yet…
    Lanie last post is: The Story of Cosmetics (Singapore Context) Part 1

  9. Lanie says:

    anyway, I only use lipstick and lip gloss from Jill Lowe ( a local organic product line). though am considering to make my own lip stain from beets (there are DIY recipes for this on you tube and in one of Dr. Hulda Clark’s books)… it will be a long time before the ideal scenario can come into fruition.. so I guess as consumers we just have to be extra vigilant in choosing our personal care products.
    Lanie last post is: The Story of Cosmetics (Singapore Context) Part 1

  10. Cassie says:

    If only there is a safe way to add edible chocolate to our lip balms.. :p
    Cassie last post is: Is the media still indirectly promoting smoking?

  11. Cassie says:

    I used to put petroleum jelly on my lips when they cracked too. But like you said, it tastes really yucky. After I started going organic and using only natural products, I’m horrified at how much petroleum jelly I used (and consumed) in the past.
    Cassie last post is: Is the media still indirectly promoting smoking?

  12. Cassie says:

    Wow.. You are really particular about the stains left by lip balms! I really hate how it stains cups too so I usually apply only after drinking and eating. :p
    Cassie last post is: Is the media still indirectly promoting smoking?

  13. Cassie says:

    It should be generally safe but because Lanolin comes from the oil on wool, it may sometimes contain pesticide residue, though some companies say their product don’t contain traces high enough to be dangerous. And some people are just allergic to this substance.
    Lanolin if consumed in large amounts at once though, can be dangerous and cause poisoning. But I believe for you to be poisoned by it, you have to consume quite a ridiculous amount of it, like a cup or a bowl of it at once. So it is ultimately your choice whether you would like to keep using it or not.
    Cassie last post is: Is the media still indirectly promoting smoking?

  14. Cassie says:

    I guess it’s good enough that in the day you make a conscious effort to not eat your lip products. ?
    Cassie last post is: Is the media still indirectly promoting smoking?

  15. Cassie says:

    Indeed it would be a near perfect world if all lip products are made safe for us to consume! Some companies claim that lead is a natural occurring mineral in the ingredients they use for lipsticks. It’s really hard to find products that are totally 100% safe huh?
    Cassie last post is: Is the media still indirectly promoting smoking?

  16. Cassie says:

    You’re right, we have to choose our poison these days.
    Cassie last post is: Is the media still indirectly promoting smoking?

  17. Cassie says:

    Like you, I believe the safety measures are not stringent enough. Do write a follow up post if you get a response regarding this issue though.
    Cassie last post is: Is the media still indirectly promoting smoking?

  18. Lanie says:


    HSA responded to my email…very lengthy.. I cut a portion of the email reply that is relevant to my original query about sunscreens..

    I am going to post the rest of their response.. later on… we can dissect it for discussion..

    Lanie last post is: HSA Response: The Story of Cosmetics (Singapore context) Part 2

  19. Hazel says:

    I only use organic lip balm. One that’s tinted. Hehe! I really love Pink Hibiscus from Human Heart Nature Philippines. Plus it’s sooo affordable!
    Hazel last post is: Review: Tony Moly Expert Triple BB Cream SPF45PA+++

  20. Cassie says:

    Ah.. I’ve never heard of that one but I’m glad it works for you. ? I keep forgetting to apply lip balms and eventually stopped being dependent on them.
    Cassie last post is: Is the media still indirectly promoting smoking?

  21. Lisa says:

    Hmmm, I guess I will use the rest of this tube and then I might try to buy one that is just beeswax based. Thank you for the information :).

  22. MarcieMom says:

    I noticed my lips getting darker though moister after using a lip balm for 4 days. I don’t wipe it off at night since I only apply once/twice in the day and figured by night time, it’d be gone. Anyone notices a similar lip darkener syndrome?
    MarcieMom last post is: Friday Dr Q&A with Dr Liew – Elimination Diet and Allergy Test

  23. Sesame says:

    MarcieMom: Is it the new lip balm you’ve won? Very very odd! I wonder if it’s due to increased blood circulation on the lips.

  24. TLE says:

    Try cocoa powder mixed glycerin or cocoa butter with beeswax ;))

  25. Jack Maggard says:

    Very informative. It is advisable to use safe lip products as most of the women uses it everyday.
    Jack Maggard last post is: Hello world!

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