More on Lead In Lipsticks

Even More Info for You on This Issue

From MKC:

“Q: Does Mary Kay use lead in lipsticks?

A: No. Mary Kay does not use lead in lipstick. The ingredients that Mary Kay uses meet or exceed all requirements for cosmetic ingredients. All colorants used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in the United States must meet stringent FDA (Food and Drug Administration) guidelines. Further, Mary Kay performs thorough, ongoing reviews of its products and ingredients and works closely with its suppliers to ensure the safety of all ingredients. Mary Kay steadfastly stands behind the quality and safety of its entire product line and has been a recognized leader in the area of product and ingredient safety for many years.”

According to the FDA website , lead is not even a prohibited ingredient or restricted ingredient in the cosmetics industry, and each company is required to do it’s own testing to ensure it is safe for consumers. If the product is not adequately tested for safety, it must bear the label “Warning–The safety of this product has not been determined”. They do, however, inspect the manufacturing plants to ensure safe products. They do not test products themselves for fear it will cause a conflict of interest.

More from the FDA on the history of cosmetics regulation can be found here.

Still, consumers may be wondering if there is anything to the “lead in lipstick” myth. I still like Anon’s lipstick e-mail. MKC very clearly says, “Mary Kay does not use lead in lipstick”. Well, that is not test results, but it is a very precise statement and is good enough for me. While the FDA does not regulate the use of lead in cosmetics, it is nice to know that MKC does.

This article comes from and is what brings up the issue of lead in lipsticks to begin with.

Group: Lipsticks test positive for lead

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reports it found lead in top brands including L’Oréal, Cover Girl and Christian Dior. By Jessica Dickler, staff writer

October 12 2007: 3:39 PM EDT

NEW YORK ( — A significant proportion of lipstick manufactured in the United States and used by millions of American women contains surprisingly high levels of lead, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics said Thursday.

According to new product tests, 61 percent of brand-name lipsticks tested contained detectable levels of lead, which can be toxic if ingested.

The top brands testing positive for lead included L’Oréal Colour Riche “True Red,” L’Oréal Colour Riche “Classic Wine,” Cover Girl Incredifull Lipcolor “Maximum Red” and Dior Addict “Positive Red,” the group said.

The FDA said it is aware of concerns about lead in lipstick and is following up on the report, a spokeswoman said.

“These concerns have not generally been supported by FDA’s own analysis of products on the market,” the spokeswoman said. “In the present case, we are looking into the specific details of the issues raised.”

Federal regulation covers lead levels in lipstick coloring, she said.

An industry representative said the products tested by the CSC meet FDA standards.

“The FDA has set daily safe levels for lead exposure for adults, children and pregnant women,” said John Bailey, the executive vice president for the Science Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association, a trade group representing the cosmetics industry. “The agency also has set strict limits for lead levels allowed in the colors used in lipsticks.”

In a statement, L’Oréal Group said it “is committed to upholding the highest standards of safety for all the products it makes and sells. Each and every ingredient used in our products has been thoroughly reviewed and tested by our internal safety team.”

Procter & Gamble (Charts, Fortune 500), the company that owns Cover Girl, said it follows a “very rigorous scientific process” in evaluating its products and the ingredients used to make them.

“P&G stands behind the safety of our products because of the standards we set and the rigid requirements imposed by our industry,” the company said.

A spokeswoman for Christian Dior cosmetics was not available for comment.

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, one-third of the tested lipsticks exceeded the FDA’s limit for lead in candy – a standard established to protect children from directly ingesting lead. Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure.

“Lead builds up in the body over time and lead-containing lipstick applied several times a day, every day, can add up to significant exposure levels. The latest studies show there is no safe level of lead exposure,” Mark Mitchell, M.D., president of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice said in the CSC statement.

The lead tests were conducted by an independent laboratory over the month of September on red lipsticks bought in Boston, Hartford, Conn., San Francisco and Minneapolis, according to the CSC.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, established in 2002, is made up of women’s, public health, labor, environmental health and consumer-rights groups including the Breast Cancer Fund, Clean Water Fund and National Environmental Trust.



Filed under Day to Day MK, FAQ's, Helpful Articles, News from MKC, Products, Real life answers

9 responses to “More on Lead In Lipsticks

  1. Hey! I called MKC this morning and this is what I learned:

    – MKC is aware of the recent news media surrounding this topic over the past few weeks.

    – Lead is a natural ingredient found everywhere–including in drinking water and the air. It is very possible there is lead content in MK lipstick, however, there are acceptable amounts.

    – Mary Kay hires toxicologists to evaluate the lead levels in its products and to ensure they are in compliance with FDA and EPA guidelines.

    – Currently, MK Lipsticks exceed the FDA guidelines for lead content; meaning the levels fall far below the allowable content (lead content is very low in MK lipstick and can be deemed safe).

    – When speaking with your customers, assure them that Mary Kay, Inc. holds its customers’ health and safety in high regard and do all things possible to provide a safe product to the public.

    Hope this helps!

  2. anonymous

    Before I sent out the email I wrote that’s in the other post on lead in lipsticks, I called MKC Medical Relations and they told me that there is no lead in our lipsticks. Period. I talked to them at length about the news reports (and they knew about them) and they were adamant about no lead in our lipsticks. And that conversation formed the basis for my email. That and MKCs Product Promise.

    I’m surprised that Shades was given what seems to be drastically different information than I was given.

  3. Ok, what I have heard in the past from my director is that the only lead in our lipsticks is what is deposited from the surrounding air. So perhaps the reason for the different responses is that yes, there is lead in the lipstick, but no, MKC does not PUT lead in them. That makes sense to me.

  4. I don’t think it’s possible to state there is NO lead because lead is a natural occurring element in the air and water. So, what they told me is that it is possible for the lipstick to contain lead, however, the amounts that have been detected are easily within the FDA and EPA guidelines.

    MK Rules is probably making a good assumption that yes, there is lead and no, there is no additional lead. Plus, MK hires professionals to regulate and monitor the content to ensure the products are 100% safe for consumers.

  5. Well in the above MKC statement, it says they do not USE lead, not there is NO lead. So I dunno, I thought that was close to being the same thing?

  6. I think so. The woman I talked to didn’t say there is or isn’t lead. What she said was, “lead is a natural ingredient. It is possible the lipstick may contain lead because it is a natural ingredient and is found in tap water and the air we breathe.”

    I was talking to my husband about this whole thing and he said it’s all media hype anyway. He said if we made it through the 1970’s, we shouldn’t be too worried about cosmetics today. He said the media is running out of new things to talk about so they resort to this stuff. I have to say I agree with him just a little bit. 😉

  7. Hey I have even more light to shed on this. MKC left a message in response to my email (yea, I called AND emailed). This response said the following:

    – There is no lead added to MK products. The FDA does not allow the addition of lead to any product, however, lead occurs naturally in water and, therefore, there can be traces of lead found in anything made with natural ingredients. It is not an added ingredient, so lead is not listed as an ingredient. 😉

    So, MK Rules, you are 100% CORRECT! 😀 No lead is added, but it’s near impossible to avoid having it in there.

  8. Ok well there you have it. Thanks, Shades, for “the rest of the story”.

  9. lastoneoutdude

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