Red Hot + Clean Lipsticks

The average woman consumes around 4-9 pounds of lipstick over her lifetime. That's quite the cocktail of toxic chemicals, heavy metals and microplastics. Clean up your mouth and your beauty routine with these non-toxic and cruelty-free red lipsticks.

Red non-toxic lipstick
RMS in Rapture. © Plant-Terra

I love nothing more than a bold, bright red pout. Red lipstick can pull together a look, taking you from femme fatale, lady boss to rock ’n’ roll bad-ass bitch. Scarlet lips can symbolise power, confidence and independence (as it did for the suffragettes in the early 20th century), or glamour and seduction (the silver screen is littered with red pouted sirens). Red lipstick is the beauty equivalent of the little black dress—a staple that can be whipped out for every occasion, and one that has weathered time.

But, many conventional lipsticks contain worrying levels of toxic chemicals and heavy metals, from cadmium; chromium; parabens; lead; oxybenzone; petrochemicals; the preservative butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), which the US Department of Health and Human Services says is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen"; and even dyes like D&C Red 22 Aluminum Lake, which has raised concerns because some research has linked exposure to nervous system damage. Because the cosmetics industry is largely unregulated, beauty companies can put all sorts of ingredients in their products that aren’t great for our health or the planet, and sex it up with seductive marketing campaigns. When you consider that the average woman consumes 4-9 pounds of lipstick over a lifetime, a clean lipstick swap sounds like a pretty good 2020 resolution. 

Add plastic to this toxic mix too, and I don’t mean just the lipstick case, although with an estimated 1 billion plastic lipstick containers thrown out every year worldwide we do need to kick the plastic habit. Some of the most popular lipsticks contain polyethylene—found in plastic packaging—as its third ingredient, which means it makes up a significant percentage of the lipstick. Talk about a femme fatale pout. You may be eating vegan, or locally grown organic, but you may also be unknowingly consuming plastics, heavy metals, parabens and phtalates, as well as carmine. That beautiful deep red you find in lipsticks more often than not is attributed to carmine, derived from boiled bugs (now you know).

Fortunately, as consumer