Monday, February 24, 2014

Makeup: Brands & Lead

My friend requested this post. :)
I have a post on my old blog "Fifty Raspberries" about how I judge whether or not to buy a particular makeup product. That blog was deleted by Google so that's why I can't post a screenshot of it.
The basic ideas of that post are...
  1. Don't buy it at shady stores.
  2. Look at the brand (more on this later in this post)
  3. See where it's made. I stay away from makeup in China because it tends to be worse quality and contain lead. Makeup made in Taiwan is ok, and if it's made in Canada, America, or anywhere besides China, that's a good sign.
  4. Check the expiration date. Most makeup doesn't have one, but some do, and if it does, make sure the expiration date is at least 6 months in the future. If there isn't an expiration date, just look at it and see if it looks old. Some signs of old makeup that's been sitting in the store for too long: clumps and separated oil layer on top (if you can see inside the package), and faded packaging.
What brands should you look out for?
  • Makeup brands whose products are made in China: Tarte, Elf, Color Theory, Sephora Collection (Sephora's brand), Too Faced, Costal Scents, BH Cosmetics
  • Makeup brands whose products are made in China about half the time: NYX, Smashbox, Stila, NYC (their makeup is made in China probably 90% of the time)
  • Makeup brands whose products are made in America: L'Oreal, Maybelline, Almay, Revlon, Urban Decay (they recently switched from China to America, props to them!), Bobbi Brown, MAC, Clinique
Do I stay away from products made in China? It really comes down to personal preference. I just stay on the safe side and buy products not made in China. I'd rather be safe than sorry. I'm not telling you that you should or shouldn't buy makeup made in China. You can make your own decision. Makeup made in China is rumored to often contain lead or plastic, and be worse quality (as in chalky eyeshadow, etc.).

What does P.R.C. mean? A lot of companies try to disguise the fact that their makeup is manufactured in China by writing "made in PRC" on the package. PRC or RC stands for People's Republic of China.

How do I stay away from makeup that contains lead? When you're at the store purchasing makeup, there's no way to know if it contains lead. If it does, it will be under another name, maybe "plumbum" or "plumbous acetate." I suppose if you have a smartphone that you could Google every ingredient on the list and see if any of them translate to "lead." That's not practical though, as a lot of makeup has 10 or more ingredients, and lead may not be one of them, even if the product contains lead. However, once you purchase the product, you can do a test to find out if it contains lead. So, you usually don't know if your makeup has lead in it before you bring it home and test it.

How do I test to see if my makeup contains lead? There's 2 ways to test it.
  1. Swatch the product on your skin or clean paper. Rub a piece of gold jewelry on it. If you see black/gray, it contains lead.
  2. Swatch the product on a piece of tin foil. Rub a paper towel on it. If you see black/gray, it contains lead.
When I did this test probably about a year ago, I was dismayed to find that some of my favorite, go-to makeup products contained lead.

Isn't it illegal for makeup to have lead in it? Yes, but if caught, companies face only a hefty fine, which is nothing compared to the profits they reap from makeup buyers. So fines don't stop companies from putting lead in their products. It's illegal, but the law isn't being enforced very well.

Should I stop using the makeup I have that contains lead? Maybe, but only if it's lipstick. According to MakeupMew, "'We do not consider the lead levels we found in the lipsticks to be a safety concern,' the FDA said on its website. 'The lead levels we found are within the limits recommended by other public health authorities for lead in cosmetics.'" MakeupMew also noted that if we consider the number of times we reapply lipstick throughout the day, we ingest more lead than the data suggests.
Also, a WHOLE LOT of makeup contains lead. There's really no way to avoid it.
So, if it's face or eye makeup, we have no reason to be concerned. If it's lipstick maybe we do.
But the way I see it, everything causes cancer and diseases. If we stopped doing everything they said to prevent cancer/diseases, nobody would be eating hot dogs (no kidding!). So, I will live my life to the fullest because cancer and diseases are inevitable.

On that note, bye!


  1. Hello! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from
    an established blog. Is it hard to set up your own blog?
    I'm not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast.
    I'm thinking about making my own but I'm not sure where to
    start. Do you have any tips or suggestions? With thanks

    my blog - youtube downloader mp3

  2. Hey, I had hard time finding data about lead testing with tin foil, especially how accurate this method is? Who has developed this method and to what it is based on? Where did you get your information? I really would appreciate if you could tell me what you know. With kind regards all the way from Finland: Elina Nykänen

    1. I don't remember, I'm sorry. This post was written over a year ago, and I now assume the tin foil method has been phased out. I did a quick Web search and found this:
      Hope that helps!

  3. Hi! Where did you find the data about which cosmetic brands are made in China? Thank you :)

  4. Oh i haven't know about this china products contains lead. Its very harmful to skin. I always use Cosmetic Brands In Dubai. I searched so many sites. This is the good in all Uae Online Shopping Websites.