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Green Your Beauty Routine: Lip Balm and Lip Gloss

by Rebecca Casciano

Summer is almost here! You have probably already started to change your beauty products and rituals to suit the season. More time outdoors in the warm weather can inspire a fresher, more minimal look, which may include swapping lipstick for a tinted lip balm or lip gloss.

They’re just so easy to apply, and they compliment everything from a sexy summer frock to a sarong. A sheer pop of color also looks fantastic paired with dewy, sun-kissed skin (created with natural bronzer, of course!). But what exactly is in this beauty staple that we apply to our pretty pouts several times a day? Lip balm and lip gloss are up next on Green Your Beauty Routine!

You may have heard the statistic that the average woman ingests anywhere from four to seven pounds of lipstick in their lifetime, which is pretty disturbing. While studies on these numbers are varied, I think it’s reasonable to say that if you wear lip balm, gloss or lipstick, you unintentionally consume small amounts of it with each application. Over time and with regular use, this can add up to a lot, especially when it comes to our bodies’ toxic burden. So if you are conscious about the ingredients you put in your mouth, you will definitely want to know about the ingredients you put on your mouth!

Let’s take a look at a few of the ingredients we want to avoid in our lip gloss and lip balm:

1) Parabens, fragrance and petrochemicals. I mentioned these in my last article about skincare, and they are among the top ingredients to avoid in many lip products as well. Please read more about why they are dangerous here.

2) Phenoxyethanol. This is a common preservative found in all categories of cosmetics, often used as a “safer” alternative to parabens. However, the European Union has classified it as toxic or harmful for products used around the mouth or lips. In 2013, the FDA warned against using a mother’s nursing cream that contained phenoxyethanol, stating the ingredient “can depress the central nervous system and may cause vomiting, diarrhea and respiratory problems in infants.” With these kinds of warnings, I would try to avoid it as much as possible—at the very least in our lip products!

3) Camphor and menthol. These oils are used frequently in lip balms for their antimicrobial, mild anesthetic properties and ability to “soothe dry, chapped lips and relieve burning, itching and pain,” according to Carmex, a popular lip balm. Unfortunately, unless you have a cold sore and are in need of a medicated balm, these ingredients will dry out your lips, causing more of the problem they’re supposed to be solving. While camphor and menthol aren’t dangerous to your health, they certainly aren’t doing your lips any favors.

4) Lanolin. This is a waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of sheep, which makes their wool water-resistant and protects them from the elements. In many lip and skincare products it is used as an emollient, which means it softens skin and seals in moisture. While lanolin is not considered a toxic ingredient, if you wish to avoid animal-derived ingredients in your beauty routine, you should be aware that it is a by-product of the wool farming industry.

Before we get to my safe, sustainable (and summer-chic) lip balm and gloss recommendations, I just want to remind you that if you plan to be outdoors enjoying the sun, your lips need sun protection just like your skin! Wearing lipgloss alone may be likened to applying just oil to your skin to sunbathe—not a good idea. Be sure to apply a lip balm with SPF before your tinted lip balm or gloss to add a layer of protection.

LipDrink SPF15 Lip Balm by jane iredale

jane iredale

LipDrink is great to wear alone or underneath your lip color, as it provides mineral sun protection with titanium dioxide, and nourishment with carrot seed oil, avocado oil and aloe vera. It glides on smooth and makes lips feel hydrated for hours. You will love the light, citrus smell (thanks to lemon peel oil) and the fact that it also contains yummy antioxidants from blackberry and green tea extracts.

nudistNudist Colorbalm Stick by W3ll People

I became obsessed (in a healthy kinda way!) with the Nudist Colorbalm this past winter, when my lips were desperately in need of something very nourishing and hydrating. I love wearing color on my lips, but lipsticks can be drying, even the natural ones. So the fact that Nudist combines a pretty, sheer pop of color along with real, long-lasting moisture makes it a natural beauty must-have for any skin tone, style or season!

iliaLip Gloss by Ilia Beauty

For a bit more color and shine, Ilia Beauty’s Lip Gloss is a winner. With a unique range of colors, including Back To Life (their latest limited edition color, pictured here) and ingredients such as coconut oil, shea butter and vitamin E, the collection is both on-trend and health-conscious. Wear the gloss alone on a steamy summer day or on top of one of Ilia’s gorgeous Lipsticks or Crayons for a sultry evening look.

Now that you have the next step of your green beauty routine lined up, get out there and enjoy your new look with confidence and style. I welcome your comments, questions and feedback!



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