You’ve heard the gag-inducing statistic that a woman eats several pounds’ worth of lipstick over her lifetime. But do you know exactly what you’re eating? According to a new study conducted at the University of California-Berkeley’s School of Public Health, lipsticks currently on the market may contain not only lead but also cadmium, chromium, aluminum and other potentially toxic metals. Researchers tested 32 different lipsticks and found 24 contained lead, though the levels were fairly low. Of more concern was the detection of chromium, a known carcinogen.
The study’s author, S. Katharine Hammond, urged women to resist the urge to apply lipstick multiple times a day—the average woman does it twice—and noted that, for safety’s sake, children should not be allowed to play with the cosmetic. But trashing all your tubes is probably an overreaction.
Check out our tips on detoxing your makeup bag.