The #1 Makeup Swap You Should Make

Confession: During high school and college, if I was having a bad day, only a new lip gloss could make it better (and you know how often those happen for high schoolers! 😉 ). I would keep every purse, pocket and car cupholder stocked with my makeup secret weapon to help pull myself together and feel more confident to face the day.

I came across this quote years ago and it’s always stuck with me: “Life’s hard, lipstick helps.”

It’s true, isn’t it? Sometimes the right makeup product or lip color can make all the difference in how we feel and show up to the world. It doesn’t just help our lips feel nourished but with one swipe it’s like we’re taking care of ourselves in a small, yet transformative, way.

However, as a teenager, I may have taken that quote to the extreme and had no clue about what I was actually applying to my lips. Given that my only priorities in picking out a new lip product were the color, the price point and the gloss factor, I’ve consumed my fair share of artificial colors, fragrances and chemicals.

But isn’t it also true that when we know better, we can do better.

And that’s exactly my hope in writing this post. To shed some light on the reality of traditional lip products to empower you to make better makeup decisions – and help out the teen in your life to do the same. 😉

The #1 Makeup Swap

You may have guessed by now, but the #1 makeup swap you should make is… yup, your lip products.

While your lipstick may provide that pop of color and self-confidence, there’s a dark side to this lip story: the harmful chemicals present in common lip products – from chapstick to lipstick and every gloss + liner in between.

Similar to deodorant, this simple swipe of a product can help boost well-being or, unfortunately, have the opposite effect.

Think about it: Lip products are often applied every day (and maybe even several times a day), stocked in every desk drawer or diaper bag and applied to a very delicate, absorbent part of our body. We lick our lips, we sip a latte, we eat lunch, we smooch our partner (or in my case, my adorable baby nephew!) – and chemicals, heavy metals and harmful toxins aren’t just dissolving into thin air. They’re being absorbed by our bodies again and again and essentially, eaten. Ew.

According to the Huff Post, women consume an average of 7 pounds of lipstick in their lifetime.

Do you know what ingredients are in your lip products – and ultimately, ingesting? In the same way you want to fuel your body with the most healing, nutrient-dense foods possible, why would you want to feed your skin any different? Especially your lips!

As women, we typically tend to have multiple lip products lying around – a study has even found that women applied lipstick from 2 to 14 times every day. We have our favorite makeup brand or go-to color that we regularly reach for, but at what cost?

Over the course of a lifetime, this cumulative exposure can have some pretty serious consequences.

A $4 drugstore lip gloss may seem like a steal and super budget-friendly or a $24 department store lip color may feel like a luxurious treat. But you’re applying more than just a pretty color or a popular brand name product – you’re most likely coating your lips with harsh chemicals and heavy metals.

Chemicals In Conventional Lip Colors

“Wait, what. Heavy metals are in my makeup?”

I hate to break it to you, but yes. There has been study after study proving the presence of toxic metals such as lead, aluminum, cadmium, chromium and more in conventional lipsticks.

You guys, lead is a known neurotoxin – even in small doses. So that top dollar lipstick you have tucked away for the annual holiday party, it’s time to toss it.

Here are a few more ingredients to look out for in your lip products:

    • Artificial dyes: Heavy metals (like those mentioned above) can contaminate the pigments that color lipsticks – particularly red lipsticks. These metals are proven carcinogens and pose serious problems for the reproductive + respiratory systems, brain, kidneys and other organs in the body. While some metals may be present in low levels, overexposure (um, how many times a day are we applying again?) is definitely detrimental to your health.


    • Synthetic fragrance: Fun fragrances and cute packaging can trick you into thinking this lipstick will make your lips feel and smell oh-so-fresh. But the scary truth is that these synthetic scents can contain thousands of chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens.


    • Petroleum:While this has been a staple in lip products for decades, it’s derived from the same substance as motor oil and has been found to contain toxic + carcinogenic compounds. If inhaled or ingested (remember those 7 tubes of lipstick in our lifetime?), instead of metabolizing it and using it as beneficial nutrients, this foreign substance can contribute to toxic build-up in the body.


    • Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA): This petroleum-based preservative (ahem, see above!) is present in lipsticks to maintain the product’s burst of color. The EU has banned BHA as several studies strongly suggest it’s a carcinogen, allergen and endocrine disruptor. All of this for the sake of preserving the pretty color of your lips? Mmm not so much.


  • Propylene Glycol: This chemical is actually found in anti-freeze and acts as a fragrance, skin conditioner + absorption enhancer and is closely linked to organ toxicity and skin irritations. And because it improves product penetration, it helps to carry other harmful ingredients in the product through the skin.

Okay friends, whether you’re a lip gloss junkie like I once was, or just love adding a little color for special occasions, tossing your toxic lip products is. a. must.

But you don’t have to skip wearing lipstick or sacrifice soft, colorful (or kissable!) lips. Just opt for a safe, truly non-toxic lip color.

Make The Swap: Non-Toxic Lip Products

Trust me, it’s possible to create a pop of color while providing your lips (and body) with the most nourishing care. Swap artificial dyes, synthetics fragrances and harmful preservatives for floral + fruit pigments, natural earth minerals, organic essential oils and hydrating butters to infuse lips with healing and the perfect pink hue.

These are the 100% natural + non-toxic ingredients you can feel good about putting on your lips, smooching your beau or baby, and not feel guilty when you want to reapply – and reapply. 😉

    • Extra Virgin Coconut Oil: The fatty acids in coconut oil moisturize + minimize inflammation, providing much needed relief for dry, irritated or chapped lips. Loaded with good fats, it repairs, protects and prevents moisture loss.


    • Cocoa Butter: A healthy, nourishing fat that naturally heals + softens. Completely edible, cocoa butter is ultra-hydrating, high in antioxidants and protects lips from environmental damage.


    • Beeswax: Locks in moisture and helps repair the most dry, chapped lips. Rich in vitamins, this natural skin-loving emollient improves the appearance + texture of lips.


    • Organic Essential Oils: Essential oils provide therapeutic + beauty benefits along with fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins. Plus are completely safe to apply (and reapply) on lips!


    • Fruit + Floral Pigments: Organic + fair trade, beetroot and hibiscus provide a petal pink hue + buildable color along with antioxidants and skin-brightening benefits. Does your lipstick do all that?


  • Natural Earth Minerals: For a hint of shimmer, mica adds a little dimension to your lips and a sparkle to your smile – without any artificial dyes or heavy metals.

Not only is making this makeup swap essential for your personal health + wellness, if you’ve got little ones watching your every move and wanting to mimic everything you do – it’s even more important. While I’m not a mother myself, I was a little girl once (and a lip gloss-obsessed-teen) and I know how often I played with and applied lip products.

Choosing lip products for yourself that are safe and still give you that self-esteem boost will also give you the confidence to know that when your kiddos reach for your makeup bag or want to be just like their mama applying lip color, they’re not exposing their delicate skin or developing systems to harmful ingredients.

We’ve always known lipstick to be a powerful force for feeling better and bringing our best face forward, but now, with natural + nourishing ingredients, you can take that feel-good-effect to a whole new level. And I hope you’ll accept the invitation to make this #1 makeup swap for the sake of your well-being – and for those who are following in your footsteps. XO

P.S. You guys, we’re so excited to share that we now have a new non-toxic lip color added to the PP lineup. Whether you’re just hanging out at home or going on a hot date or looking for a little something on your lips, our newly released Rose Mint Tinted Lip Balm creates customizable color to complement any skin tone or occasion!

Looking for even more non-toxic lip colors we love? Check out our makeup roundup that our Founder, Bethany, and I tried + tested here! What are some non-toxic lip products + brands you’ve been loving? We can’t wait to hear in the comments. XO


Click here to find out the top makeup product our Holistic Esthetician suggests tossing and the best natural makeup swaps! | Primally Pure Skincare

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Courtney O’Connor

Courtney Joy O’Connor is Primally Pure’s In-House Holistic Esthetician and Content Curator. Being in the beauty industry for over a decade, her experience + expertise with pure products, the healing power of touch and holistic skincare rituals are at the core of all she creates. She has trained extensively with industry experts across the country to offer her community the most educational content and transformative treatments. Courtney lives at the beach with her plant babies and loves road tripping, blending superfood bliss balls and exploring our big, beautiful world.