swatches of makeup

When I found out one of my favorite cosmetic products contains neurotoxic lead, I was so tempted to turn a blind eye. But then I researched more and found clean beauty products that could replace the ones with lead in it. In the episode, I’m sharing my research and the brands I can personally recommend.


Product Recommendations



Marie Hunter



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A poisonous kiss? This discovery almost put me over the edge. In today’s episode, we’re talking about my one, true makeup love — and vice — red lipstick.

Before starting this podcast, I got almost all of my clean beauty advice from my friend Claire who owns The Clean Beauty Box. She knows so much, is incredibly thorough with her research and even has this giant chemistry book that she casually keeps on hand to look up ingredients.

So, when she told me red lipstick has lead in it, I wanted her to be wrong about everything. If there’s one thing I can’t part with it’s a bold lip. But of course, I knew in my heart she was probably right.

What I found is that until 2007, lead in lipstick was an urban legend. But then the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a study that tested 33 popular brands for lead in their lipstick. The results found that 61 percent of lipsticks contain lead, including cheap brands like CoverGirl and L’Oreal all the way up to a tube of $24 Dior lipstick.

Then in 2010, a follow-up study found that lead was actually in 400 different types of lipstick.

So, here’s the problem, there is no safe level of lead exposure. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the disaster in Flint it’s that lead is linked with a host of health concerns: neurotoxicity, reduced fertility, hormonal changes, etc.

That’s all to say, my Bobbi Brown crimson lipstick is dying a slow death in my makeup bag now. But thankfully, there are some clean beauty brands making bold lip colors. 

Ilia is my favorite red lip and while it’s not perfectly clean, it is one of those products I still only wear a couple times a month. For everyday use, I love Beauty Counter’s lipglosses.

As always, I will link my recommended products on the product list section of the show notes. Just go to

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of The Clean Living Podcast — I’m your host Shannon Lohr. If you learned something today I would love for you to share this episode with a friend. Maybe the friend who you know loves a bold lip as much as I do. Here’s to creating a cleaner, more sustainable world for all of us.