Manolo for the Beauty » Norma Kamali Renounces Lipstick

Norma Kamali Renounces Lipstick

By Glinda

In this essay and accompanying interview with the founder of Aveda cosmetics, Ms. Kamali says she has given up wearing lipstick altogether.  Horst Rechelbacher apparently scared the bejusus out of Ms. Kamali by stating that we ingest liptsick (which is true, to some extent) and therefore we are poisoning ourselves with lead and arsenic and who knows what else.

I did some research, including here, here, and here to find out if Mr. Rechelbacher knew what he was talking about. 

 Because I’m not going to say that I’m a big fan of putting poisonous things on myself on a daily basis.  Monthly, maybe, but daily is a bit much.

I also went here, here, and here to read a bit more from the other side.

My thoughts?

We are exposed to toxins on a daily basis, including from our homes, work, and the environment.  So there is no escaping toxins, really. 

Second, I’m not necessarily a big fan of the FDA, and I do believe that the ingredients in cosmetics should be listed for all to see and that there should be more transparency in that department from the cosmetics industry.

Third, I noticed that almost all of the more “inflammatory” articles were either from sources with a vested interest in people buying their “green” products, or people who are heavily invested in a green lifestyle.  Nothing wrong with a green lifestyle, but some of these people are the same ones who believe that children shouldn’t be vaccinated, which I highly disagree with, so there’s that. 

The consensus seems to be that in a lifetime, a woman will ingest about four pounds of lipstick.  Over a lifetime, not a year, as stated in one of the articles above.

In taking all of this information into account, as well as my love for lipstick, I’m going to say that Ms. Kamali is just slightly overreacting.  I’m not going to tell her to put on some red lipstick because she apparently believes that lipstick is toxic, but man, talk about living in fear.  I’m thinking that she is exposed to more toxins breathing the exhaust-laden New York air on a brisk walk than she is wearing lipstick.

And Mr. Rechelbacher, while technically being correct about what lipstick contains, doesn’t go into the specifics, which are actually very important.  Which is a shame, because I really do love Aveda lipsticks, they smell fantastic. Shame on you, Mr. Rechelbacher.  But I’m not sure it’s enough to get me to stop wearing your lipstick.

Do I trust everything companies and the goverment tell me? No.

Am I already being poisoned by lots of other things, including the air that I breathe? Yes.

Is four pounds over a lifetime all that much? I’m thinking no.

With all the research I’ve done and facts at my disposal, I’m going to pick my poison, in a manner of speaking, and continue wearing lipstick.

Wanna join me?

4 Responses to “Norma Kamali Renounces Lipstick”

  1. aurumgirl Says:

    Well, Kamali IS right. I know a little bit about toxins myself, and their extensive and particular effects on the human body. I’m one of those people who say be wary and educated and picky about vaccines–for children, animals, and adults as well: no need for an argument, but there is very good science (and quite a lot of it) that supports the need to be wary. All I’m saying is that the vaccination topic is one to be considered carefully, and decided upon only after thorough investigation and education on both sides. Don’t just say yes, or no, blindly; and certainly, be aware of what vaccines are given, when they are given, whether they are given repeatedly (an act which goes against all the vaccination science out there) and make sure they are only given under your consent. Because I will tell you: they are often given repeatedly, in large numbers, in repeated and unnecessary doses, and often without consent. And that should never happen.

    That being said, our bodies are amazingly proficient at being part of the universe. Yes, there are toxins everywhere, there have always been in the history of human life–they are not just a new phenomenon. Our bodies constantly adapt and self-heal, use the nutrients and elements to which we are exposed and dependent, and disabuse themselves of the ones we don’t need and cause damage. Up to a certain point, and this varies on an individual basis, our bodies often heal themselves of the damage those environmental toxins cause. On an ongoing, consistent basis. As long as we are healthy. To hark back to those vaccines again, they are all loaded with mercury and thimerosol, a mercury derivative which is also toxic. I happen to think these can be dealt with by most healthy bodies–but again, with certain safeguards in place (the ones listed above).

    There is no way to be completely toxin free in our lives, or free of the threat of illness. That is never going to happen. But being educated about what we are exposed to is a very good thing to be.

    Here is what we know empirically: women have used lipstick and make-up with toxic ingredients ever since the beginning of time. Often, the toxic substances caused disease. So we changed those cosmetics. The lipsticks we use now have more or less been in use for the last 100 years or so, and you can bet they contain all of the toxins Kamali lists. Many women have worn them for many years, every day applications for a lifetime. How many of those women have died a cruel death at the hands of Revlon or Max Factor?

    Likewise with the list of natural perfume ingredients now “banned” by the IIFA because they are “toxic”. Ingredients like oakmoss, civet, ambergris, etc. Ingredients used by humanity in perfumes for millennia. No deaths recorded, ever. Suddenly, because synthetic perfume compounds can create profit like nothing else (especially if you make these natural aromatic compounds illegal), all of these traditional, well used, included in what were once your favourite perfumes, are now considered poisonous, or carcinogenic.

    I happen to know that salt, little old salt, is also carcinogenic. But just try to live your life without it.

    So I’m going to wear lipstick. Use eye shadows and powders with mica. Apply perfumed body powder containing talc.

    I feel certain I’ll kill myself with verbosity long before I do myself in with make-up.

  2. Emily Says:

    I live a pretty green lifestyle, and I tend to believe that less chemicals in your life is a good thing. I also work in cancer research, which, if you want to talk about frenzy over everyday things that can kill you slowly and secretly, pretty much has the market cornered. I’m not even touching the vaccine debate, but here’s what I and all of my coworkers say every time some new scare about toxins comes out: priorities, people.

    Know what’s a heck of a lot more dangerous than lipstick? Eating nothing but junk and never exercising. Smoking. Drinking alcohol and/or caffeine to excess. Not being aware of your genetic risk for things like heart disease and the major cancers. Not being informed about or flat out ignoring your own body. Get those things under control, and THEN you can run around splitting hairs over lipstick. If you’re doing all the preventative things you should be doing (exercise, eat healthfully, take your vitamins, find a good doctor you trust, etc.), lipstick is not going to be the thing that kills you unless you’re actually eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

  3. Kimberly Says:

    Given my love of single malt whiskey, fast driving, good Southern cooking, and espresso, I figure if I die of lipstick ingestion as an old woman, I’ll have beaten the odds. I find it hard to believe Ms. Kamali leads SO healthy a life that the “chemicals” (I love people who use that as though it’s a dirty word) in lipstick would pose a real danger to her. That seems to me like a very boring, navel-gazing sort of life, but to each their own.

  4. Snuze Says:

    I am a supporter of “Better living through chemistry.” *grin*

    As you pointed out, we ingest/inhale/come in contact with toxins and poisons all our lives. Pre-Industrial Revolution environment may contain less greenhouse gasses but the harmful elements were still out there (aflatoxin from contaminated grain, lead in ointments and medicaments, the use of mercury as tincture etc etc etc) to get us. Basically, if one is so worried about mass produced cosmetics contaminating the hallowed temple that is one’s body, the logical solution is home-made cosmetics.

    Beeswax can be tinted using various organic dyes such as beet juice and can be applied to the lips as a coloured balm with little possible side effect (unless you are allergic to beeswax and beet). And so on and so forth.

    But why should we break such a long-standing tradition of decorating our face with detrimental chemicals? Lead was one of the major component of whitening facial powders used during the Renaissance, antimony and bismuth was part of the kohl that gave Egyptian ladies (and men) the smoldering eye effect, European ladies used tincture of belladonna to make their sparkle, among others.

    Just kidding.

    Hence, I am in complete agreement of Mlle. Kimberly of the third commentator.

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