Red lipstick is a makeup must have. It turns Plain Jane’s into Marilyn Monroe’s. It’s a classic, never going out of style and appropriate for any event, but what’s in your red lipstick? You’ll be shocked to find out what's lurking in your red lipstick. Lead in Red Lipstick? The answer is unfortunately, yes. Since lead is a neurotoxin affecting the nervous system, even small amounts of lead in the bloodstream can affect a person’s overall health. Women who apply lipstick are also ingesting some of it during the day; the more they reapply the more they ingest. Cosmetic manufacturers do not have to list lead as an ingredient in their lipstick since lead is the byproduct of the colorants used. Colors such as FDC lakes and dyes which are derived from coal, have trace amounts of lead mixed with the color so all the manufacturer has to list is the FDC lake or dye. If lead wasn't enough of a concern, how about adding parabens. This class of preservatives include Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isopropylparaben and Isobutylparaben. These ingredients are particularly dangerous for women because of the concerns of these being endocrine or hormone disruptors. Parabens can also cause skin irritation and aggravate skin conditions such as contact dermatitis or rosacea. Carmine is used in many products as an alternative to synthetic FDC lakes and dyes which are known to be carcinogenic. It’s a natural color derived from tiny insects called cochineal. The cochineals are boiled in water, then treated with aluminum to extract the color from the insects. What is left is a crimson colored dye used for making red and pink colors in cosmetics and food. Although this is an almost natural color if you don’t include the aluminum which has been linked to Alzheimer’s, it has been shown to cause severe allergies in many people including anaphylactic shock. Not to mention the gross factor of putting boiled insects on your lips. So how can you have your red lipstick and be safe too? Easy, choose natural lipsticks with hydrating ingredients such as shea butter or jojoba oil and always look for earth pigments such as mica or iron oxides. A lot of newer lipsticks are colored with fruit juices so read the ingredient list so you know what you're getting and enjoy your fabulous lips!