April 18, 2012

Beetle Juice! Beetle Juice! Beetle Juice!

Hi Lovers,

As I have mentioned in a previous post, where I profiled the fabulosity of Ka'oir cosmetics, I love a vibrant lip color. One can never go wrong with the classic look of a vivacious red, the flirtatious nature of a pretty pink, or the sultriness of a bordeaux shade. Regardless of one's skin tone there is a perfect shade of red (or any other color for that matter) out there for you.

In the past few months, however, cosmetic fanatics have been thrust into a sea of panic as studies revealed that some of our most beloved brands of lipsticks contained a significant enough amount of lead to cause the FDA to publish an extensive list detailing the quantity of lead in each of the 400 guilty perps.

What to do? Throw them all away and start from scratch? For some that is definitely a solution, but for others that may just not even make the list of options - however silly it may seem  that risking one's health comes second only to your favorite lippy.

So many of us buried our heads in the sand and pressed on with the rougiest of lips for the sake of fashion (I didn't bury my head but I damn sure wasn't about to sacrifice my perfect red lip! *hangs head in shame*), but then a few weeks ago came the great hullabullo over an ingredient used to put the "berry" color in Starbucks' strawberry flavored beverages....
Crushed beetles.
Ay Dios mio! (Photo: unboxedthoughts.com)

Yes... that is what I meant to type. According to inhabitat.com:
Cochineal dye is produced from dried female cochineal beetles, and PETA estimates that it takes somewhere in the region of 70,000 beetles to produce one pound of the red dye. The dye has been used for centuries, and can be traced back to Aztec and Mayan populations of Central and South America. In present day usage, the pigment shows up in everything from cosmetics to pop tarts. But cochineal and its cousin, carmine, are skin and respiratory irritants — studies have traced a link between the dye and asthmatic attacks and anaphylactic shock in factory workers exposed to the substance.

Did I use this face already? Oh ok.
 Since January 2011, the FDA has required cochineal and carmine to be prominently listed on food and cosmetics labels, which is how one vegan Starbucks employee was able to send a tip to This Dish is Veg when she noticed that their strawberry concentrate packaging changed and so too did a vital ingredient. Read more.

Wowza! Besides the obvious ethical questions raised due to Starbucks "lack of disclosure" (someone somewhere is referring to it as a big ole lie... for sure) my next question was... well... aren't strawberries red enough? 

Consequently, the cosmetic industry was forced to let the cat out the bag about all or favorite rosy lipsticks and lip glosses. It was no surprise to me that there were beetles in my favorite Revlon creme color. I had come across this gut churning info in 2010 whilst watching some obscure program about insects on the Animal Planet, or National Geographic, (or maybe it was a report on MSNBC profiling the multi billion dollar cosmetic industry) and that was one of those weird facts they thought would be fun to throw in. :-/.

In any case I think I was more grossed out by the thought of ingesting beetles than the reality of wearing them as often as I do. (It definitely makes no sense that in my head, for the sake of the perfect red lip, a beetle scare > lead scare) But if you are unable to choose a lesser evil, or beetles just don't appeal to your fine culinary tastes at all, Ecouterre.com has taken the liberty to compile a "selection of eco-friendly brands that achieve their reds through a combination of minerals (iron and mica oxides) and plant extracts (annatto, beets, turmeric, and saffron)."

Here's the  list of ecofriendly brands that do not rely on the creepy crawlies to make you see red: 

Happy Lippy Hunting!

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