Ruby red is taking on a new meaning for lipstick lovers! They're finding out their signature color has a not-so-attractive ingredient. Many use pigment from the cochineal bug to get that natural red.
"It's pretty gross actually. I don't know why women would want to put that on their lips," said Jaria Aljoe of West Hartford.
But many women don't know about the pigment. It's usually listed as 'artificial color' or 'natural red'. According to the owner of Mod Skin Labs in East Granby, the pigment is pretty common.
"It's not only used in personal care products like lipsticks, foundations, eye shadows, it's also used in soft drinks, sodas, a myriad of synthetic foods," said Raffaele Roberto.
Lead is another material popping up in many tubes. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested 33 brands of lipstick, including some purchased in Hartford. The group found 61% were contaminated. Lipstick companies say the lead is not added; it just naturally occurs in the environment.
The campaign wants the Food and Drug Administration to do more to regulate what goes into lipsticks. It also wants the manufacturers to list what ingredients are in the product.
"I think they owe it to them to tell them what they're buying into. I think that's something very important. I'm sure people wouldn't buy them if they did know," said Aljoe.
The FDA has ordered cosmetic companies to list when cochineal is used, but so far they are not required to list lead as an ingredient.
To read the lipstick report, click here.