Lipstick colour: 5 facts that will make you think twice
5 INTRIGUING FACTS BEHIND LIPSTICK COLOUR:
Lipstick fact 1You might think annual fashion shows drive seasonal lip colours, but a UK survey found that where people live appears to have a greater influence on their choice:
- New Yorkers choose bright red lipstick
- Londoners prefer caramel nude lips
- Shanghai residents lean towards sheer coral, and
- Dubliners go for bright orange red
Images: Courtesy of Stella McCartney
Lipstick fact 2So what are the formulas for a perfectly painted pout? Pigments used for lipstick colour are classified as †˜organic’ (lakes & toners) or inorganic (metal oxides). But don’t be fooled - organic means †˜carbon-based’ - chemically refined from petroleum (ie synthetic) rather than the †˜healthy organic’ meaning we’re used to now.
- Lake colours combine dyes with insoluble substances like alumina hydrate to create water-resistant cosmetics with intense translucent colour. But using these pigments means a product can never be classified as 100% natural.Metal oxides occur naturally as mineral deposits.
- Metal oxide pigments are opaque, and though duller than organics, can provide longer-lasting colour due to their heat and light resistance.
Lipstick fact 3Did you know a popular natural food and beauty colourant, Carmine (Red No.4), comes from crushed cochineal bugs that feed off cacti? And you can achieve fuller lips with an extract of chillies? While the insect idea may be a little off-putting, it is not as off-putting as absorbing the chemicals from synthetic dyes derived from coal or petroleum - such as Amaranth (Red No.2) and Allura Red (Red No.40). One study of the effects of synthetic red dyes found Red No. 2, Red No. 40, and Red No. 18 (also called Coccine) caused cell DNA damage at very low doses and called for a more extensive safety assessment of these dyes.
Lipstick fact 4Lipstick colour and smell can stimulate our senses but be cautious of the word †˜fragrance’ on labels.
- Manufacturers do not have to list individual ingredients so some enticing aromas could mask unwanted chemical nasties.
- According to Dr David Suzuki most chemicals used in fragrances have not been tested for toxicity.
Lipstick fact 5Professor Karen Pine, fashion psychologist and author of Mind What You Wear, The Psychology of Fashion says the lipstick colour you wear on a first date says a lot more about you than you may realise:
- Red: "You’re a bold, confident woman and one in her sexual prime."
- Fuchsia: †œYou’re expecting some stimulating conversation, someone out of the ordinary, and your date had better deliver."
- Hot Pink: "Pink is the color of innocence, but you’ve added some heat too, signaling a mixed message of approach-avoidance."
- Burgundy: †œSays you're strong but take a while to get to know you, so your date needs to be patient."
- Coral: †œYou want to be noticed, know where you are going and may be in a hurry to get there. You're willing to have fun and just see where it goes."
- Neutral tone: "You want to be taken seriously, have nothing to hide and a lot to give.†