Lipsticks contain many ingredients, including wax, fats, oil, dyes, preservatives, vitamin E acetate and retinyl palmitate, which is a synthetic form of vitamin A. The ingredients in lipsticks vary among manufacturers, and also depends on the type of lipstick, such as shiny or matte. Some ingredients in lipsticks occur naturally while others are synthetic.
Some ingredients in lipsticks, like some foods and other cosmetic products, pose health risks and may cause adverse reactions. Methylparaben, a prime preservative, classifies as a toxin on the Cosmetics Database maintained by the Environmental Working Group. This preservative maintains lipsticks' longevity, but contains chemicals that classify as carcinogens and endocrine disrupters.
Lipsticks contain different colors, which gives them unique shades. Some colors contain more harmful ingredients than others. Red 36 and red 22 lluminum lake contain chemicals that may damage human nervous systems and cause other health problems.
Some ingredients, such as wax and fats, give lipstick shape and shine. Creme and matte lipsticks have a higher wax composition, while shiny lipsticks, such as glosses, contain more oil. Shimmery lipsticks often contain fragments of silica, mica, and manufactured pearl flakes to create a shiny appearance. Beeswax and candelilla wax are common waxes in lipsticks, while olive oil, mineral oil, cocoa butter and lanolin are common oils and fats. Lipsticks may also have emollients and antioxidants to promote healthy lips.