You may have seen an ingredient called carmine listed as a component of your lipstick or another one of your beauty products. This means you are ingesting crush bug shells. That’s right: bug shells.
Carmine is a pigment that is obtained from the shells and dried bodies of a cochineal (pronounced koch-uh-neel), a female insect indigenous to Mexico, Central America, and other warm regions. (Source) These small insects feed off of cactuses drinking the plants’ juices. And these same small insects are used to add the color red to both cosmetics and even food/drinks.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, companies like Starbucks have used carmine in the past to color their food products and only recently stopped in 2012.
“In the U.S. in the 1900s, the article notes, cochineal ‘began to appear in commercial products of the United States primarily as a food dye, as in pork sausage, pies, dried fish and shrimp, candies, pills, jams, lipstick and rouge, and the brightly colored maraschino cherries.’” (Source)
So how is this crushed-bug-dye created? Carmine can be created by crushing the insects, leaving them to sun-dry, then immersing them in an alcohol solution to produce cochineal extract. (Source) According to Live Science, about 70,000 insects are needed to produce just 1 pound of dye. Yes, 70,000! Carmine can pose a health risk to some, causing severe allergic reactions. Due to this issue, the FDA requires carmine to be listed on the ingredient list.
Carmine is used in addition to or in place of synthetic red dyes like Red No. 2 and Red No. 40 which are carcinogenic because they are “are derived from either coal or petroleum byproducts.” (Source) If you are not allergic to carmine, you should be safe, but then again, who wants to knowingly ingest bug shells through their lipstick?
So Where Can You Find Carmine-Free Lipstick?
Hello Beautiful! Lipsticks are carmine-free and we do not use dangerous synthetic dyes like Red No. 2 or Red No. 40 to add color to our lipsticks. Instead we use naturally occurring FDA-approved iron oxides. Our iron oxides also do not contain nano particles, which can cause harm by entering your blood stream.
To check out of all our organic and natural ingredients visit our page here.
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