Why Our Reds Are Safer

The last thing you should worry about on Valentine’s Day is whether your red lip is safe to wear—and staying put all night. That’s why we spent years making our Lip Sheer in Scarlet, aiming for a safer formula with a rich, long-lasting color payoff.


When we first started Beautycounter, we doubted we’d ever be able to make a truly red lipstick. We were under the impression that due to color and pigment loads, red shades had more harmful ingredients or contaminants—including lead, a toxic heavy metal—than other shades. More and more, people are questioning the use of colorants in food and cosmetics—for good reason, as some colorants may be linked to health issues.

While we believe colorants shouldn’t be used where they’re not needed—for example, food and beverages shouldn’t be dyed, and skin care products, like lotions, shouldn’t be tinted—we feel differently about color cosmetics. When we started making ours, we explored using only natural colorants, like minerals, carmine, and vegetable powders. But we found that in order to achieve our high performance standards, we needed both natural colorants and synthetics.


Our approach to using synthetic colorants is as cautious as possible: We use only the amount of colorants necessary to impart the color people seek in high-performing products—and no more. Plus, we try to avoid under-studied colorants, and we pass on those with strong links to health issues.

That’s why we were able to finally create a safer, truly red Lip Sheer, called Scarlet. As with all of our color cosmetics, we carefully chose Scarlet’s ingredients, screened them for safety, and sent the product to a third-party testing facility to control for background heavy metal contamination, a common and under-discussed issue in the cosmetics industry. The result? An incredible red lipstick that’s safe to apply over and over again—worthy of Valentine’s Day or any time of year.