Bite Beauty earns high marks in my book as one of the first clean brands to stake a claim at cosmetics retail giant Sephora.
With enough colors to make a girl swoon, this brand boasts several different formulas from high gloss lacquers to long-lasting pigments. Shades run from nudes to deep purple vinos, so there’s something in it for everyone’s lippie preference.
Sephora staff are not exactly the most educated on “natural” formulas. When asked to be directed to a natural brand, they will point in the general direction of Caudalie, Tarte, Korres, and Josie Maran—as in the brands most often accused of greenwashing.
Since the Bite Beauty motto is: “Bite is beauty for lips that’s good enough to eat,” I thought that we better take a look at the ingredients to see if we’d actually want to nibble.
Here are the ingredients in the lipstick:
Ingredients list: Organic Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil**, Organic Cera Alba (Beeswax)**, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil**, Organic Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter**, Polypropanediol Dimer Dilinoleate* (Vegetable-Derived), Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil**, Acacia Decurrens Wax*, Jojoba Wax*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax*, Polyglyceryin-3*, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax*, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil*, Organic Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil**, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax*, Polymethylmethacrylate, Natural Flavor*, Trans-Resveratrol*, Vitis Vinefera (Grape) Vine Extract*, Siraitia Grosvenori (Monk Fruit)* +/- May Contain: Mica (Ci 77019)*, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891)*, Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499)*, Carmine (Ci 75470)*, Fd&C Blue No. 1 (Ci 42090), Fd&C Yellow No. 5 (Ci 19140), Fd&C Yellow No. 6 (Ci 15985), Fd&C Red No. 40 (Ci 16035), D&C Red 6 (Ci 15850), D&C Red 7 (Ci 15850), Manganese Violet (Ci 77742)* (* Natural , ** Certified Organic).
Maybe Bite Beauty isn’t as bite-worthy as it claims. [Puts on nerdy magnifying glasses.] So let’s take a closer look…
Here are the goodies: organic jojoba, shea butter, argan, and sesame oils have hydrating properties so lips stay supple. The lipstick also offers antioxidant benefits from the 2 mg trans-resveratrol from red wine polyphenol and polygonum cuspidatum (a fancy name for Japanese knotweed, a perennial plant native to Asia), Grape Seed Extract (resveratrol) and monk fruit, often used as a sweetener that’s getting some media attention now.
However, it does contain titanium dioxide, which has been linked to cancer in many sources including this article. But delving further, it really is not so clear cut. This informative post by The Organic Makeup Company quotes studies which indicate that the smaller the size of the particle, the more dangerous a threat it poses, but fine or coarse particle sized titanium dioxide and other mineral pigments are safe. Often, nanoparticles of titanium dioxide are used in sunscreens because they are colorless at that size and still absorb ultraviolet light.
Finally, my go-to authority on chemicals in skin care, Stephanie Greenwood, founder of Bubble & Bee, concurs that the danger of titanium dioxide exists mainly when it comes to nano-particles that can be inhaled—as in mineral powders, not creams. Minerals like titanium dioxide and mica can aggravate the respiratory system and cause serious illnesses like pneumonia or lung cancer. It’s worth reading her post on the dangers of mineral makeup here too.
The label also says “Natural Flavor” which is pretty ambiguous. That could mean anything from insects to GMO-laced corn. Heck, they’re natural, right?
Then I had to look up Polymethylmethacrylate. Fortunately, this synthetic ingredient scores a “1” on the EWG Skin Data Base, though it does look a bit “scary.”
Polyglyceryin-3, an emulsifier, is another one that I looked up. It scores low on the Database (0), but I found more information about it on one of my favorite websites Truth in Aging. When combined with Stearic Acid, polyglyceryin-3 can be potentially irritating. That doesn’t appear to be an issue in this formula, but it’s good to be aware that even though an ingredient can get low scores for toxicity, it may not be great in combination with other ingredients. Hmmm… Definitely food for thought when researching ingredients!
Then of course there are all the colors and dyes which I’d NEVER add to food, but seem inevitable when it comes to pigments. The iron oxides invariably contain lead as well. Fortunately, I’ve been privy to many discussions about the false claim of “lead-free” to know that there are small traces of lead in all mineral makeup. It’s merely a question of the amount of trace levels per formula. Add that up collectively—and you’d probably stop using makeup altogether. (Did I just say that?!)
Lipstick is certainly one cosmetic that needs to be as clean as possible, since it’s most likely to be ingested.
So how does Bite Beauty rank overall? Frankly, I don’t think it’s THAT bad. Would I buy it again? Definitely. And it’s my fantasy to head over to the Lip Lab in NYC to concoct my own perfect color one day. #daydreambeliever
How about you? Do these ingredients look bite-worthy?