Natalie Southwick
Updated Sep 10, 2015 @ 11:44 am
She's a vision in violet

We care so much about what we put into our bodies — dairy, carbs, gluten, sugar, vegan, raw, paleo, GMOs, organic, cage-free — but sometimes we forget to pay attention to what we’re putting on our bodies, even though the ingredients in health and beauty products can be just as dangerous (if not more) than what we find in our food.

Fans of cult favorite makeup brand Lime Crime found this out the hard way in July, when the FDA sent the company a warning letter about several “unsafe” ingredients listed in its best-selling Red Velvet Velvetines Lip Stain. The FDA said the use of the two color additives, ferric ferrocyanide and ultramarines, was a violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act because the two pigments are only supposed to be used in external coloring products, like hair dye.

Lime Crime has responded through social media, saying there was a misprint on the Red Velvet packaging, and promised in an official statement published on its website that the ingredients in question are not actually in the popular matte lip stain.

Unfortunately for Lime Crime, “misbranding” of products — labeling them with the wrong ingredients or having otherwise false or misleading labeling — is also a violation of FDA regulations, meaning the company can’t resolve the issue just by blaming a rogue printer.

This isn’t the first time that Lime Crime has come under fire. The company’s controversial founder, Doe Deere, has faced criticism for the company’s business and marketing practices for years, and this latest scandal isn’t likely to help her public image.

The scariest thing about the whole investigation, though, isn’t that some Velvetines fans will have to temporarily make do without the Red Velvet shade.

As Refinery29 points out, the Lime Crime case just underscores how little oversight there really is when it comes to ensuring that cosmetic companies are complying with FDA safety regulations about ingredients and labeling — even though those measures are in place because they’re supposed to keep consumers safe.

“Cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, are not subject to pre-market approval by the FDA,” FDA press officer Megan McSeveney told R29. “But, once on the market, the FDA can take action on cosmetics that do not comply with the laws and regulations we enforce. If we become aware of a specific health concern, we will take additional steps to inform the public.”

Essentially, this means that cosmetics companies can sell whatever they want without getting the FDA’s go-ahead or passing any standardized safety tests. This may be even more common among smaller, indie brands like Lime Crime, that might not have the resources to do rigorous testing before their products go to market.

While it’s good that the FDA is following up on cases like this one, it might be about time to start pushing for stricter regulations and testing on beauty products before they hit store shelves and end up on our faces.

[Image via iStock.]