My Clean Lipstick Love Affair: Beautycounter Color Intense Lipsticks

I’ve never been big on lipstick. I did go through a gloss-loving phase in high school–what was I thinking with the frosted nude gloss? I have no idea–but it never lasted long because they always felt gross, sticky, or in the case of lipsticks, pasty and heavy. That was then. This is now. We all go through these phases, but my newfound love for the Beautycounter lipsticks is not a phase. Their lipsticks, sheers, and glosses are the real deal in clean makeup. And I’m in love for the long-haul.

Before I share more about this lip love affair, I want to get the facts out there first. There’s a reason why you should care about which lip product you fall for. As you probably realize, when you wear anything on your lips, you’re also consuming that product, so you better make sure those ingredients are clean. Truth is, most are not. Plus, the biggest concern you should have is with lead, and guess what: no labels will list lead but it’s often there, among other offenders, even in luxury, high-end brands. In 2007, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reported that 61% of lipsticks contained lead of the 33 popular brands tested. After much feedback, the FDA did a follow-up study that revealed lipstick lead levels ranging from .09-3.06 parts per million (ppm), four times the amount the Campaign had originally found. That number increased to 7 times by 2010, testing 400 lipsticks. That may sound like a little bit when it comes to “ppm” and honestly, that’s what the FDA hides behind: “Oh, a little exposure is not harmful or dangerous.” But the most recent research indicates there is no safe level of lead exposure, not even in small doses.

Lead is linked to neurotoxicity (learning/language/behavioral issues), infertility, hormone disruption, and even delayed puberty. Plus, a University of California study says women apply lipstick from 2 to 14 times every day; that adds up to absorbing as much as 87 milligrams of product a day. It all adds up, my friends. It truly does. And even with these findings, the FDA has not budged; the laws have not changed. Companies are still putting out products laced with lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, you name it. Unfortunately, these heavy metals often come along with mineral and synthetic ingredients used to give cosmetics color.

But lucky for you–and me–Beautycounter did not follow suit. They set their own standard in the makeup world, even though it’s definitely not a small undertaking. In light of these studies, all our cosmetics that contain color were, and will always be, third party tested for heavy metals before and after formulation. If any product failed to pass this test, those colors never made it to market. That’s why it took years and years to make a true red lipstick. It’s not as easy as it looks to come up with a safe formula that meets these strict standards and still performs.

That didn’t stop us. And with time came the perfect lip sticks: safe, long-lasting, packed with pigment, lightweight, and without heavy metals. With time came that show-stopping shade of red. It was love at first sight for me. Now, I truly look forward to showing off some color, trying something new, especially since it feels like I’m wearing nothing–and that feeling lasts all day long. I love them so much that I spent an entire nap time one day swatching and trying on every shade we offer and taking photos of them to share with all of my clients and all of you. It’s hard to pick favorites, and you really can’t go wrong with any shade. I thought it’d be fun to share each shade with you, so you can see them on, in different angles and lights, and maybe you’ll fall in love too. Let’s meet the Beautycounter Color Intense Lipsticks.


This nude-pink is easily in my top 3 favorites of our 9 lip sticks. Backstage really is the perfect balance of beige and pink. I was pleasantly surprised by this one because I thought for sure it would wash me out, being the pale redhead that I am, but instead it quickly became my favorite for everyday or a casual night out.


This was the first shade I fell in love with, mostly because I wanted something subtle and was intimidated by the bolder colors. Brunch is described as a tawny pink, and it truly does have subtle, coral undertones. It’s very flattering on most skin tones and again is a great everyday color.

First Date


Ahh…First Date. I call it the perfect pink. Beautycounter calls it “rosy pink.” Ultimately, it’s pretty and flattering with the perfect pop of color without being too bold. This is my no-brainer color that I make sure to have with me for any and all occasions because it always looks lovely and makes me happy.

Garden Party

Kicking pink up a notch! This bright pink is seriously so fun, and I’ve already been loving it this summer. This hotter pink shade is so in style right now, and the name Garden Party says it all: fun and flirty for a party, bold and bright like a garden full of flowers!

Little Black Dress

When I’m going out–whether it be to dinner or having wine with friends–this is what I grab. Little Black Dress is described as a neutral berry, and I have to say that this is one of those colors that can sort of take on a different look depending on skin tone, outfit, lighting, etc. One thing is for sure though: it’s always beautiful, makes me feel confident, and gives just enough “glam.”

9 to 5

The shade 9 to 5 has been arguably the most popular among my clients. I’ve sold this shade more than any other shade so far because it definitely is a safe bet that you can dress up or wear casually. It’s a luminous mauve, so there’s a subtle purple tone, but coming from someone who dislikes purple anything, it’s classy, sophisticated, and I like it a lot. This is a great bang for your buck because you can wear it to work and roll right into dinner and drinks with friends at night.


I’ll be honest: This shade scared me. It looked so bold but beautiful in the packaging, but I wrote it off right away. Not for me. And then I tried it. I. Was. So. WRONG. In fact, when I shared my swatch selfies with my fellow consultants, I was told by many that Twilight is my color. I was shocked, and flattered of course, but moral of the story is: Don’t knock this “bright berry” ’til you TRY IT. It’s a statement, and a gorgeous, unforgettable one.

Girls’ Night

Who can rock a red lip? YOU can. If I can, you can. Girls’ Night is a true, classic red that I get excited about wearing. This is probably another shade that intimidates people, but every time I see it on, it’s a showstopper. Timeless and noteworthy.

Beautycounter Red

Last, but definitely not least, there’s this special release red called Beautycounter Red. It was worn by 100 consultants from all 50 states that went to Washington DC this year to lobby for better beauty laws…and like them, it makes a statement. It’s a vibrant red with slight coral undertones. I wore it at Beautycounter Leadership Summit in May, and I got so many compliments, plus it always instills confidence.

And that’s it…for now! I know I’m not the only one raving about the lipsticks. In fact, InStyle called them “more comfortable than a lip balm,” and I could not agree more. There’s nothing like smoothing on a pop of color that feels weightless and can withstand coffee, a lunch date, and an entire day of go-go-go, but still stays intact. I couldn’t be happier that Beautycounter was able to convince me to give lipsticks another shot. Don’t even get me started on their smooth, gorgeous lip glosses and hydrating, lovely lip sheers. I’m already making note of my favorite combos of glosses over the lipsticks–how pretty is Peony gloss over First Date (below)? This is more than just a “crunchy crush.” This lipstick love story is only the beginning.

9 comments on “My Clean Lipstick Love Affair: Beautycounter Color Intense Lipsticks

  1. Thanks for such detail on the colors!! I was looking for this! I have coloring close to yours. Do you happen to use Beautycounter’s Tint Skin? If so, are you Porcelain or somewhere in between Porcelain and Linen?

    • Hey Leah! I hope it was helpful! Bias aside, I love all the lipsticks so it was so fun to share them! YES I wear Tint Skin in porcelain year round. Even though I’m a BC consultant, I would say our Tint Skin is the best clean/safe foundation out there. I just LOVE it! Let me know if you need help color matching! I’ll give you my honest 2 cents.

      • I would love your two cents on color matching! I can’t decide between porcelain or linen and I’m tempted to order them both (in case I’m in between the colors). How can you help? I could send a photo or tell you my MAC foundation color? (NC15)

  2. Hi, Leah! Thanks for the info. I love Beautycounter’s lipsticks, too! I have a question for you, though. Do you find that Backstage changes color on your lips as you wear it? I adore it when I first put it on, but at hour later, it has turned into a more pink, berry color. I’m wondering if that could be attributed to the fact that it sat in a hot mailbox for a day or two before I was able to get it. When I opened the package, the lipstick had melted. 🙁 I’m debating sending it back and requesting a new one because I love the immediate color that goes on my lips!

    • Hmm…this is very interesting! I’ve never heard of it changing color. Mine stays pretty neutral. I would look into it! Backstage is one of my all-time favorites but wouldn’t ever consider it a berry or pink color. Let me know what you find out!

  3. I wasn’t happy with the Beauty Counter color intense, after an hour its smears off and leaves a pinky color. It’s feels great going on but it doesn’t last. It gets on everything.

    • So sorry to hear this Robin! I have some tips for helping it stay put! I don’t have that issue personally but I do know everyone is different. Feel free to email me and we can chat about it if you want to give them another shot!

  4. I agree with the prior posters. It initially looks good but doesn’t stay on, it gets on everything, and the next time I’ve looked in the mirror it has lightened to a lighter bright pink color after having smeared mostly away. I was reading your blog to see what tricks there may be to get it to stay put?

    • Great question! I should mention, too, that we have now decided to reformulate these lipsticks, so I’m confident they’ll be even higher performing once we relaunch. We are always looking to improve.

      Some tips in the meantime: you can use a little mattifying powder on the lips after applying. I haven’t tried this myself, but I’ve heard it works! Worth a try. But stay tuned for the updated lipsticks in the future! I’m excited!

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