Lipsticks may contain harmful preservatives
Are extravagant lipsticks worth the money in terms of safety? The acute toxicity of an European lipstick is 17 times over the standard!

Test-it™ Introduction

Lipstick is a necessity for ladies. With a shade of red on lips, a woman can have the world at her feet. The safety of lipsticks affects the life of the queen and must not be taken lightly!

To find out the truth, Test-it™ selected 31 most popular lipstick products in the market and joined hands with a professional laboratory to perform safety test using the world leading bio-testing technology Testing 2.0. Based on the test results, it rated 23 products as Green Fish (Excellent), 3 products as Yellow Fish (Basic) and 5 products as Red Fish (Sub-optimal).

Test-it™ finds that safer lipsticks cost less. In terms of brand origin, samples produced in Asia have better safety performance than those produced in Europe and America.

According to the World Health Organization and United Nations, choosing the wrong product could cause cancers, infertility, precocious puberty, obesity and neurological disorders. Test-it™ provides clear, direct test reports with lifestyle tips. Equipped with scientific and objective information, consumers can make safer purchasing choices. Stay tuned for more interesting facts.

Interesting Facts of Milk

Ancient Egyptian were great fans of red, orange and black lipsticks.

A queen of England was the first to wear big red lips and created the timeless trend.

Both ancient men and women in China and the West loved to wear lipsticks.

Surprisingly, sales of lipsticks increase in times of recession in America.

In ancient China, women left their lip prints on white handkerchiefs to express their love.

Experiments show that a 3.5g lipstick can make 561 lip prints.

Test-it™ Reports

Test-it™ Standards

Traditional chemical Test 1.0 and existing regulations only reflect the basic requirements for market entry, not the products’ actual safety for consumption. Test-it™ applies first-in-the-world fish embryo toxicity (FET) test technology (Testing 2.0), enabling an effective and thorough examination on both acute and chronic toxicity in the tested products (effective up to several thousands of known toxicants to humans). We test and classify global products into three categories (Red, Yellow and Green Fish) through a comprehensive test system and scientific statistic analysis. We provide clear, direct test reports with lifestyle tips. Testing method varies with products. For the lip stick test, the transgenic medaka embryo testing for chronic toxicants, zebrafish embryo testing for acute toxicants and ingredients check are applied.

Good performance under screening of acute toxicity, chronic toxicity and ingredients. Consumers can rest assured that the products are safe for purchase.

Indicating good performance in the screening of chronic toxicity, while meeting the safety baseline in acute toxicity and ingredient check. Consumers are recommended to purchase with caution.

Below standard under screening of acute toxicity, chronic toxicity and ingredients. Consumers are recommended to purchase with extra caution.

Green Fish List
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Findings of Test-it™

1. Brand origin battle: Asian brands are safer

Lipsticks under the test mainly include Asian brands, European brands and American brands.

All 6 samples of Asian brands pass the test and are rated as Green Fish.

A total of 14 samples of European brands are selected, with 10 (71%) rated as Green Fish and 4 (29%) rated as Red Fish.

For the 11 American brands selected, 7 (64%) samples are rated as Green Fish, 3 (27%) samples are rated as Yellow Fish and 1 (9%) samples are rated as Red Fish;

Test-it™ finds that, in terms of “brand origin”, all samples of Asian brands pass the bio-test and are rated excellent, meaning that they are safer than samples of European and American brands.

2. Lipsticks with lower price have better safety performance

Samples are classified into high-priced, mid-priced and low-priced ones and the results are as follows:

Among the 31 samples tested, the most expensive one costs 210.5HKD/g, which is over 9 times of the cheapest one that costs 22.9HKD/g. The average price was 62.3HKD/g.

Test-it™ finds that, over 50% of samples in each of the price ranges, namely the low-priced, mid-priced and high-priced categories, passed the safety test. It is worth mentioning that, over 80% of low-priced samples are rated Green Fish and have better safety performance.

3. 20% of samples failed the acute toxicity test

84% of genes known to be associated with human diseases have a zebrafish counterpart. Therefore, substances that are toxic to zebrafish embryos are likely to be toxic to human. When exposed to toxic substances, fish embryos develop abnormalities, such as head tumour, tail tumour, heart swelling and even immediate death in serious condition.

Test-it finds that 3 (10%) samples could not pass the acute toxicity test.

The acute toxicity of an European lipstick sample exceeds the safety standard by around 17 times as compared to products of the same category in Test-it’s bio-database.

【Lipstick Fact】 Lipsticks “sweat” when stored at 36℃ or above. In terms of chemical composition, the simpler the formula, the sweatier the lipstick will be. Some manufacturers may add gelling agents to lipsticks to prevent “sweating”.

Most products contain various chemical substances, such as solvents for blending different ingredients, main ingredients of lipstick like colorings, paraffin, emulsifiers and fragrances. Substandard chemical ingredients and chemical reaction resulting from the mixing of ingredients may impair the quality of lipsticks and increase toxicity.

4. Chronic toxicity test: estrogenic endocrine disruptors are found in samples。

Samples were also examined using the transgenic fish embryos technology to test for chronic toxicity. When chronic toxicants (estrogenic endocrine disruptors) are detected, embryos emit green florescence light in various luminous intensity, which can be used to quantify toxicants, enabling evaluation of human health risks according to WHO/FAO guideline.

In chronic toxicity test, 5 (16%) samples could not pass the test.

Test-it™ found various preservatives in the samples, such as the widely applied butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) in 12 samples and paraben preservatives in 2 sample.

The same European lipstick sample aforementioned shows high level of toxicity in chronic toxicity test whereby all tested fish embryos were dead.

Scientific studies show that these estrogenic endocrine disruptors can be readily absorbed by the body and are found in breast milk, breast tissue, cord blood and placentae. In other words, they can be passed to the next generation.

【Lipstick Fact】

When applying lipstick, it is inevitable for it to have direct contact with saliva. Comparing with other cosmetics, lipsticks are smaller but more susceptible to contamination. In order to prevent deterioration and slow down oxidation, manufacturers often add preservatives to extend the shelf life.

Lipsticks should not be stored at high temperature and humidity. Places next to a lamp or inside a bathroom or toilet should be avoided so as to prevent contact with germs which may accelerate deterioration. In addition, lip brushes are a good option for applying lipstick as it minimizes saliva on the lipstick and bacterial growth.

Test-it™ recommends consumers to search for all safe, non-toxic and quality lipsticks through “Test-it™ Search” on the Test-itTM official website ( before purchases.

Test-it™ Tips

If you doubt if this works, why not give it a try? You will be surprised by this little trick. You will also be astonished if you use this technique for color blending. Just repeat the steps and use different colors when applying the second layer of lipstick.


Conventional chemical test 1.0 and the basic regulations only reflects the basic requirement for a product’s market entry. The mission of Test-it™ is to further improve product safety with world leading technology Testing 2.0. Though horizontal analysis in similar products, Test-it™ provides consumers with information and data for better consumer choices. Products are categorised as Green Fish, Yellow Fish and Red Fish according to test results.

Test-it™ has developed a high standard as a third party consumer goods evaluation platform. Developed by an experienced research and development team and an advisory board of toxicology experts from 12 countries, Test-it™ references from the global standard of China, EU, the U.S., Japan, WHO and OECD. With the application of fish embryo toxicity (FET) test technology (Testing 2.0), The standard of Test-it™ could be higher than the existing regulations.

Sampling Method

Market research and product

Test-it™ selected 31 best selling lip stick products by analysing sales and attention span from the Test-it™ fans group. The research is conducted in both e-commerce platform and physical store.

  • E-commerce market research

  • Retailer market research

  • Sales volume and popularity

  • Selected products

Purchasing Method and Channel

All tested samples were purchased by Test-it as a common customer. Samples were purchased from the brands’ official beauty counters and their globally recognised sales channels ( official flagship stores ) on major E-commerce platforms ( JD, Tmall, Koala, Amazon) . All sample were purchased anonymously.In order to maintain neutrality and objectiveness, Test-it reports will not accept products submitted by manufactures.

  • Represent common consumers

  • Reliable sales channel

  • Anounymous purchase

  • No manufacturer sampling

Test Method

1、 Transgenic medaka embryo testing for chronic toxicants.

2、Zebrafish embryo testing for acute toxicants

3、Ingredients check

Vitargent adopts an exclusive ingredients screening system comparing restricted and high risk ingredients regulated by the CODEX Alimentarius of the WHO&FAO, USFDA, EU, Food and Drug Administration of Japan and China to further enhance product safety.

Ingredient Screening: Products must not contain any chemicals that are associated with health complications, eco-toxicity, or contamination by scientific safety evaluations, or are banned by the following governmental agencies and authoritative bodies.

US: USFDA’s ‘Summary of colour additives for use in the United States in foods, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices’, ‘Prohibited & Restricted Ingredients’, and 'Everything Added to Food in the United States (EAFUS)'.

EU: European Commission Nos. 1333/2008, 1223/2009, 1129/2011, and 1130/2011, and Candidate List of substances of very high concern for Authorisation (SVHC) by European Chemicals Agency (2017).

China: China FDA’s ‘Safety and Technical Standard for Cosmetics’ (2015), and 'National food safety standards: food additive standard (GB2760-2014).

Japan: Japan’s ‘Standards for Cosmetics’ (2000), and 'Standard for use of food additives (2017)

WHO&FAO: CODEX Alimentarius

Results Analyzing Method

Category Medaka embryo testing for chronic toxicants Zebrafish embryo testing for acute toxicants Ingredients check
Pass WHO guideline on Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) No LC50 (50% fish death) detected at highest concentration No banned or high concernedingredients

Pass WHO guideline on Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) LC50 detected within highest centration to Vitargent category-based reference line No banned but contain high concerned ingredients

Fail (reading exceed ADI or over 50% fish death at Vitargent category-based reference line ) LC50 detected below Vitargent category-based reference line Contain banned ingredients

Selected Awards

Hong Kong Technological Achievement Award(2014) Davos Global Innovation Pioneer (2015) Geneva International Inventions 43rd Grand Prix Winner (2015) World Intellectual Property Organization Gold Medal (2016) APEC & GIC Future Maker (2016) Unreasonable Impact (2017)


  • 1. This report is conducted in random sampling method with laboratory standard operating procedures. All samples were purchased by our staff members through normal sales channels as a common customer.
  • 2,Green Fish indicates excellent quality. Fair Price indicates quality products priced equivalent to or below 62.3HKD/g. Quality Great China indicates quality products from the Greater China Region.
  • 3. Green Fish indicates products show excellent quality in this test, listed in no particular order.
  • 4. All tests are conducted in Vitargent’s laboratories in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Belgium.
  • 5. This test was conducted under the principle of consumer goods comparison. The test results only indicate quality of the very sample. They do not reflect quality of other products under the same brand ( same or different models ) nor the products’ quality in different batches. The test results are provided solely for your personal, non-commercial use. No promotion or recommendation of any products are intended. By no means should the results be taken as medical advice. Consultation with doctors and healthcare professionals are recommended before employing the test results. The test results are not to be mistaken as medical advice for diagnosis, treatment, or recommendations for health conditions. We are not responsible or liable for anyone using the results of this report.
  • 6. The test results are provided solely for your personal, non-commercial consumer reference. The references of product qualities and recommendations hold no legal validity nor guarantee. Any business and consumer decision made by users is an independent action on their behalves. We are not responsible or liable for any dispute caused.
  • 7. You may not derive for commercial use or promotional actives any data from this report in any corporate and organisations, unless you obtain prior permission from Test-it™.
  • 8,All information and data in the report are dated to 02 Feb, 2018, information are updated constantly according to the testing results released by other authorities .
  • 9.For more information, please see Terms, Conditions and User Agreement.
From · Test-it™· 2017/12/14