Birchbox Breakdown: July 2012: Stila Lip Glaze

Since I started reading my makeup labels to scan for palm oil, I have started wondering what on earth I’m really putting on my body.  I decided to look up all the ingredients in the products I received in my July Birchbox.  Birchbox is extremely popular, so you probably know what it is, but just in case you don’t: it’s a monthly beauty subscription service.  You pay a flat rate and Birchbox sends you a box every month with deluxe samples of cosmetic products.  Everyone gets a different selection of products in their Birchbox.  You may not have the same products I have.  Hopefully, makeup consumers will find these posts informative even if they do not have these particular items.


I received a Stila Lip Glaze in the color Action.  I’m more into lipstick than lip gloss, because I like a lot of color.  So, I have never tried Stila’s Lip Glazes before.  I have been tempted, though. This one is a lovely plummy color with pink and gold shimmer.  It reminds me of Tarte Lip Surgence in Glisten, which I wear all the time.  Let’s find out what is really in it.

Polybutene—a plastisizer used to make things sticky.  Those things include gasoline, sealants, adhesives, engine fuels and. . .lip gloss.  Gross.

Hydrogenated Polyisobutene—No joke, this is a synthetic rubber.

Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer—a combination of three organic compounds:

  • Ethylene—an organic compound with a wide range of chemical uses.  It is also a plant hormone used to speed ripening.
  • Propylene—another organic compound with many uses.  Used to make films and caps for example.  Both ethylene and propylene are derived from fossil fuels.
  • Styrene—Hold the phone!  The National Toxicology Program has stated that styrene is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”  It is produced from the resin of the Oriental sweetgum tree.  Widely used to make synthetic rubber.  Styrene is described as a hazardous chemical, an irritant and potentially toxic.  Well, that’s just fantastic.  I’m so happy to find out that this compound is in lip gloss.  Extra gross.

Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer—another combination.  Butylene is polybutene broken down into a shorter chain of molecules, I think.  We already learned about ethylene and styrene.

Ethylhexyl palmitate—Whomp, whomp.  That’s right, palm.  This ingredient is a fatty acid ester used to enhance the texture of cosmetics and it is usually derived from palm oil.

Microcrystalline wax—a wax made from petroleum.

Silica dimethyl sylilate—a derivative of silica, the compound found in sand that is used to make glass.

C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate—I don’t know enough about chemistry to describe this ingredient.  Apparently it’s an ester and it makes cosmetic products feel less oily.

Phenoxyethanol—a chemical compound used as a preservative.  Considered an alternative to parabens.  Yet another ingredient commonly found in cosmetics even though there is no consensus on its safety.

Ethylhexylglycerin—similar to phenoxyethanol, a preservative used as an alternative to parabens.  It is derived from plant glycerin, but has been known to cause skin irritation.

Flavor—who knows?

Tocopheryl acetate—vitamin E.  It’s good for you!  Sadly, this is the first ingredient in this product that I feel comfortable having on my skin.

Tin oxides—yeah that’s tin.  I think it might be used to make the lip gloss red, as it is used to make synthetic rubies.

Calcium sodium borosilicate—I couldn’t find any information on this.  I don’t know what it is.

The rest of the ingredients are pigments.  What you should know about pigments is that they are probably not harmful, but some of them are not approved for the eye area, which means they must irritate the skin to some degree.

This was a very disappointing exercise.  I have always wanted to try Stila Lip Glazes, but I definitely will not buy one of these.  It contains palm oil and a host of petroleum products, including a probable carcinogen.  Remember, if you rub it on your skin it ends up in your body.  I think cosmetics should have more in common with food than gasoline or plastic.

I would like to add that these seems like an inefficient way to package 0.05 ounces of product.  So much plastic.  Stila could learn something from LUSH.


This product was purchased by me.  I am not affiliated with any brands.  My opinions are my own and they are just opinions.  I am not a medical/chemical/makeup expert or researcher.  I don’t KNOW what ingredients are safe.  I just want makeup consumers, myself included, to be more informed.  My statements are for information/entertainment only.