Lily Lolo Make-Up & Carmine

I have loved Lily Lolo ever since I discovered their Berry Crush lipstick at Halloween last year. It was the most gorgeous deep red shade and suited me perfectly. Since then, I’ve tried two more lipsticks as well as four mineral eyeshadows, a lip gloss & eyeliner so it’s safe to say it’s a brand I like! 

Last month, they re-branded all of their packaging and their already beautiful cosmetics were even more appealing. The monochrome pattern and logo were so chic and sophisticated and I was very impressed. I was offered to try out some of their products and I jumped at the chance because it was a brand I love. I was sent the Mineral Eyeliner Pencil* in Black. Rachel from All Natural Aspirations has already recommended their eyeliner pencil so I was eager to try it out and I have to say I am very impressed. The colour is very pigmented, it glides on easily and the formula was so smooth so it didn’t drag at all like I have found with other brands. I use it as eyeliner on my top lashline and then smudge it out with a brush and it stays put for ages and works well as an intense smokey eye!

Black Eyeliner (top) English Rose lipgloss (bottom)

I was also sent the Lip Gloss* in English Rose. It’s not at all sticky and is a lovely pale pink shade. It smells absolutely gorgeous, like chocolate, so I quickly had a look at the ingredients to see what ingredient had the chocolatey smell and I was a bit shocked to see carmine. For those who don’t know what this is, it’s a pigment extracted from beetles by killing them through putting them in boiling water, direct sunlight or from the heat from an oven. The female cochineal are the ones who have carmine taken from them, (especially pregnant ones too) as the part of the body with the most carmine is the abdomen where they house eggs. They separate the abdomens and fertilized eggs & ground them up and cook them to get the maximum amount of colour. I know that they’re just beetles, and if you saw one in your living room you would quickly want it out, but the whole process just makes me feel sick!

I know that this is a natural way of getting pink/red shades into make-up products but it reminds me of a bush tucker trial on I’m a Celebrity and I do not want to be eating beetles! It’s difficult because it’s a natural alternative to synthetic dyes that can be potentially harmful, and carmine itself it not toxic however the thought of beetle juice being on my lips just makes my stomach churn. I quickly thought about the other colours that I have in the lipsticks and went on their website to find out that Romantic Pink & Intense Crush both contain carmine but instead of them writing ‘Carmine’ on the ingredients list, it simply says its colour code, ‘CI75470’, which in my opinion, can be misleading. If you didn’t know its colour code, you probably would not have noticed when buying the lipsticks online. This will probably spark a bit of a debate and I’m only talking about Lily Lolo because I noticed they use it and because I have their products but other brands use carmine too such as Benecos, Kjaer Weis, BITE Beauty & RMS.

Whilst I’m blogging about Lily Lolo I thought I would show you the eyeshadows I have as I haven’t blogged about them yet. I bought Miami Taupe, Mudpie and Black Sand. I bought Miami Taupe and Mudpie to use as eyeshadows and then Black Sand to see if I could use it on my eyebrows. Unfortunately, it’s slightly too dark and pigmented and makes me look like I have a scouse brow if I’m not careful but it’s a gorgeous colour for eyeliner! Miami Taupe is a pale, shimmered shade that looks gorgeous on it’s own for a bit of colour. The Mudpie shade is a matte finish and works pretty well as a crease shade. Sometimes I use this on the outer corner with Miami Taupe and then I use Black Sand over the top if I’m going for a darker, smokey eye. Ana from Ana Goes Green also kindly sent me the Witchypoo shade a while ago which is a very pigmented matte black. It is so smooth and works a dream as eyeliner.

 (L-R) Witchypoo, Black Sand, Mudpie, Miami Taupe)

I still like Lily Lolo as a brand, especially their mineral eyeshadows I just wish they could find an alternative to carmine. 

Sarah from Sugarpuffish has written this post about carmine free brands as it is also found in blushers etc. The lovely girls over at Call it Vanity have also written this post about pigments in cosmetics which is very useful when deciding what is good/bad for you! 

What do you think about carmine? Does it put you off using a brand if they use carmine?


*PR Samples

About Me

Hey! I'm Amber, a new mum and natural skincare lover, blogging about natural beauty, baby & lifestyle.

Leave a Comment


  1. LooweezBx wrote:

    This is upsetting πŸ™ for me, if it contains carmine then it's not cruelty free. How is crushing up living things and putting them in make up cruelty free in anyway?! So annoying, it's in loads of things πŸ™ xx

    Posted 3.24.14
  2. I absolutely love the new packaging, although I don't have anything with it just yet. I might just have to get that eyeliner πŸ˜‰ It would be great if more green beauty brands could be carmine free, but then I look down at my leather boots and sigh. Sadly, a lot of things come from animals that we just don't realise. For example, fine bone china is indeed made of bones, and when you think about what silk is actually made from…ick.

    Just gotta go with whatever feels right for you! For me I'll continue to use carmine, wear my leather jackets but not eat dairy or meat. Some people might think it's double standards, but I think as long as you're not pleading ignorance and making an effort to cut down on these things then it can only be good!

    Mayah x

    Posted 3.24.14
  3. Great post Amber and thank you for the mention. I haven't used Lily Lolo for a couple of years, in fact I looked back on my blog and reviewed a lip gloss in 2011. I agree with Louise how can a cruelty free brand use carmine? It just doesn't make sense to me and it makes me angry.

    Posted 3.24.14
  4. I know I don't understand that one bit either! It's so mean! It is in loads of make-up as well as food! xx

    Posted 3.24.14
  5. I love the packaging too its so chic! Ahhh I always forget when I'm walking round with my Louis Vuitton handbag πŸ™ naughty me… I don't think that I mind that much if I know that it's in there because its easy to forget when you're wearing a pretty colour I think I was more annoyed that it wasn't clear enough on the ingredients list. I will definitely be making an effort to buy products without it though in the future! x

    Posted 3.24.14
  6. Thanks Sarah, you're welcome! I don't understand that either it is so cruel!

    Posted 3.24.14
  7. I have the lip gloss and absolutely love it, so pretty x

    Posted 3.24.14
  8. That IS too bad about the carmine… such beautiful products Lily Lolo has though. Make up is so much harder than skincare to find brands that really use 100% non toxic ingredients. I suppose as long as we're aware of it! Kathryne @getunsullied :0)

    Posted 3.24.14
  9. Its a pretty shade isnt it πŸ™‚

    Posted 3.25.14
  10. I know its such a shame because their products are gorgeous! Although I'm not a vegan I just think its gross!

    Posted 3.25.14
  11. I have to say I really don't know what I think here! I love Lily Lolo (probably their biggest fan!) but how can they be truly cruelty free if some of the products use dead animals? Whether it is beetles or something cuter… they're all animals.
    Having said that… I eat meat, I eat dairy, I wear leather, I use products with carmine… I think the crux of it is openess – I don't mind buying something with Carmine in as long as I know that's what I am buying and I've made an informed choice. That may loose me some respect in this community but hey!
    Great post, really enjoyed it and glad you like the eyeliner! I love it!
    Rach xx

    Posted 3.25.14
  12. It's difficult isn't it because technically Lily Lolo aren't doing anything wrong because getting carmine isn't seen as cruel for some silly reason, I agree with you, they're all animals! I don't mind so much with blushers I think its the fact that I'm putting it on my lips and ingesting it…but then it is in loads of foods that I probably don't even know about! Thanks Rachel, I love the eyeliner its so smooth & pigmented! xx

    Posted 3.25.14