When I learned that bauble maker Tarina Tarantino (she of the pink hair) had branched into the cosmetic world, I feared the worst. Behind her signature sparkle would doubtless be a chemical waste dump. But when I took a look at her Gem Gloss ($19), I found that this lip gloss – although tarnished by a couple of things – is a pretty good formula overall.

For a start, it avoids potentially irritating and comedogenic mineral oil by using the synthetic alternative, polysibutene. Even the chemical-sounding octyldodecyl stearoyl stearate, is a naturally occurring fatty acid and used in skin care products as a skin conditioning and viscosity increasing agent. After a bunch of predictable (this is a lip gloss after all) and benign waxes, there are some things that your lips will find worth licking.

Sunflower (with its linoleic acid and vitamin E), soy (essential amino acids) and yeast (antioxidant) put Gem Gloss a cut above your average lip gloss. But the good things don’t stop there. Check out the hydrating agent ceramide-3 and lecithin, a natural emulsifyer and one of the most important components of cells. Unfortunately, lecithin is typically unstable in cosmetics – unless hydrolized, which it does not appear to be here.

The blurb on Gem Gloss goes on about plumping spheres (I disregard this as marketing BS) and exfoliants. The latter is a little mystery as I haven’t managed to work out which of the ingredients would do that job.

The only things I wish Tarina had avoided are ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, a sunscreen known to produce excess reactive oxygen species, and the irritant and toxin, phenoxyethanol. Other than that, Gem Gloss is a credit to her celebrity-loved trinkets. And, not to overlooked, this lip gloss by all accounts (I haven’t tried it myself) avoids the ultimate sin of stickiness.

Ingredients

Polyisobutene, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil , Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax (Candelilla Cera / Cire de candelilla), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Myristyl Lactate, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax (Cera Carnauba / Cire de carnauba), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Yeast Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lecithin, Ceramide 3, Saccharin, Water (Aqua / Eau), Silica, Acrylates/Carbamate Copolymer, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Myristyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Flavor (Aroma). +/- 77019 Mica, 77891 Titanium Dioxide, 77491 Iron Oxides, 77492 Iron Oxides, 77499 Iron Oxides,17200 Red 33 Lake,15850 Red 7 Lake,19140 Yellow 5 Lake.