Answer from Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.
For several years, there has been some concern about lead in lipstick. To date, there is no evidence of high levels of lead in lipstick, though some brands do contain very small amounts of lead.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates cosmetics sold in the United States under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Under the act, the FDA doesn't subject cosmetics, including lipstick, to scrutiny and approval before these products are marketed. The exception is most lipstick color additives, which are screened before being marketed. FDA regulations for approved color additives allow trace levels of heavy metals, including lead. To date, the FDA has not determined these levels to be a health threat. Other ingredients in lipsticks, such as waxes and oils, are not subject to FDA testing.
The FDA is developing a lead test for lipsticks and says that it intends to publish results in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Meantime, there is no recommendation from the FDA that restricts the use of lipsticks because of lead.