All About Eyes

Beauty & The Beast

When it comes to beauty, we are all princess Bella. Involved in a potentially toxic relationship with the beast: eye makeup.
And just like that beautiful rose, the red petals are falling out as our eyes die. Will we ever make things right with the beast and save the beauty in our eyes?

Ladies, although we know we don’t need any of it, we all can’t resist a beautiful palette with gorgeous colours. One isn’t enough. A nudes palette, a smoking one, earthy tones, beachy tones and why not grab one that is bright and colourful?!  Oh, I’ll apply a nice sleek stroke of black eye-liner and volumise my lashes before I head out. Wait! How about a primer, concealer and foundation prior to that to cover up any mishaps, and a makeup setter to set things up before my night out?

Starting by myself, I must confess….I don’t always wipe away that makeup before bed after an exhausting yet enjoyable day. And what does the beast do? Slowly killing our eye cells.

I have looked at the ingredients of some of the common eye makeup brands and skincare brought from both traditional drugstores, supermarkets and expensive cosmetic parlours. Unfortunately, I have found toxic ingredients in all of them.

Although most brands comply with the amounts deemed to be safe for human use by the FDA; Research has shown the following effects on the eyes:

  • Corneal epithelial damage (damage to corneal cells)
  • Contact lens damage
  • Tear film destruction leading to dry eye disease
  • Early ageing of the skin
  • Discolouration of the conjunctiva

Toxic Ingredients

I would like to highlight some of the common toxic ingredients below and how they affect the eyes: 

  1. Preservatives such as Parabens, Chlorphenesin, Benzalkonium Chloride and Formaldehyde found in eyeliners, mascara and eye-makeup remover disrupt the Meibomian gland epithelial cells and causes ocular cell atrophy and death within hours of exposure, even when used in concentrations less than what is approved for human use.  
  1. Phenoxyethanol, used to reduce parabens in products (may be seen in products branded as paraben-free), is another preservative with same effects as point 1. 

Parabens are easily absorbed through the skin and are endocrine disruptors causing early puberty, breast cancer and dry eyes. 

  1. Butylene Glycol and Pentylene Glycol, Methylpropanediol and Octyldodecanol are strong eye irritants. 
  1. Benzyl Alcohol, draws out oils and moisture (maybe be found in creams, serums and foundations) can also disrupt tear layer. 
  1. Argireline (Acetyl Hexapeptide-3) used in anti-ageing products and is derived from botulinum toxin, a neurotoxic protein produced by bacteria blocking neurotransmitters and causing paralysis. This ingredient reduces blink efficacy. 
  1. Mineral oil and petroleum jelly block pores and slow down cell development. 
  1. Isopropyl Cloprostenate is seen in eyelash growth serum, this is a synthetic prostaglandin analogue and is pro-inflammatory. 
  1. Retinol, Retinyl acetate or Retinyl Palmitate are derived from vitamin A, and are one of the best anti-ageing ingredients that neutralise free radicals and help boost the production of elastin and collagen. However, they are not recommended for daily use due to side effects such as dryness, redness, and irritation. 

Eye makeup make dry eye worse and irritate the cornea leading to corneal keratitis or infection.  

Eye pain, blury vision, sensitivity to light, discharge, swelling, flaky lids are common symptoms 

  1. Cyclomethicone and Siloxanes are silicone based, toxic and build up in the gastro-intestinal system. 
  1. Increased lash weight from wearing mascara or false lashes changes airflow and tear evaporation patterns leading to increased dry eyes. 
  1. Botox treatments may also affect the function of the lashes and the quality of the blink. Again, leading to dry eyes. 
  1. Heated eyelash curler can damage the eye and the skin around it. Also leads to lash fall out 
  1. Kohl, Al-Kahl, Kajal or Surma is unapproved for use in the US for containing heavy metals such as lead and high concentrations of salts. 
  1. Black pigment such as Carbon Black, D & C Black No. 2, Acetylene Black, Channel Black, Furnace Black, Lamp Black and Thermal Black are linked to cancer and organ system toxicity. 
  1. Aluminium powder, also listed as LB pigment 5 or pigment metal is a highly toxic neurotransmitter.  
  1. FDA has not yet approved colour additives for permanent dyeing or tinting of eyebrows and eyelashes 
  1. Illegal colour additives: Orange 5 (CI 45370); Orange 5 Lake (CI 45370); Red 4 (CI 14700); Red 6 (CI 15850); Red 6 Lake (CI 15850); Red 7 Lake (CI 15850); Red 21 (CI 45380); Red 21 Lake (CI 45380); Red 27 (CI 45410); Red 27 Lake (CI 45410); Red 30 Lake (CI 73360); Red 33 Lake (CI 17200); Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090); Blue 2 (CI 73015); Green 3 (CI 42053); Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140); Yellow 6 Lake (CI 15985) 

Cosmetic wearers may show corneal staining and/or papillary conjunctivitis on the Slitlamp. 

Better understanding colour additives 

  1. Synthetic dyes, also labelled as FD&C and F&C, although organic and approved by the FDA contain low amounts of toxic heavy metals. 
  1. Lake pigments are carcinogenic. 
  1. Organic pigments hold the most threats to health. 
  1. Mineral pigments are the safest in the world of colour additives. They are seen in earthy tones and labelled as mica, oxides, and ultramarines. But they can still contain heavy toxic metals. 
  1. Botanicals are the only natural colours out there such as beetroot and henna. Not many botanicals are approved for use in cosmetics as they don’t set very well and are difficult to work with. 
  1. The link below provides a FDA approved list of colours for use in cosmetics:

Eyecare Tips

So Princess Bella, How can you care for your eyes? 

  1. No sharing. 
  1. Maintain hygiene by washing hands prior to application, removing makeup before bedtime and constantly cleaning brushes or replacing them every 6-12 months or if used during an infection. 

Cosmetics come with a high risk of contamination and bacterial infections. KEEP IT CLEAN! 

  1. Discard products after expiry. 
  1. Avoid using cosmetics in the presence of irritation, acne or infections. 
  1. Limit the number of products used in one area. 
  1. Use cream based eyeshadows rather than powder. Avoid glitter and metallic colours. 
  1. Avoid Multi-use makeup (E.g: lips, blush and eyeshadow all in one pencil). 
  1. Use eye lubricants. 
  1. Sensitive eyes need allergen-free or hypoallergenic cosmetics. 
  1. Think Dirty App allows you to scan beauty products barcode for potential risks before buying. 

Other tested products include: 

  1. Lash Smoothie Volumizing Hemp Mascara by Tarte 
  1. Gen Nude Eye Shadow Palette by BareMinerals 
  1. Chubby Stick Shadow Tint by Clinique 
  1. RIMMEL Glam Eyes Professional Liquid Eyeliner Black Glamor 
  1. Huda Beauty Legit Lashes Mascara 

References and more reads


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