10 Tips for Eye Cosmetic Safety: Watch Out for Hidden Harms

a woman putting on mascara

Eye shadow, liner and mascara are great ways to make your eyes pop, but they can also be a breeding ground for bacteria. Eye makeup expires just like food does. Liquid and creamy formulas harbor bacteria faster and more easily than powders. Minimize your chance of developing infections and problems that can seriously impact your vision by following these tips:

  • Throw out anything you bought more than three months ago; or immediately, if your eyes become red, irritated, or you develop an allergic reaction or eye infection while using it. See your eye doctor and don’t wear anything until your doctor gives you the okay; then only new products.
  • Store makeup in a cool, dry place – not in your steamy bathroom.
a woman washing her face
  • Always wash your hands before applying eye makeup. Ensure your face and eyelids are clean, as well as your applicators and brushes.
  • Never share makeup with a friend. And never try store testers, which can be contaminated; even fresh applicators can transfer bacteria.
  • Don’t use dried-out mascara, and never moisten it with water or saliva. Replace it!
  • Keep eye makeup outside the eye and above the lash line; don’t line the inner lid, where makeup can enter your eye or clog the oil glands of your upper and lower lids.
  • Don’t use kohl eyeliners because they may contain dangerous levels of lead.
  • Metallic, glittery and powder makeup can be especially problematic, flaking and irritating corneas and eyes, especially if your eyes are dry. It can also get between your contact lenses and eyes, which can scratch the cornea and become infected. This may cause a potentially blinding corneal ulcer.
  • Don’t use permanent coloring or dyes on your eyelashes or eyebrows, which can permanently damage your eyes if used incorrectly. It’s best to steer clear of this option altogether.
  • Always remove all makeup at night, especially mascara, which can stick to your lashes. Use a clean cotton ball or swab on the lash line to remove any remnants. Keep eye makeup remover out of your eyes and flush them if any gets in. Then thoroughly rinse your eyelids and face.



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