Eye makeup

9 Toxic Chemicals You Must Avoid For Your Eye Makeup

7 mins read

We apply makeup to hide little imperfections and emphasize our natural beauty. Since we apply various products all the time it’s only natural to assume they’re perfectly safe for us. Unfortunately, makeup products contain various chemicals and some of them are unhealthy. In this article, we’re going to discuss ingredients in eye makeup that you should avoid. Keep reading to find out more.

  1. Ethanolamine compounds

Ethanolamines are colorless, clear, and viscous liquids with ammonia-like odor which contain combined properties of amines and alcohol. In cosmetic industry, this ingredient is used to reduce the surface tension of substances so water-soluble and oil-soluble ingredients can blend together. The main concern when it comes to ethanolamines is that they may increase risk for cancer, especially with repeated and prolonged use. Eye makeup products that may contain this ingredient include eye shadows, eyeliners, and mascaras. Furthermore, ethanolamine in makeup is indicated with letters MEA, DEA, and TEA. Before purchasing your next makeup product, check whether it contains these compounds.

  1. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a colorless gas made by the oxidation of methanol. This ingredient is linked with cancer, allergic reactions, and irritations. It is used in eyelash glues to help them adhere to the surface. You’ll find formaldehyde listed as such on the label or quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin and urea.

Due to the fact this ingredient is found in eyelash glues it comes as no wonder that your natural eyelashes can weaken. For sensual look and healthy and long eyelashes, try these home remedies for eyelash growth:

  • Olive oil

  • Green tea

  • Lemon peel soaked in olive or castor oil

Just apply these remedies onto your eyelashes regularly and that’s it.

  1. Prime yellow carnauba wax

Cosmetic companies use this ingredient in mascaras and eyeliners to stiffen the product and make it waterproof. This ingredient clogs the oil glands in your eyes thus leading to dry eye disease. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 5 million Americans over the age of 50 suffer from dry eye disease. Of these, more than 3 million account for women, while more than 1.5 account for men. This disease usually occurs after menopause. Generally, using products that contain waxes isn’t a good idea although Japan wax is a safer alternative.

  1. BAK

Benzalkonium chloride or BAK is a preservative that you can find in soaps, sanitizers, germ-killing products as well as eye makeup. For example, you can find BAK in some mascaras, makeup removes, and eyeliners. Experts warn this ingredient is highly toxic to the epithelial cells of your eyes. These cells are important because they keep dust, bacteria, and water out of your eye. You will recognize this ingredient in eye makeup by the names such as quaternium-15, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride as well as benzalkonium chloride.

  1. Parabens

Parabens are, actually, preservatives that manufacturers use to prevent growth of bacteria in makeup products. However, your skin easily absorbs parabens. In turn, they get into your bloodstream. Parabens are endocrine disruptors and they’re associated with reproductive toxicity, breast cancer etc. They can also aggravate dry eyes. Parabens are listed under various names on products which is why you should avoid all eye makeup items with suffix –paraben.

Parabens are harsh for the skin, particularly around your eyes which is why you should invest in quality night cream that will nourish your skin while you sleep. Do a little research and make sure you purchase the product made by reliable manufacturer with informative website (website speaks a lot about the company). For example, Solvaderm skin care features highly informative site with info and tips about skincare.

  1. Aluminum powder

Manufacturers use aluminum powder to give eye makeup its hue. The primary concern about this ingredient is that it’s linked to organ system toxicity. You will find this ingredient listed under names such as aluminum, LB Pigment 5, and pigment metal.

  1. Heavy metals

Heavy metals such as chrome and nickel are neurotoxins associated with brain damage. Nickel is also linked with lung cancer and various respiratory concerns. These ingredients are found in a wide array of makeup products including green or metallic eye-shadows and makeup brushes.

  1. Titanium dioxide

Titanium dioxide is standard ingredient in sunscreens and various creams. It’s generally considered safe for use. However, when titanium dioxide is present in powder form e.g. in eye shadows it can lead to various respiratory concerns and is considered as a potential carcinogen. You’ll find it labeled as such and as TiO2.

  1. Retinyl acetate/palmitate

Retinyl acetate and retinyl palmitate are two forms of Vitamin A that are found in various night creams and eye creams. These ingredients are associated with reproductive toxicity and cancer. You should avoid products with these ingredients, particularly if you have dry eye disease.

Since eye creams are important for your skincare routine, especially if you want to eliminate wrinkles around your eyes, you should read the list of ingredients before you buy the product. Majority of the eye creams nowadays contain retinyl acetate or palmitate. Ideally, you should go for products like Hydrolyze that contain safe ingredients and nourish delicate skin around your eyes for youthful without puffiness and dark circles or irritations.


Eye makeup products can contain some chemicals that are considered harmful for prolonged usage. To preserve eye health and ensure your eyes and skin around them are nourished and healthy, you should read the ingredients list carefully and opt for products that don’t contain chemicals from this list.