In the Eye of the Beholder: Beauty Safety Risks & Precautions You Should Know About

Every morning, you take time to look your best. You wash your face, moisturize your skin, and apply natural-looking makeup to highlight your best facial features. But have you ever stopped to think about how these alterations to your appearance could also affect the way you see?

From mascara to eyeliner and primer to eye shadow, much of your makeup collection centers on your eyes. Even beauty experts put their eyes at risk when they put chemicals and coloring around their eyes every single day.

In this blog, we’ll discuss four ways that makeup can put your eyes at risk. Then we’ll tell you the best methods to avoid eye health issues without sacrificing your favorite makeup products.

Health Risks

When you wear makeup on a regular basis, you increase your chances of developing certain health problems, including:

1. Infections

If you have an allergic reaction to a specific brand of mascara or a special chemical component in your concealer, your eyes will feel the burn. Always read the label of any makeup products before you purchase them, and take note of any swelling, redness, or irritation you see after you start using a new kind of makeup.

If you let an allergic reaction go too long without treatment, you could permanently infect your eyes.

2. Conjunctivitis

Despite makeup brands’ best efforts to include preservatives, many cosmetics foster bacteria growth. When you line your eyes or eyelashes with a thin layer of bacteria, you could develop conjunctivitis, also called pink eye.

3. Scratches on the Cornea

A single faulty flick of the wrist while you apply mascara could dent or scratch your eye’s surface. If you accidentally damage your cornea, you could also develop a corneal abrasion, a larger wound that creates an opening for a bacterial infection.

4. Contaminated Contact Lenses

Makeup users who wear contacts also face additional eye health challenges. The pigments in your makeup could potentially contaminate your contact lenses and irritate your eyeballs and eyelids with every blink.

But these possible hazards don’t mean that you have to give up cosmetics entirely. For every risk listed above, we’ve also found a few suggestions to help you avoid hurting your eyes when you get ready for the day.

Healthy Makeup Practices

If you want to feel safe while you beautify yourself, follow our steps for eye protection before, during, and after you apply makeup.

1. Wash Your Hands-and Your Brushes

Any germs you pick up from your breakfast meal, your pet, or the toilet seat can get into your eyes if you don’t take proper precautions. Always wash your hands thoroughly to remove any dirt and bacteria.

You also need to ensure that your brushes don’t transfer bacteria or cross-contaminate your eyes with oils from the rest of your face. If you plan to apply concealer or powder near your eyes, invest in a cleaning solution that will disinfect your brushes and keep contaminants away from your sensitive eyes.

3. Stand Still While You Apply Makeup

A slight jolt when you apply eyeliner or mascara could put your eyes in direct contact with black ink and grainy irritants. Though you may have the capacity to put on lipstick during a traffic jam, never attempt to apply eye makeup in a moving vehicle.

Even on your busiest days, take the time to relax and keep your hands steady when you put on your mascara and cover up those under-eye circles.

4. Sharpen Your Tools

Dull eyeliner pencils risk scratching your eyelid or depositing bits of wood on your lash line. Keep your eyeliner sharp to avoid abrasions, and never put colored makeup in your waterline where it could easily get swallowed up into your eye socket.

5. Replace Makeup Often

Even with clean hands and brushes, you could still introduce infection into your eyes if you use outdated cosmetics.

Pay attention to the expiration date on all your makeup items, and don’t hesitate to throw out clumpy mascara or discolored eye shadows. Any changes in consistency or texture indicate that makeup has passed its prime and should not come into contact with your eyes.

6. Avoid Glitter

Any eye shadows or pencils that feature sparkly or iridescent colors could cause problems for your eyes. These textures have a hard time sticking to your eyelid, and shed little particles of shimmer into your tear ducts or lashes.

If you have sensitive eyes, take these problematic sparkles out of your makeup bag for good.

7. Don’t Apply Makeup During Illness or Infection

When you notice redness or swelling in your eyes, even if you can’t determine the exact cause, abstain from makeup for a few days. Even if your makeup is clean and free from contaminants, going bare for a few days will give your eyes a chance to heal.

If your eyes show signs of irritation due to an illness or virus you’ve contracted, you’ll feel relieved that you won’t contaminate your eye makeup with any germs.

8. Remove Makeup Carefully

Some people claim that they look best after they’ve slept on their makeup. But when you take the time to carefully remove beauty products from your face before you sleep, your eyes will thank you.

When you sleep in your makeup, you transfer cosmetics to your pillow and bed sheets, which can leave the door open for future infection. Most people also shift during the night, which could cause your perfectly positioned smoky eye to sink onto the surface of your cornea.

For best results, use an oil-free makeup remover solution, and wash your face with soap and water before you go to bed.


If you suspect that your beauty habits might have affected your eyesight, talk to an ophthalmologist today. He or she can advise you on treatment options and the best beauty practices to look great while you protect your vision.