For some reason, this topic has come up a few times recently. I suppose because I’ve been putting makeup on others, and thinking through my product usages. But it’s a good topic. In my MAC Neo Orange pigment review, one of my biggest irritations was the fact that MAC isn’t particularly transparent about their pigment safety. Many shades are not safe for eyes, or not safe for lips, and not only is it not marked on the package(Unless you really know batch numbers), but the Sales Associate didn’t even know she was encouraging me to use the pigment in a non-approved usage! Not all manufacturers DO mark it on the container, though the information is usually online. Even searching “eye safe pigment” popped up a ton of searches from people who discovered months after the fact that they had been using a pigment wrong, and that their favorite bloggers/goru’s had been doing the same!
It lead me to think about the question—-What does it mean if a manufacturer mean a product is not safe for a particular usage? I don’t improperly use products on other people, since I have NO baseline as to their sensitivities and put their health above any aesthetic reasoning, but I have never experienced an adverse reaction from using a red or pink not approved for eyes as a cream eyeshadow base on myself, or any other improvisations. I want the information to be available so people CAN make that choice, rather than finding out later they didn’t know what they were doing.
The best answer I’ve found is that it means some of the ingredients MAY cause irritation or not be graded as safe for the area, but the manufacturer hasn’t tested it to claim one way or the other. It probably won’t kill you, but the manufacturer also doesn’t claim responsibility for any adverse reactions.
Obviously, the end choice of how seriously you would like to take the usage warning is yours. But there’s always things you can do to stay somewhat safe if you DO decide to break that rule.
Bear in mind—all the common sense measures in the world may not prevent you from having a bad reaction. Be EXTRA aware when using products outside manufacturer specified uses.
How many times have we heard DIY beauty tips, like “Use Monistat Chafing Gel for facial primer” or “Hemorrhoid cream to shrink under-eye bags” or “Black eyeliner on the lips, instead of black lipstick-it wears longer”. Even the most careful of us will probably be tempted at some point to use a workaround that isn’t strictly sanctioned by the product in question.
For one thing, SANITIZE YOUR PRODUCTS before using them elsewhere. If you want to use a red cream last used on your lips as an eyeshadow base, you could introduce a lot of new bacteria to the eye area by not disinfecting it.
Also, NEVER experiment with new usages when you know you will HAVE to wear it for an extended period. Right before your Valentines Date gets there is NOT the time to experiment with something that could possibly irritate your eyes. If it DOES cause a reaction, you want to be free to flush your eyes out as soon as possible. Not sit there blinking, squinting, rubbing it deeper into your eyes, as you try not to ruin the nights pretty makeup.
Try to avoid piling product into the lashes and lash line. Your eyelashes are your body’s natural safety net for preventing irritants from getting into your eyes. If you pile that non-eye safe cream on your lid using your finger, and it gets smudged into your lashes, there’s a good chance it will be able to migrate into your eyes, and a higher likelihood of irritation.
If you are working with a pigment, using a stickier primer, and patting it on in SMALL amounts and sections can help keep the eye exposure to a minimum.
Make sure you remove it properly when you’re done wearing it. Improperly removed makeup can migrate into the eyes and sinus cavities while you sleep, and cause infections. This is just common sense, but ESPECIALLY be wary if you are using a pigment not approved for the eyes. When possible, try to pull it away from the lash line when you remove it, so less product will leave a residue there.
Glitter is sort of a special case—Glitter can irritate the eyes at the best of times, especially if it hasn’t adhered properly, and you can scratch your eyes and cause infections if you use craft glitter on your eyes. Generally, “eye safe” glitters have smoother edges, that are less likely to cut the surface of your eye. If you DO get something in your eye, DON’T RUB IT or you’ll make the cuts worse. Use contact solution or water to flush out your eyes, and then remove the rest of the product, pulling it up and away from the eye area, rather than rubbing it down into the lashline. If you wear contacts, be aware that makeup can get trapped in them, and put you at even HIGHER risk of irritation.
Metallic pigments also are generally not recommended for use on the eyes, sometimes on lips as well. Reds and Pink creams or pigments often are not eye safe. There’s a number of blue pigments that aren’t lip safe. ALWAYS look at manufacturer recommendations if you aren’t sure.
As far as using pigments on lips—definitely try to avoid licking your lips a lot. I grew up seeing the sensationalist statistics for how much lipstick the average woman eats in the course of a lifetime. The rumored 3-10 lbs may be false, but eating harmful ingredients is still a concern when using pigments on the lips.
You probably won’t poison yourself using an odd product once in a while, but if you plan to regularly use a color on the lips, you’re better off finding an actual lip-safe alternative. OCC Lip Tars have a wide range of non-traditional lip colors, and you can mix almost anything with them! Additionally, many indie MM companies like Fyrinnae, Venomous Cosmetics, HiFi cosmetics, Shiro cosmetics, Morgana Cryptoria, Evil Shades, produce lip products in unusual colors(Blues, purples, greens, etc.) Once in a while, I use my eye-only MUFE Aqua or Flash Creams on the lips, but I only keep it on for as long as the photography takes, and then I remove it.
Not all pigment is ingested—you can also absorb ingredients through the skin, don’t forget. The skin around your eyes and mouth tends to be more fragile and thin than elsewhere on the face, and may be more sensitive to ingredients.
In the end, you should ALWAYS be aware of what you are putting on your face. Even normal cosmetic usage can lead to allergic reactions or irritation(Right now, for instance, my eyelids are stinging and swollen from a reaction to a glitter cream eyeshadow). A healthy wariness should be carried one step further, when choosing whether to use a product in an un-tested manner.
I’m curious how everyone else feels about it. I know there’s many makeup users who put MUCH more thought into the safety of their products.
Update: I’ve started trying to make a list of products that I have explicit information on their recommended usages. Anyone can edit, so PLEASE feel free to add products or information, or use it to figure out how to make the most out of your own products!