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Sunday, 11 December 2011

Chemicals in our Make up - Part 2: Eye shadow

Hi Everyone, 

Today we are going to resume our mini series on Chemicals in our Make up with Part 2 focusing on Eye shadow.
The request was originally from Bibil, and inspired by one of the earlier posts about Eczema and cosmetics products: What are the Chemicals in our Make up?
You can catch up the first instalment here Part 1: Foundation.

 Eye Shadow

In the ancient times, Egyptian women applied dark green color to the lower lid and blackening the upper lid with Kohl. They also used powdered charcoal. Semi-precious stones such as malachite and lapis lazuli were also grounded and used as eye shadow. 
Nowadays the eye shadow cosmetic product is composed of a petroleum jelly base with fats and waxes such as: 
Mineral oil is a petroleum by product that sits on top of your skin to prevent water loss from skin. A very nice review can be found on LabMuffin blog here and here.
Jojoba oil is obtained from seeds of the desert shrub, Jojoba. A mixture of Jojoba Oil and hydrogenated Jojoba Wax was not mutagenic.A topical oil product containing 0.5% Jojoba Oil and a lip balm product containing 20.0% Jojoba Oil were classified as nonirritants and nonsensitizers to humans with no known sensitivities.
Beeswax toxicity can be caused in two ways: By ingesting large amounts or by burning it. Ingesting large amounts of beeswax can result in a serious intestinal blockage. Burning beeswax can expose you to low levels of carbon monoxide.
Ozokerite is a naturally occurring odoriferous mineral wax or paraffin and is used in candle making. I found one scientific article entitled the carcinogenic activity of medicinal ozokerite, but it is in Russian so I don't know if the result is positive or not! 
Lanolin is a fatty secretion from sheep's wool. Although it's a natural product, it may be contaminated with pesticides used on animals.
It is colored with with dyes that include ultramarine colors such as pink, blue, violet, iron oxides of various shades, carmine, bismuth oxychloride, manganese violet, chromium hydroxyde greens, bronze powder, aluminium powder, ferric ferrocyanide, ferric ammonium ferrocyanide, zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
As titanium dioxide is a white opaque powder, it may serve as a base.
Bismuth Oxychloride: In its pure form, Bismuth is not safe for cosmetic use. For this reason, Bismuth is refined and combined with other inorganic elements to form Bismuth oxychloride. FDA-approved Bismuth Oxychloride are specified to be free from toxins as it hits the market. In reality, the cosmetic industry’s demand for Bismuth Oxychloride cannot be meet. While its refinement processes is cost prohibitive and is considered not economical, the resulting compound is safe for all skin types, particularly on problematic and sensitive skin types. This is one of the reasons why make up containing Bismuth Oxychloride is very expensive. Perhaps those that have experienced allergic reactions to make up containing Bismuth Oxychloride are cheaper in value.

Manganese violet is a purple colourant, toxic when inhaled, but is considered ok for use around the eyes by the FDA.

Chromium hydroxyde green is an insoluble pigment made from the metal chromium. Chromium Hydroxide Green is approved for use in coloring externally applied cosmetics and personal care products, including products intended for use in the area of the eye, when it conforms to FDA specifications. Chromium Hydroxide Green is not allowed to be used in products intended for the lips.

Bronze powder may be safely used in coloring cosmetics generally, including cosmetics intended for use in the area of the eye, in amounts consistent with good manufacturing practice.

Aluminium powder : Aluminum is the third most naturally abundant element in the environment, found in food, water, pharmaceutical as well as a wide range of consumer products. The overwhelming mass of toxicity data available does not indicate any risk of harmful effects from using any cosmetic products that contain Aluminum. A 2001 study showed that the amount of Aluminum absorbed through the skin from antiperspirants is 40 times less than average daily exposure from food and water. 

Ferric ferrocyanide is a synthetic dark blue pigment that is straight meaning that it has not been mixed or chemically reacted with any other substance. Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide is a synthetic blue pigment. The cyanide is so tightly bound to the iron that it is not released into products that contain these pigments. Use has been approved by FDA to be used on eye and externally but not generally.

Titanium dioxide TiO2 is a natural mineral used, amongst many other applications, as a pigment because of it brightness and also its efficient opacifier! It is also used in every sunscreen product for its ability to protect the skin, however titanium dioxide dust, when inhaled, has been classified as a cancer-causing agent. This follows a study on rats developing lung cancer and mice getting mutations in their DNA. 
They also contain additional chemicals to enable a longer shelf life and manufacturing consistency for the product, including talc, aloe, binders (Octylpalmitate), preservatives.
Octylpalmitate is a derivative of palm oil often used as an organic replacement to silicone. There are no major side effects associated with Octyl Palmitate, although irritation or allergic reaction can occur from products containing this ingredient. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review expert panel found that in skin tests with the Palmitates and with products containing the Palmitates, one of three products containing 40%-50% Octyl Palmitate produced mild irritation. However, no skin care product contains this high concentration of the ingredient.
BHT is an antioxidant, some studies haven shown that it reduces the risk of cancer, others studies to increase it. It is also found in supplements. A Scientific review was conducted in '99 and concluded that BHA (is used as a "safer" replacement for BHT) and BHT pose no cancer hazard and, to the contrary, may be anti-carcinogenic at current levels of food additive use. Vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol could be a safer choice.
Parabens are used as preservatives for their antibacterial and antifungal actions, so we can keep our creams without them becoming infected. So far, no other component has been as efficient to replace it. Much contraversy has been raised  after extremely low concentrations have been found in breast cancer tumours however more research need to be conducted to confidently link paraben to cancer. Paraben is found naturally in some plants such as blueberries and most parabens used in products have the exact same formula. However it has been shown with confidence that some people can become allergic to it and should avoid it or else could develop dermatitis!  - A full review is now available HERE
Urea is a skin irritant for people who suffers from dermatitis and have an allergy to Formaldehyde.
A typical composition may be approximately 60% petroleum jelly, 10% fats and waxes, 6% lanolin, and the remainder dyes, pigments and preservatives.

This concludes Part 2: Chemicals in eye shadow. 


  1. thanks for dropping by. I'm following on GFC now. keep in touch and join in my #WW party when u can :)

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  2. It's amazing how many chemicals are in these things. I will have to look into this more.

    Thanks for sharing & for following me - following you now too :)

  3. Love this! I am a high school science teacher and it is great to have a blog to go to, to learn laugh and enjoy some collaboration :)

    Follow me over at:

  4. Cool blog! Love it! :-)

    Thanks for following me at:

  5. Nice articles. I'm just blogwalking and very happy to stop here. And also give you some comment and following your blog here.

    Dont forget to give us some your comment into my blog and following me back too.

  6. Very interesting stuff here Darling... thank you! xoxo

  7. Wow! I love this information you gave. Is it mostly cheaper makeup that has the negative side effects?

  8. @lady Unemployed. Unfortunately no! It all depends on how "natural" the company wants to go for! Come back soon for the next instalment Part4:Lipstick where I found out that harmful components are are almost always in big expensive brands but not necessarily in cheaper ones!


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