Part 2: Don't Trust Your Eye Shadow
Last time, I introduced you to the nasty reality of what is really in your store-bought, not organic lipstick and all it does to your body. From allergic reactions, to promoting breast cancer, you found out your lipstick is not all its cracked up to be. Today, I wanted to dive deeper into another staple in any cosmetic routine: eye shadows. Let's be real, eye shadows are beautiful with their shimmer and seemingly magical effect on your eyes, but most don't know they're actually made with harmful fillers, no good binders, and pigmented with dyes that are causing more harm than good. Now, many of these ingredients are going to be similar to those in the lipstick article because they use them across the board in cosmetics. But, there are a few that are unique to powders like eye shadow that are going to make you run for the hills. Ready to freak yourself out and ditch every non-organic eye shadow you've ever owned? Keep reading!
What goes in to making an eye shadow?
First of all, I want to talk a bit about how eye shadow is made since it's a bit different from lipstick. Lipstick is a fairly straightforward process: you melt the ingredients, add the color, and you're done. The hardest part is figuring out the ratios to get a good consistency. Eye shadow on the other hand takes much more time and effort to create. There are three main parts to an eye shadow: the base, the pigment, and the binder. The base is what helps smooth the pigment onto your eye lid and aids in the application process. Then, the pigment is added and mixed with the base until the correct shade is created. Lastly, and this is the most difficult part, the binder is added until the powder is the correct consistency so when it is pressed it has enough hold to not shatter if it's dropped, but also powdery enough so that a brush will pick it up and you can apply it.
Within the base and binding components, big makeup companies make it clear that they are not concerned with the health and wellbeing of their customers, they are simply trying to make the cheapest eye shadow possible while putting a big price tag on it. So, I'm about to unearth exactly what goes into each of these parts and why you should stay away.
So, in the spirit of starting from the top, let's begin with base ingredients. Like I said, this is the part that makes the eye shadow smooth and wearable. It keeps the eye shadow in place and allows it to be easily removed when the time comes at the end of a long date night or work day. It is basically a filler that does not contribute to the color of the eye shadow, but is a necessary component.
The most common base filler companies use in eye shadow is talc. That's correct, the same stuff that's in baby powder, foot powder, and is a known carcinogen is the go-to filler for the majority of eye shadows on the market. Talc is dangerous in that there is a risk of asbestos contamination when it is produced. There is enough contamination that people have been getting mesothelioma (an extremely deadly cancer) from using talc-based products, especially when using baby powder (and there are thousands of lawsuits to back it up). So, when you use talc, you are essentially depositing cancer-causing materials onto your skin and putting yourself at risk. On top of that, it also provides an organ toxicity risk, meaning your liver has to work in overdrive to process it once its in your system, and once its in it causes harm to your non-reproductive organs. Talc should be one of the first ingredients you check for when buying your next eye shadow, and if it's there, make a run for it.
Next up is a common ingredient used to give commercial eye shadows that easy slide-on we all know, but, as you'll soon find out, comes at a cost.
This particular ingredient is called dimethicone. Dimethicone is a silicon-based polymer that is manmade in a lab, and I can almost guarantee if you have any non-organic hair care product, makeup, or soap in your bathroom, this is in it. It acts as a plastic-like film on your skin, preventing your skin from performing its natural duties like sweating, producing oils, and removing dead skin cells. Leaving this on for too long can disrupt your skin's processes and lead to allergic reactions, dry skin, and even acne. On top of all that, it's also been deemed an environmental hazard since it is not biodegradable. Dimethicone is harmful to you, harmful to others, and harmful to the natural world around us.
A common ingredient used to keep the eye shadow from dying your eye lid is PTFE, or more commonly known as Teflon. That's right, the gross stuff non-stick cookware is coated with also goes into your commercial eye shadows. PTFE is commonly contaminated with PFOA, a known carcinogen, making this ingredient a big one to stay away from. It interferes with mammary gland development (increasing your risk for breast cancer), disrupts your endocrine system, and has even been found in umbilical cord blood samples of newborns! Pregnant women and girls going through puberty are the most at risk when exposed to PTFE and should take extreme precaution.
Typical binding ingredients in big name cosmetics are a concoction of different oils and chemicals that are carefully chosen purely based on how it makes the makeup stay on and stay together, and not chosen on how healthy they are for you.
The first binder that is typically present in eye shadow is mineral oil. Mineral oil sounds harmless enough, but it is actually derived from crude oil. Refined mineral oil always contains a high concentration of PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), a known human carcinogen. So, once again, every time you put on an eye shadow with this ingredient, you are depositing cancer-causing agents into your body.
Within the binding regime, commercial eye shadows include non-natural preservatives to make the products last for years and years. As explained in the Don't Trust Your Lipstick blog, parabens are known to cause cancer. The two big hitters are methylparaben & propylparaben. They are actually banned in the EU because they are so harmful to your health. Both of these parabens, along with parabens in general, mimic estrogen, causing your body to become confused when it is introduced to your body. Your endocrine system, the system that regulates hormones, becomes disrupted & you can be met with an array of problems ranging from imbalanced hormones to cancer. Both methylparaben & propylparaben have been linked to cancer. Methylparaben has been found intact within breast cancer tissues, and it is proposed that they even help the tumors grow and thrive within your body. Propylparaben has been linked to a similar situation, allowing breast cancer to grow within your body & disrupting your endocrine system. On top of all that, when parabens are exposed to UV radiation (i.e. exposure to the sun) they cause damage to your skin cells, and can even cause skin cancer! It's a lose-lose on all fronts with parabens so make sure to stay away!
Wrapping it Up
Of course, this is just a brief overview of the countless ingredients in a single commercial eye shadow that are causing your body more harm than good. Don't just take my word for it though, do your own research and decide for yourself if the risk is worth it.
I hope you found this useful and I hope you all have a fantastic week!
Founder/Owner/One-Woman-Show of TO