When you cut an onion, do your eyes burn and water? Do you avoid getting soap and shampoo in them? There’s no denying the sensitivity where our eyes are concerned, so it is surprising that we cover them so heavily in cosmetics. Especially those marketed as “long lasting” or “waterproof.” How can a body cope when these products are so full of chemical agents?

On a typical day, we trace our eyes with eyeliner, add mascara to our lashes, and coat the lids in eye shadow.  Now think about how many times a day you rub your eyes. We interact with our eyes so often throughout the day, that our makeup is easily smudged and shifted, which can cause clogged tear ducts, dirty contacts, bacterial infections, and, most commonly, irritated and watery eyes. At the end of the day we scrub and scrub trying to take the darn stuff off, which can seem like an impossible task. This can result in even more "stuff" getting left behind on our lids and in our eyes. 

Most of the traditional eye shadows on the market contain a whole heap of carcinogenic, formaldehyde releasing, and irritating ingredients. But, careful consideration of product labels can help you avoid these harmful ingredients.


  • Avoid products containing Talcum Powder (aka Talc). This powdered ingredient can sometimes contain a small portion of aluminum silicate and/or be contaminated with asbestos fibers, both of which pose risks for acute or chronic lung irritation or even cancer since it is so easily inhaled. Since the 1970s, Talc particles have been routinely found in the tumors of ovary and lung cancer patients

  • Avoid shadows that contain carmine dye by looking for the ingredients: Cochineal, Cochineal Extract, Carmine, Crimson Lake, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470, and E120. Carmine is extracted from crushed up cochineal bugs and their eggs.

  • Avoid products that use dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM), diazolidinyl urea, 1.3-diol and imidazolidinyl urea as they are formaldehyde-releasing agents, meaning they aren't applied as formaldehyde, but do become it once on the skin. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.
  • Avoid shadows and other eye products that contain parabens and other potentially harmful ingredients. You can spot them on an ingredient label by looking for ingredients with the prefixes Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl.  IE Methylparaben.
  • Be wary of shimmery eye colors that may contain bismuth oxychloride, which is a byproduct of heavy metal processing. It is a skin irritant, is known to clog pores, and can affect the respiratory system. Learn more about the dangers of Bismuth Oxychloride here.
  • Check the expiration dates of your eye makeup products. While eye shadows will say 12 months or more, we suggest starting with a new product after 6. Eye shadow can get easily contaminated with bacteria and fungi and you don’t want to risk an eye infection.
  • Never share a brush or wand with anyone, as brushes are bacteria culprits. If you love experimenting and sharing products, keep a stash of clean brushes or cotton swabs on hand.
  • Use a non-toxic, non-irritating cleanser that will safely remove all traces of makeup.

Our alternative to toxic eye color is our B Smudged, a creamy tint of color made from organic ingredients that are gentle, nourishing, and non-toxic. Just smudge  on your lid close to the lash line for a subtle tint of color that is just enough to make your eyes pop while still creating a natural look. The Smokey Black shade can even be used as an eyeliner, making it two products in one! Plus, it lightens the load in your makeup bag with one less product to purchase! Now that's detoxing your makeup bag!


  • Sally B

    Purple is the next color on our list! We’ll experiment with a highlighter, too!

  • Nicole

    I like purples the best! Eyeliner, shadow, it’s all good. Also, a highlighter would be great for right under the brow line, a nice creamy pink white like color. That would be all I need!

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