Beauty is Pain

One of my favorite pastimes is watching videos of makeup tutorials on YouTube. I am hugely fascinated by the amazing ability some people have at transforming a face with the help of makeup. After watching one video in particular called The Power of Makeup! I found myself asking the question, “what affects does makeup have on eyes and skin?”. I took to the internet to find out.

I came across a very informative article by Alexandra Perron for Yahoo! Beauty called, “Can Eyeliner Affect Your Eyes?“.  The article discusses a study done by Dr. Alison Ng who is specialized in Optometry and Vision Science. Dr.Ng used relied on video recording to track the movement of eyeliner particles into the eye. Dr.Ng would note how each person applied their eyeliner and the placement of it as well. The experiment called for each participator to apply glitter eyeliner to their outer lash line first and then to their inner bottom waterline. Through this study Dr.Ng observed that makeup migration is sped up when the eyeliner is applied to the inner lid or waterline.

Through Dr.Ng’s study, application to the inner lash waterline allowed 15-30 percent more particles into the fragile protective coating on the eye, much more quickly than when applied to the outer lash line. Effects of eyeliner migration into the eye, past the tear film, include unpleasantness if you are someone who has sensitive or dry eyes (this applies strongly to me). Even blurred vision was reported as an effect of putting eyeliner on the inner waterline. Dr. Ng also explains that people with contact lens are even more at risk of the effects of eyeliner migration into the eye. For people with contacts, eyeliner can get stuck to their lenses and increase the bacteria deposits that can cause cloudy lenses, causing vision obstructions (Yahoo! Beauty).

While reading the article one specific part about the bacteria in contacts hit home with me. A few years ago I was sitting in math class when I noticed that all over the course of my 80 minute class my vision in my right eye had gone from perfect to awfully blurry, I even felt a little bit of irritation. I decided to suck up the pain for two weeks before finally begging my parents to make me an eye doctor appointment. The morning of my appointment I woke up and my right eye had become so irritated. The discomfort I felt was unbearable, my right eye would not stop tearing up, I was so thankful that I was seeing the doctor that day. My eye doctor looked at my eyes under the fancy microscopes and began to determine what was the matter. He asked me if I wore eyeliner on my waterline and I told him that I did. He immediately told me to stop doing so because it was damaging my cornea. He explained that it seemed that a speck of my eyeliner had gotten into my eye and scratched my cornea. This made the horrible discomfort I felt for the past few weeks make sense. I had a hiatus from wearing eyeliner for a few weeks before I caved and started wearing it again. So yes, beauty is pain.

The article on Yahoo! Beauty that I have been discussing lists a few ways to avoid damaging your eyesight without giving up the eyeliner look that many people love so dearly. One makeup artist, Lisa Aharon recommends that people use a cream eyeliner pencil as oppose to a kohl eyeliner pencil. Kohl eyeliner pencils are more harsh on your eyes and run the risk of containing a heavy metal like lead. I myself have always used a kohl eyeliner product but after reading what Aharon has to say about the harmful affects, I will try and stray away from the product. Aharon warns of the possible irruption of glitter and metallic eyeliners on the waterline as well. One way to keep your eyeliner sterile and bacteria free is to sharpen it prior to each application or cleanse the tip with rubbing alcohol.

Here’s a list of Lisa Aharon approved eyeliners:

  • Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon ($25)
  • Laura Mercier Longwear Crème Eye Pencil ($24)
  • Chanel Long Lasting Eye Liner ($32)

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5 thoughts on “Beauty is Pain

  1. Hannah Katherine Morrissey

    This was a very interesting blog post! I found this very relevant because a lot of girls, like myself, wear contacts as well as eyeliner. I had no idea that eyeliner could do something as severe as scratch your cornea! I remember when I was getting fitted for my contact lenses, the nurse had long, acrylic nails on and she got bacteria into my eye during my first fitting because of them!! It was super painful and gross! I’ve found that a lot of people have started to invest in vegan and non-toxic products, some people have even started to make their own eyeliner and mascara formulas to prevent irritation and bacteria build up! Here is a link below to one woman’s formula to an all natural DIY eyeliner and mascara!

  2. jnn5095

    Great topic, this extremely relatable to most girls. Did you know that you are suppose to change your mascara every three months because of bacteria? I know this is tough, as much as makeup cost. Below will be an article on why we must do so. Eye makeup can really makeup can really make the look. I can not deal with a piece of hair getting in my eye, I could not imagine the feeling of getting pink eye or something because of a piece of makeup.

  3. Abigail Reese

    I really liked this idea for your blog! I would consider myself to be quite the amateur when it comes to makeup. With that being said, I still like watching makeup tutorials because I think the skills some people have are amazing and it’s fun to watch their creativity. I wear contacts and whenever my eyes start to bother me, I automatically blame it on my contacts but I wonder if my makeup has something to do with it as well. I searched the eyeliner I use to check it’s ingredients. I did not recognize a single ingredient on the list which really freaked me out. I found on the FDA website, “Under the law, cosmetic products and ingredients do not need FDA premarket approval, with the exception of color additives.” This is concerning because they could be putting essentially anything into our makeup products. With that being said, there are really no scientifically proven “safe” makeup brand but here is an article with the top natural and organic brands that I would assume would be a healthier option.

  4. Valerie Lauren Murphy

    I write for Valley Magazine on campus so I find myself watching beauty tutorials and subscribing to fashion newsletters for article inspiration. Although eyeliner can complete your makeup look, you do stand a chance of experiencing irritation from the product bleeding into your eye and harboring bacteria. Another culprit for discomfort is the cleanliness of your makeup brushes. If you don’t clean your brushes regularly they sit there collecting bacteria, skin cells, dust, and other gag-inducing particles. And each time you use the brushes, you’re layering on not only your makeup, but also whatever is laying on those bristles. So the next time you break out or (in the case of this blog article) experience irritation in your eye(s), your brushes may be responsible. If you experience pinkeye or get a sty, you should throw away any makeup brush or makeup product that comes in contact with your eye, because now those are infected as well. Also, sharing products for your eyes (mascara, eyeliner, or eye shadow) is not recommended. Everyone has different bacteria and mixing them can cause irritation for one or both of you. Beauty can be painful, but it doesn’t have to be if you take the right precautions. Here’s an article about the effects dirty brushes can have on your skin.

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